Web 2.0 developers give MSN/Live high praise

MSN/Live Windows beats Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, Facebook and PayPal offerings in Evans Data report

Web 2.0 software developers ranked Microsoft's MSN/Live Windows developer program higher than competing programs offered by Internet leaders Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, Facebook and PayPal, according to results of an Evans Data report released Monday.

The "Users' Choice: Web 2.0 Developer Programs" report is based on the results of a survey of more than 400 developers, who rated developer programs from the seven companies in 13 categories, including API functionality, blogs, marketing assistance tools/SDKs, Web services, documentation, support and forums. The Google and Yahoo programs were ranked right after Microsoft's.

While the recent opening of Facebook's development platform has garnered lots of attention for the social network, it ranked next to last among the seven Web 2.0 development programs included in the survey. Amazon.com and eBay also ranked higher than Facebook, with all of them ahead of last place PayPal.

Microsoft scored high in user satisfaction for its Web services, software development kits, documentation and forums. In the Web services category, Microsoft came in on top this year after ranking last in the year-earlier survey.

"As Microsoft moved from the relatively closed-in MSN portal to the more Web 2.0 savvy Windows Live collection of services, users have begun to recognize it as a provider of top-notch Web services," according to the survey.

Google ranked second among the surveyed developers by scoring high on API functionality, available marketing assistance for Web 2.0, a solutions directory and options for ongoing communications like RSS.

Yahoo ranked third in overall developer programs, dropping from its second-place finish in last year's Evans survey. The researcher said that Yahoo benefited from what users called strong technical resources.

EBay dropped from third to fourth place in this year's ranking, with lower grades for its Web services program. The online auctioneer did get strong marks for the functionality of its APIs, marketing assistance, forums and SDKs.

Facebook ranked sixth out of the seven developer programs in its first year in the survey. The most highly ranked feature of the Facebook program is the functionality of its APIs.

"While the company's API functionality is rated very high by developers (placing third among the field of seven), Facebook lacks the support resources to help developers," the study said. "Facebook fares poorly among users of its APIs for the available documentation, marketing assistance and ongoing communications. While there is tremendous interest in the Facebook social networking platform, Facebook still has not capitalized on the buzz by providing the supporting information to continue driving developer interest."

The report went on to note that Microsoft and Google allow users to profit the most from the applications they develop, through their integration capabilities and lack of downtime.

According to Evans, 26 percent of developers using Microsoft's MSN/Live programs said they have generated "significant" profits from it, while 23 percent said the same for PayPal, 15 percent for Amazon, 13 percent for Google and 10 percent for Facebook. Meanwhile, 38 percent of developers said they had not benefited financially from using eBay's developer program, while 36 percent said the same for Yahoo, 33 percent for Amazon, 27 percent for Google , 20 percentf or PayPal and 9 percent for Microsoft.

Developers say they have had the most difficulty integrating their applications using the Facebook technologies -- 77 percent said they had experienced at least some degree of difficulty integrating Facebook technologies with their apps. Facebook was followed by eBay and Yahoo as the hardest to integrate. Only 40 percent of developers said that Amazon technologies are difficult to integrate, while 45 percent said the same of Google.

The companies that developers said offer the strongest integration capabilities are Microsoft, Amazon and Google.

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Heather Havenstein

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