XDA Recognized Developer Program Revamp

XDA Recognized Developer Program Revamp

The Recognized Developer program was created to retain XDA’s focus on development and its core members. The community has always strived to push the boundary of what is possible with our (extra)ordinary gadgets, but it has also become the go-to site for tech-savvy tweakers and hackers looking to give their devices a revamp. XDA is a growing pool for beginning developers and small projects, but the focus of the program was on those who laid the groundwork, pushed boundaries, and created things that were not yet possible before.

When we launched the program, we weren’t exactly sure what it was or who to include, as “development” is not an easy concept to pin down. This resulted in being perhaps too lenient in the acceptance of RDs in the beginning. Behind the scenes, we have discussed what development means on XDA and who it applies to. Over time, we have slowly raised the bar, while setting up clear minimum requirements and creating more tiers of valuable users. This allows us to give credit where it’s due, without sacrificing the meaning of the title.

At the same time, we have made significant changes to the way we handle the many applications we receive. The RD program is very popular, as we receive numerous applications per day when the form is online. With our recent changes, we hope to be able to let you know within a short time frame if you are not accepted, along with a personalized list of improvement points. Users who are accepted will have to wait longer since adding them requires a member of the Administration team to switch usergroups. As such, this is done in batches.

While going through the applications, a few things have become very apparent. First, the term ‘developer’ is used with enormous variation. Second, we have offended very new users who have just started their first ROM project by not accepting them. We have also received very humble requests from those with incredible projects. In order to help remove the ambiguity, we have done our best to create practical minimum requirements as well as set some guidelines to make reviewing, and overall user experience, better.


Threads should include:

  • Clear introduction
  • An overview of what the project does (i.e. its purpose) and what is included
  • 2-8 screenshots that are posted alongside each other
  • A clear changelog in a [code][/code] tag, that shows the non-trivial updates to the project
  • Installation instructions and links to download and github (or like services) for source code, as applicable
  • Credits with links to the projects that have been built upon, or have been included, in this project

In addition to the post guidelines, here are the minimum requirements used to determine the eligibility of someone for the Recognized Developer program:

Minimum Requirements: 

All Projects

  • Members must be actively involved in the community
  • Any project needs to have at least one month of active development before it will be taken into account for the application
  • No history of bans and/or serious infractions
  • Changelogs must be readily available inside the thread, with updated information for each version
  • They started from an official manufacturer or source base (stock ROM or AOSP-like source).
  • Threads show a clear overview of changes made, in a way that DC can clearly see what has been developed by the user
  •  The ROM isn’t the product of an online kitchen or otherwise derivative development (i.e. themed stock ROM)
  • A minimum of two full-fledged, markedly different ROM projects are needed to apply for RD, only very special projects are considered otherwise
  • ROMs need to identify what kernel they are using
    • If 100% stock then they must state that
    • If custom they must provide a link to the kernel on XDA (if available) or a link to the kernel source. To accomplish this there are two options:
      • Option 1: They provide links tosuggested kernels but do not include them in the ROM
      • Option 2: They include the kernel but must provide full, buildable source with all GPLv2 requirements met


  • Very simple applications may be excluded (very basic UI or functioning)
  • A free version of the application is available on XDA (no trials)
  • The developers are either active on XDA or really helpful in their support thread
  • Sources must be posted and downloadable with build comments, toolchain used, and must compile
  • Sources must be released via forking + commits rather than “lump releases”
  • Link to source must include which branch in use

With this clarification, comes even more news. We will soon be opening up applications to the RD Program once again!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Developer Committee.

About author


I'm the head administrator of XDA. Some might call me a phone addict, but I like to define myself as a phone enthusiast. I'm currently using the OnePlus 8 Pro, Galaxy Z Fold2, and Note 20 Ultra. I switch depending on circumstances. Feel free to PM me in the forums with any site-related or phone questions.