.NET developers reveal their favourite programming languages and what they want to learn next

The Microsoft-backed .NET Foundation sees a chance to work with the Rust community.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

The Microsoft-backed .NET Foundation has conducted its first web application developer survey and says the results suggest its Blazor framework for building mobile apps in C# and .NET is "taking off". 

Microsoft launched the .NET Foundation in April 2014 with cross-platform developer outfit Xamarin, which Microsoft acquired in 2016

The .NET Foundation's survey drew 4,509 responses between November 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 and looked at what the most popular languages were, which cloud providers were the most widely used, and what JavaScript frameworks were chiming with developers using .NET for web application development. 

SEE: 10 ways to prevent developer burnout (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The survey results were released as Microsoft prepares to kick off its annual Build developer conference later this month. 

One notable finding was that Microsoft's Blazor project is gaining in popularity with .NET developers. Microsoft last year released ASP.NET's Mobile Blazor Bindings to let developers use web user interfaces (UIs) with C# instead of JavaScript.

"Since web development is a big workload for .NET, we asked what kind of front-end development technologies .NET developers are using for their single-page applications," the foundation says. 

"Blazor adoption is taking off which makes sense since it allows .NET developers to stay on .NET and use C# instead of JavaScript for building web UIs."

Blazor was, however, the second-most popular JavaScript framework to Google-backed Angular, which is written in Microsoft-developed TypeScript

The most popular developer tool was Microsoft's IDE Visual Studio, which was used by nearly 90% of respondents, followed by Microsoft's cross-platform code editor Visual Studio Code, which was used by 78% of respondents. GitHub was used by just over 50% of .NET developers. Other popular tools were the .NET command line interface, JetBrains Rider, and Visual Studio for macOS. 

By far the most popular language being used was Microsoft's C#, with 95% reporting it as the language they currently use. JavaScript was used by 55% of respondents, followed by the Microsoft-made JavaScript superset Typescript at 45%. Other notable languages used by less than 20% of respondents included Python and Microsoft-backed F#. In the category of languages used by less than 10% of .NET developers were C++, VB.NET, Java, Go, Rust, and Dart.

"C# remains the most popular language for .NET developers and JavaScript and TypeScript are also popular for web development," the .NET Foundation notes. 

"Python has gained popularity in the industry particularly around AI/ML and .NET developers are embracing it as well. What's interesting, based on the responses, more people are currently using F# than they were in the last year, possibly indicating usage in similar scenarios."

SEE: Programming languages: JavaScript has most developers but Rust is the fastest growing

The .NET Foundation also sees potential to collaborate with the recently established Rust Foundation. The survey found that systems programming language Rust was the second-most desired language to learn behind C#. Other top languages on this question were TypeScript, F#, Python, Go, JavaScript, Dart, and C++.    

The Rust Foundation now has backing from Facebook, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google, Huawei, and Mozilla.

Given it's a Microsoft-focussed developer crowd, it's not surprising that the most popular cloud provider was Microsoft Azure even though spending on Amazon Web Services (AWS) far outweighs spending on Azure.    

According to this survey, 70% of .NET developers use Azure, while just over 30% use AWS, and about 14% use Google Cloud Platform. 

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