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JavaScript Is Eating The World

Considering the usage of JavaScript, in Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2016 Results there is a sentence written:

More people use JavaScript than any other programming language.

In the link above there is a chart that displays Most Popular Technologies. You can guess what’s the number one technology, it’s JavaScript!

javascript-status-2016

But, not only that. On the chart for Top Full-Stack Tech Stacks per Occupation there is only one technology stack that does not contain JavaScript.

top-correlated-full-stack-techs

And, that’s not all folks. If you look carefully, you’ll see that even Data Scientists, people who on the first glance don’t have anything in common with JS, use it in 50% of the cases. Look at the picture below:

datascience-javascript

And, also Back-end developers:

backend-javascript

Somebody may conclude from these charts & stats that people use JavaScript because they love it. But, look at this chart from the same report:

loved-techNo JavaScript!

When they were asked if they would like to continue developing with the language they are currently using nobody mentioned JavaScript. So, the vast majority of people are using JS not because they like it. To be frank, at the last place is Node.js (server-side JavaScript runtime environment), but for some reason, those guys didn’t mention JS, but Node.js (as a subset of JS technology). Those facts (let me repeat again: almost everybody is using JS, but not so many people would like to continue using it in the future) to say something. So let me try to formulate more precisely what I’m getting at

JavaScript is eating the software!

and I would add

whether you like it or not!

But that’s all not folks, again! 🙂

For those who maybe don’t know, couple a years ago Marc Andreessen wrote now famous article Why Software is Eating The World, stating that every company will become a software company or it will perish. Cease to be.

ex-parrot

Or as they would say on TechCrunch:

“No matter your industry, you’re expected to be reimagining your business to make sure you’re not the next local taxi company or hotel chain caught completely off guard by your equivalent of Uber or Airbnb. But while the inclination to not be “disrupted” by startups or competitors is useful, it’s also not exactly practical. It is decidedly non-trivial for a company in a non-tech traditional industry to start thinking and acting like a software company. This is why the companies we most associate with “Why Software Is Eating the World” now are startups, with a few notable exceptions (like GE).”

https://techcrunch.com/2016/06/07/software-is-eating-the-world-5-years-later/

I’ll repeat the last part, or even better, I’ll rephrase it: Software (startups) are eating the world!  I won’t elaborate on this statement, or try to prove it, because I think it is an old one and now even proven in some part. Hey, it’s on TechCrunch, a.k.a CNN for Software Startups.

So, let’s mix these two statements JavaScript is eating the software and Software is eating the world. That’s a classical Aristotelian syllogism, vaguely similar to the most famous one, which I dare not miss.

Premise I: All men are mortal

Premise II: Socrates is a man

Conclusion: Socrates is mortal!

Similarly:

Premise I: JS is eating the software

Premise II: Software (startups) are eating the world

Conclusion: JS is eating the world!

So, if you are from this world, not to mention startup or any company, look out! You are being eaten by the JavaScript, but only if you are not part of it.

My final conclusion, without any definite proof (I’ll leave it to you to deduce it from the above), is:

Use JavaScript in your MVP whenever you can!

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  1. I don’t necessarily think that you can put a direct link between the amount of people using javascript and the amount of JS questions asked.

    To many people, Javascript is a secondary technology, which they do not use as much or become as familiar with as their primary one such as PHP, C#, Python or whichever language they do primarily.

    Naturally that will cause people to have more questions, because PHP questions are asked by PHP people, .NET by C# people – but JS questions are asked by all of them.

    Futhermore, JS is also often used by designers who are usually not particularly good coders – and they do not understand coding concepts – which again leads to them asking more questions.

  2. Indeed! It first came to my mind when I heard about Johnny-Five, JavaScript for robotics…who knows what else we’ll be able to do with JavaScript in the future.

  3. Statement that there is no js among the loved programming languages is false because node js is no10 on that list..
    Perhaps you want to rephrase the article as dom is eating the world or why there isnt any other programming language other than js for frontend.

    1. Nope, but thanks, I like the title very much 🙂 And, even if I didn’t like it, I believe it’s true.
      Those guys who said Node, as I said in the post above, for some reason didn’t mention JS as a loved superset tech, but declared their love for Node. That is very interesting topic to me, which I plan to investigate further in some post-to-come.
      [also, in StackOverflow’s report DOM is implicitly mentioned when they put HTML on the list far bellow JS on chart Top Tech on Stack Overflow, so I think JS is free of DOM for some time now.]

  4. The reason behind this might be the fact that there is an overall perception that “JavaScript is used by everyone, might be useful so I need to use it too”, and hence more people continue using it, at least once.

  5. A really great article; I especially like the conclusion using a classical Aristotelian syllogism.

    I am not a developer, but in my daily work with startups, I often see great developers using Mocha on a daily basis because it is a a high-level and dynamic programming language. I also believe that it is the world’s most misunderstood programming language. The problem is that you see so many non-programmers use JavaScript, even though they lack the training and skills to use the potential that JavaScript is offering within its core. JScript has so much expressive power that anyone is able to do useful things in it, so amateurs often use it. This has given it a similar reputation – that it is not suitable for advanced things, which is not true.

    On the other hand, there’s no such thing as “the best programming language”, there are many languages, and each may have pros and cons. but given that the world today is mostly relying on web based platforms, JScript will definitely be within the top for years to come.

  6. I feel Frands’ comment is spot on. The number of people asking questions on StackOverflow can be the result of several things, most notably:

    1. Necessity of use

    2. How difficult to comprehend something is

    3. Existing technologies that rely on it

    4. Volume of new users

    In my opinion, JavaScript has currently hit the spot where pretty much all of these are true, many of them causing others at the same time. 1 is definitely true, as web has significantly reoriented itself to the client side and it remains the only language available to the front end. 2 is largely true as well, as the language has many quirks (traditionally referred to as “bad parts”), follows a different set of paradigms than other popular languages such as Java and new features introduced as of ES5 and especially ES6 have resulted in new ways of doing things, but with a lot of legacy code and resources ignoring or misusing these features, adding to the confusion. 3 and 4 are quite interesting – rise of V8 and Node.js have gone a long way in making the language usable and accessible for many different purposes (before that, it was exclusively things like hiding a button). This resulted in a massive influx of both libraries, tools as well as new users eager to get into it as soon as possible. So JS may not be eating the world, but it sure is causing a lot of buzz.

    That said, I think using JS in MVPs is a good idea. In fact, I think JS is genuinely good for the programming community as a whole. Despire many quirks, the language provides many mechanisms that are genuinely well-designed and versatile and I hope the bad reputation it gained will quickly fade. At the end of the day, I’ll gladly tackle an error caused by semicolon insertion over a NULL pointer exception or forggeting to wrap IO operations in a try..catch any time. 🙂

  7. Great reading 🙂

  8. Eric Elliot wrote down his list of 12 books every JS developer should read. Check it out – https://medium.com/javascript-scene/12-books-every-javascript-developer-should-read-9da76157fb3#.zbafr5z78

  9. Thanks! 🙂

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