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Results from InfoQ 2012 User Survey

Posted by Nitin Bharti on Apr 11, 2012 |

In February, we launched the 2012 InfoQ User survey to gauge community interest in various topics, technologies, and practices.   The response was overwhelmingly positive: 2,850 people completed the survey, with thousands of respondents providing very detailed feedback on their areas of interest.
 
Our aim with this survey was to learn more about InfoQ’s readership while testing some of our own assumptions about InfoQ’s audience profile and its involvement/interest in specific areas like Cloud Computing, Mobile, NoSQL, and Agile.
 
The following report summarizes some of our key findings, things that surprised us, and reactions/analysis from members of the InfoQ editorial team.

Table of Contents

  1. Programming Languages
  2. Practices Being Used for Agile Projects
  3. InfoQ Personas
  4. Mobile Application Development
  5. Cloud Deployments
  6. NoSQL Databases
  7. Topics of Interest to InfoQ Members
  8. Additional Observations
  9. Conclusion

 
Programming Languages
In the 2010 InfoQ user survey, we asked readers which programming language(s) they used within the last year. Here were the top 5 responses:

  • Java (72%)
  • JavaScript (53%)
  • C# (35%)
  • C/C++ (28%)
  • PHP (21%)

Surprisingly enough, the top five programming languages from the 2012 InfoQ user survey were exactly the same, with the exact same ranking.  There were a few notable changes, perhaps the most signficant of which was a 17% increase in respondents programming in JavaScript. Other changes from 2010 to 2012 include a:

  • 6% increase in respondents programming in C/C++
  • 5% increase in respondents programming in C#
  • 4% increase in respondents programming in Java
  • 3% decrease in respondents programming in PHP

Here are the complete results for “Programming Languages” question from the 2012 User Survey:

Which of the following programming languages are you using in your organization? [select all that apply]

 
  (click for larger image)


Practices Being Used for Agile Projects

According to the 2012 survey results, the top five practices respondents were using in their Agile practices were:

  • Continuous Integration (55%)
  • Daily Standup/Scrum Meeting (47%)
  • Refactoring (47%)
  • Short Iterations/Sprints (4 weeks or less) (45%)
  • Test Automation (39%)

 
Here are the complete results from the 2012 user survey:

Which of the following practices are you using in your Agile projects? [select all that apply]   


  (click for larger image)


Compared to the 2010 user survey results, there was an 11% increase in respondents using “Continuous Integration,”  and a 9% increase in respondents using Scrum/Daily Standups in the 2012 survey.  These were the top five practices from the 2010 user survey:

  • Unit Testing (65%)
  • Continuous Integration (46%)
  • Test-Driven Development (44%)
  • Functional/Integration Testing (39%)
  • Scrum (38%) 

 
InfoQ Personas

Last Summer, InfoQ started using a new meta-model to segment different audience interests and “personality types” in the software development community.  You'll notice that these five personas are currently listed above the top grey menu/navigation bar on InfoQ:

  • Development
  • Architecture & Design
  • Process & Practices
  • Operations & Infrastructure
  • Enterprise Architecture

We were pleasantly surprised to see that the “Processes/Management” (42%) and "Enterprise Architect" (39%) categories were as high as they were.  For us, this helps validate what we always believed to be true about InfoQ: that it serves the information needs of senior influencers in the software development community.
 
We took our analysis further by cross-tabbing the results from the Personas question with the results from a few other questions:
 
Programming Languages and Persona CrossTab:

  • Java was the top language selected by all five personas
  • Relative to all other personas, Enterprise Architects had a marginally higher rate of Java use (82%) at their organizations relative to the other personas which had an average of 77%.
  • Operations folks had a noticeably higher occurrence of Python use (28%) relative to the other personas which had an average of 21%.
  • Operations folks had a marginally higher use of PHP (31%) and Ruby (21%) relative to other personas which had an average of 26% for PHP and 17% for Ruby

 
Practices in Agile Projects CrossTab:

