I don't have a solution to offer for that particular problem. But I can easily list several other problems. The boundary layer between Church developers and third-party developers is a target-rich environment for constructive criticism and ideas. I see:
- A lack of official documention for export files from MLS, which have design flaws begin with. That is compounded by changes that make developers' tasks more difficult rather than easier.
- A lack of good test data for MLS or non-confidential test accounts that might be used to log into LUWS.
- A lack of APIs, either for the public or for registered developers. (There is no such thing as a registered developer outside of the church's own projects.)
- Policies that are difficult to interpret in good faith because they are ambiguous, incomplete or out of date. When there is a need for interpretation by CHQ, there is no organized mechanism for publishing such guidance to the community. (This forum is probably the closest thing there is to such a venue.)
- A level of secrecy about long-term roadmaps and impending releases that seems unnecessary in this environment, and no up-front mechanism for regulating disclosure to third-party developers when secrecy is more generally necessary.
- Insufficient outreach for consultation to learn what potential partners needs' are.
There has been good progress recently, I think, on establishing "community" projects that the church tightly controls on its own systems. But that is not the same thing as partnering with third-party developers who build innovative tools themselves for use by members and local leaders.
Overall, most people involved seem to recognize that there is a need for the work product of third-party developers -- including amateur local clerks and leaders, free and open-source projects, and popular commercial ventures. But I think this space needs to be better professionalized.
Coincidentally, I happened to spend a few hours recently viewing videos from recent outside developers' conferences sponsored by Google. The synergy was palpable, even without being there in person. The Church could do well to emulate some practices from such players.