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Developers Sound Off on the State of JavaScript

Developer Sacha Greif recently ran his own online poll to gauge the current State of JavaScript 2016, garnering more than 9,000 responses.

The survey resulted in all kinds of information, which I plan on covering in more detail. First, though, I want to focus on the many quotes from the developers responding to the survey, provided by Greif along with the raw data. While such topic-specific data is valuable, sometimes the comments from developers themselves enhance that data.

For one thing, the quotes shed light on the emotions and opinions expressed by front-line developers who have to wrestle with JavaScript every day. As the popular post "How it feels to learn JavaScript in 2016" sardonically demonstrated, the JavaScript ecosystem can seem like a confusing mish-mash of different frameworks, technologies and approaches.

Here then, is a look at the current state of JavaScript, in the words of developers themselves, presented unedited, unabridged and all over the place, kind of like the language itself:

  • It seems JavaScript is going in two directions, where one is functional and the other one is object-oriented programming and Java-like syntax.

  • Stylus is underrated. Meteor is underrated. Redux is overrated.

  • Web development is an absolute nightmare. Far too much accidental complexity, needless instability of frameworks, and Node.js is just wrong.

  • I hate Angular with the passion of a thousand burning suns.

  • I love the direction JavaScript is moving in, but the amount of setup/complexity required to be able to use these features today is prohibitive.

  • In many ways, Javascript/CSS is moving along well; I'd just wish browsers kept up.

  • JavaScript is a horrible language that sent software development back to the dark ages. It has taken over 20 years to get this unruly abomination of a language to a useful and enjoyable state.

  • Polymer makes Angular irrelevant.

  • Writing JavaSript for almost 7 years. And it's a terrible programming language.

  • I'm doing Elm full-time now, and I can't see myself going back to a dynamic language, let alone one without a strong type system with inference.

  • The future looks bright (service workers, web workers, offline-first apps, hot updates, better developer workflows such as hot-reloading)

  • I think JavaScript is most exciting as a compilation target. Major languages like Haskell, Ruby, Scala, and Clojure can be compiled to JS with varying degrees of maturity.

  • I would be interested to hear community opinions about the number of dependencies needed for JavaScript projects.

  • Should have asked, "Does JavaScript need a type system?". I'd strongly agree.

  • Take a step back, and realise that when your package.json is 100+ lines just for modules, you have a serious flaw, as those modules can freely pull in more modules.

  • I think we, as a community, are picking complexity instead of simplicity because it looks cool and is pushed by the big mind-share companies like Facebook and Google.

  • Do you believe the fate of the world depends on service workers or will we continue fine without them?

  • JavaScript is in many ways a stupid language. And yet this survey has me wanting to look up the things I didn't know about and learn more. It's a silly language, and yet I can't get enough of it.

  • I think that the JavaScript community is being torn appart by the people that once raised it to its maximum glory.

  • Good you had Elm and Clojurescript in there. Especially Elm seems like it could be the right way forward for JavaScript.

  • Every time I write something in JavaScript I'm surprised that it works.

  • The state of JavaScript is there is too little attention to keeping things simple.

  • The "class" keyword is the worst thing that ever happened.

  • Thank You JS! Lost my job today because of you being so unfriendly, counterintuitive, impossible to grasp in big sophisticated code base.

  • Angular 1.0 is the worst framework I've ever used in my career.

  • JavaScript is almost beyond repair at this point - but nice survey!

  • Posted by David Ramel on October 12, 2016