Microsoft, you should look away now: Google's cloud second only to AWS in dev survey

Coders use Google Cloud Platform (GCP) more than Microsoft Azure, though Amazon Web Services (AWS) has a comfortable lead, according to a Developer Ecosystem survey conducted by tools vendor JetBrains.

Developer usage is 67 per cent AWS versus 28 per cent GCP and 21 per cent Azure, according to the new survey. Unfortunately, the question was posed in a different way in the 2018 survey, adding on-premises into the mix, but last year Azure and GCP had equal share after AWS.

The survey had 19,000 participants invited via "Twitter ads, Facebook ads, Google Adwords and JetBrains' own communication channels," the tools vendor said, though "only the responses of 6,993 respondents were included in the report." Responses were removed to reduce bias, yet it warned "some bias may be present as JetBrains users may have been more willing on average to compete the survey".

The survey's numbers typically add up to more than 100 per cent because of developers using a range of tools and services.

Nor is use by developers a measure of the overall popularity of cloud platforms or anything else. Surveys like this often underrepresent the enterprises, which are the biggest customers. That said, developers are influential and their choices do often translate into production.

The popularity of GCP was tied to growing use of Kubernetes, invented by Google, for container orchestration. JetBrains identified that GCP is used by 41 per cent of Kubernetes developers.

As for Kubernetes itself, it is used in production by 29 per cent of these developers, up from 16 per cent in 2018. If you add Amazon EKS (Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes) at 6 per cent, you could make that 35 per cent. Docker Swarm is at 10 per cent, and Mesos or DC/OS at 2 per cent. Azure Kubernetes Service? Somewhere in "Other".

GitHub wins for version control (73 per cent) - ahead of GitLab at 36 per cent and Bitbucket at 26 per cent. For issue tracking it's Jira (68 per cent) followed by GitHub Issues (26 per cent) and Trello (19 per cent).

It was notable that Red Hat's Ansible was the most used configuration management tool (27 per cent) by those surveyed, ahead of Puppet (9 per cent) and Chef (8 per cent).

It's not all bad news for Microsoft. Windows (57 per cent) is the most used operating system for the development environment, followed by macOS (49 per cent) and Unix/Linux (48 per cent). And C# is "the programming language with the most love", said JetBrains, "if the results are normalized by sample size."

Otherwise, Java and Python are ahead, and JavaScript equal with C#.

A surprising statistic is that "like last year, about 30 per cent of developers still don't have unit tests in their projects", or so the survey said.

What about mobile development? Twenty-three per cent of professional developers are doing it, behind 60 per cent doing web back-end and 46 per cent web front-end. Just 12 per cent do desktop development. And of mobile developers, two-thirds use native tools and one-third cross-platform frameworks. The most popular cross-platform framework is React Native (42 per cent), followed by Google's Flutter (30 per cent) - an impressive result for a relatively new project - Apache Cordova (29 per cent), Ionic (28 per cent) and Microsoft Xamarin (26 per cent).

There's more if you care to have a browse. While surveys like this are not to be taken too seriously, they can be useful as an indicator of trends. Another point is that while it is the vendors who shout loudest that tend to get the most press, this is not always representative of actual usage, making surveys a useful corrective. ®

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