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Report: Mac Developers Prefer VS Code over Xcode

Tower, noted for its Git client, recently surveyed more than 4,000 Mac-using developers to ask about things like their favorite tech, programming languages and development tools. While much of the survey report might not be of prime interest to Visual Studio Magazine readers who are traditionally Windows-centric, one perhaps-surprising finding is Microsoft's open source-based, cross-platform Visual Studio Code is the preferred text editor, beating out Apple's own Xcode.

In fact, about 57 percent (percentages are rounded off) of respondents said they use VS Code, followed by Xcode (34 percent), Sublime Text (15 percent), IntelliJ (13 percent), PhpStorm (9 percent) and Nova (5 percent).

Or maybe it's not that surprising, as Tower said: "With lots of Swift developers in our community, it's no surprise that Xcode is so popular. In the same way, the dominance of Visual Studio Code was to be expected. Rather remarkable, however, that Panic's Nova editor has gathered quite some friends, considering it is still very new."

Text Editors
[Click on image for larger view.] Text Editors (source: Tower).

Perhaps Tower judged that finding "to be expected" because of the super-popular code editor being ranked highly in other surveys, like this one for Rust and this one for open source and this one for GitHub.

Coincidentally, the Tower site does prominently feature this blog post published earlier this month: VS Code — The Story and Technology Behind One of the World's Most Popular Desktop Apps for Developers. Penned by a member of the VS Code dev team, the post states: "VS Code was originally written with a mix of JavaScript and TypeScript but we quickly adopted TypeScript for all of our code and immediately got attached to its improved tool support like static type checking and refactoring. There is a bit of native code involved too for some of our Node.js modules that we maintain. By using Electron as an application framework we can ship VS Code to macOS, Linux and Windows, including support for ARM-based chips."

Otherwise, there wasn't much in the report -- Mac Dev Survey 2021 -- pertinent to the Microsoft development ecosystem. Microsoft's TypeScript did beat out Apple's Objective-C for sixth place in the ranking of programming languages, which was topped by JavaScript, with Swift -- Apple's replacement for Objective-C -- at No. 2.

Most-Used Programming Languages
[Click on image for larger view.] Programming Languages (source: Tower).

Other highlights of the survey, conducted in the March/April time-frame, include:

  • "Which languages would you like to learn?" -- Swift (29 percent), Go (23 percent) and Rust (23 percent)
  • "Do you contribute to open source on a regular basis?" -- Occasionally (55 percent), Never (37 percent)
  • "What type of development do you mostly do?" -- Web Full-Stack (26 percent), Mobile (25 percent) and Web Frontend (17 percent)
  • "Do you write unit tests for your code?" -- Occasionally (43 percent), No (30 percent) and It's a core part of my work (27 percent)
  • "Which code hosting platform do you use?" -- GitHub (76 percent), Bitbucket (21 percent) and GitLab.com (13 percent)
  • "Which tools do you use to track bugs & issues?" -- Jira (48 percent), GitHub Issues (36 percent) and None/text fles/emails (15 percent)
  • "From what kind of sources do you prefer to learn?" -- Blog posts/articles (70 percent), Online courses (61 percent) and Books (48 percent)

The post doesn't explain the methodology behind the survey, said to poll 4,072 participants from more than 90 countries.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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