Understanding the Stack Overflow Survey – 2020

Stack developer survey

Stack Overflow is one of the most happening websites for developers around the world. It has answers to (almost) every question. It’s more of a community for developers to share their knowledge and help others make better software.

Like others, we’re also very thankful to Stack Overflow for saving hundreds of hours of development time

Stack Overflow also happens to conduct a developer survey each year in which they ask questions to community members, and then they publish the results of the survey

Of late, the survey has become very interesting thanks to emerging technologies like Flutter, Rust, Golang, PHP etc. This year’s survey results are particularly interesting because we see a steep rise in specific technologies

This blog post will help you understand the survey results in a better way from a technical perspective. Note that the survey results do not represent the whole development community but only a part of it

Let’s start:

Most Popular Technologies

  • Programming Languages– Just like every year, JavaScript has topped the charts again, followed by HTML/CSS and SQL. We believe this happened because of the NodeJS ecosystem. Being able to use the same language throughout your Stack is very helpful. Interestingly, Python has surpassed Java in terms of popularity; maybe this is because of the rise of data analytics & ML libraries for Python. To confirm our hypothesis, we need to wait another year and another survey.
  • Web Frameworks– jQuery is still the king. We’re more surprised by the fact that most developers consider it a framework instead of a library! However, it’s losing ground to React & Angular, again JS frameworks. They are followed by ASP.NET, which is the only non-JS framework in the top 5 of this list. VueJS is catching up as well as it has moved a bit upwards as compared to last year.
  • Database– MySQL has again topped the list, followed by our favourite- PostgreSQL. MongoDB finally made it to the top 5 popular database systems. We’re not fans of it, though, given the data inconsistency issues it has. It’s not just us, many companies in the past have been facing issues with it. We also do not recommend it to our clients.
flutter packages
flutter packages

Most Loved Languages

Rust is the most loved language, hands down. Being a statically typed and compiled language, we can understand why developers love it. TypeScript is next on this list. Since its inception, Microsoft has marketed it heavily. As compared to JavaScript, it provides static and strict typing and a lot of goodness.

Unsurprisingly, Python is on the third spot. Again we believe it because of its ease of use and the fact that it can be used to make any kind of software from web to desktop. We also saw a steep rise in Dart. Mostly this is because of Flutter. Dart was the brainchild of Google, but it never caught the attention of developers until Flutter arrived. As you’ll see later in this post, Flutter is also one of the most loved platforms which rose sharply in recent years

Most Dreaded Languages

Unfortunately, Visual Basic is still the most dreaded programming language. We are not surprised, given that Microsoft abandoned it after introducing the .NET framework with C#. There are still a large number of systems based on VBA that are in use in production, and many young developers are asked to maintain them. We understand their pain

Among other dreaded languages, we’ve Objective-C (seriously Apple, what were you thinking?), Perl, Assembly, C, and PHP. What we do not comprehend is why PHP is still dreaded? We’ve been doing PHP Development for the last many years, and we can say that the language and the runtime (and performance) have improved vastly. The ecosystem, especially the Laravel framework, has eased the process of building scalable apps. Maybe it’s because developers have to maintain old systems in PHP (we’re looking at you WordPress), which have security nightmares

Flutter 1.17 update
Flutter 1.17 update

Most Wanted Languages

This category is a bit of a misnomer. By definition, it’s “% of developers who are not developing with the language or technology but have expressed interest in developing with it.” We think it’s better to rename it to “Most Desired Languages” instead.

Python tops this list. Mostly because a lot of people are interested in data science and machine learning, and Python is the most natural choice for such projects. It also has a vast set of tooling around it. Next comes JavaScript. Honestly, we’re a bit surprised because a lot of people are already using JavaScript. Next comes to Go, and we want to dabble into it too. We’ve heard so many good things about it, especially about concurrent programming.

Most Loved Web Frameworks

Since going cross-platform and open-source with .NET, Microsoft is getting much-needed love to its ASP.NET framework. Now that you can deploy web-apps built with it on Linux too, many developers love it and it gets the top spot this year

Next is React and Vue (the one we love), followed by Express and Gatsby. Note that this category has both front-end and back-end frameworks, so it’s going to be harder to digest this part of the survey since we’re essentially comparing apples and oranges.

Most Dreaded Web Frameworks

Angular.js tops the chart here, and frankly, we are not surprised. Given the spaghetti code that Angular.js made you write, it’s no wonder it topped this particular list. We think it’s because many legacy systems were written in Angular.js, and a lot of people are still maintaining them.

Note that we’re talking about Anguler.JS here and not Angular. Angular is the newer version of Angular.js and breaks compatibility.

Drupal, jQuery, and ASP.NET come next. We do not know how ASP.NET can be the most loved and most dreaded framework at the same time. But we think it’s better for the community and ecosystems. Criticism makes everything better when taken positively. Also, Laravel is in the 7th position. Not sure how it came to be here. Honestly, we’ve nothing but good things to say about Laravel after having built more than 30 web-apps on it.

Most Wanted Web Frameworks

React tops here, followed by Vue. This is not new. Both of these have been everyone’s favourite since they arrived, and they’ve saved thousands of man-hours in web-app development. Maybe that’s why developers want to work on them. Also, these frameworks have amazing communities and ecosystems.

Angular and Django come next in the list. We’ve also heard perfect things about both of them and would like to give them a try soon.

Notably, 1% of developers want to work on Drupal. We’d like to tell them this- Please stay away from Drupal and use a better CMS. Unless you’re maintaining websites built with Drupal, there are far better options to choose from.

Most Loved, Dreaded, and Wanted Other Frameworks, Libraries, and Tools

After .NET core and PyTorch, Flutter is the most loved framework! We couldn’t be happier. Flutter is a fantastic tool, and it has helped us deliver outstanding solutions to our clients.

Flutter is also the most wanted framework, which means many developers want to work on it. We think this is because Flutter made it really easy for everyone to build mobile apps. It also means that Flutter will have a much bigger community now since more developers are coming to it. Flutter also surpassed React Native by a long shot

Chef and Cordova are the most dreaded tools. While we’ve not worked with Chef, we’ve worked with Cordova and have nothing but bad memories. Although it paved the way for hybrid app development, with the rise of Flutter and React Native, there’s no point in working with Cordova now, and this survey reflects our thoughts.

Hire Flutter Developer
Hire Flutter Developer

Closing Notes

A couple of things to take from this survey-

  • Technologies are ever-evolving, and one has to be on their toes if they want to stay relevant. While jQuery was once everyone’s favorite, it’s now the most dreaded all because we’ve better tools to get the job done.
  • No matter how better new technology looks good on its face, one should always prefer using the most stable one to build their products. ASP.NET is the most loved framework. Why? Because it’s also the most durable!
  • The survey is based on a subset of developers and does not represent the whole developer community’s thoughts. Take this survey with a pinch of salt. However, we’re very serious about dropping Drupal from your toolset 😉

This brings us to the end of our chain of thoughts on the tech part of the survey. It’s good to know that the developer community is thriving thanks to Github, Gitlab, StackOverflow, and other excellent companies