Majority of Wireless Developers Would Switch Tools

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In the emerging wireless sector, a majority of developers haven’t become strongly attached to the products and languages they use to mobilize applications, a new study conducted by research firm Evans Data Corp. shows. About 56 percent of the wireless developers surveyed said they would contemplate switching from the tools they currently use.


“There’s not a high level of dissatisfaction with the tool sets that are out there, but when we ask about when a developer is ready to jump ship on a tool set and they say they are, the reason primarily is because of functionality,” said Albion Butters, senior analyst, Evans Data Corp. “The second most important reason is cross-platform compatibility. Those two aspects are very important. We’re finding that developers are targeting between five and six different platforms on average.”


“We find that the people who consider themselves to be loyal (to one tool or solution) tend to be in the Microsoft camp,” he added. “Outside of that, proportionally speaking, the largest percentage of our pool will buy tools from a best-of-breed vendor. When choosing a vendor to buy application mobilization technology from, the greatest number of respondents gravitates first toward the best-of-breed tech vendor. That’s an interesting shift in worldview for developers, who are willing to go out and shop around to get whatever they need for functionality.”


A large part of the reason for the willingness to change is number of new wireless applications being developed, particularly in the consumer-oriented application space, which has increased by 90 percent in one year. According to the Evans Data study, 78 percent of wireless developers are writing new applications essentially from scratch, while 58 percent are extending legacy apps to wireless. Additionally, 16 percent of respondents are exclusively developing brand-new applications for wireless, while 11 percent are solely moving non-wireless legacy apps into that environment


“We’re finding that people are writing a lot of new applications for wireless,” Butters said. “They’re continuing to write new apps as much, if not more, than extending legacy apps that had not previously been written for wireless devices. There’s not as much extension of legacy apps that have been written for wireless devices already, because the cycle is still young. The 58 percent (of those extending legacy apps to wireless) relates to legacy apps already written for wireless devices. When it comes to legacy apps that haven’t been written for wireless yet and they’re extending it to mobile devices, the number is much closer to the writing of new apps.”


Some other findings of the report show that VoIP and RFID standards are rated very highly as areas of interest among wireless developers, and that their Voice XML and Flash usage has grown rapidly in the past six months. Also, in wireless standards, a frequent topic of concern in the field, 60 percent of respondents said they adhere to Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) guidelines, 55 percent use those of the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) and 53 percent follow Open Mobile Alliance criterion.


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