The State Of JavaScript 2021
Written by Mike James   
Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Although JavaScript is considered the language of the web, it has become a multi-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.

stateofjs2021

2021 was the sixth year of this survey, and the fifth time we have covered it. It was originated in 2016 by JavaScript developers Sacha Greif and Raphaël Benitte and for the initial run attracted 9307 responses. The 2021 survey, which actually ran in January 2022, collected 16,085 responses and was conducted by Sacha Greif with help from a team of open-source contributors and consultants.

JavaScript is a huge language with a lot of features - and the potential downside of this is that JavaScript developers may not even be aware of features that they would find useful. A graphic introduced in the 2019 version of the survey gives an overview of the awareness of language features and their usage, grouped by categories. The bigger the circle the more respondents are aware of it and the bigger the proportion that is bright the greater the usage. 

jsfeatures

On the whole respondents to the survey were pretty clued up about what JavaScript has to offer. The Knowledge Score chart below is of all respondents but after eliminating those who didn't answer the question (7%) over three-quarters were aware of over 50% of them with the peak being at 70-80%   

jsknoowledge

It isn't surprising that most know about BigInt but don't use it - how many applications actually need unlimited integer precision? I am more surprised that web sockets are so used - I thought I was the only one with an obscure reason to make such a connection!

A new visualization in the 2021 report summarizes satisfaction with JavaScript Libraries by ranking libraries by 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 chart has four tiers - the top being above 90% satisfaction and the largest being 80%-90% satisfaction with 14 libraries in this band.

jssurvlibrary

Vite with a satisfaction score of 97% is a Build Tool and is new in this year's survey. esbuild which comes next has the same purpose and was introduced in the 2020 survey. The highest-rated (89%) Front-end framework is Svelte which is the newest in this category. React comes next in this category (84%) with Vue (80%) in this same tier. Angular is in the bottom tier with only 45% of users willing to use ti use it again. Next.js is the top-rated Back-end framework with 91% while Gatsby with 51% has continued to decline in popularity. 

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

jspainpoints

The other question was "Which 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.

jswishes

Personally I think that static typing would be a huge change to the language to the point where it would have to change its name - maybe something like Typescript? I do think a standard library would be a good idea, but until only recently jQuery served that defacto role.

Overall, however, over  three quarters of respondents are happy or very happy with the current start of JavaScript and only 6% are unhappy or very unhappy.

jshappy

 

There is plenty more information in the survey report and new this year you can customize charts to make new discoveries using the data.

stateofjs2021sq

  • Mike James is the author of JavaScript Jems: The Amazing Parts which is collection of twenty readings on the features that make JavaScript stand apart from other languages and make it special in terms of having admirable qualities.

More Information

The State of JavaScript 2021 

Related Articles

How Is JavaScript Doing? (2020)

JavaScript Still Worth A Survey (2019)

Survey Reveals JavaScript Trends (2018)

JavaScript Ecosystem Under Scrutiny (2017)

JavaScript Turns 25

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

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 February 2022 )