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The Wrap

In last year’s report we concluded

  • Open Source solutions dominate, or play a very significant role in most areas other than client operating systems.
  • Respondents saw themselves predominantly as “developers” ahead of “designers”.
  • Current browsers, not legacy browsers come first for developing and testing
  • Among respondents, adherence to the use of standards, and recommended practices (or at the very least, acceptance of their importance) is strong

This year’s survey did nothing to undermine those conclusions, if anything reinforcing them.

However, we also observed last year

  • Despite the buzz around “cloud computing”, there was little if any mention of cloud based solutions for hosting, particularly services like Amazon’s EC2 and S3
  • Despite the hype around iPhone, and Android, [developers’] focus is squarely on traditional web browsing platforms – the laptop and PC

Here, it’s fair to say there have been noticable changes.

More than 1 in 5 respondents replied that they “rely on “Cloud Computing” resources” in their development. Last year, while we didn’t ask specifically about cloud based resources, where relevant in the survey both Amazon Web Services and Google AppEngine were each mentioned only once.

The results when it comes to the “non desktop” web are more mixed, but there are definitely some moves afoot here as well. Last year, 25% of developers said they “optimize[d their] sites for devices other than laptops/PCs”. This year this is just under a third of developers. So a noticeable, but not dramatic change.

Other conclusions we can draw from this years survey include the following

  • The Mac OS is now solidly entrenched as the number one operating system of choice by respondents. Does this reflect developers’ desires to focus on developing for the iPhone (and iPad, which had been announced a week or two before the survey began)?
  • Webkit is fast gaining on gecko as the #1 browser engine choice among developers. This goes hand in hand with the sudden uptake of CSS3 seen in the survey, and may well be closely related to the Mac OS marketshare among developers, and of course the iPhone’s widespread (but far from ubiquitous) use by our respondents.
  • The non-desktop web is slowly but surely arriving, but the relatively small increase in the number of respondents optimizing their sites for non desktop browsers is noteworthy. Will the arrival of the iPad, and rumored Google Chrome based tablet computers later in 2010 change things?
  • CSS3 is seeing a very rapid uptake among developers, with around half of all respondents claiming to use it.
  • From a standing start web fonts have taken off dramatically in the 13 months between surveys. Will they cross the chasm, to mainstream web developers?
  • Developers are showing considerable interest in HTML5 markup and APIs, though HTML syntax still reigns supreme among respondents
  • jQuery is even more dominant than in our previous survey – used by close to 80% of all respondents.
  • Despite being hyped by some as industry changing, desktop application-like libraries such as Cappuccino and SproutCore have gained little if any traction with respondents. Whether they do hinges in part on whether desktop metaphors become the dominate metaphors for web applications, and given the increasing variety of devices the web runs on, this is far from certain.
  • The Cloud makes a splash, with over 20% of respondents in this survey relying on cloud based resources, aboveall storage.
  • For all the recent interest, NoSQL has yet to register significant use by respondents.

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I’ve been admiring the Web Directions events for years, and was honored to be part… What a fantastic event!

Ethan Marcotte Inventor of 'Responsive Web Design'