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Developers rank Web platform providers

eBay takes the top spot as a Web services provider although Microsoft continues to maintain developer loyalty.

eBay gets the highest overall marks from developers as a Web platform provider followed by Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN, according to a new survey by Evans Data.

Amazon.com, which is trying to develop a large Web services business, scored near the bottom while Google gets good marks for its tools--even better than Microsoft.

Although simmering for a while, the idea of building Web applications on top of large-scale commercial sites like Yahoo or Google has picked up steam significantly in the past two years.

This is an important transition in the application development area--and the Internet overall. As more computing moves toward the Web, the companies offering Web services that provide mashups and other Web applications are gaining more clout.

The survey highlights some of the items that developers are seeking from Web platform providers to build mashup applications or add-ons.

Specifically, developers need documentation and community support from the vendors. as well as a solid technical foundation. Financial incentive can also be a big driver although it's not critical, according to the survey.

The survey found that each of the Web platform providers has different strengths and weaknesses.

eBay developers suffered the most outages and downtime, but it has well-crafted application programming interfaces (APIs) and offers developers financial incentive. The company is hosting its developer conference in Boston next week.

Looking forward, the data again tilts toward eBay, which is projected to gain more "integration" from developers over the next year.

But the other vendors on the survey's list--PayPal, Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Amazon--do not appear to be far behind on the integration ranking. Salesforce.com, another Web platform provider primarily tied to its customer relationship management applications, was not included in the survey.