by Sacha Greif
Every morning at 6:00 a.m. Japan Time, there’s a tiny piece of code stored somewhere in the cloud. It wakes up, hits the GitHub API, and then goes back to sleep until the next day.
Let’s see what we learned.
Vue.js Is Number One (Again)
Now this doesn’t mean it’s the most popular project in terms of total number of stars (that would still be React, with 85,589 stars), but it does make it the fastest-growing two years in a row. And at that rate, Vue should overtake React in about six months!
Also be sure to check out our special write-up by none other than Vue creator Evan You himself!
React‘s Strength Is Its Ecosystem
Despite Vue’s success, React is doing great as well.
While React itself isn’t adding stars at quite the same rate (as should be expected for an older project), the true success story is the React ecosystem:
The five top projects have accumulated a collective total of 67.9k stars, vs 44.4k for the Vue ecosystem.
Also, now that all this license drama is behind it, the last major barrier to adoption for React may have fallen down. So it’ll be interesting to see how things evolve in 2018.
Parcel Got More Stars In A Month Than Most Projects Do In a Whole Year
You’d think that when it comes to yearly rankings, launching your project in December would pretty much destroy any chances of placing in the top 20.
Don’t tell that to Parcel though: it managed to accumulate over 14k stars in less than one month, shooting it straight to the #12 most popular project overall in 2017.
Even more surprising: Parcel added more stars in a single month than category leader Webpack did in a whole year!
In fact Parcel’s success took us so much by surprise that we didn’t even have it in our database, and had to scramble to gather the data from other sources (thanks to our friends at Porter.io!).
Prettier Is Everybody’s Favorite Project
While everybody was busy trying to make Yet-Another-Front-End-Framework (but this time it’s functional!), the Prettier people decided to take on the real challenge of our times: tabs vs spaces.
And their answer is: who cares? With Prettier, you can use spaces, tabs, or poop emojis*, and Prettier will take care of formatting your code properly on save.
It’s no wonder that Prettier came in #7. In fact, we decided to make it our own unofficial Project of the Year.
(Note: Prettier may or may not work with poop emojis. We haven’t actually tried this.)
The Front-End Wars Are Over
Despite our cheap shot at front-end frameworks, the truth is that there aren’t that many of them anymore.
Move past the classic top 3 (Vue, React, and Angular) and you quickly reach smaller, more niche projects like Preact, Hyperapp, and dva (which I have to confess I had never even heard about before).
While these all have their technical merits, they’re clearly not in the same category as the big three in terms of popularity and ecosystem.
And sure, more established frameworks like Ember are still solid alternatives, but they just don’t have the same kind of momentum anymore.
The “VS” in “VS Code” Stands For “Very Successful”
VS Code’s success story is interesting because it’s far from perfect: its UI has that Microsoft-y clunkiness that seems to infect all their products, it’s a big resource hog, and it can be kinda slow to initialize.
Yet use VS Code for a little while, and these flaws stop being that significant. Instead, the IDE-like features, extensibility, and frequent updates translate into a direct productivity boost that makes it hard to imagine using anything else.
So What’s Next?
Here are three trends to look forward in for 2018
Trend #1: GraphQL All the Things!
GraphQL may not be mainstream yet, but it has now built a solid foundation of libraries, services, and frameworks that could very well enable a breakout GraphQL-based project to explode next year.
In 2017 already, Gatsby (which uses GraphQL as part of its data layer) did quite well for itself, coming in at #25 in the overall rankings.
Trend #2: Reason Season
Why should you care about a project that only managed to accumulate a measly 2.1k stars over 2017? Because Reason is made my the same super-smart people that bought you React and GraphQL, in other words Facebook’s open-source division.
Trend #3: Better Tooling, and More of it
As the successes of Prettier, Parcel, and VS Code show, developers don’t just care about code: they also care about the stuff that helps you write code.
This may seem self-evident, but just browse through a couple job postings looking for a “Framework XYZ Developer” and you’ll see that our industry’s focus is still squarely on the “what” more than the “how.”
Maybe 2017’s lesson is that it’s fine to want to reinvent the wheel, but it might also be worth it reinventing the hammer, saw, and chisel first.
And finally, we’re also planning on launching a weekly BestOfJS recap newsletter which will automatically send out the latest stats ranking, so be sure to sign up for that if this sounds interesting.
In the meantime, did we miss anything? Do you have your own predictions for 2018? Let us know in the comments!