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InfoQ Homepage News State of Elm 2017 Survey Results Are In

State of Elm 2017 Survey Results Are In

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Brian Hicks has published the 2017 State of Elm Survey Results which show a growing community, but that the nascent language still has a lot of road ahead.

In terms of raw numbers, there were 1,170 respondents, up 90% from last year (614). While most are using Elm in web development, the changes in uses other than web development show that the community is figuring out new ways to use the language. For example, Elm usage in game development and graphics is down, but usage in developer tools and education is up. Hicks says this may be just an artifact of the survey itself.

The youth of the language itself shows up in a couple areas. It is now at version 0.18, a number that is sure to keep enterprise developers on the sidelines for now. Less than 7% of people said they used Elm in production at work on user-facing apps. The language is too new for there to be any sort of Long Term Support version. This year, only 30% of respondents have used Elm for at least a year.

The vast majority of developers keep up to date about Elm in less traditional ways, which may be contributing to its lack of visibility. The top four ways of discovering Elm news and discussion are Slack, Reddit, the Elm Weekly Newsletter, and Twitter. Three of these four methods have inherently limited discovery from traditional methods such as Google.

11% of respondents say the biggest pain point is the learning curve. Hicks says that "new users tend to be on the subreddit, while more experienced users are on Slack". His recommendation for people learning the language is to, "get on Slack. You’ll find help much faster. Part of that is because it’s a chat instead of a message board, but there are also more people there." In an interview with InfoQ, Hicks says Slack helps developers "get unstuck quickly".

People are using a variety of methods to learn, but they get help fastest via Slack or Reddit. But this is just online interaction. Elm in Action and Richard's other work (classes and community interactions) are commonly cited as the way people got into Elm, as well as Elm conferences and my own book (though that's a little more advanced.)

While this may be true, the concentrated expert-to-newbie ratio and synchronous nature of a chat system like Slack can be intimidating to new people.

Hicks was a panelist on InfoQ's Virtual Panel on the State of Reactive JavaScript and Elm, where he provides more thoughts on the state of Elm.

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