Why is JavaScript So Popular?

Today, new languages are being created to build a new level of applications that have advanced features and also meet demanding needs of businesses and users.

New programming languages don’t always bring forward big changes. There are many powerful languages that always are around. Among them JavaScript that is always in the list of popular programming languages and developers and industry leads are falling in love with it all the time using it everywhere: on the web, mobile, server and even on IoT. 

But why do industry giants and a huge number of developers use it so much? What makes this language so attractive to so many? And why it is talked so much? Let’s point to the reasons. 

High Usage

JavaScript is used as much as it is talked. A lot of data analysis platforms prove that it is the most popular technology in the engineering world․ Let’s start from GitHub. GitHub is one of the largest repositories that is used today by millions of developers. Yearly they publish analytics on how things went at their platform in the previous year. According to the GitHub’s Octoverse 2017, JavaScript is the most popular programming language with the number of opened pull requests. Pull requests are an indicator of the amount of code being written.

  GitHub Octoverse 2017

GitHub Octoverse 2017

According to Stack Overflow’s Annual Survey of 2018, for the sixth year in a row, JavaScript is the most commonly used programming language. It is notable also to mention that among the most commonly used libraries, frameworks, and tools, JavaScript-based technologies like Node.js, AngularJS, React top the list. 

Now it is time to see what data we have from Redmonk. RedMonk, an industry analyst company, extracts language rankings from GitHub and Stack Overflow and combines them for a ranking that attempts to reflect both code and discussion traction. Though their ranking is not a statistically valid representation of current usage, correlating language discussion and usage, it gives insights into potential future adoption trends. And as stated in the RedMonk Programming Language Rankings of January 2018, JavaScript ranks as the first technology used and talked worldwide. 

  Redmonk Programming Language Rankings: January 2018

Redmonk Programming Language Rankings: January 2018

As Web3Techs (Web Technology Surveys) reports JavaScript is used by 95% of websites and it tops the lists of the most popular client-side languages. What we can conclude from this data is that thanks to the ubiquity of web browsers, JavaScript has become one of the most popular programming languages in the world.

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TIOBE (the software quality company) Index of 2018 April reports that JavaScript is the 8th in their list of the most popular languages. TIOBE calculates its index based on the search queries at different search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube, Baidu, etc. The index is updated monthly and the ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third party vendors. As it can be seen from the chart below, search queries on JavaScript show dynamic results but obviously it always stays demanded and day by day more and more people want to learn about this technology.

tiobe

All this data shows that another reason that JavaScript is talked so much is its huge community of developers. From its popularity in GitHub, it is easy to conclude that a big number of GitHub 24 million users are JavaScript developers. Stack Overflow 2018 report states that 69.8% of their 78,334 respondents-developers use JavaScript. But exactly how many JavaScript developers there are on our planet it is impossible to find out.:) 

Full-Stack Development

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When it comes to the web, JavaScript always has dominance in the technologies used for web development. However, another power of JavaScript is its ubiquity. From 2009 and on, after the Node.js release, "JavaScript everywhere" paradigm has become a reality. This server-side JavaScript framework allows to unify web application development around a single programming language, rather than rely on a different language for writing server-side code. npm, Node.js's package manager, is the largest ecosystem of open source libraries in the world. Many well-known companies including LinkedIn change their server-side code to Node.js. Shifting to JavaScript made the LinkedIn mobile app two to ten times faster than it was before. So, the reason is obvious. It does well even on the server.

Trending in IoT

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Now Node.js is being adopted in IoT use cases, as well. It is becoming really popular for many IoT companies and situations as it is easy to use and rarely breaks. Node.js is used in IoT projects for both the device and the server. Why is it trending? Simply, it is fast, has lots of plugins, is scalable and is good at I/O, meaning it allows to control IoT from one point, hold effective and secure communications, and more. There are a lot of engines that provide all APIs to JavaScript, allowing it to interact with a microcontroller. And day by day many IoT JavaScript libraries appear in the field proving that the usage of the technology is rapidly growing. Johnny-five.io, Zetta.js, Cylon.js, Nodered, Device.js are some of the JavaScript libraries famous among hardware engineers. This comes to show that JavaScript works everywhere.

Cross platform mobile development

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Another powerful side of JavaScript is React Native. This JavaScript code library made JavaScript popular in the mobile development industry. Appearing open source in 2013, It made possible to build cross-platform mobile applications by using React and JavaScript. React Native got trendy and popular due to its number of benefits. It saves time, shortens the development process, decreases invested human and financial resources and being a JavaScript framework, it makes the transition from web to mobile development smoother. React Native enable code-reusability and sharing twice effective. The most strong side of this technology is its almost-native nature. Though it is written in JavaScript it looks and feels like a native app written in a native language. In short, it makes possible to write two different applications just using one language.

Many popular applications are built with React Native including Facebook, Walmart, Bloomberg, Instagram, SoundCloud Pulse and others. To sum up, JavaScript wins battles not only in the web, but also in the mobile development.

Many Popular supporters and influencers

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Another really impactful reason of this technology’s high usage is its implementation by many major companies in the industry like Google, Facebook, Alibaba, Microsoft, etc. This fact undoubtedly has a big role in its popularity. The reason why these giants are using JavaScript is that it is able to handle and solve most of the tasks. It is powered by its unique nature, its libraries, and numerous highly popular frameworks that give this technology strengths everywhere.

Paypal, Yahoo, NetFlix, Slack, GoDaddy, for example, have written their web applications fully in JavaScript. Adblock Plus, HubSpot, LastPass and many other popular browser extensions run JS script under the hood. Slack, Lightshot, Mozilla, Greasemonkey are desktop apps built with this technology. Paypal, for example, migrated from Java to JavaScript and Linkedin has changed its server-side into Node.js. And Facebook always has the back of this technology supporting React and React Native technologies, constantly improving and developing them.

All these changes and treats by the industry leaders bring forward the concept of trend and influence, thus making JavaScript more attractive to other developers. As they believe that major IT companies always go for the best.

Any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript.
— Jeff Atwood, Founder at Stack Overflow

In short

In fact, the reasons are many. JavaScript is popular because it is the king of the web and the queen of the mobile, it successfully competes with the server-side languages and doesn't stay back even in the Internet of Things. The technology is very powerful, efficient and great for building fast and high-performing web, desktop, and mobile apps, browser extensions this is why it has great support from the industry leaders and is loved by millions of developers․ And in short, it is everywhere because it does everything in the most effective and easiest way.

So would you choose JavaScript for your next project?

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