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Contents: Report Introduction Browsers HTML5 Native Apps Platform Choice The Wrap

Since late 2008, Web Directions has carried out an annual in-depth survey of web designers and developers, covering many aspects of their work including

  • the platforms and browsers they use
  • the browsers and platforms they test on
  • how they use HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  • the server side technologies they use

and much more as well. You can find the detailed past reports (and even download the raw data) for 2008/9 and 2010 at our site

2010 saw an explosion in mobile web use, and increasingly the development of applications, both native and web, using web technologies. So for our 2011 survey, conducted in February of this year, we focussed extensively on this aspect of development.

Instead of releasing the complete report first, as we have done to date, given this is such a timely topic, we felt in made sense to release a special report focussing particularly on platforms and technologies of considerable relevance to the mobile web, and application ecosystem. We’ll follow this report up with our traditional State of Web Development report soon.

It’s also timely with the coming of Unplugged, the first ever HTML5 app development conference which we’re holding on May 12 and 13 in Seattle.

In this mobile edition, we look at a subset of the questions relevant to developing for the mobile web, and developing and deploying native apps using web technologies. We also asked respondents about their intentions for the coming year – what platforms they are looking to develop for, and why.

So, this report is not just about designing mobile web sites. It’s about the intersection of open standard web technologies – HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and the world of native application development.

In a little over two years since late 2008, it’s clear that this area of practice has exploded in interest, and opportunity. Let’s take a look at how web designers and developers are responding to the rise of ever more sophisticated web technologies, and even more powerful mobile platforms that run them


It’s important to understand the nature of this audience, and the expertise and focus they have to put the survey results in perspective.

The survey began, and largely continues to focus on web designers and developers – people whose core skills and expertise are developing with HTML, CSS and JavaScript on the front end.

It is however, a very experienced audience – a median 9 years, average of 8.7 working professionally with web technologies. The conclusions to be drawn here are for this particular audience only – technically adept, typically early adopters. We reach them predominantly through our online audience of people who are interested in or have attended our conferences for web professionals, read our blogs and twitter feeds related to web technologies, and take our courses in web development technologies. They come from all over the world. Some are freelancers, but there’s a surprisingly even spread across company sizes, and from government, not for profit and the education sectors.

This is far from a scientific survey, but with a sample size of around 1,500, and three years of similar surveys under our belts, I believe we can find some valuable and interesting trends even if the results should be taken with a degree of caution.

With that in mind, let’s dive in.

We’ll begin by looking at the platforms and browsers developers use themselves, test with, and target when developing.

We’ll follow up by looking at the technologies they use in more detail, HTML5 and JavaScript in particular

We’ll then turn specifically to native application development, and lok at both current platforms targetted and technologies used, and intended decisions for 2011.

Well wrap up covering the sorts of features which developers say influence their decision as to which platforms they’ll target.

Contents: Report Introduction Browsers HTML5 Native Apps Platform Choice The Wrap

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Three days of talks, two of them in the engineering room. Web Directions you have broken my brain.

Cheryl Gledhill Product Manager, BlueChilli