Survey Finds, Out There, it's a Microsoft World

Americans like to believe they do things differently from the rest of the world. In the case of adopting programming standards, it appears they’re right.

Evans Marketing Services (Santa Cruz, Calif., recently conducted the Windows Developer Opinion Survey among 130 Windows developers from outside North America, then compared the results to the most recent U.S./Canada Windows Developers Opinion Survey.

While the primarily European base of respondents was more familiar with and more likely to use Microsoft-based standards including COM, COM+, ActiveX and DCOM than their North-American counterparts, the opposite was true when it came to Java/CORBA-based standards, which were more familiar to programmers in the United States and Canada.

With the exception of frameworks, overseas developers lagged behind North-American developers in awareness and adoption of most Java/CORBA standards. Forty-five percent of U.S. and Canadian developers use Java at least some of the time, compared to 21 percent of overseas developers. The contrast is even more apparent for full-time Java usage -- 14 percent of North American respondents reported using Java a majority of the time, compared to barely 1 percent of international developers.

However, the percentage of overseas developers using Java at least some of the time is expected to grow dramatically, from 21 percent to 52 percent. "The fact that Java was first introduced in the United States may have a bearing on the fact that these developers have not embraced the language as quickly as their North-American counterparts," states the report.

On the other hand, international developers reported greater use of commercial components -- reusable libraries of code -- than did their North-American counterparts, according to Janel Garvin, director of research at Evans Marketing. "When asked about commercial component use, a larger percentage of international developers responded positively to all levels of component use than did U.S. or Canadian developers," she says. "However, the largest delta between North-American developers and developers in the rest of the world was in the negative responses. Twenty-eight percent of North-American developers reported 'almost never' using commercial components, whereas only 12 percent of international developers selected this response."

This is significant, Garvin adds, since developers must buy into the idea of reusable code objects and standards before they'll have "confidence in commercially-made components."

In general, the primarily European base of respondents appears to have more awareness of standards and use them more than North-American developers.

Standards generally play a greater role in everyday life throughout the rest of the world, and this may carry over into development environments, Garvin says. "For example, there's the ISO. It's been necessary to observe various standards in Europe, to communicate between countries and so forth. There's a natural tendency to establish a standard that everybody will adhere to; it's more of a way of communicating across disparate languages or cultures. For this to translate over to technology doesn't seem to be a far reach."