Developer Tools

The number of developers using Chromebooks to code is on the rise.

Tracking metrics gathered by Codenvy show an 82% increase in the number of developers using a cloud-centric notebook to access their web-based development suite in the past year.

Codeenvy is a popular web-based development environment for the coding and debugging apps through any web browser, on virtually any operating system.

Since the service exists solely online it doesn’t matter what a developer uses to access it – they can work from an Acer C200 on the couch or a $1000+ Pixel in a busy software house.

But although an 82% increase sounds impressive it does not paint the whole picture.

Codenvy — who claim to be “revolutionizing how software is developed” — has not shared the amount of time that developers spend using the service on a Chromebook, nor whether these are new vs returning users or whether the same developers also use other operating systems.

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Not vital information to show an uptick in Chromebook usage, granted. But it would help qualify the impact that Chromebooks are having in the development landscape (even if it is only for this one specific service).

For example, there’s a difference in ‘impact’ if developers simply ‘check in’ on a project using a Chromebook versus actively and consistently using it regularly.

And, despite the rise, Chromebooks are only used by less than 5% of Codeenvy’s user base.

With the mothballing of Google’s Polymer/Dart-based editor packaged app tools like Codeenvy will only gain in popularity for those developers who are willing to try and make Chromebooks a key part of their development workflow.

The post was published back in March but recently surfaced on Reddit (shared by Codenvy). It’s an interesting glimpse but, shocker: cloud-based development tool uncovers cloud-based users are using their cloud-based service.

But those who are able to rise above the cynicism of that fact will soak in the nuance of this: Codenvy is not just used by Chromebook users. Codenvy’s metrics for the early part of 2015 peg the total number of Chromebook users using the service at 4.42%.

By comparison that makes the 82% increase sound weaker but, as Codeenvy point out: “Given our overall growth in active users, the increased percentage of Chromebook users is on a much larger base for 2015 […] they are taking usage share overall.”

“This data tells us that developers genuinely want the freedom that comes from developer work spaces in the cloud,” they conclude.

“Just as consumers are ditching TV cable for streaming services, developers are increasingly interested in using the cloud to allow them to develop on any project from any machine.”

It will be interesting to revisit these findings in a year’s time. 

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