The popularity of Windows 7 features like Touch and Multi-Touch technology means more software developers are developing applications for Windows 7, according to a recent survey conducted by Embarcadero Technologies.

More than half of the 606 software developers surveyed – 54% – stated they are currently developing applications for Windows 7 and another 25% said they plan to start developing Windows 7 applications in the next year. Of those who are currently developing for Windows 7, the majority said they started within the past six months to one year. Meanwhile, 10% said they have no plans to develop Windows 7 applications.

Software developers are enthusiastic about Windows 7 features like Touch, Multi-touch and enhanced graphics. Nearly 40% of software developers surveyed were most excited about Touch, Multi-touch and gestures input, while 27% said enhanced graphics, animations and Windows Imaging Component, and 24% said ribbon controls.

According to Michael Rozlog, Product manager for Delphi Solutions at Embarcadero, “The popularity of devices like the iPhone and iPad have helped drive mainstream acceptance of Touch-based technologies. This popularity transcends into the developer community and I doubt we’ll see it abate anytime soon.” He also added that Windows 7 won't suffer the same fate as Windows Vista because Microsoft tweaked it so the most annoying features of Windows Vista are no longer an issue. And even if these issues surface now and then, consumers are just more used to them. The change from Windows Vista to Windows 7 is not as great as was the change from Windows XP to Windows Vista. Though Microsoft states it's ending support for Windows XP in April 2014, Mike Rozlog believes support for Windows XP Professional will be around longer than that.

In the survey, however, multimedia features such as Windows Live Movie Maker and Internet TV got a more lukewarm reception. And the biggest challenge with developing Windows 7 applications, according to 34% of respondents, is being able to support users on older versions of Windows. While many industry analysts are encouraging businesses and consumers to switch to Windows 7 by the end of 2012, Windows users have been slow to change. Because of this reluctance, over 15% of software companies state they are waiting for more organizations to adopt Windows 7 before they develop new apps for it. And over 10% stated their biggest Windows 7 development challenge is having to learn new skills in order to develop these applications. Only 3% believed Windows 7 stability and performance were developmental challenges.

Other results from the survey indicated the majority plan to develop Windows 7 desktop applications first, with database applications second on the list, followed by utilities/tools. Furthermore, small business applications will take priority over enterprise applications.

The survey was conducted in May 2010 by Embarcadero Technologies. Initial results were made public yesterday, July 12. The respondents included developers, architects and analysts.