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Developers 'restricted' in devices they can support

Australia Software developers are restricted in the number of devices they can support, according to a new research report which finds that the complexity of supporting multiple code bases is one of the impediments faced by developers.

The Australian report, part of a wider global survey conducted by software vendor Embarcadero Technologies, reveals that professional software developers who support Windows would like, on average, to more than double the number of devices they can deploy applications to.

Globally, the survey finds that while a majority of Windows developers are experiencing great demand for mobile development, the actual delivery of these apps is being compromised due to the cost and complexity associated with supporting multiple platforms.

While survey respondents predominantly supported Windows, all professional developers faced multi-device deployment challenges, said Malcolm Groves, Embarcadero’s Sydney-based Senior Director, Asia Pacific and Japan.

“The difficulty of existing multi-device development methods effectively restricts the number of devices that Australian developers can support.

“They are either too complex or costly, require too many skills, redevelopment or porting, or don’t fully support native device functionality. Providing native support for Android devices in RAD Studio XE5 in addition to Microsoft and Apple devices opens the door for developers to support any popular device.”

Australian developers say they are reportedly prevented from supporting more devices for reason, including the issue of multiple data bases, as well as:

•    Lack of skills / skilled people – 51%

•    Cost of supporting multiple development environments -- 43%

•    Multi-device development tools (e.g. HTML5) don’t fully support native device functionality -- 43%, and

•    Need to redevelop or port legacy applications -- 38% and other reasons -- 11%.

According to Groves, almost all (94%) of the 221 Australian developer firms surveyed at events in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra developed applications for Windows. They also developed applications for an average of around one other device, including iOS (iPhone/iPad) 28%, Android 25%, OS X (Mac) 17%, Linux 13%, Windows Phone 8%, Windows Slate / Surface Pro 3%, Blackberry 3%, and other devices 5%.

Respondents to the survey, however, said they would like to be able to deploy applications to an average of around three devices other than Windows, including: Android 81%, iOS (iPhone/iPad) 80%, OS X (Mac) 48%,Windows Phone 34%,  Windows Slate / Surface Pro 29%, Linux 25%, Blackberry 9%, and other devices 2%.

Key findings from the report include:

•    Overwhelming majority of Windows developers must add mobile to their existing app development strategy: 85% of respondents receive requests for mobile apps, 99% say existing apps must continue to be supported

•    Android is the most requested platform among Windows developers: 83% of the requests for mobile app have Android support as a requirement

•    HTML5 and JavaScript are not the solution of choice for mobile apps: 85% of respondents say native apps are best for end users, 74% of those who used HTML5 and JavaScript have had challenges


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).


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