Developers must support desktop apps when going mobile
In fact, 99 percent of Windows developers say that mobile apps are a supplement to existing desktop apps, not a replacement for them. Only one percent of developers told Dimensional Research that they will stop development of existing Windows desktop applications in favor of mobile apps.
Another four percent say they will provide support for existing desktop apps, but no new features. But 95 percent of Windows developers say they will continue development and support of Windows applications even as requests for new mobile apps grows sharply.
Despite its challenges in the enterprise world, developers say user demand for Android apps is highest, at 83 percent, with demand for Apple iOS trailing closely at 67 percent. Demand for Windows Phone and Windows RT apps place third and fourth at 33 percent and 17 percent, respectively.
"If these guys get asked for a mobile app, though, it's usually required for all the platforms," Haney says. "And that has them concerned. The more experience they have with mobile, the more concerned they are."
Ninety-two percent of Windows developers say they have concerns about developing mobile apps: 57 percent cite the need for new development skills, 56 percent point to the complexity of testing apps on multiple platforms and 54 percent cite the high cost of multiplatform development.
Forty-five percent say the tools for developing mobile environments are inadequate compared with tools for desktop development, and 42 percent say it's difficult to find developers proficient in multiple platforms.
All these concerns are higher, often significantly, among developers who have mobile development experience. For instance, 62 percent of Windows developers with responsibility for mobile say that the high cost for developing apps for multiple mobile platforms is a serious concern.
Developers cite difficulty in accessing device features (44 percent), inadequate programming language features (38 percent) and poor performance (31 percent). Other challenges include browser incompatibility, poor documentation, debugging, source code maintenance, lack of libraries, scalability, form factor and more.
"They don't want to go with HTML5," Haney says. "They know how complex and limited it is."
"Windows developers are still one of the largest developer groups out there," he adds. "There's something like 1.3 billion Windows devices out there. But these guys don't necessarily have a path to mobile."
Thor Olavsrud covers IT Security, Big Data, Open Source, Microsoft Tools and Servers for CIO.com. Follow Thor on Twitter @ThorOlavsrud. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn. Email Thor at email@example.com
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