Looking for #WPDev opinions

October 2, 2014

In October, I’m interested in getting thoughts and opinions from the Windows platform development community in my ~annual pulse of the Windows developer community. This year’s survey focuses in on asking less about what you’re doing, and more on why you’re doing what you’re doing. This information will be used by my team to adjust where we spend our focus in the next 3-18 months.

To participate, head over and complete the survey here.

Every year, my team looks to gather information from our mobile developer community about what is working and what isn’t for you. We use this information in a few ways:

  1. Provides longitudinal progress and quantitative measurement (obvious item)
  2. Informs what is top of mind for developers, and where the team should spend our dev readiness and marketing dollars to provide additional guidance/code samples/etc
  3. Informs our conversations with engineering on what we need to try to solve in the platform

As part of my job, I do a lot of research, both at small scale (i.e., focus groups, call downs, design reviews, etc.) and at large scale (e.g., our VisionMobile partnership). This is one of those surveys that have a direct impact on what is built for you, and what comes out of Redmond starting next month (rather than engineering investments that can take many months/quarters to get out into the market).

Last year, we received almost 400 responses. If you can help us get over 500 responses, I can commit to publishing out a survey here by the end of the 2014.

Looking back at the Spring 2013 survey

Last year (2013), I ran a version of a survey in two places: first in one of our Spring 2013 newsletters (and via Twitter), as then as a survey sent out to Build 2013 attendees (I was recruiting for a few research groups we ran on-site).

The goal for the Spring 2013 survey was different than this month’s survey. The 2013 survey had a much stronger drive to asking questions around publication bridges and barriers, and personal drivers to why folks were building mobile apps. Most of this information was used to help inform some of our work that landed at Build 2014 (the keynote story, the Build floor, the //publish/ event structure, etc.). So if you participated in the 2014 survey – we appreciate your assistance in helping us craft our story! Smile I also learned a lot about how to better phrase and ask about development practices based on this survey.

One of the largest reasons I didn’t do a report out on this data was because there are a number of holes in the way I asked questions. I used this learning in a number of studies we ran last year…which is a long way of saying I know there are problems with some of the data groupings below (and here’s where I point out that my background is in computer science, and not in research). As you’ll notice as you take this month’s survey, it’s gotten a lot better. Smile

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Looking at the devs responding, the responses primarily came from developers publishing into to the Store, but there were also a number of hobbyists and moonlighters building for the platform.

This also showed up in he monetization strategies used by those who have published up to the store – 48% of the responses showed no in-store monetization intended from the apps.

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Returning to my point about key learnings since fielding this DIY survey, the ‘no monetization’ option is easy to misread. What is missing from this question is the reflection that a number of publishers don’t monetize their apps directly – the group that we refer to as ‘brand extenders’. For the brand extender, mobile is not their primary monetization channel (but it may be a important part). In surveys following this one, the ‘I don’t monetize my app in the store’ option has grown into a few different options.

And you also told us that you felt pretty strongly around the languages that you used – the majority of folks use (and love XAML + C#), with a smattering of WinJS usage. This has been an important data point that we’ve used to guide our readiness investments and tone over the past year.

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As you can see above, there was definitely an HTML contingent, but the representation was much smaller than the .NET faithful. Similarly, I believe the .NET usage also played as a factor into why Windows Phone was selected as a platform, with many folks saying that the primary driver in selecting Windows Phone as a target platform tended to group around the docs and platform familiarity.

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The platform selection piece jives pretty well with the developer segmentation work that VisionMobile published last year, and also tends to play into the strengths of the platform – after all, Microsoft has always been a developer-centric company – from tooling to docs, Microsoft has set the bar for dev productivity for some time. What was nice to see with this survey is the growth of the user segment citing revenue as a selection driver, as well as rising satisfaction levels with the revenue they are making on the platform.

Lastly, I had a few questions for those who hadn’t yet published into the Store yet; and while skill development was very strong with the survey responses, intent to monetize was much stronger this year than in the prior year. In prior years, data tended to weigh much stronger towards skill development and personal apps (not for publishing).

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And unpublished developers reported that there weren’t many blockers for getting their apps into the store – most reported that the app is still in development and on the way. In the two prior years, the largest blocker tended to be not having a good idea or inability to run the emulator.

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At any rate, I’m looking forward to hearing more from the community this month with the survey. As I’ve said on Twitter, feel free to be verbose. I read everything you send and share it up and around the group.

So…one last appeal…go fill it out! Smile

Best regards,
Cliff

Cliff Simpkins

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