What comes after React?
On the front-end, React is still the leader, ranked #1 in use and awareness. However, React is only #4 for interest and #3 for retention. Which front-end frameworks enjoy the highest interest and retention?
Those would be Svelte and Solid, respectively. This marks a slight shift from last year, when Svelte held #1 in both categories. Svelte and Solid are vying for the title of upstart developer favourite.
Angular is showing ominous signs of weakness around retention and interest, ranking near the bottom at #9. Nevertheless, it remains #2 for actual usage, and #3 for awareness. Vue continues to be a strong contender, with a decent ranking across all categories.
Overall the story on the front-end is of incremental refinements, rather than revolutionary upheaval.
On developer interest and retention, SvelteKit led the field, taking #1 in both categories. On interest, newcomers Remix and Astro earned the #2 and #3 places. Gatsby, the static site generator, still holds a high rank of #3 in awareness and use, but has declined to position #13 in both interest and retention.
In similar style to Vue itself, the full-stack framework for Vue, Nuxt, registered a respectable #4 in awareness and use, and a ranking of #9 for interest and retention. Astro, in addition to ranking #3 in retention, ranked #2 in interest. The Fastify framework ranked #3 in retention.
Unstoppable TypeScript and tsc
One of the strongest trends is the continuing growth of TypeScript along with the greater awareness and use of its command line compiler, tsc.
Elm by popular demand
The takeaway? Clearly the basic ideas in Elm are still desirable and popular. Perhaps a new leader could take up the project and carry it forward to the benefit of the entire ecosystem.
The promise of Elm is underscored by its winning the Most Write-Ins award. Even when Elm wasn’t an explicit choice among the answers to questions in the survey, users love it so much that they wrote it in.
Nullish coalescing coalesces
Dynamic imports has also grown to become a well known feature, although not as widely used. That is understandable, since lazy loading modules is not nearly as common a need. More on dynamic imports here.
Shadow DOM and Lit
On the browser API side, WebSockets are both well known and widely used, with nearly 70 per cent of developers who know about them saying they have used them.
Shadow DOM has a similar footprint, with around 70 per cent being aware of the feature, and nearly 66 per cent of those aware having used it. Shadow DOM is an especially interesting feature as it represents the frontier between frameworks like React, the W3C standards, and browser implementations.
Speaking of the Shadow DOM, the Lit framework, built explicitly upon the foundation of the browser shadow DOM and the web component spec, is showing a modest rise out of obscurity from 2020 until the survey date.
Test with Jest
One of the rising stars of the JS ecosystem is the Jest testing framework. Jest was one the most positively received technologies in the 2020 survey, and the latest survey shows it ebbing only slightly on that front, while the number of developers using it has risen.
The battle of the build tools
One factor in this dissatisfaction may be expectations: the simple fact that as more people use any popular tool, and as more people are required to use it because it has become standard, the more it tends to come under fire as a tool that should work flawlessly.
Snowpack, Rollup, and Parcel are also nibbling away at Webpack’s mindshare, but the most dramatic uptick in awareness and would-use-again-ness is esbuild (learn more about esbuild here). Another upstart contender is SWC, which is also showing sharp growth in interest among developers.
Where JS developers come from
No surprise that the United States is home to the lion’s share of developers on the globe. But can you guess which nation comes in second? If you guessed Germany, you’d be right, with 6.6 per cent of respondents indicating they are from there.
Deutschland is followed closely by Russia with a 6.2 per cent share, and France and the UK with 5.7 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively. Surprisingly, China represents only 1.6 per cent of respondents.
It certainly makes for interesting reading. Here’s hoping that Sacha Greif and his team will continue their heroic efforts next year — and for many years to come.