Friday, January 3, 1997 by Dave Winer.
Email is coming in asking that I share the results of the MacWEEK/DaveNet developer survey. You got it! Check this URL:
The results are tabulated in real-time, so if you check back every hour or so, the numbers change. It's cooool!
I wrote a brief analysis of the numbers (see the next section), but Peter N Lewis, firstname.lastname@example.org, beat me to it. Here's what Peter observed:
"Almost no one says no to Mac or NextMac. People have no clue if BeOS is going to be successful, so it's totally split.
"The numbers for Next seem to be saying 'We'll develop for whatever Apple ships, but we're not convinced that's going to be Next.'
"The Windows numbers seem to be saying 'Yes, but under protest.'
"The Unix numbers seems to be saying 'Not unless I have to.'"
As of 7:09AM Pacific, with 626 responses to the survey, some subjective conclusions, based on the numbers so far.
Mac (System 7 and subsequent releases without Next features): 7 percent of the Mac developers surveyed say no to future development for the current Mac platform. 13 percent are unsure. A strong 79 percent say that they believe the platform for them is the one they develop for now. This is the highest yes rating.
Next (the current Mac OS with features from the Next acquisition, expected to ship in 1998): Apple will be happy to know that 60 percent of the developers plan to develop for this platform, 33 percent are unsure (second highest unsure rating), and only 5 percent say no (the lowest rating). For the most part, it appears that Mac developers intend, at this time, to follow Apple thru the NextStep transition. But only 3 percent of the developers are currently working on NextStep, compared to 39 percent for Windows, 22 percent for Unix, and 6 percent for Be.
Windows (3.1, 95, NT): 50 percent of the developers expect to develop for Windows in the future. 20 percent are unsure, 28 percent say no. Windows gained significantly on the NextStep announcement, more than 10 percentage points. So, the second biggest winner, after NextStep, was Windows. Note that Mac went from 96 percent to 78 percent thru this transition.
Unix (Solaris, Linux, SCO, etc.): 22 percent of the Mac developers surveyed also develop for Unix. In the future, 30 percent. But 31 percent are unsure of their plans for Unix, and 37 percent have decided not to develop for other flavors of Unix.
Be OS: 43 percent of the developers are unsure about developing for the Be OS, the highest unsure rating. 6 percent are currently developing for Be, 20 percent said they would develop in the future. Be is on the rise. But their No rating, 34 percent, was second only to Unix (by a very small margin) at 37 percent.
Caveats apply. Responses were accepted from anyone based on the honor system. We asked clearly, and in many ways, that only developers respond. Mac people are famous for stuffing web-based ballot boxes, but in this case, it's not clear how a zealot would vote! Interesting... Maybe this is a chance for all of us to think indepependently without getting flamed? I certainly hope so.
There were checks in the system that give us a handle on the quality of the results. Many of the voters have professional websites with real products on them. I think the quality is pretty high. The survey is certainly broader than the usual informal queries that reporters do to test the water with developers.
There haven't been any major fluctuations in the percentages as the sample size has grown. We'll keep watching this. Maybe people are influenced by the survey results so far? Knowing what I know about how developers think, probably yes.
Our anti-spam technique, allowing only one response per IP address, had the effect of limiting response from larger companies, since many of them access the web thru a firewall. All accesses appear to come from a single IP address, even though different people are responding to the page. For example, the lead developer of a product at Microsoft couldn't vote because another developer at Microsoft had already voted.
Some people felt that Java should be offered as an option, but in my opinion, at this time, Java is not a platform that's comparable to Mac, Unix, Windows or Be OS. This is open to discussion, and in the future, if we run this survey again (perhaps after Apple's announcements on Tuesday) we may include Java as an option.
One of the servers maxed out in the early going. Next time I'll remember to do server maintenence *before* the hits start coming. It's been pretty intense, but now I think the server is running smoothly -- it stayed up thru the night without supervision. Do Macs make great database servers? Only if you know what you're doing (and if you remember!).
It was a secret ballot. There's no way to tell who responded how. But there's no rule that says that I can't tell you how I voted, so here goes. I currently develop for Mac and Windows. Future plans -- strong yes for Mac and Windows. Unsure about NextStep, other flavors of Unix and the Be OS.
The survey will run thru the weekend, so if you want to vote, there's plenty of time.
Many thanks to MacWEEK for their support and ideas! And thanks to www.mactech.com, www.macintouch.com, Guy Kawasaki, and the members of MIDAS for helping to spread the pointer.
As part of the survey, we asked people for URLs of web pages that describe their products. Periodically I'll sample the list and post it at the following location:
It's interesting reading! The Mac software market is more diverse than many reporters say it is. Since developer support is often the issue raised by industry analysts, it's great to see that the Mac OS is well supported by developers all over the world.
If you're seeing =20s at the end of every line in the email version of DaveNet, please send me an email letting me know. I've been getting some reports, and trying to figure out why this is happening.
About a week ago I had to trash my Eudora Settings file, and re-entered all the settings. That could be the root of the problem. I've been over it fifteen different ways, and can't figure out where in the process the wierd line-endings are coming from.
If you have any insights, please let me know. It really bothers me when the email pieces don't look good when you read them.
After all this time, still diggin!
PS: Ellen Hancock, email@example.com, asks: "Can I vote?" Yes!