  • Continuous Integration was the top practice selected by all five personas
  • While almost all of the practices listed were used mostly by Processes/Management people, the use of the following practices were noticeably higher for this particular persona:
    • Retrospectives (40%) was the most used by Processes/Management people relative to other personas which had an average of 28%
    • Daily Standup/Scrum Meeting (56%) was the most used by Processes/Management people relative to other personas which had an average of 46%
    • Planning Poker (28%) was the most used by Processes/Management people relative to other personas which had an average of 20%
    • Exploratory testing (19%) was the most used by Processes/Management people relative to other personas which had an average of 12%

 
Mobile Application Development

While it could be argued that the line is blurring between mobile apps “for the enterprise” and “mobile apps for consumers,” what we were really interested in learning from this question was the extent of “enterprise-grade” mobile development happening relative to other types of mobile  development, among InfoQ's readership.   Here is what we found:

Which of the following types of mobile applications is your organization currently building or planning to build in the next 12 months?   

(click for larger image)

  • 33% of respondents are currently building mobile enterprise/business applications
  • 26% of respondents are planning to build mobile enterprise/business applications in the next 12 months
  • 32% of respondents are currently building mobile applications for consumers
  • 21% of respondents are planning to build mobile applications for consumers in the next 12 months
  • 22% of respondents are currently building location-based applications
  • 18% of respondents are planning to build location-based applications in the next 12 months
  • 12% of respondents are currently building mobile payment applications
  • 12% of respondents are planning to build mobile payment applications in the next 12 months

 
We drilled down a little deeper and did a cross-tab between those that selected mobile enterprise/business applications as well as one or more of the other responses and learned that:

  • 61% of respondents currently building mobile enterprise/business applications are also currently building mobile application for consumers 
  • 43% of respondents currently building mobile enterprise/business applications are also currently building location-based applications 
  • 28% of respondents currently building mobile enterprise/business applications are also currently building mobile payment applications
  • 11.5% of respondents currently building mobile enterprise/business applications are also currently building mobile games 

 
To provide some additional perspective, Location-based services (35%) and Notifications (33%) were the top services developers plan on using to extend their mobile applications in 2012, according to a recent Appcelerator Survey, the results of which were published on InfoQ.  Other “cloud services” developers expect to use in their mobile applications in 2012 (according to the Appcelerator Survey) are:

  • Ratings and Review (11%)
  • Photo Collection (8%)
  • Check-Ins (7%)
  • Places (6%)

 
Cloud Deployments

According to the survey, an average of 38% of respondents are currently implementing or planning to implement private, public, or hybrid clouds in 12 months.
 
Here are the complete results:
 
Is your organization currently implementing or planning to implement any of the following cloud deployment options in the next 12 months?  

(click for larger image)

  • 28% of respondents are currently implementing a private cloud
  • 21% are planning to implement a private cloud in the next 12 months 
  • 20% of respondents are currently implementing a public cloud
  • 16% are planning to implement a public cloud in the next 12 months 
  • 11% of respondents are currently implementing a hybrid cloud
  • 26% are planning to implement a hybrid cloud in the next 12 months

  
Reactions:
"I did not expect so many to implement cloud solutions, especially private. It's above what other sites have reported." - Abel Avram, InfoQ Editor

"The response is very realistic and exactly what I expected. A majority of the traditional enterprises that have a bunch of legacy applications and need to comply with various regulatory and auditory requirements find it difficult to jump to the cloud bandwagon. Additionally, the security risks of sharing  infrastructure with other tenants combined with a not very cost effective public cloud service consumption model - compute and storage server costs are also dropping dramatically - makes public cloud an unattractive proposition for many enterprises. As a result there is a very typical application profile i.e. applications with spiky usage using non sensitive data that is an ideal candidate for cloud bursting into a private cloud service. This is one of the reasons why HP and Oracle continue to focus their efforts on their respective private cloud offerings." - Jeevak Kasarkod, InfoQ Editor 
 
NoSQL Databases
 
We asked readers:
 
Which of the following types of NoSQL databases are you interested in learning more about? [select all that apply]          


  (click for larger image)
 
Reactions:
“Key value store makes a lot of sense to me for being the top. I have worked with a lot of companies whose first venture into the NoSQL world was memcached. Memcached was sort of a gateway drug to using NoSQL. First you use memcached to cache expensive queries. Then they were putting more and more things into memcached, then memcached became their operational data so to speak. The database was the permanent store and memcached was the operational data. At that point, why not use a NoSQL solution.
 
