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Developers target XP over Vista by wide margin

Just 8% of North American developers are writing Vista apps; about half for XP, survey says

By Heather Havenstein
May 14, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Stymied by a lack of user interest in Microsoft Vista, many North American developers are still not targeting the new operating system when writing new applications, according to a survey released today. The survey did find that some growth in Vista development will come in 2009.

Only 8% of the 380 developers surveyed by Evans Data Corp. in April are writing applications for Vista, while 49% are still writing applications primarily for the predecessor Windows version, XP. In addition, 11% said applications are mostly for Windows 2003, while 9% are focused on Linux-based apps.

Because of some well-publicized problems with Vista, many developers have taken a "wait and see" approach before deciding to write applications that can take advantage of new features in Vista, said John Andrews, president and CEO of Evans Data.

"The general theme has been a slower uptake [of Vista] in the user market so most people at the corporate enterprise and commercial world are staying with XP," Andrews said.

"Open-source alternatives like Linux continue to take on interest," he added. "MacOS is also acquiring significant interest among North American developers. Although unlikely to displace Windows volume, MacOS experienced 50% growth as a primary development platform and 380% growth as a targeted platform during the period." 

Microsoft did not reply to a request for comment.

The survey also found that 29% of the developers surveyed will primarily target XP next year, with 24% targeting Vista. Overall, 67% of developers will primarily target a Windows version while 15% write applications for Linux.

"[Developers] see a market shift from XP to Vista and that is why they are saying they are going to be moving from XP to Vista [in 2009]," he added.

The survey also found that:

  • More than half of North American developers are using agile development techniques.
  • About two-thirds plan to use agile development processes next year.
  • Microsoft Visual SourceSafe continues to be the most used application life-cycle management software.
  • Two-thirds of North American developers address security issues during the initial planning and design stages of a project.

Read more about App Development in Computerworld's App Development Topic Center.



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