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It’s Certainly Rational!

May 24, 2012

It’s Certainly Rational

Every year for the last 7 years we’ve been doing a user satisfaction survey on IDEs.  Well, at least it started out about IDEs, but over the years the product offerings have morphed and evolved so that now what we used to call IDEs are really full-on software development platforms that extend the reach of the tools from modeling and architecting to coding to testing to deployment and devops and requirements management with even a few steps in between.  We always ask developers to identify the products they personally use and then dynamically open up a new set of questions for each product they identify asking them to rate some 15 to 20 features or capabilities of that particular product.  We also ask the developers to rank the features / capabilities in importance. That way, at the end of the day, we can assign scores to the competing development platforms and see how they maesure up against each other as well as what their comparative strengths / weaknesses are.

One very remarkable thing about this is that in 6 out of 7 years, the developers who use Rational’s development tools suite have consistently rated it higher than the users of other product familiies.  While the priorities change and the importance that developers assign to various features / capabilities also changes, it seems that the IBM team has enough market insight, innovative ideas and the technical expertise to lead the way year after year in the creation of top flight development tools.  This is reamrkable because it is their users and not some outside group or analyst that thinks so highly of that brand.

Of course, there are other contenders.  Visual Studio almost always gives the Rational team a run for its money.  Visual Studio is the most used developement platform in the world – and that includes all regions of the world, and Microsoft is a company that is wise enough to know the value of developers and keeps investing in their tools and their formiddable MSDN program.

We survey over 1400 developers for this particular survey and products have to have a minimum number of developers rating them in order to be included in the analysis and report.  This year for the first year SAP’s NetWeaver qualified for inclusion and did well.  It may be that the prevalence of Cloud development accounts for NetWeaver’s rise in popularity.  In any case if there’s a bar set for NetWeaver and the rest to try for, it’s certainly Rational.

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