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Survey: Web Developers Top Concern Is Productivity

When selecting new applications, Web developers are most concerned with increasing productivity, decreasing development time and easing the software update process, according to a survey released Monday.

International Data Corp. (IDC) based its "Web Application Developer Perspectives" white paper on a survey of more than 500 Web developers commissioned by Allaire Corp.

The report says productivity is more important to developers than application scalability. IDC also predicted the market for what it termed rapid application development tools will soon be one of the fastest growing software segments.

The survey found that 85 percent of Web applications are built using a page and script development model.

"Although there has been much emphasis on scalability of applications over the past year or two, it is evident that increasing productivity and getting applications deployed more rapidly is what's foremost on the minds of Web developers," said Steve McClure, director of IDC's Internet tools program.

"Moreover, the data indicates that vendor size and market share aren't important criteria when they're selecting Web application development tools."

Among the other developer preferences listed in the survey were:

  • A total of 61.8 percent of Web developers prefer coding HTML directly with an editor to using a WYSIWYG environment to generate HTML
  • Web developers prefer a development environment that is page oriented and uses tag-based markup languages
  • Most respondents believed Web application development approaches that used pages with embedded scripts were easier to use, faster, more portable and less risky
  • Most surveyed said pages with embedded scripts were comparable or better than 3GL approaches in terms of performance and scalability

"Given both the burgeoning use of the World Wide Web and the dearth of Web-enabled application solutions, the importance of Web application development activities and supporting tools increases significantly," McClure says.

Other survey results included:

  • Seventy-eight percent use site design and management tools, a figure expected to increase to 91.6 percent by 1999
  • Seventy-six percent of respondents' Web applications are considered either business critical or mission critical
  • Usage of Web application development environments, currently at 87.3 percent, will increase to 93.1 percent by 1999;
  • Use of database servers will rise to 96 percent next year from 93 percent currently.