When you are involved and excited by an emerging technology, it is a common instinct to overestimate its impact and promise. Media enthusiasm builds in intensity and stokes interest, and when a new technology is promoted at the proof-of-concept stage, the publicity encourages developers to investigate it. Early adopters dive in, development proceeds, and success stories add to the anticipation of great things to come.But what about mainstream adoption?
While the intensity of interest may appear strong, it is equally likely that there are many, unreported, abandoned projects. Developers may initially be enthusiastic about a technology but then sometimes find their expectations are not met for a number of reasons, particularly if the hardware promoted is unavailable, consumers are not interested, or the necessary tools are difficult to get to grips with. To avoid disappointment, those developers wishing to be successful in a new field will need to work hand-in-hand with vendors providing the products or platforms. It is only through refinement that an immature technology can become sufficiently compelling to encourage mainstream uptake and continuing media attention rather than be written off as over-hyped.
We gauged interest in certain technologies by asking developers about the areas they are actively working on, learning about or simply interested in. The resulting answers fall into four quadrants when divided around the median values of the responses, indicative of the technologies that have already matured and been widely adopted, those that are triggering interest, and those that are still nascent or have hit a plateau.
DevOps is one of the best-established, mainstream technologies of those areas we asked about. Used across a range of industry sectors, it is a set of tools and practices that allow development and operations teams to collaborate in the development and rollout of their software. DevOps automates infrastructure, testing, and performance management, allowing code to be released into production more regularly and with fewer defects.
DevOps is one of the areas that ranked highest in the survey in terms of interest, learning, and adoption. It is the most popular by some margin for developer adoption (17%) and learning (also 17%), and over half of the developers that expressed interest in the topic are working on DevOps projects.
We also find embedded development, which includes IoT, to have entered the mainstream adoption. While embedded development attracts similar levels of interest to drones and robotics, it shows significantly higher levels of developer adoption. This may well be because the field has had time to establish itself. IoT, although still an emerging and somewhat nebulous area, has reached a point where the early hype has died down and the possibilities are better understood by developers and consumers alike.
Mini apps are a relatively new phenomenon. Running inside a mobile framework, they are isolated within a specific ecosystem, such as the popular WeChat app. They are written using HTML5 and other web technologies. Developers reported a high level of interest, and 10% adoption, placing them in the mainstream quadrant. Unsurprisingly, we found mobile developers to be particularly keen on this technology, with 22% adoption; the second highest technology of interest for mobile developers after robotics. We also found this to be the one area more highly adopted by women developers than by men.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are used to increase the overall profitability of a business. CRM software is used to organise sales, marketing and customer services, while ERP is used to improve the efficiency of internal business processes. Fewer developers are active in this area than in DevOps, although it is the second most adopted technology area. However, the number of developers saying they simply were not interested in this area was the second highest, and the numbers of developers working in the area have dropped significantly since our last survey. ERP/CRM seems to be an area where interest is tailing off.
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