Why developers don’t write apps for Vista

From Evans Data we get this statistic (email address required):

Only eight percent of North American software developers are currently writing applications to run on Microsoft’s Vista operating system, while half are still writing programs for XP, according to Evans Data’s Spring 2008, North American Development Survey. These same developers forecast a fragmented Windows market in 2009 with only 24 percent expecting to target Vista and 29% expecting to continue with XP.

Matt Asay picks this up, saying that 92 percent of developers are ignoring Vista.

Sorry, this is silly. Sane Windows developers are writing apps that work on both XP and Vista. Writing an app that only works on Vista is equally as short-sighted as writing an app that only works on XP. Even WPF apps work on XP. So what are these 8% of Vista-only developers doing? Targeting DirectX 10?

Or did they get a somewhat ambiguous questionnaire and were collectively inconsistent over which boxes they ticked?

I agree that Vista has some problems, but this is not a useful analysis.

Two more interesting questions would be:

1. What proportion of developers are starting new projects that are cross-platform rather than Windows-only?

2. What proportion of developers are starting new projects that run from the Internet with zero desktop install, or maybe just a plug-in dependency?

There is a reason why Microsoft is fighting to establish Silverlight, and why Flex and Flash are suddenly so interesting to developers.

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2 comments on this post.
  1. Peter Bromberg:

    Obviously the Evans people are not very good at creating surveys, and the CNET people are so hungry for content – ANY content – that they’ll pick up this crap and try to make news out of it.

  2. palinha:

    That Matt Asay fella has gotta be one of the lamest Microsoft haters on the ‘net. The guy has a vested interest in FUDing Microsoft, and turns his CNet blog into a major FUD machine.