Preferences and tools

In addition to the languages in which developers program, frameworks on which they build, and databases in which they persist information, there is also one's own working environment. The so-called development environment or the editor is certainly the central tool, but also the operating system on one's own laptop or the websites that one uses most often. There is certainly a lot of room for change here - but only the three most frequently requested were included in 2019.

What many people don't know: Developers are increasingly using the command line again today. This is mainly to automate development processes via shell scripts and to better document processes. Accordingly, the astonishingly high proportion of developers writing scripts. Almost all languages provide command line tools and hardly any provide graphical interfaces for developers - clicking is simply slower. Documenting and applying commands is much more effective than navigating around in endless dialog windows of overloaded IDEs and taking screenshots. This can also be seen in the popularity of Vim and Emacs as command line editors.

Development environments

While Visual Studio Code is still at the top of the list, it has been overtaken by IntelliJ this year. 

Newly added were mentions from the free text fields (Other), which were listed more than 5 times. These include Rider, CLion and Goland.

We would like to mention that IntelliJ, PyCharm, WebStorm, PHPStorm, RubyMine, Rider, CLion and Goland are all built on the same Jetbrains core. Users who are comfortable in one of these environments will be able to work with ease in any of the others, even if they are optimized for other languages.

If you add up all the JetBrains-based solutions, you get 633 mentions, which makes up 29 percent of a total of 2,115 mentions. In comparison, Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code cannot be added up, as they are completely different solutions. However, Jetbrains does not displace Visual Studio Code, but the other classic IDEs.

Also interesting: Visual Studio Code is based on TypeScript and is run by a Swiss team in Zurich. Compared to the size of the population, an extraordinary number of innovations in the software world come from Switzerland.


 JetBrains basierend 29% 633 JetBrains basierend 26.67% 562
 IntelliJ 18.77% 397 Visual Studio Code 16.14% 340
 Visual Studio Code 17.02% 360 IntelliJ 15.28% 322
 Notepad++ 12.01% 254 Notepad++ 12.43% 262
 Vim 7.99% 169 Visual Studio 8.88% 187
 Visual Studio 7.42% 157 Vim 6.93% 146
 Eclipse 5.53% 117 Eclipse 6.60% 139
 Sublime Text 5.30% 112 Sublime Text 4.89% 103
 PyCharm 3.83% 81 Android Studio 3.99% 84
 Android Studio 3.78% 80 PyCharm 3.99% 84
 PHPStorm 3.12% 66 WebStorm 3.37% 71
 Other: 2.98% 63 Atom 3.27% 69
  Rider 15 PHPStorm 2.75% 58
  CLion  6 Xcode 2.66% 56
  Goland 5 Other 2.66% 56
 WebStorm 2.65% 56 Ipython / Jupyter 1.52% 32
 Xcode 2.55% 54 NetBeans 1.23% 26
 Atom 2.51% 53 Emacs 1.04% 22
 Ipython / Jupyter 1.47% 31 RStudio 0.71% 15
 NetBeans 0.76% 16 RubyMine 0.57% 12
 RStudio 0.66% 14 TextMate 0.57% 12
 Emacs 0.57% 12 Coda 0.33% 7
 RubyMine 0.33% 7      
 TextMate 0.33% 7      

Operating System

When it comes to the operating system developers use on their primary work device, Windows is still just above the 50% mark, but has lost one percentage point. This small difference was split between MacOS (34.07%) and Linux (15.10%).

Considering that in the vast majority of companies only Windows laptops are provided by default and developers have to buy their own Apple laptops or ask for them, this figure does make you think. For the next survey, it would be good to know whether developers are forced to use a certain system on the desktop/laptop.

As a small experiment, companies with more than 10,000 employees were listed separately below. From this perspective, Windows is even more strongly represented, but not as strongly as one might expect due to the usually much stricter specifications in such companies:

Windows 59.38%
macOS / OS X 31.25%    
Linux 9.38%

(Note: Those who, like me, expect systems like FreeBSD under "Other" will be disappointed; there are only four mentions of combinations of Linux, Mac and Windows. There was one mention of ChromeOS, although it should be mentioned here that it is based on Linux).


For easier grouping, we have cut away the top level domain (.com/.ch etc.) this year and standardized all spellings as far as possible. This improves the grouping, although comparability to last year suffers somewhat.

There are no surprises: Medium and DuckDuckGo are still on the rise. Whether the disappearance of to the under 5 mentions list has to do with the fact that developers have less need for translations, we doubt. 

In general, the 1,445 mentions are spread over 328 different websites. For 2021, a broader pre-selection is planned to determine a meaningful ranking.



stackoverflow 390 383  
google 258 251  
github 93 97  
duckduckgo 34 22  
medium 28 21  
baeldung 25 21  
developer.mozilla 24 19  
jira 19 18  
gitlab 14 17  
wikipedia 13 17 13 14  
heise 12 12  
news.ycombinator 10 11  
reddit 9 11  
php 9 9  
internal 8 9 8 8  
youtube 7 8  
microsoft 7 8  
bitbucket 7 7  
trello 6 6  
linkedin 6 6  
angular 6 6  
twitter 5 6 5 5  
dzone 5 5 5 5 5 5 5      
deepl 5      
cppreference 5      
confluence 5      
atlassian 5      

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