Appcelerator Survey Claims JavaScript Reigns
Written by Janet Swift   
Friday, 21 February 2014

The 2013 Q4 Appcelerator survey was its largest to date and found that mobile developers rank JavaScript as the most relevant language, with C/C++  being overwhelmingly the least relevant.


IDC surveyed 6,698 developers at the end of November 2013 on behalf of mobile technology company Appcelerator, which now has data on platform preferences from twelve surveys  stretching back to June 2010.


(click in chart to enlarge)

Although iPhone is still the clear leader in terms of the percentage of developers in the Appcelerator community who are "very interested"  in it, there was a clear decline in interest during 2013 and it is now at its lowest point at 84.2%, around 10% lower than its peak in January 2011.

Interest in iPad peaked in July 2012, which also saw a resurgence for iPhone, but it too saw its lowest popularity in November 2013 at 81.7%. 

The Android phone, by contrast, experienced its low point in August 2012 and has now recovered to79.4% and interest in the Android tablet dipped slightly to 66.1%.


The finding Appcelerator singled out for further investigation concerns HTML5:

the number of developers reporting to be “very interested” in building apps on HTML5 fell to 59.9% – the lowest level since we began tracking the specification in April 2011. Interest in HTML5 peaked in July 2012 at 72.7%, and has shown an uneven but downward slope since.

This decline may be attributable to developer pragmatism. HTML5 has had several years now to break away from the pack and has failed to do so. Most respondents were neutral on HTML5, agreeing that it had its place for certain kinds of apps, but couldn’t be looked to as a cure-all for the challenges of multi-platform development. 13% reported no experience with HTML5; when looking only at the cohort with experience, 56% were neutral or negative on the standard.

Turning to development languages for mobile app development the survey revealed JavaScript as the clear winner with 47.2% of respondents ranking it first, more than ten percentage points ahead of the next closest language, Java (35%). Objective-C was third at 32%.



From its further exploration the report notes:

Originally developed as a browser-agnostic scripting language, JavaScript appears to becoming the lingua franca for mobile development. It’s ability to render rich results from lightweight, simple-to learn language has made it a natural fit for mobile’s speed of development. There is also mobile’s partner in crime, the cloud, whereJavaScript’s role is fast becoming just as central: witness its swift adoption as a backend technology platform via Node.js. More than 88% of developers found it “likely” or “very likely”  that in 2014 JavaScript would increasingly dominate both client- and server-side development.

Summing this up the report uses the headline:




which echoes what I Programmer has been predicting since 2011 when Ian Elliot wrote:

JavaScript is about to ensure the mass extinction of every other programming language on the planet.

What surprises us is that it is taking so long.


More Information

Appcelerator/ IDC Q4 Mobile Trends Report

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Last Updated ( Friday, 21 February 2014 )