State of JavaScript survey: Svelte and Nuxt good, Angular and Cordova bad

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The latest survey data assessing the JavaScript ecosystem is in, with a heady mix of winners and losers – but a continuing stream of innovation in features and libraries.

The 2019 State of JavaScript study, published at the end of last month, saw more than 21,000 respondents – albeit more than 91% were male – with two thirds (64%) having between two and 10 years’ experience with the language.

When it came to the different technologies and how satisfied respondents were, the results were based on usage as well as happiness. User interface library React, Node.js framework Express and testing product Jest scored highly on both metrics – more than 60% usage and 90% satisfaction – with TypeScript outside. In the bottom right ‘analyse’ category – in other words, get your head analysed if you’re using this – only Angular, which extends HTML frameworks, saw a place, with below 40% satisfaction and almost 60% usage.

Cordova, the mobile app framework formerly known as PhoneGap, was something of a curate’s egg. Satisfaction with the product was at 28% – only Meteor and Sails scored worse – with usage at just over 30%, seeing a gradual if not precipitous decline since 2016.

For those technologies at the lower end but seeing a positive uptick, Svelte and Nuxt stood out. Svelte, a web app framework which has been compared favourably to React, was named as the most popular write-in for the 2018 State of JavaScript report. Nuxt, meanwhile, is a Vue.js web application framework. The former had 87.6% satisfaction with fewer than 10% adoption, while the latter hit 88.5% at approximately 12.5% adoption.

In terms of syntax and grammar on JavaScript, standardisation was almost uniform. 97% of those polled said they used arrow functions, with this number dropping slightly to 89.5% for spread syntax and 85% for destructuring. For language itself, there was greater division. Some terms, such as proxy objects – used to define custom behaviour for fundamental operations – had 43% of respondents unfamiliar with it. Others, such as decorators, wrapping one piece of code with another, had 25% unfamiliarity but an almost even mix on usage (37.9% for, 37.4% against).

The research also explored the usage of various browser APIs and again found a mix of responses. Fetch, as well as the local storage property, were particularly popular with 81.5% and 88% usage respectively. The WebSocket API saw solid uptake with 59.2% usage and only 7% who had either never heard of it or were unsure. Yet for WebGL and WebRTC, two standards which have previously generated considerable noise, the indifference was palpable. 43% of those polled were unsure around WebRTC with only one in 10 using it, while WebGL had a more definitive refusal; more than two thirds (68.6%) said they did not use it.

The report authors, Sacha Greif and Raphael Benitte, admitted that 2018 would be the last year of the study. How much could an almost 25-year-old language keep changing year over year, after all? Yet with Svelte, Nuxt and others, enough innovation is taking place in the JS world. “No matter how many weirdly-named libraries the community keeps throwing at you, we’ll be there to help make sense of all this chaos,” the authors noted.

You can take a look at the full report and data by visiting here.

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