Software Developers Rank ALM Tools as Best to Use

An Evans Data survey shows that developers rank application lifecycle management tools as most satisfying to use, but not necessarily most important.

ALM tools

A recent study by Evans Data, an IT industry research firm that focuses on developer issues, found that software developers rank application lifecycle management (ALM) tools as most satisfying to use while requirements management and other tools leave more to be desired.

Indeed, when asked to rank various types of tools on the values of how important they are and how satisfying the tools are, software developers worldwide gave the category of application modeling tools the highest ratings for satisfaction, in the recently released Evans Data Global Development Survey.

According to the survey of more than 1,400 software developers, respondents said while ALM tools are the most satisfying, they are not the most important. Debugging tools were deemed more important, as were development frameworks, but these categories did not rate as highly on the satisfaction scale. The Evans Data study indicated that, in relative terms, debugging tools are the most important tools, but developers are less satisfied with these tools than they are with application modeling tools, configuration and version control tools, and development frameworks.

“We’ve been measuring both the perceived importance and satisfaction of various types of development tools for several years,” said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data, in a statement. "This year we married the two measurements, to create a value quadrant that clearly shows what type of tools developers value and are happy with and what types show room for improvement. While there are some similarities globally, as in the case of ALMs, for other types of tools we see regional differences.”

An example of regional perceptual differences revealed in the survey is that developers in the Asia/Pacific region find performance tools to be more important than other regions, and in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region developers assign a lot of importance to static security analysis tools, but are very unsatisfied with the ones that are available.

Meanwhile, performance tools and GUI frameworks appear to be areas for improvement. These two tool types ranked within the top half of tools in terms of importance--44 percent of North American developers said they find performance tools to be very important, and 41 percent find GUI frameworks to be very important. But these tools fell below the median in terms of developer satisfaction.

In addition, other tools, such as requirements management and load and stress testing tools were ranked neither high in relative importance nor in relative satisfaction. These two tools, in particular, are still used by more than half of North American developers, but are rarely used for more than eight hours per week, the study showed.

Currently in its 16th year, the Evans Data’s Worldwide Development survey is a semi-annual study conducted globally and sold in regional segments. It covers a complement of topics related to current development including: platforms and languages, development tools, continuous development and DevOps, mobile development and monetization, database and analytics, cloud development, security, APIs, technology adoption and more.