How developers (eventually) get what they want

on Oct 12, 10 • by Mike Laginski • with 3 Comments

It started with the iPod and slowly but systematically gained momentum. A few years ago, I asked a developer-friend how he decides whether he’ll buy a dev tool or not. He responded somewhat tongue in cheek with, “I will download the tool, play with it and then decide if I would rather spend my money [&hellip...

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It started with the iPod and slowly but systematically gained momentum.

A few years ago, I asked a developer-friend how he decides whether he’ll buy a dev tool or not. He responded somewhat tongue in cheek with, “I will download the tool, play with it and then decide if I would rather spend my money on the latest iPod or the dev tool.” Maybe this is a bit of an edge case, but it speaks to the thought process that goes into the individual developer’s personal workspace design.

For anyone who thinks it’s not all about the developer, think again!

We noticed a trend developing a couple of years ago in some of our largest accounts. A few very small teams in a handful of accounts asked us about our plans to support Mac. When we spoke to the central teams within those accounts about the priority of Mac OS X as a supported environment, it was initially downplayed as a requirement from a few “special project teams.” They reiterated that their corporate development environment continued to be Windows and/or Unix/Linux.

Think again. Like most wars developers decide to fight, they are winning this war as well.

Many of our major accounts now have, or are planning, a significant Mac presence in their development organizations. Apple may say they are not targeting the enterprise, but it is clear the enterprise is targeting Apple. Tim Cook, COO of Apple, made a comment to the analysts in July that 80% of the Fortune 100 are deploying the iPhone, and 50% of the Fortune 100 are testing or have begun deploying the iPad. I bet the same is happening with the Mac. From executives to developers to marketing personnel, the Mac is gaining momentum in the enterprise. For this trend to continue, there are some enterprise-friendly enhancements necessary for the Mac to be a true corporate citizen, but I have found tools like Parallels and VMWare serve as a viable backup plan when total Mac native mode doesn’t cut it.

As the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.” In my opinion, no saying is more apropos, given the prior attitude many technically savvy people had towards Mac. They seemed to universally describe it as, well, a toy! Sure it does useful stuff, but any serious computer user will stick with Windows or Unix. Well, the times they are a-changin’ (since we’re on a cliché kick, I couldn’t resist some classic Bob Dylan).  Several developers I know who once spurned the Mac have quietly added the Mac to their day-to-day development activity. You can argue all you want about whether Mac has critical mass in the enterprise developer world. We are not. We are simply listening to our customers, and as a result we are launching Mac support this month.

Developer needs are constantly changing, but one constant always seems to be that developers quietly find a way to get what they want to do their job.

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3 Responses to How developers (eventually) get what they want

  1. Andrew Yang says:

    I have noticed also an increased activity for Mac in the corporate world, on several different fronts:
    * People want to use Mac’s as their desktop or laptops sometimes to the chagrin of the IT organization. Same with iphone which often needs to double as a corporate cellphone.
    * The Mac platform is an increasingly popular platform particularly for any form of desktop application. Vendors are increasingly providing better support for this platform than in the past
    * The iphone/ipad/ipod platform is obviously a huge platform for apps and organizations are recognizing it as a valid client app for all sorts of applications.

  2. Steve Van Bruwaene says:

    Absolutely. And Mac’s will only become more common. A friend of mine maintains the computing department in a University in the Indiana. He’s mentioned that several years ago, about 10-15% of their students used Linux, the rest being Windows. Several years later, it was about 15% Mac, the rest windows. This year, among first-year students, it’s about 35% Mac. Graduating developers are more and more likely to be wanting to use a Mac.

    And as a development platform, it has all the niceties of Linux, plus a great UI to go with it. A great system for any Linux/Unix developer.

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