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How Fast do Developers Move Along?

October 18, 2018

There’s a tendency in our industry to assume that software developers immediately migrate to the newest version of any tool or technology as soon as it’s announced, and there’s a bit of truth in that.  Certainly many developers are passionate about technology and adopt “bleeding edge” innovations even as they’re in beta before production release.  But while developers do tend to become excited about technology evolutions and love to try them, there are actually a lot more considerations to be taken into account when abandoning a tool, platform or technology than when adopting a new one.

Embracing the newest tech is initially easy because there’s no background or canvas to be worked into the project unless and until the project has to integrate with existing technology.  But giving up older versions can cause a realm of trouble because newer versions may not support the same functions as previous versions or may not be compatible with software created with and/or around the older technologies.

In our newly released Global Development Survey 2018 -2 report we found that while just over 53% of developers will continue to use a tool or other technology no longer than 6 months after it has been discontinued, another 29% will continue to use it for up to 2 years after discontinuation, 8% will use it up to 5 years, and 10% will use the discontinued tool or technology indefinitely – basically never abandoning the old technology.

This survey was conducted last month in 6 different languages worldwide so we can see some regional variations in the length of time a developer will keep using an obsolete technology.  Latin American developers, in particular tend to want only the latest and greatest, and this may be because this emerging region doesn’t have the historical legacy baggage that slows down other regions.  On the other hand, the EMEA region is most likely to be where developers will never give up their old tools or technologies.  APAC region also has lots of early adopters, and North America is middle of the pack.

So, just because a vendor discontinues a product, don’t think usage will dry up overnight – it could take a long time to move all developers to a new version.

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