JavaScript World's Most Popular Programming Language, But Why?

By Kimberly Cook |Email | Dec 15, 2018 | 3237 Views

Code repository service GitHub has shed light on what's fuelling the continued interest in JavaScript.

While Python regularly polls as the fastest-growing language, JavaScript is consistently the most popular.

Much of the work done using JavaScript still seems to be carried out by front-end web developers, despite the language finding new uses in areas such as back-end development in recent years.

Now the code repository service GitHub has shed further light on what's fuelling the continued popularity of JavaScript, as part of a round-up of which technologies spawned the newest open-source projects on GitHub in 2018.

Three JavaScript-related technologies made it into GitHub's list of the "non-language topics" associated with the highest number of new open-source projects last year.

Today, there are more repositories created in JavaScript than in any other language. Repositories created have been rising steadily for the last decade and you'll see a steady uptick after 2011. At this point, GitHub was approaching nearly 1 million repositories total, and new JavaScript servers like Node.js (launched in 2009) were making it possible for developers to use the same code for the client and the server.

Top programming languages by contributors as of September 30, 2018

We've also seen some languages decline in popularity. Ruby has dropped in rankings over the last few years. While the number of contributors coding in Ruby is still on the rise, other languages like JavaScript and Python have grown faster. New projects are less likely to be written in Ruby, especially projects owned by individual users or small organizations, and much more likely to be written in JavaScript, Java, or Python.

Geographic trends in languages by contributors as of September 30, 2018

In the last 12 months, we haven't seen many variations in language usage across regions. However, TypeScript is higher ranked in South America and Africa than in North America and Europe. This might be because developer communities in Africa and South America are relatively newer. The repositories that were contributed to in Africa and South America in the last year are, on average, younger than repositories in North America and Europe. And perhaps this means they're more likely to focus on newer developer technologies.

Fastest growing languages by contributors as of September 30, 2018

Node.js
The server-side runtime environment for JavaScript has opened up a range of uses for the browser-based language.

Not only is Node.js used to run the backend of websites, but it's used for everything from on-demand microservices running on cloud platforms to controlling robots and IoT appliances using Node-RED.

Celebrated for the ability to asynchronously handle data as and when it's ready, the latest LTS version is Node.js 10.14.2, which offers significant performance advantages over earlier LTS versions, and is available to download here.

React
React is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces for websites and apps, which has seen rapid growth in use since its creation by Facebook in 2013.

Prized for its simplicity due to its declarative approach, ease of management, and reusable components React can also be used to build interfaces for mobile apps using React Native.

React was the most commonly used front-end software library/framework in The State of JavaScript 2018 survey of more than 20,000 JavaScript developers. The average salary for users with experience of the library was $73,600, according to the report.

You can find out more about getting started with React here.

Vue
Vue is another framework for building web UIs and is designed to be a simple library that controls the look and functionality of the UI.

Rather than try to handle every element of a web app, such as routing HTTP requests, Vue is designed to integrate with other software libraries to add features as needed.

Vue was the second-most widely used front-end framework in The State of JavaScript 2018 report, with the average salary for users with experience of the library being $62,400, according to the report.

You can find out more about getting started with Vue here.

Outside of JavaScript, there was also a wide range of new open source projects tagged with the topics machine learning and Docker, among others, as you can see in the list of tags below.

  1. nodejs
  2. react
  3. dotnet
  4. docker
  5. android
  6. machine-learning
  7. api
  8. ios
  9. cli
  10. vue
"In 2018 alone, we saw more new users than in our first six years combined, and we celebrated hosting over 100 million repositories. All of this growth is thanks to the open source community," writes Thomas Elliott, a data scientist at GitHub

Source: HOB