Survey Reveals JavaScript Trends
Wednesday, 21 November 2018

The results of the JavaScript Trends 2018 survey are out. This year's report has a new dark theme which helps identify trends. However, the conclusion is that 2018 was mostly a continuation of the trends observed last year!

statejavascript18

This is the third year in which JavaScript developers Sacha Greif, Raphaël Benitte and Michael Rambeau have conducted a survey to provide a comprehensive look at the JavaScript landscape, First time around, in 2016, they had 9307 responses to 89 questions and on the subsequent occasions over 20,000.  

Developers participating this year came from 125 countries, with USA being by far the best represented with 24% of the total. They were overwhelmingly male (94%) with only  5% female and a further 1% non-binary/third gender or other. The survey also collected data on years of experience, company size and salary in order to look for relationships between adoption of JavaScript "flavors", frameworks and libraries.

The years of experience distribution shows that over half of respondents have between 2 and 10 years:

js18ysexp

The salary distribution indicates that the median for paid workers - notice that over 5% work for free - is somewhere above $50K:

js18salaries

 

In the case of salary geography is responsible for much of the variation. The median across the survey is around $55,000. Developers in the USA and Australia having averages of $116.70 and $109.10 respectively after conversion to US dollars are clearly the highest paid. Whereas those in Venezuela ($6,700) and Nigeria ($9,100) have lowest remuneration. Switzerland,Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland  and UK pay above the average. Germany and Ukraine are places where salaries are around the median.

We've described the methodology of this survey both with regard to the 2017 report and in Help Identify JavaScript Trends and essentially it asks developers whether they have used or heard of technologies, whether they liked them and what are their good and bad points.

Since 2017 the list of "JavaScript Flavors" changed with the removal of "Plain" JavaScript aka ES5. This leaves: 

  • ES6 (E6)
  • TypeScript (Ts)
  • Flow (Fw)
  • Reason (Re)
  • Elm (El)
  • ClojureScript (Cj)

js18flavour

As the above chart shows, ES6 is by far the most popular with 86% of respondents falling into the "Used It would use it again category" and only 1% choosing "Used It would not use it again". 

The overview section also correlates the "used it would use it again" responses with length of experience and salary. ClojureScript stands out as being associated with long experience and having the highest salary.

New this year is a page devoted to each of the flavors, frameworks and libraries included which gives more detail than previously. These individual pages start with a chart showing "Popularity Over Time" - which covers the two year history of the survey:

js18e6pop

As far as ES6 is concerned this shows that the proportion responding "Heard of it, would like to learn" has decreased, mainly between 2016 and 2017, increasing the base of its satisfied users. What is also clear is that there has been little change between 2017 and 2018, a scenario that crops up repeatedly in this years results.

Respondents in the survey were asked different questions according to whether or not they intended to continue using a product giving a wealth of detail about liked and disliked features. As regards ES6, most the most-liked aspects of the language were mentioned by thousands of respondents:

  1. Elegant programming style and patterns (14,085)
  2. Full-featured & powerful (7478)
  3. Good documentation (6924)

On the other hand its most disliked aspects, from developers who would not use it again, had relatively few mentions:

  • Buggy, error-prone code
  • Clumsy programming style 
  • Bloated and complex

As a JavaScript aficionado, personally I find the lastest version elegant and full featured, the more so if you understand it on its own terms. It can be a difficult language to understand because of its rich pedigree and errors are committed by those who haven't got its measure.

One of the strengths of the JavaScript Trends survey is in providing insights into the relationships within the entire ecosystem. From its first iteration it provided Connections, an interactive tool that lets you obtain quantitative answers to questions such as:

How many React users also use Redux?
Do GraphQL fans prefer Jest?
Are Express developers also into Ember?

If you want a more general impression of what is used with what then consult the "Which Tools and Used Alongside XX" which used stronger shades to indicate correlations.

Here's the one for TypeScript which shows developers who would use it again also use ES6 and favor React as a Front-End Framework, Express for Back-end, and Redux for Data Layer.

js18typescript

 

Another new feature is a quadrant chart that is great for an overall recommendation based on each technology's satisfaction ration over its total usage. There are four areas in the chart.

Assess  Low usage, high satisfaction 

Adopt    High usage, high satisfaction

Avoid    Low usage, low satisfaction

Analyze High usage, low satisfaction

Analyze really should be expressed as "Change" or "Run away", but it would spoil the alliteration.

Here's the Quadrant Chart for Front-End Frameworks:

 js18frontendquad

 

React is well into the Adopt area and is also displayed as "on fire" as over 50% of those who don't use it are interested in learning it. Vue.js is also on fire but has fewer users. The one to run away from is Angular while Polymer and Ember are also to be avoided. Preact is however worth keeping an eye on.

 

 

More Information

The State of JavaScript 2018 

JavaScript Ecosystem Under Scrutiny

Related Articles

Help Identify JavaScript Trends 

JavaScript Ecosystem Under Scrutiny

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 November 2018 )