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Survey of Nearly 5,000 Developers Provides Insights into State of Mobile App Development
Posted: 23-May-2013 [Source: Zend]

[Mobile apps are rapidly becoming the primary focus for development teams, according to this survey.]

Cupertino, CA -- Zend, the PHP Company has announced the findings of its third Zend Developer Pulse™ survey, revealing new insights into trends in mobile application development. The study, completed primarily by corporate developers, explored the adoption of open standards, common DevOps challenges and developers' cloud preferences.

"We are now beyond the mobile adoption stage and into the mobile-first era for application development." said Elaine Lennox, Zend CMO. "Clearly open standards based approaches are the preferred choice of developers, but the study also showed that meeting the frequent release cycles these apps require is still a struggle for most organizations. Until companies invest in the right infrastructure to support iterative releases, this will undoubtedly continue to be the case."

Key Survey Findings:

Mobile First Development

The survey found that mobile apps are rapidly becoming the primary focus for development teams. When asked whether they are working on mobile apps this year, 91% of PHP developers confirmed that they are, up from 66% a year ago. Meanwhile, a full 89% of developers working on mobile apps could identify the specific server-side capabilities they require, indicating a deep knowledge of an API-based architectural model for mobile apps.

Meanwhile, open standards, which simplify app development across multiple mobile platforms, have clearly become the norm. When asked how they intend to deliver content and services to their mobile audience, 79% of developers identified their intent to leverage web apps and open standards such as HTML5.

The Frequent Release Challenge

The survey also highlighted that although the proliferation of mobile device types and the need for rapid app iterations has resulted in more frequent release cycles, development and operations teams are struggling to meet this requirement. A full 87% of developers said they have experienced delays in moving their app from development to production. The main reasons cited for delays included inconsistent environments across development, test and production, lack of automation in the application deployment process, and difficulty of collaboration between development and operations.

Developers also waste too much time troubleshooting applications after they have moved into production. The survey found that 90% of developers have worked weekends, vacations and holidays because of production emergencies. Perhaps more concerning, when asked what percent of their time developers spend on new functionality , 80% of developers identified that at least a quarter of their work time is spent resolving issues, with 43% of developers saying that troubleshooting consumes more than half of their available time.

"Now that the PHP development community has confirmed its preference for developing mobile apps on open standards, it is time to adopt the tools and process that will enable teams to overcome the final remaining problem, which lies in the challenge of DevOps collaboration," said Zend CMO Elaine Lennox. "Given the unprecedented popularity of PHP today, it's no wonder that a growing number of developers are turning to Zend products, such as Zend Server, in both free and paid versions, to help them solve some of these challenges. We especially get great feedback from our user base that Zend Server can simplify application troubleshooting once an application is in production – clearly a key challenge and time waster for developers."

Cloud Dynamics

The survey additionally asked a question about cloud popularity. A large and growing number of developers indicated that they intend to deploy to the cloud, with Amazon Web Services the most popular choice, at 51%; Google Compute holding 21% of intent, and Rackspace in third place with 14% of intended application deployments.

Complete survey findings are summarized in a report and infographic now available here:

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