The State of JavaScript 2021

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Although JavaScript is considered the language of the web, it has become a general-purpose language that has accreted a complex ecosystem of frameworks and libraries. The annual State of JavaScript survey is an attempt to gauge developers’ knowledge of the language and their satisfaction with it.


2021 was the sixth year of this survey, and the fifth time we’ve covered it. It was launched in 2016 by JavaScript developers Sacha Greif and Raphaël Benitte and for the first run attracted 9307 responses. The 2021 survey, which actually took place in January 2022, garnered 16,085 responses and was conducted by Sacha Greif with the help of a team of contributors and open source consultants.

JavaScript is a huge language with many features – and the potential downside is that JavaScript developers may not even be aware of the features they would find useful. A chart introduced in the 2019 version of the survey provides an overview of language feature awareness and usage, grouped by categories. The larger the circle, the more respondents are aware of it, and the larger the proportion of shiny, the greater the usage.

js features

Overall, survey respondents were quite aware of what JavaScript has to offer. The knowledge score table below is for all respondents, but after eliminating those who did not answer the question (7%), more than three-quarters were aware of the existence of more than 50% of between them, the peak being between 70 and 80%.

jknowledge

It’s no surprise that most know about BigInt but don’t use it – how many applications actually need unlimited integer precision? I’m more surprised that web sockets are so used – I thought I was the only one with some obscure reason for making such a connection!

A new visualization in the 2021 report summarizes satisfaction with JavaScript libraries by ranking libraries based on the percentage of users who would use a library again. Libraries are color coded by type and those used by less than 10% of the survey have been excluded. The graph has four levels – the highest being above 90% satisfaction and the highest being 80% to 90% satisfaction with 14 libraries in this band.

jssurv library

Vite with a 97% satisfaction score is a building tool and is new to this year’s survey. esbuild which comes next has the same goal and was introduced in the 2020 survey. The highest rated front-end framework (89%) is Svelte, the newest in this category. React comes next in this category (84%) with Vue (80%) in this same level. Angular is in the bottom tier with only 45% of users willing to use it again. Next.js is the highest rated back-end framework with 91% while Gatsby with 51% continued to decline in popularity.

The survey included new questions this year. Two of them were 8-player tournament style questions where respondents made comparisons. The first of these aimed to reveal weak points and the results show that managing dependencies and code architecture are the aspects that developers struggle with the most:

jspainpoints

The other question was “What feature would you most like to be able to use in JavaScript today?” and Static Typing and a standard library ranked highest in this exercise.

jswish

Personally, I think static typing would be a huge change in the language to the point where it should change its name – maybe something like Typescript? I think a standard library would be a good idea, but until recently jQuery served this de facto role.

Overall, however, more than three-quarters of respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with the current startup of JavaScript and only 6% are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

jshappy

There’s a lot more information in the survey report, and this year you can customize the charts to make new discoveries using the data.

js2021sq status

  • mike james is the author of JavaScript Jems: the amazing pieces which is a collection of twenty readings on the features that set JavaScript apart from other languages ​​and make it special in terms of admirable qualities.

More information

The State of JavaScript 2021

Related Articles

How is JavaScript doing? (2020)

JavaScript is still worth a survey (2019)

Survey Reveals JavaScript Trends (2018)

JavaScript Ecosystem Under Surveillance (2017)

JavaScript turns 25

JavaScript Jems: The Amazing Parts (I/O Press)

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