DreamFactory Developer Survey - Enterprise Mobile Development in 2013

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BenBusse We sent out a survey to our registered users last week to get feedback on the DreamFactory Services Platform and to learn about mobile app usage and the technologies that our users are adopting. We thought it would be helpful to share some of the results with our community and with anyone interested in how mobile technologies are evolving.

Here are some of the questions we asked.

What best describes you (more than one answer allowed)?

As expected, most respondents were developers, distributed fairly evenly between agency, enterprise, small company, and self-employed / freelance developers. While the DreamFactory Services Platform's feature set is targeted at agencies and enterprises, the platform can help any developer building an application that needs a backend.

Respondents also included many System Architects, IT Consultants, and IT Managers. Many of these IT folks are trying out new mobile technologies to learn how they work in practice and to identify specific benefits for their projects.

What kinds of mobile apps have you developed for end users?

The types of mobile apps that users have built were evenly distributed between enterprise mobile apps for employee end users (B2E), enterprise mobile apps for business partner end users (B2B), enterprise mobile apps for consumer end users (B2C), and consumer mobile apps. About 30% of respondents have yet to build a mobile application. Many of these users are looking at technologies like DreamFactory to transition into mobile app development.

It’s also worth noting non-mobile use cases. For example, DreamFactory is being used by some developers as a RESTful backend for web apps and embedded devices that need to communicate with a backend.    

What types of apps have you built?

Web-based mobile, “hybrid” mobile (e.g. PhoneGap), and native mobile (e.g. iOS) were all about equally popular. In the native camp, Android slightly outpaced iOS. This could be due to users from countries like India and China where Android has greater adoption than iOS. Windows lagged behind significantly but was not entirely out of the picture.

Most respondents have experience building web apps. It will be very insightful to ask this question in a year’s time to see whether HTML5 app development outpaces native mobile app development by any significant margin.

What languages / frameworks have you used to build mobile apps?

HTML5 and Javascript were most popular for building mobile apps. Not surprisingly, jQuery was the clear leader for Javascript frameworks, but nearly a third of respondents have used AngularJS and about a fifth of respondents have used Sencha. Many developers also have experience with Objective-C for native iOS apps and Java for native Android apps. PhoneGap was by far the most popular technology choice for cross-platform mobile app development.

What features are you currently using or considering using DreamFactory for?

The answers to this question were insightful. More than two-thirds of respondents want to use the REST API provided by the DreamFactory Services platform. Access to a SQL database was nearly as popular. NoSQL was also fairly popular (it’ll be interesting to see whether NoSQL is more popular the next time we give this survey). The need for JSON documents was very strong, as was RESTful integration with external data sources. Lastly, respondents indicated that SSO user authentication and the Javascript SDK were pretty important features.

Where did you install or plan to install DreamFactory?

Unsurprisingly, Amazon Web Services was the most popular option for installing the DreamFactory Services Platform open source software package. However, nearly a third of respondents preferred to install DreamFactory on premises. On premises installation is required for many projects, particularly in an enterprise development context. It’s worth noting that the DreamFactory Services Platform is available as a hosted service on our website, so some respondents chose to use the hosted service rather than install the open source package themselves.

We’d like to thank all the users who took our survey! We’ll conduct similar surveys a few times a year so that you have better insight into what other developers are building and the technologies they’re using.

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.