Survey finds Windows losing ground with developers

Microsoft platform deminishes as a target for developers

Microsoft’s Windows platform is losing traction as a target for application developers in North America but still is the dominant platform, according to Evans Data survey results released last week.

A survey this northern spring of more than 400 developers and IT managers in North America found that the number of developers targeting Windows for their applications declined 12% from a year ago. Just 64.8% targeted the platform as opposed to 74% in 2006.

“We attribute [the decline] largely to the increase in developers beginning to target Linux and different Linux [distributions]. Novell and Red Hat are the two dominant ones right now,” says John Andrews, the CEO of Evans Data.

The arrival of Windows Vista only kept the numbers from being even worse, he says. “I think Vista probably offset some of the decline,” Andrews says.

The share for Windows is expected to drop another 2%, to about 63%, in the next year, Andrews says.

The targeting of Linux by developers increased by 34% to 11.8%. It had been 8.8% a year ago, according to the survey. Linux targeting is expected to reach 16% over the next year.

The situation is as a battle of Windows versus open source with open source maturing, Andrews says. Windows remains tops, though. “They’re still dominant, there’s no doubt about it,” he says. Use of Windows on the development desktop remains steady.

The survey, featuring developers at enterprises and solution providers such as system integrators, covered both client and server application development.

Evans Data says the shift away from Windows began about two years ago and is accelerating. Linux is benefiting as are nontraditional client devices.

Evans Data also surveyed developer plans for platforms such as Unix and Mac OS but did not release those numbers.

In other findings, Evans found that JavaScript is the most widely used scripting language. It has more than three times the users of PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor), Ruby, or Python. But Ruby usage is expected to increase by 50% within the coming year.

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