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Poll Result: Developers Rarely Change IDEs / Code Editors

Posted by editor on May 4, 2011 at 6:04 PM PDT

The results of a recent java.net poll suggest that, while developers are fairly reluctant to change their primary IDE or code editor, across a long enough time span, most developers do make a change (or multiple changes). A total of 48 votes were cast in the poll. The exact question and results were:

How many times in the past decade have you switched your primary IDE / code editor?

  • 27% (13 votes) - Never
  • 44% (21 votes) - Once
  • 17% (8 votes) - Two or three times
  • 13% (6 votes) - Four or more times
  • 0% (0 votes) - I don't know

This is of course not a scientific survey, but the results seem reasonable. Switching IDEs takes time and effort, and reduces productivity at least for a while. And, who can afford even a temporary reduction in productivity? So, a switch has an up-front cost that must be balanced by an expectation of future productivity gains that ultimately more than offset the near-term loss.

Still, over the course of a decade, almost three fourths of developers indicated they made at least one switch. This makes sense, because over 10 years, different IDEs/editors will advance at different paces, perhaps new IDEs/editors are introduced that offer attractive capabilities, etc.

The clear bulge in the data is "once" -- 44% of the voters made a single primary IDE/editor switch in the past decade. Meanwhile, 27% stayed with the same primary IDE/editor throughout that period; and 30% switched their primary IDE/editor multiple times.

I'm glad no one said they didn't know how many times they switched their primary IDE/editor!


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