Were Professional Flex Developers Live

I came up with an interesting way of figuring out where professional Flex developers live without trying to break into secret underground Adobe vaults where classified sales info is stored. Here’s the deal, but first, I’d like to stress the word PROFESSIONAL here, which means people who use or are planning to use Flex for the real-world project development. Here’s my logic – our book RIA Development with Adobe Flex and Java has been printed and the publisher ships it all over the world. As of today, this is the only advanced book on programming enterprise applications with Flex, and this book is not cheap even for American programmers. This technically means that if someone purchases this book, s/he’d better be damn serious about programming with Flex.

I’ve asked the publisher (Sys-Con Media) to send me statistics (not the abs numbers but percentages) of the book paid orders by country, and these are the numbers:

Country Orders

SPAIN 5.11%
ITALY 3.00%
CANADA 1.80%
RUSSIA 1.20%
SWEDEN 1.20%
BRAZIL 0.90%
INDIA 0.90%
ISRAEL 0.60%
JAPAN 0.60%
CHINA 0.30%
FRANCE 0.30%
MEXICO 0.30%

Pretty interesting picture, isn’t it? No surprises that the most of the orders came from the USA (these filthy rich Americans). But I was pleasantly surprise by the fact that

Spain came second. Wow!

Italy is the fifth! Good job Marco Cassario!

Small Netherland is kicking Flex asses!

Russia made it to the first ten! Yes, spending money on computer books is OK. Good Job Michael Klishin!

What surprises me is that India, Denmark, Brasil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Thailand purchased the same number of books.

What do you think of this statistics?

Yakov Fain

16 thoughts on “Were Professional Flex Developers Live

  1. maybe the statistics from Brazil, surprised even me, Due to the only site or blog who talk’s or spread the word Flex here it’s mine and I just havent’blog about the book, just indicated for a few people.
    So, that’s good to me this kind of situation due to Flex can really help them even if our language is portuguese.


  2. Hi,

    What is the sample size? Is it large enough that the difference between Spain the the Germany (for example) is significant?

    Important to note that the language barrier plays a much bigger role in my experience in Japan than in some other countries, and to a degree in China and Korea as well. I think if not for that, the stats would be much higher in those regions.


  3. The sample size is pretty large. I’d love to hear from someone from India – do legions of Indian programmers purchase books or they usually find other channels of information? They do not have problems with English, so I do not accept David’s argument about the language barriers.

  4. It is statistically impossible (you got some MS in maths…) that the sample size is different from 333. Either just look at the data or try to get the likelihood of any multiple. This leads to one copy of the book for every 0.20% of ratio, 17 in Spain (that is 5.105105… % ~ 5.11%) and the rest in the USA.

    I’d be very glad to have in my hands the 18th Spanish copy of the book, until now I’ve lived with Adobe docs and blogs, but I think the book could be a great improvement.

    Keep on the good work.

  5. Hi Yakov,

    These figures are really interesting although i feel that there are 2 significant factors that are not accounted for in these numbers ….

    1. Language: your book is being bought by people who understand english to a level that they can comprehend advanced technical material written in english … my analysis on how many flex developers are there? based on the visitor statistics of flexbox showed that the number of flex developers in China, Japan and Korea is very high in percentage terms.

    2. Cost: as you mentioned .. the cost of your book is quite high (i’m sure its well deserved) in countries like India where its price is 8 to 9 times the average cost of a programming book (again i feel your material must be well worth it) … it’s probably organisations and not individuals who are buying your book thus the percentage is not indicative of the number of developers as many would be sharing the one book that an organisation buys.

    What could be really interesting though is if you could share the percentage statistics from your flexblog … in which case although the language factor would remain ..the cost factor would be eliminated and we may be able to decipher a better picture. I understand that there are flaws like … the handling of DHCP connections etc with the web stats approach but we may still able to draw a picture with that data.

  6. @ Saverio – send me an email off line with your mailing address in Spain – I’ll send you a copy of the book for free (not because you gave the only correct answer, but because you gave possibly correct answer). Promise.

    @ Mrinal – while your statistics is interesting, it shows people who have something to do with Flex. While I’m interested in people who actually use it at work. The fact that the book is expensive really helps for my statistics. The vast majority of people who downloaded Flex out of curiosity will never purchase this book – they do not need it. There is more than enough of free information on the Internet.
    On the other hand, most of the people who earn their living by programming in Flex, make at least $20 USD per hour regardless of where in the World they live (India included). If this book saves such a professional just 4 hours of work, it already paid for itself. This is how I look at the books on programming.

    I’m sure many orders from underdeveloped countries are paid by employers, but again, I’m surprised that such a small number of Indian employers think of making the lives of their workers a bit easier. That’s all. I’m pretty sure that a bootlegged version of this book printed on the rice paper will become available in Bangalore priced at three-four dollars. Do I blame these countries? No I’m not. m It’s a very complicated issue and let’s just worry about math :)


  7. Hi Yakov,

    After reading your comment above… I agree that since you are trying to estimate a subset of the total … probably the cost of the book helps in that matter.

    Why less number of employers are buying the book in india? .. well that is a complicated issue …

    Firstly, contrary to views like 1 in every 10 java developers is taking up flex, flex is not yet very popular in india both with developers and decision makers … i’ve expressed this view in the past … living in bangalore and being a Java developer at heart I interact with many java developers and most of them dont know what Flex is until i tell them (this is slowly changing) … i have experienced a similar thing with managers as well … so if my estimates are right then there are only about 2000 developers interested in flex in India … if we assume that only a portion of these are professional and that portion is buying your book in groups of say 5 … I think we would be able to explain the low numbers.

