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2018 Node.js User Survey Report Shows Continued Rapid Growth

| by Kevin Ball Follow 3 Followers on May 31, 2018. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

On May 31st, 2018, the Node.js Foundation released its 2018 User Survey Report, with insights from more than 1600 participants, spanning 100+ countries. Usage continues to grow rapidly, with over ¾ of participants expecting to expand their use of Node.js in the next year, and significant improvements in ease of learning Node reported, as compared to the 2017 version of the report.

The survey is far from the only indicator of Node’s rapidly rising adoption and use. According to ModuleCounts.com, Node’s package registry NPM is adding 507 packages a day, over four times as many as the next largest registry. The 2018 Stack Overflow Survey showed similar results, with JavaScript the most commonly used language and Node.js the most widely used framework.

The rapid growth of the JavaScript ecosystem has led some to wonder if it will begin to dominate not just the web development world, but the entire software development world. In a blog post titled "What If JavaScript Wins", Anil Dash wrote:

What this suggests is that JavaScript may be reaching escape velocity as a network, and as an ecosystem of related technologies. To be clear, there’s no winner-takes-all here — domain-specific languages will always have their uniquely valuable areas of focus. But for general-purpose coding? Everything from spreadsheet macros to Internet of Things hardware seems to default to having JavaScript be one of the primary ways to make things programmable.

The 2018 Node User Survey results do not seem to bear out this hypothesis, instead continuing to paint a picture of primarily web developers with some limited use in other domains. According to the survey, the vast majority (85%) of Node.js users are using it for web development, with 43% reporting some amount of work in the enterprise, 13% using it in big data or analytics, and 8% in embedded systems. What’s more, despite the continued growth of the JavaScript ecosystem, those numbers are essentially unchanged from the 2017 survey.

One thing that has changed is a dramatic increase in the number of Node.js users who are using containers and ‘cloud native’ (aka serverless) deployment options, with 58% of users now using one or another of Docker, Kubernetes, and/or a serverless deployment solution. Use of AWS continues to grow, with 32% of users using it as their primary production environment compared with 29% a year ago, but so does use of Heroku (11% vs 9% YoY), Digital Ocean (8% vs 6% YoY), Google Cloud (5% vs 3% YoY), and Microsoft Azure (5% vs 3% YoY). This growth comes largely at the expense of on-premise deployment, as well as the decline of other cloud providers like IBM Bluemix and Redhat OpenShift.

Learning Node.js appears to be getting easier, with 43% of users with less than two years of node experience reporting that learning was ‘easy’ as compared to 36% in 2017. More experienced users also reported improvements, with 54% stating that learning was easy in 2018 vs 51% in 2017. Satisfaction with the availability and quality of learning resources was high for most topic areas, but there is significant demand for more resources on managing Node.js in production and Node.js and security.

The Node.js Foundation has also created an interactive version of the report where interested parties can dive deeper, slicing and dicing the data by region of the world. They also provide the raw data as an excel file for download.

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