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A New Survey Shows what Cross-platform Tools Are Preferred by Developers

by Abel Avram on Feb 28, 2012 |

A new report released by VisionMobile provides data on what cross-platform tools developers currently use, what they intend to use in the future and what tools they plan to abandon. The results of the survey indicate a volatile market, many developers changing their preferences in their pursue for a better tool.

VisionMobile, a market analysis and strategy company, has conducted a survey of over 2,400 developers from 91 countries spanning the entire globe in an attempt to evaluate the developers’ perspective on cross-platform tools (CPT). From a list of over 100 tools, VisionMobile has selected a number of 20 vendors and tools considered the most widely known and used:  Adobe (Flex), Appcelerator (Titanium), AppMobi, Bedrock (Metismo), Ansca (Corona), DragonRad, Kony, Marmalade, MoSync, Netbiscuits, Alcatel Lucent (OpenPlug), PhoneGap, RhoMobile, RunRev (LiveCode), Sencha Touch/jQTouch, Strobe/Sproutcore, Unity, Unreal, Worklight and Xamarin (MonoTouch/Droid).

The distribution of the respondents based on their primary cross-platform tool places Mono on the first spot followed by PhoneGap, RunRev and Appcelerator, the latest having approximately the same number of users:

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The hierarchy changes when it comes to developer mindshare, i.e. the “list of cross-platform tools being used the most by developers, irrespective of their primary tool”, PhoneGap taking the first place, followed by Sencha Touch and Mono:

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Regarding the intent on using a tool or another in the future (IntentShare), PhoneGap leads the list of CPTs:

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But PhoneGap has also a large number of developers who are going to abandon it in the future, the results showing high volatility of this market still in the process of deciding what tools are best. Most developers plan to ditch Flex, which is not a surprise considering Adobe’s position on Flash and Flex. The adopt and abandon rates should be combined in order to better evaluate how a tool is going to evolve in the future:

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The reasons why developers choose a tool over another are in order: “It supports the platforms I’m targeting” – 61%, “Allows me to use my development skills” – 43%, “Low cost or free” – 40%, “Rapid development process” – 33%, “Easy learning curve” – 23%, “Rich UI capabilities” – 19%, “Access to device or hardware API” – 10%, while performance and good vendor support counts for only 9% and respectively 8% of the developers. It is interesting that only 9% of the developers choose a tool for performance reasons because most abandons are exactly for that reason, performance:

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When it comes to user satisfaction in using a tool, it is interesting that all tools score between 3.7 and 4.0, placing them on about the same level of satisfaction:

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The Cross-platform Developer Tools 2012 (PDF, 97 pages) report contains the methodology used for surveying users and processing data, details of the top 15 vendors and their tools, and a number of conclusions showing that cross-platform tools are becoming strategic assets for platform vendors (Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, RIM), CPTs will complement native development tools, CPTs are a factor in the democratization of application development, and multi-screen is the “next frontier” for cross-platform tools.

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Interesting article by Prabhu Sunderaraman

Pretty interesting. Not surprising to find Flex out of shelves.

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