The Most Popular Development Platforms 2018

We recently looked at the Most Popular Programming Languages for 2018 based on the Stack Overflow Annual Developer Survey 2018 from over 100,000 developers surveyed in January - and now it’s time to dig a bit deeper.  We're going to delve into which development platforms professional developers are using the most, and why, and what they’d really like to be using (because not everyone is lucky enough to be able to choose their tech stack or OS at work).

We’ve focused on professional developers only and the systems most commonly used, then we’ve enriched the data with which systems developers Love, Dread and Want.  The data below should give an idea of what developers use now and what they would really like to use  nb. take particular note of this if you're a manager planning your future IT Strategy

Professional developers most popular platforms

The top 10 most commonly used development platforms doesn’t look too dissimilar to last year and it still consists of Linux, Windows, Android, AWS, Mac OS, WordPress, iOS, Raspberry Pi and Azure with Firebase being the only new addition.

There is a big change from Windows to Linux at the top however Linux is now twice as popular as it was last year; taking the top spot as the most commonly used platform for professional developers and is also the most loved.

Why is Linux twice as popular this year?

So why this huge growth in popularity?  You could argue it is because it is Open Source and free but that is hardly news.  Linux has risen in popularity however in most markets and most servers now run Linux including most super computers plus serverless infrastructure.  Android phones all run the Linux kernel and automotive computers and the Internet of Things are all running off some sort of Linux.  Google also run everything they do on their own variation of Linux (they were never going to be the biggest supporter of an expensive Windows system were they?).  Linux haven’t quite cracked the desktop operating system market yet however and Windows rules the roost for the foreseeable future.

There are obviously a huge number of developers, especially Web Developers, who love Linux out there and there is no one simple reason as to why. 

Linux Love

Aside from its simplicity, elegance, the power it gives to developers, huge number of features, multiple desktop environments, its huge community who can help with any issues and the fact that most mainstream software now has a Linux build – what else has it done for us?

Did we mention that you can also make it look and feel exactly as you want it to and the number of distros for pretty much anything?

You might like to check this out for the best Linux distros


 Most Popular Platforms ❀ Love πŸ’” Dread β˜… Want
  2018 2017 %Change 2018 2017 2018 2017 2018 2017
Linux 48% 24% ^100% ❀77% 70%     β˜…11%  
Windows 35% 31% 13% 61% 56% 39% 44% 3% 4%
Android 29% 22% 32% 64% 62% 36% 38% β˜…16% 21%
AWS 25% 26% -4% ❀69%   32% 35% β˜…12% 19%
Mac OS 18% 15% 20% 64% 62% 36% 38% 7% 7%
WordPress 16% 12% 33% 37% 36% πŸ’”63% 65% 2% 2%
iOS 16% 14% 14% 65% 62% 35% 38% β˜…10% 13%
Raspberry Pi 16% 11% 45% ❀68% 65% 32% 35% β˜…13% 15%
Firebase 15%     64%   36%   8%  
Azure 11% 11% - 61% 62% 39% 38% 6% 7%
Heroku 11%     52%   48%   3%  
Arduino 10% 7% 43% 58% 59% 42% 41% 8% 8%
Google Cloud 8%     63%   38%   8%  
Serverless 5% 2% ^150% ❀75% 66% 25% 34% 6% 4%
Drupal 3%     30%   πŸ’”70%   1%  
Amazon Echo 3%     53%   47%   6%  
Windows Phone 3% 3% - 31% 39% πŸ’”69% 61% 1% 3%
SharePoint 3% 3% -   29% 72% 71% 1% 1%
Salesforce 2% 2% - 30% 29% πŸ’”70% 71% 1% 1%
ESP8266 2%     ❀67%   33%   1%  
Apple Watch / TV 2%     64%   36%   3%  
IBM Cloud or Watson 1%     44%   56%   2%  
Google Home 1%     58%   42%   5%  
Gaming console 1%     61%   39%   4%  
Mainframe 1% 1% - 31% 42% πŸ’”69% 58% 1% 1%

Not everyone loves or uses Linux however so let’s look at some of the other areas of interest

Android vs iOS

The Android platform has leapt 32% in the last year whilst iOS has increased by 14%.  Overall Android is nearly twice as popular as iOS and the gap has widened considerably.  The developers who Love and Dread both platforms are fairly similar however, whilst those who Want Android as a platform is much greater.

Why do so many Developers prefer Android?

Android has the biggest share in the app market, the largest revenue produced by apps (mainly by ads) and the broadest audience across the globe. It can be published quicker (especially if using Android Studio), easier and cheaper than on the Apple App Store. Developers may care more about the fact that developing an Android app is simpler and can be started just with Java and that there is a wealth of testers available so errors can be fixed quickly.  Saying that -  iOS developers may argue that the wide range of devices that Android apps can be used on can create a multitude of issues with the potential for more failure if careful testing is not implemented.  Android software also uses more lines of code than iOS which can mean a lot more work – great if you’re a contractor but not so good for companies

What is Firebase?

Firebase is Google’s mobile platform,  it’s free and it can be used for building iOS, Android and web apps.  Which is probably why it has leapt into position 9 from seemingly nowhere. 

It is a fully managed platform which isn’t part of the Google Cloud Platform and it provides automatic data syncing, authentication, messaging, file storage and analytics amongst much more. It seems to be great for fixing some of the current issues with writing mobile apps, but isn’t good for all circumstances, so it’ll be interesting to see how far up this chart it is next year

Added 27-Mar-2018