I started interviewing for a software engineer position a couple of weeks ago and the recruiter told me a few days ago that I am on the shortlist of candidates. I am not sure what this means or how important it might be to the hiring process.
It's not nothing, but don't reject any other jobs for it. To me it means someone is rooting for you, but they may be facing opposition from others or the budget, or maybe they're still just narrowing things down.
When they commit developer time is when you know something interesting and meaningful is happening. As soon as they have a dev spend an hour or eight with you, you know they're serious enough to jeopardize schedules to evaluate you; that's big.
Words aren't worth a whole lot, but like Chris said, it's not a rejection so that's very good.