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.NET Marketshare Pt 2

Anyone who read the prior thread knows that I stated concern about the stats provided given that there was no attribution. Well yet another Microsoft blogger has posted that "52% of application developers use .NET".

http://blogs.msdn.com/alexbarn/archive/2004/07/15/183843.aspx

This time he at least linked a source, and the source is ITFacts.biz - http://www.itfacts.biz/index.php?id=P1247.

That source referenced http://www.webservicespipeline.com/news/23900832.

Both of them reference unnamed (which is a critical oversigt as both have studies such as "Web Service Development" and "Mainframe Development") studies by Evans Data and Forrester Research (actual research company, versus "some guy at Microsoft").

Here's the intriguing thing - If you add up the J2EE and .NET numbers for primary development environment, it yields 100%. I guess the millions of C++, COBOL, Perl, PHP, Delphi, VB classic, Ruby, Python, etc programmers don't even account for 1%...

Of maybe there's a more realistic answer - I suspect that the survey was specifically about webservices, and asked "When developing web services, what primary development environment do you use?  .NET _  J2EE _". I can't validate this as you have to buy the survey. One other doubt about these surveys (I'm a .NET enthusiast so I'm not saying this as a J2EE defender) - it is portrayed as if .NET is slicing into J2EE territory, when more obviously former VB programmers are merely staying within the Microsoft camp, and transitioning to the new technologies: It often isn't winning marketshare, it's maintaining it.

Ultimately this means little when evaluating a technology (unless you're a lemming), but I just thought I'd provide more information regarding the prior thread.

Dennis Forbes
Thursday, July 15, 2004

There's lies, damned lies and statitistics :)

Steven
Thursday, July 15, 2004

I think these surveys are just more marketing ploys to get PHBs to jump on the .NET bandwagon. "Oh! So-and-so at Microsoft says umpty-squat percent of developers are switching to .NET - we don't want to be left behind! Underlings! Quit using Java and start using .NET!" Puh-leeeze.

I still say that there's not one perfect solution for every problem - you use the tool best suited to the job. For some problems, the solution is .NET, for others it is assembly, Fortran, Scheme, Smalltalk, whatever. These surveys are a waste of time and money.

Michael Ealem
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Surely the reality is that the vast majority of developers are doing maintenance, and this is on existing systems, which are not written in 'exciting new technologies'?

I know people (one will be 40 this year) who are working on software written before they were born. This is not going to be written in Java or .NET (!).

Amusingly, in one case some of the software was converted from Mercury Autocode to this new-fangled FORTRAN stuff!

I have always thought an interesting metric is the number of shelves in Borders of books on particular technologies. Obviously this will be heavily skewed towards new and exciting and/or 'wannabee' technologies. Even allowing for this skewing there are more C/C++ books than C# ones and far more VB6 books than VB.Net ones.

When I say 'wannabee' I don't mean in a nasty way, just that there are more people who want to be C# / Java / .NET developers than want to be COBOL / FORTRAN / RPG ones.

Scarily the thing that has the most books (which is on the fringes of being a development technology) is Flash.

Not surprisingly Java is 2nd.

This is a university city, so that will skew the book distribution too, but I guess the students at the old university study some strange functional language (it was 'T', a Scheme like dialect of Lisp back in my day, taught in a functional way). The newer university probably does Java...

Harvey Pengwyn
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Wouldn't book distribution also be slightly skewed towards older technologies (like VB6), in so far as they already have all that stock sitting on the shelves?  Obviously they have to dump it at some point, but it takes time to create the mass of publication surrounding any new technology.

Joe
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Uh...

Even if 52% of developers use .Net and 48% use Java, unless they mean *exclusively* one or the other, then there are many who can and do use both.


In a regular week, I use Java, asp, vb, php, and occassionally a bit of .Net...

and that's just at work.

KC
Thursday, July 15, 2004

4 out of 5 dentists recommend .Net to their patients who write software

void* where( prohibited )
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Like Dennis I too am a .NET enthusiast. Even so, I have had more than my fiil of all of the evangelism that is taking place on the web.

In the world of corporate I.T. departments, the reality typically is that it doesn't matter how many developers claim to be using .NET. While it is true that classic VB was in many instances able to sneak its way into the corporate I.T. environment via developers who were working on quick & dirty applications, I doubt the same thing can happen when it comes to the .NET platform.  In fact, Microsoft has publicy stated that selling within the enterprise market space is really a hard thing to do.

Harvey Pengwyn hit the nail on the head when he wrote, "Surely the reality is that the vast majority of developers are doing maintenance, and this is on existing systems, which are not written in 'exciting new technologies?".

Michael Ealem wrote, "I think these surveys are just more marketing ploys to get PHBs to jump on the .NET bandwagon."

The marketers are hoping to influence those managers who "manage via magazines". This is just one of the many dirty little secrets about the business that few people talk about or are aware of. Consulting firms (of all types) have been in bed with big technology vendors for years.

One Programmer's Opinion
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Joe wrote, "Wouldn't book distribution also be slightly skewed towards older technologies (like VB6), in so far as they already have all that stock sitting on the shelves? 

I guess it depends on the book store.  Here is how I was told how it works at Barnes & Noble: Books that are deemed to be "older technology books" either get sold to companies such as Half Price books or they get sent back to the publisher who of course has to eat the cost.


Joe wrote, "Obviously they have to dump it at some point, but it takes time to create the mass of publication surrounding any new technology."

I am not so sure that is true. For example, many authors who write programming language books tend to do so before the product has been released to the public. This isn't really the authors fault, this is simply the way most publishing companies operate.

