Blog survey results

Sun, January 27, 2008, 02:06 PM under Blogging
Last Sunday I posted a survey for my blog (followed by two others, identical but hosted on different sites). A week later I thought you might want to know what the results are from the 300 responses (which as I hinted wasn't straightforward to consolidate, hence the delay). Below are the questions, summary of responses and some interspersed commentary on some of my plans.

Q1. Which version(s) of Visual Studio do you mostly use? – Multiple answers allowed.
The vast majority of votes went to VS2005 (67%) and VS2008 (62%). The percentages for the other answers are VS6orOlder (7%), VS.NET2002 (0%, 1 out of 300), VS.NET 2003 (10%) and some people stated: "Eclipse for Linux, MonoDevelop, Rhapsody, Vim, Macromedia". Note that most responses selected VS2005 in addition to anything else which suggests they are using the older IDEs for older projects rather than using them exclusively. FYI I do not plan on focusing on other IDEs other than VS2008 (inc. any service packs) and of course Visual Studio vNext as soon as a public CTP VPC becomes available.

Q2. Which language(s) do you predominantly program in? – Multiple answers allowed.
The most popular language by far was C# (84%). Even people checking other languages would do it in addition to checking C# as their answer! The results for the other languages are: C++ (15%), VB6 (6%), VB.NET (22%) and some people additionally entered: "Powershell, COBOL, Java, Ruby, ColdFusion, Classic ASP, PHP, Perl, Fortran, javascript". FYI my samples are mostly in C#, but I do throw in VB occasionally and in fact have covered many VB-specific features that would not have been of interest to C# devs. I will continue to blog for both managed developer types and in the future may expand on more dynamic and functional languages supported on the .NET platform.

Q3. What type of .NET applications do you primarily focus on? – Multiple answers allowed.
Looking at the results, it is hard to deduce any info because almost everybody checked more than two answers and many areas score well. I think the conclusion is that few people build just one type of .NET solution so there is no point narrowing down the focus – and I don't plan to. FYI, here are the percentages: Client (64%), Web (50%), Server (24%), Mobile (17%), Rich Web (10%), Office (6%), Embedded (6%) and additional entries were: "SharePoint, libraries, prototypes not systems, not .NET, classic ASP, client-side SDK, my own n-tier environment, Extension to Visual Studio, Smart client, Plugins, Microsoft CRM, straight forward Windows cross platform apps, .NET 2 WebServices".

Q4. What OS do you run on your development machine? – Multiple answers allowed.
Unsurprisingly Windows XP (62%) and Windows Vista (53%) came up top followed by Windows Server 2003 (11%) and then Windows Server 2008 (2%). Additionally some of you wrote: "Linux, Mac OS X, Windows 2000 server".

Q5. Do you have an active blog (more than 5 posts per month)?
78% of my readers do not have a blog. From the 22% that do, not everybody left their URL but I have visited the ones that did. It was interesting that I did not know about some of these at all, which means that they never linked to my blog (because I know who links here and always check out a blog that does). Interesting fact (to me)...

Q6. Do you currently live in the UK most of your time?
I did open the 3 separate surveys at different timezones and over multiple days to give everyone a chance and the result is that under half of the respondents live in the UK (39%). I will continue to talk about UK-specific news (e.g. events) and I will continue to make that clear in the title of the blog posts so the other 61% can easily ignore.

Q7. Besides reading my blog, do you also watch my screencasts?
This was a big surprise to me. Only 50% watch the screencasts I produce (I was expecting it to be closer to 100%). I will be producing many more of these and will make sure people reading the blog are aware by pointing to them. Screencasts are a quality medium and I have tons of positive feedback about them in my inbox. I can only deduce (wish I had a specific question on the survey) that people who said "No" do not watch screencasts in general – you guys are MISSING OUT. More on this topic in a future blog post, in the meantime the screencasts link is always on the left.

