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InfoQ Homepage News Brief Analysis of the State of JavaScript 2017 Results

Brief Analysis of the State of JavaScript 2017 Results

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The State of JavaScript 2017 results are in and, just like in past years, they show that JavaScript continues to change at a fever pace with some industry stalwarts stalling while upstarts advance.

On the website for this year's results, the team has provided a "Connections" view which allows readers to interact with a chord diagram to investigate the data. For example, using the chart, selecting "JavaScript Flavors" (ES6, TypeScript, Flow, etc.) and "Front-End Frameworks" (React, Angular, Angular 2, etc.), we can visually see that there are more developers using React with TypeScript than with Flow. We can drill down on this data and see that over 4,300 developers use Microsoft's typed JavaScript alternative while just over 2,200 use Flow, the JavaScript type system developed by Facebook itself. The number of investigation points is seemingly endless.

image showing the relative use of typescript and flow among React developers
Image showing the "flavors" of JavaScript used by React developers.

On the front-end libraries front, Vue has made significant headway in both mindshare and use, leapfrogging over Angular 2 to take the #3 most-used framework (behind React and Angular). Digging into the details, we can see that the framework usage varies by country. Vue is heavily used in China where it's used in companies such as Alibaba and Baidu. Evan You, the creator of Vue, said that Vue "had this whole translation of Vue documentation into really well written Chinese, so that helped a lot with Vue’s adoption in China." Angular is used more heavily in India while React is heavy in Australia and Russia.

According to the results, lodash is used almost 7 times as much as the original underscore library, while over 4,700 developers say they still use jQuery. For text editors, Microsoft's VS Code is used the most with Atom and Sublime Text in the #2 and #3 positions.

Yet, developers are still critical of JavaScript. Over 57% of respondents agree or somewhat agree that "Building JavaScript apps is overly complex right now", yet 82% enjoy building JavaScript apps.

Of course, some of these results are skewed in the direction of the developer communities in which it was publicized. There are other State of JavaScript in 2017-type surveys, such as one from JetBrains, that offers a different perspective.

For 2018, the survey's creator Sacha Greif has some predictions:

Apart from the rise of TypeScript and Vue’s continued rapid growth, I would say keep an eye out for GraphQL. It’s the technology that has the largest interest ratio (developers wanting to learn it vs developers not interested in it) while still having a fairly low number of actual current users, which probably indicates a sizable portion of the ecosystem learning GraphQL in 2018!

This year's survey had responses from over 28,000 developers, while 2016 had 9,307, providing a much larger developer base to draw conclusions from.

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