One Programmer's Opinion
Thursday, July 15, 2004

I would agree that certainly the core books on any topic are going to come out promptly, but just because something isn't brand new anymore doesn't mean people stop writing about it. 

As a technology matures, it adds new features, gets increased support from 3rd party vendors, people use it in specialized ways that go beyond the basics, and rough spots or harder concepts are recognized that may require more focused attention to master.  All of which creates a lot of new material on the subject.

Joe
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Hi Joe,

FYI: Keep in mind that this post deals with your orginal question which was, "Wouldn't book distribution also be slightly skewed towards older technologies (like VB6), in so far as they already have all that stock sitting on the shelves?"

Joe wrote, "...just because something isn't brand new anymore doesn't mean people stop writing about it."

I say it depends on what you mean by "writing about it". C++ certainly isn't a brand new programming language and publishers seem to be still pumping out books about this programming language (some are vendor specific others aren't). Classic VB is a different story. Heck, even VBPJ (now known as Visual Studio Magazine) no longer publishes classic VB related articles. That said, if you did a Google search, I am sure you would find some "brand new" articles that are related to classic VB. The difference here is that these articles are being offered to the public for free. The last time I visited a local Barnes & Noble bookstore, classic VB took up half a shelf of bookspace (10 to 20 books max).


Joe wrote, "As a technology matures, it adds new features, gets increased support from 3rd party vendors, ..."

Can you provide me with some examples? Java and technologies related to this programming language seem to still receive a lot of shelf space at the bookstores I have visited recently. Besides this example, I can't think of anything else.

One Programmer's Opinion
Thursday, July 15, 2004

Actually Java and C++ are the best two examples I can think of to illustrate this.  The last programming book I bought was entitled something like "Programming LDAP enabled solutions with Java" -- clearly not something you would have found in the JDK 1.0 release days.

To continue using Java as an example: If some spiffy new revolutionary version of Java were to come out tomorrow that would displace all existing Java development (in the same way VB.Net has displaced VB6 dev.), there would still be a wealth of "Classic Java" books and information around.  There would also be an influx of "New Java" books, but I think it would take some time for authors to reach the same breadth of subject matter covered around "Classic Java."

I guess the question boils down to timeframe, but I was more trying to refute the point that Borders/B&N -in general- would "be heavily skewed towards new and exciting and/or 'wannabee' technologies" than make a point about .NET specifically.

It's hard not to think of .NET as being "new and exciting," but it's been with us a couple of years now - which is certainly enough time for the authors to switch gears and pump out all the new .NET books.  However I think the meager offering of VB6 material these days has less to do with .NET market hype, and more to do with VB6 getting old and crusty...

Joe
Thursday, July 15, 2004

FYI, most of these surveys generally ask the question "What language do you start new projects in?"

Or "How many projects have you started in the past [x] months in each of the following development environments?"  (allowing for multiple platforms per respondent)

Also, the surveys I've seen are polling the CIOs of large companies.

Philo

Philo
Thursday, July 15, 2004

I can well believe that, within the VB6 / VB.NET timeframe, all these forces are at work i.e. there will be pressures to sell VB.NET books because it is 'new and exciting', and pressures to sell VB6 books because they are in the supply chain.
I was thinking slightly more of older technologies - Cobol, Fortran and RPG were always under-represented on the book shelves (I have been doing this for years - how sad is that - I only wish I had kept records). Probably because
a) people who use them probably have manuals and/or are trained in the subjects and
b) there is probably not an enormous amount of hobbyist dabbling in Cobol and RPG (!).

Another trend I have noticed is that there has definitely been a downward trend on the area in the big bookshops allocated to computer books. I kind of saw this coming as I always had a feeling that the dollar (well pound actually) to square metre ratio was low. Added to which there is the tendency of people to buy computer books online, which is probably disproportionately high compared to other fields.

Harvey Pengwyn
Friday, July 16, 2004

"FYI, most of these surveys generally ask the question "What language do you start new projects in?""

That's the problem with quoting the results of a study without actually saying _which_ study it is (and even worse totally misconstruing the results into an inaccurate summary).

I feel pretty confident that the survey was about web services, and that the only accepted answer was exclusively (it asked what the primary platform was) J2EE or .NET (no overlap, as another poster implied). I am purely guessing, but the lack of C++, as just one example, makes it painfully obvious that it isn't general development (there are millions of developers who develop primarily for C++).

Dennis Forbes
Friday, July 16, 2004

Well from Amazon's top 25 in "Computers and Internet"

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/new-for-you/top-sellers/-/books/5/ref=br_ts_slwth_th_more/103-6850475-7799817

There are

3 books on MS Sharepoint (ranked 2, 4, 13)
3 books on Java (8, 10, 17)
2 books relating to .Net (12, 20)
1 Filemaker book (3 (!))
The Gang of Four book (9)
Programming Perl (19)
1 Flash book (22)

and the "MegaMan(TM) Battle Network 4 : Red Sun & Blue Moon Official Strategy Guide"

The rest seem to be end-user guides for various applications.

An interesting way to break this down is "real" developer books (8, 9, 10, 12, 17, 19, 20) vs. "semi-pro" books (2, 3, 4, 13, 22).  2 more books in the first category, but books in the second category are more highly ranked.

Interesting, also to see FileMaker but not VB or Access.  Probably a reflection of being at different points in the respective development cycles.

(ps If someone is willing to figure out how to get a longer list out of Amazon and waste, er, invest even more time in compiling the results, it would probably yield a more accurate picture of what books developers are buying.)

Jim Rankin
Friday, July 16, 2004

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