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Sacha Greif
Sacha Greif

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State of JavaScript 2021: What People Are Saying

As usual, this year's State of JavaScript survey results are generating a lot of discussion. So I thought I'd take the time to do a quick round-up.

Special Announcement: we're doing a State of JS 2021 Livestream! Make sure to tune in!

Let's kick things of with a tweet by none other than Vue creator Evan You:

What Evan is pointing out here is that people saying they "wouldn't use X again" doesn't necessarily mean that X is bad. For example, Gulp was great for its time but is now losing ground to newer build tools. So saying that people are unsatisfied with it might be misleading.

For that very reason, we actually don't feature older-generation frameworks like jQuery or Backbone even though their usage levels are still very high.

Evan suggested factoring in the age of a project into the calculation somehow, and that's definitely a good idea.

By the way, I found it funny that people came to Vite's defense in the thread's replies. When Evan said Vite got a "ridiculous satisfaction rating", he meant ridiculously… good!

Vite satisfaction

Rich Harris

After the V.I.P. of Vue, it's now time for the Sultan of Svelte to share his impressions:

This is nice to hear, and a big reason why I keep doing the survey is the ability to turn the spotlight onto underrated projects and people. Which is why the Resources section keeps getting longer; and why we added the "Pick of the Year" idea.

People of JavaScript

Asking respondents to list their favorite JavaScript people

Shawn Wang

Shawn wrote the official conclusion for this year's survey results, but I had to cut it down for practical reasons.

You can (and should!) check out the full version on his own blog though.

There's a reason I asked Shawn to write this conclusion in the first place, he's one of the most knowledgeable and insightful JavaScript people I know!

Laurie Voss

Laurie is the co-founder of a little thing you might have heard about called npm. He also shared some insights about the results:

Laurie also linked to Netlify's own Jamstack survey, which I suggest checking out if you want more stats n' graphs.

Ryan Carniato

If you don't yet know Ryan Carniato's name, I believe this might change soon.

Ryan is the author of Solid, which beat out React, Vue, and yes even Svelte to become the highest-rated front end framework in term of developer satisfaction!

Front end frameworks

Front end frameworks satisfaction

Ryan posted a great write-up of his thoughts on the survey, and I encourage you to check them out.

Matteo Collina

Fastify maintainer Matteo Collina also had some nice things to say!

Personally I have yet to try Fastify but it's definitely on my list of things to check out.

Kilian Valkhof

OK I'm cheating a bit here because technically this is about the State of CSS and not the State of JS, but since both sites use the exact same codebase (just flip an env variable!) I think it's fair to include developer-focused browser Polypane creator Kilian Valkhof's write-up of his work to make the site more accessible and more responsive.

Hacker News

As you might expect there's a very active debate going on at Hacker News with over 200 comments. And right away, the top comment brings that classic Hacker News Heat:

The "Back end frameworks" section is particularly bad. Sveltekit and Astro are not "back end frameworks" unless you define tech by what marketing copy people have written. [...] Again I have the feeling that choosing which techs go into this section is driven by something like "github star delta" rather than an evaluation of what the tech actually does.

That poster is not wrong. Frameworks like Astro, Express, and Fastify all do very different things, and don't really belong in the same category. But without categories you'd have hundreds of entrants on the same chart and the result would be unreadable. And with dozens of more accurate sub-categories the survey would become even longer. So the current state of things is the best compromise I could find…

As for the "GitHub star delta" comment, that's totally accurate! It's not a secret that a big factor we use for deciding who is included in the survey is the annual Rising Stars report put out by Best of JS.

The entire point of the survey is to ask developers about up-and-coming frameworks to see if the hype checks out, and GitHub stars are as good a proxy as any to measure what developers are currently curious about.


Great discussion over at r/javascript as well.

A commenter points out a recurring trend that I've noticed as well:

I find it interesting that, for all the front-end framework rankings, satisfaction tends to go down, and usage tends to stay flat.

I think it boils down to frameworks being confronted with the real world. Once the honeymoon phase is over and you start to actually build large production apps with a new library, you start running into all the annoying edge cases that made you despise that previous library you had to deal with.

And sometimes the new framework does a better job with them, but sometimes it doesn't. In any case a drop in reported satisfaction once you cross over into the mainstream is to be expected, and is nothing to worry about.

Your Turn!

What did you think about this year's survey? Did you notice any improvements, or are you all hyped-out? Let me know in the comments!

Top comments (7)

jfbrennan profile image
Jordan Brennan

I think the survey could put more emphasis on real web platform technologies and drop framework-related questions. It always gets reduced to a Miss Framework contest and managers use it to say no to anything but React, which only reinforces the artificial hype.

There's a lot more that could be asked and discussed post-survey that could really help advance the web.

One awesome highlight is how quickly and broadly the Optional Chaining operator was adopted (a 91% usage ratio!). And that the second most-used feature is the Nullish Coalescing operator (78%). Very interesting data points imo!
-What was it about these relatively new JavaScript features that made them so useful?
-Do spec authors and browser implementers know these two little operators are like the biggest hits of new JavaScript?
-Why is another little feature - Numeric Separators - not getting traction (16%)?
-What other little features is JavaScript missing today that would get such instant and widespread adoption?

Also, questions like "Have you heard of the upcoming Temporal API?" and "Do you intend to replace Date, Moment, date-fns, etc. when available?" would be interesting to see.

I think conversations like that are way more important for the web than React dropping to 3rd place.

sachagreif profile image
Sacha Greif

I think this totally makes sense from an experienced developer’s point of view, but for beginners I think the number one question remains which framework they’re going to pick to learn first, and maybe even find a job to make a living. That’s why the survey tries to juggle both aspects.

jfbrennan profile image
Jordan Brennan

That's an honest effort, but it only reinforces bad behaviors within the community. Perhaps the survey should have a section on advice for newcomers?

Thread Thread
sachagreif profile image
Sacha Greif

I feel like that role might be better suited by people blogging about the survey, rather than the survey itself. At some point you have to let go and trust people with the data, otherwise the whole thing will become an endless mess of caveats and notes (even more than it already is!).

markgoho profile image
Mark Goho

Someday I hope to see this survey conducted with more academic rigor so that real decisions can be made based on the results. For most of us who have this kind of decision-making power, we all see the survey for what it is: State of What React Devs think about the React Ecosystem and Tools/Libs that are Tangential to it

sachagreif profile image
Sacha Greif

Actually this was my first choice for a name as well but the domain was already taken so I had to fall back on “State of JavaScript”.

pengeszikra profile image
Peter Vivo


I really miss the pipeline operator! I've been using it for 2 years. Give better view when chained functions, which is really standard use case in functional programming.