Like Ajax, the concept of NoSQL existed long before the term was coined. NoSQL is more of a marketing term now. Most of us have used NoSQL implementations for years long before the term was popular. Many NoSQL solutions have about as much in common with each other as they do a relational database. Every datastore that predates even RDBMS can now be relabeled NoSQL. I think terms like Dynamo-like, BigTable like, memcached like, dbm like, etc. are more descriptive terms.
 
There is a certain amount of power into giving something a name (NoSQL, Ajax, etc.). However, NoSQL by definition, just encompasses more technologies and somewhat unrelated ones than it probably should.I try to think of NoSQL as new NoSQL, i.e., newer alternatives to SQL RDBMS centered around distributed, scalable databases.

If your solution came out before 2005, it might be NoSQL, but it is likely not what people are talking about when they are talking about NoSQL.
But I guess that is the point. The term Ajax gave the movement momentum. The term NoSQL is more of a movement than a technical term.
It gets people thinking about alternatives so that SQL RDBMS is not just a knee jerk reaction. There are still a lot of applications where a good SQL RDBMS is a perfect fit. But, it may not always be the first choice like it once was. There are apps that just don't need it. Then again, SQL RDBMS, administration, backup, recovery, maintenance is well understood. I've seen NoSQL solutions cause some headaches that you just wouldn't have with SQL RDBMS. No one can really argue against the value of NoSQL for a good set of applications, but I think the tradeoffs need to be understood. Less cheerleading and more honest comparisons.” – Rick Hightower, InfoQ Editor
 
 
Topics of Interest

Readers were asked what three topics they would like to see more coverage of on InfoQ.  This was an open-ended question to which over 1,100 people responded. For readibility, we logically grouped the responses by “Persona,” and listed the top five topics requested for each category.  
 
What three topics would you like to see more coverage of on InfoQ?

Responses have been grouped by Persona: 

  • Development (D)
  • Architecture & Design (AD)
  • Process & Practices (PP)
  • Operations & Infrastructure (OI)
  • Enterprise Architecture (EA)

 

D

AD

PP

OI

EA

Java

13%

Architecture

23%

Agile

42%

Big Data

50%

Enterprise Architecture

21%

Mobile

6%

Cloud Computing

13%

Lean

6%

DevOps

6%

SOA

18%

Development

5%

Case Studies

5%

TDD

5%

Continuous Deployment

5%

BPM

7%

HTML5

4%

Design Patterns

4%

Kanban

5%

Database

4%

REST

7%

JavaScript

4%

Scalability

4%

Testing

4%

Hadoop

3%

OSGi

5%

Total Responses

1023

Total Responses

667

Total Responses

442

Total Responses

266

Total Responses

174

 

Additional Observations

  • InfoQ has a 90.4% referral rate which means that over 90% of readers would refer or have referred InfoQ to a colleague
  • 76% of readers in the survey said they come to InfoQ becasue of "practitioner-lead, high-quality content"; 73% come to InfoQ for the innovative information that they get from the site, which in turn, helps drive innovation in their respective organizations
  • 57% of survey participants are team leads or supervisors
  • Many readers come to InfoQ via the weekly newsletter; additionally, 16% of readers come links from other blogs and resources
     

Conclusion

Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete the InfoQ 2012 User Survey - the results have been invaluable in helping us guage your topical interests and involvement in areas like Cloud Computing, Mobile, NoSQL, and Agile.  We also want to thank readers for driving innovation in the community by actively sharing InfoQ content with their colleagues.   Finally, we'd love to hear your feedback on these survey results - do they surprise you in any way or perhaps confirm what you are seeing elsewhere in the industry? We'd love to hear from you through any one of the following channels:

 

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