Mobile Platform Priorities Show Divided Developer Loyalties

Ok, confession time: Those who know me well know my upbringing holds a deep dark secret. Yes, I was born in West Virginia, and grew up in Kentucky. Yes, my dad worked in the coal mines (OK, he was an electrical engineer, and only went down below once every couple of weeks . . .). On finding out my origin story, my college roommates took to calling me “hick” (I think they still do when I go back for reunions). I gotta say, it still amazes me how quickly y’all zips right back into my patois when I’m around like-minded individuals. But I gotta tell ya, there’s a lot to like about where I grew up: horses, bourbon, and basketball come to mind. And then there are the feuds and rivalries: UK versus IU (we don’t acknowledge Louisville); Maker’s Mark versus Jack Daniel’s; Hatfields versus McCoys. Where I grew up, we don’t mind a good brawl every now and then . . .

And that’s exactly what I’m seeing in our 2013 Forrsights Developer Survey when it comes to how developers prioritize the mobile platforms they develop for. In the survey, we asked all developers about the types of application development technologies they’ve worked with in the past 24 months. Of the 1,611 North American and European developers we surveyed, 478 (just under 30%) indicated that they had worked with mobile apps or mobile web sites. We then asked those developers a variety of questions about how they are using mobile technologies. One question we asked them was how they prioritized their development efforts across different form factors and operating systems (see Figure 1). The overall data is interesting, but so is the data inside the top-line stats:

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Forget IaaS vs. PaaS: Devs Adopting Cloud Services Now

I get a lot of questions about the best way for developers to move to the cloud. That’s a good thing, because trying to forklift your existing applications as is isn’t a recipe for success. Building elastic applications requires a focus on statelessness, atomicity, idempotence, and parallelism — qualities that are not often built into traditional “scale-up” applications. But I also get questions that I think are a bit beside the point, like “Which is better: infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or platform-as-a-service (PaaS)?” My answer: "It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish, your teams’ skills, and how you like to consume software from ISVs.” That first question is often followed up by a second: “Who’s the leader in the public cloud space?” It’s like asking, “Who's the leading car maker?” There’s a volume answer and there’s a performance answer. It’s one answer if you like pickups, and it’s a different answer if you want an EV. You have to look at your individual needs and match the capabilities of the car and its “ilities” to those needs. That’s how I think we’re starting to see developer adoption of cloud services evolve, based around the capabilities of individual services — not the *aaS taxonomy that we pundits and vendors apply to what’s out there. This approach to service-based adoption is reflected in data from our Forrsights Developer Survey, Q1 2013, so I've chosen publish some of it today to illustrate the adoption differences we see from service to service. 

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