    Secondly.. unfortunately you are right… there are people who do wait for the bootlegged versions (they have their reasons, life has been difficult for some of them) … on the brighter side though I don think bootlegging would affect your book any time soon because flex i feel as a topic is not popular enough yet.

    Also, off the topic … we prefer India to be refered to as developing rather than underdeveloped :) ….. no hard feelings :)

  8. Where did you get these numbers from 1 in every 10? I’d say 1 in every 500. Flex still has a long way to go in Java community.

    Bootlegged versions do not bother me at all as I never looked at this book as a way to make money. Technical books are not about making money. I wrote about it over here : http://yakovfain.javadevelopersjournal.com/how_to_work_for_50c_per_hour.htm Just read the comments to that blog from Russia. They are angry that American publishers do not care about them and do not publish books especially for Russian programmers. What a nonsense…

    I did not know that India likes to be called “developing country”. I’ll keep this in mind. But the thing is that I usually write what I think. I might be wrong, but at least I’m honest. When a writer of very popular book about the world being flat talks about the CEO of InfoSys in India staring at the wall with a dozen of large monitors to see what are his teams doing around the world… I can only say that this is bullshit. When India will accept the concept of a traffic light and when people there will have steady water supply, when bribes will become exceptions rather than norm, I’ll call your country developing. But I do not think it’s going to happen any time soon…no hard feelings :)

    Having said all this…I like working with Indian programmers (stressing the word Programmers and not people who just participate in the golden rush of making money off of IT).

  9. You do know that this stats are very unreliable do you? For example in Japan no Japanese developer who doesn’t understand English would order or buy an English book. And the amount of English understanding/speaking Japanese is approx. 12%. In fact popular books are translated into Japanese and otherwise Japan has it’s very own book market with professional books that you find nowhere else than in Japan and that are written in Japanese. Therefore I would say that the value for Japan is higher than that 0.60%.

  10. The 1 in every 10 figure had appered on the O’Reilly blog in this article and you yourself had linked to it as well in your previous estimate of how many flex developers are there? … I would easily believe you if you say the figure is 1 in every 500 as that is a lot more closer to reality in India.

    I appreciate your honesty and openness to discuss (that is a good thing and could help getting rid of lot of misconceptions) … India does have a currupt political system … hence currupt government, bureaucracy … and hence all those problems that you mentioned above. But we are still developing as we are moving in the right direction …. the Indian economy is growing at 9.2% with booming industry and development and that too in just 60 years since independence from the British rule. The average per capita income has grown many folds in the last 20 years or so. The rate at which we are progressing is very good …. these problems are very grim and severe and the newly emerging educated and money empowered generation is trying to do something about it. I remember from my history lessons that even the United States was doing pretty bad in the first 100 years since its independence (civil war and stuff)…. India is still very young and things will improve as they did in most developed countries. The rate of improvement is very good and hence we are developing.

  11. Hi Yakov,
    After reading the comments above that you have posted in the reply to Mrinal I can make out two points.

    1.The pricing of the book really matters to the Indian Programmers, and as you can see there are many books having Indian subcontinent version for it, there are certain ppl (including me ) waiting for the book to available in Indian edition.
    2. By calling India whatever you like to call “Developing” or “Underdeveloped” you cant deny the contribution to the IT community.

    Talking about Flex, you would be happy to know that i am a ASP.net C# programmer and I have migrated to flex and i m pretty excited about clubbing asp.net and flex together :)
    Just a novice in the world of Flex, and i am really happy that there is a serious community backing available with pretty committed guys like you.

    No hard feelings to any one …
    Anupam Shah

  12. Interesting stats. How about now weighting the results based on population of each country ?!


  13. The language argument doesn’t hold water.

    In IT (overall in modern World) we have no other Esperanto then English. Majority of developers have at least intermediate English reading skills. Speaking/writing skills is a different question. In Russia / China / India having reading English skills is one of major requirements when you apply for programmer position. Have you seen Russian/Chinese version of MSDN Library or Java API docs? I doubt no. So if developers can read English documentation they should be able to read English technical books.

    Funny, but I find it is simply impossible to read technical books translated into Russian. Typically translations are terrible and it’s better to call them transliteration where English nouns are written using Cyrillic alphabet. The worst example was “Design Patterns” by GoF. After reading 3-5 pages I’d thrown it away and bought original English version. Worse to mention that books dedicated to specific technology frequently get outdated when translation completed.

    @sascha/hdrs: And the amount of English understanding/speaking Japanese is approx. 12%.
    Well, the same way I can say that amount of Alabama plumbers who understands Java is approx. 0%. The correct question is: what is percent of __target__ Japanese-speaking audience understands English. I bet 90%+


  14. Hi Yakov. I’m really surprised with seeing my country, Spain, in the second place :). It’s really good to see Flex is becoming really important in our country! :). Thanks for the info.

  15. Hi all. In Venezuela we also have serious developments.. one is the company I work at.. http://www.openenglish.com all the learning platform is based on RIA with Flex.. a partner and I work everyday on that.. I think that statistic ain’t representative, for example here in this hell government we just have fucking 400 USD to buy stuff on Internet…

    that’s my opinion, I think Flex is really unknown but the people who knows about flex “really knows” e.g.,me.

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