Q8. What would you like my blog to focus on?
This was the question where you could enter whatever you wanted in 4 optional textboxes: Continue to do (137 suggestions), Stop doing (30 suggestions), Start doing (54 suggestions) and Other feedback (30 suggestions). The previous hyperlinks take you to a text file for each that includes ALL the verbatim (stripping out anything that could identify individuals). There are definitely some action items I have taken from your feedback (e.g. this) and others that I will, but the grand theme here (explicitly and implicitly) is "keep doing what you are doing" – I love it, thank you, stay tuned!
Sunday, January 27, 2008 10:14:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
These statistics are very interest, thank you for putting them together.

What really makes me think is the C# statistic. Its what i really believe, many more people program in C# now then

A while back I heard a statistic on Hanselminutes podcast that VB.NET is the #1 language. I talked to Scott briefly about this as this stat really shocked me. We both agreed that it was probably due to the many non-developers using VB.NET for various things and not the kind of audience members that would reply to your poll.

(see my post at:
Monday, January 28, 2008 12:12:00 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
The problems with screencasts are :
1. They make sound so they're hard to watch at work because they disturb your colleagues.
2. Because they make sound, other people will get the impression that 'your just surfing and wasting time'.
3. When I read something it sticks so much better in my head than when I watch something. If I don't understand something, it's far easier to read it again.
Monday, January 28, 2008 2:24:33 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Dmitry: My thoughts on the two languages are on the archives of this blog back in 2004 – they haven't changed much. I wouldn't read too much into that statistic. It just represents the views of my readership (~10% of it) and it is not a global statistic. For example, what do you think the number would look like for the readers of the VB blog?

JensS: Those are good points and like I said I will address this topic separately but in a nutshell: 1) Use headphones, 2) Educate your peers, 3) Text and video complements each other and if you start using both in the end you will abandon the text – trust me. Like I said, I'll touch on this in the future.
Monday, January 28, 2008 6:17:00 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
About not viewing the screencasts, I can understand why they were more at 50%.

The main reason is that when you are at work, it's often a lot easier to read an article than it is to watch a video. I often don't have headphones, or am in the middle of something and just want to quickly read an article or two as a quick break. Watching a video is much more involved and often attracts other people to start watching, which can be more of a distraction than reading an article!
Monday, January 28, 2008 6:38:00 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Interesting to mention is that I found your blog through a screencast. Sometime ago I downloaded some screencasts of yours available in about new features in Visual Studio 2008. In the first screencast slides there was the URL for your blog and that was the way I came through.

Luciano Evaristo Guerche (Gorše)
Taboão da Serra, SP, Brazil
Monday, January 28, 2008 6:09:38 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Neil: I find the "forgot my headphones" argument weak but you knew that already ;-). Having your headphones also means that others won't be attracted to your screen when you play them. I also don't get the "more involved" argument. Surely you download interesting ones as you come across them and then watch them later at those quick breaks you mention, don't you? Watching a screencast should take the same time it takes to read an MSDN Magazine article.

guercheLE: Yes, I find traffic is bidirectional from blog to screencasts and vice versa. Thanks for sticking around :)
Thursday, January 31, 2008 4:10:00 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Fair points indeed, I guess keeping them short like you mentioned in your more recent blog entry is good idea. I generally find I'll spent 10 minutes at a time watching something, and any more I will end up pausing it and coming back to it, which kind of spoils things.

Cheers Daniel
Tuesday, February 19, 2008 5:26:00 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Daniel, I'm not surprised by the 50% on screencasts to be honest. With a screencast it's difficult to context switch, which is why I don't watch them. I suspect the same may be the opinion of others.

Give me a blog entry / document that I can stop and start reading at my leisure or even print out to read whilst suffereing the hell that is South West Trains on my home any day!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008 1:45:04 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Rob: Thanks. Sorry, I don't see the context switch argument at all. You save the WMV and watch it offline on the train. Not sure why people assume they must watch a screencast the minute they discover it. In any case, this conversation has shifted to this post.
Comments are closed.