When 12% is really greater than 50%
When the 2005 WritersUA Skills and Technologies Survey initially was published a coworker forwarded me the results showing JavaHelp with a 12% of the respondents saying it was valuable or invaluable to them. I didn't understand at first why he was so excited. I mean after all if the number had been 13% I would have been rejoicing since that was the number I wore in my athletic days. No superstition here. But a 12% share that's nothing special, especially when HTML Help has a 55% share.
But further analysis shows this 12% is actually more like 50% and in fact is almost the same share of the market that HTML Help has. Take a closer look at the survey and in particular the platform section. Java users only make up 22% of the respondents where as Windows is used by over 95% of the respondents. That means that JavaHelp has 54% of the java users and HTML Help has 57% of the Windows users. That's a significant share of the market.
I believe that in the next year that this number will move higher for a couple of reasons.
- The use of the Java client for rich client applications is increasing. Recent Evans Data for 2005 shows the Java Client increasing from 37% in 2003 to 39%. While this isn't a significant increase it shows a forward movement in Java Client development. And it does make me wonder where the other 17% of the Java developers are in this survey.
- We've made some technical enhancements to improve the product. The latest release provided support for GTK look and feel and the capability of using alternative content viewers. The later is probably the most important as help authors now have the option of using a native browser or alternative browser like those available for Chimsaw and IceSoft.
- JavaHelp is being used in non traditional environments. Within Sun JavaHelp is the base platform for help in the Java Desktop System operating system including the Solaris 10 desktop, also in all of Sun's server based products as well as the traditional Java Client products like Netbeans. This demonstrates the variety of uses from Java Clients (our traditional use), to java server based applications, to Unix based native applications.
If you haven't considered JavaHelp in while maybe it's time to take another look. I'm sure that by next year the percent of users will increase significantly. I'm thinking a lot more than 13% for next year. Not that I have any superstitions about the number 13. ;)