Java Full-Stack Index Q1/2023: Web Frameworks
See Current Version
The content of this page is identical throughout Q1/2023 - January, February, and March.
Summary for Q1/2023
- Popularity trend: React is #1, Angular #2, and Vue #3. React leads Angular by only 15% in job ad mentions but by 1.5-3.6 in the other categories. Vue has only 30% of Angular’s job ad mentions but about 40-60% in the other categories.
- If you already use React, Angular, or Vue in your project, then keep using them. Otherwise, evaluate a migration. In many (most?) cases, such migration doesn’t make business sense.
- If you start a new project or migrate, then start with React first, Angular otherwise, and finally, Vue.
Table Of Contents
- Summary for Q1/2023
- State of the Art
These recommendations are for building web enterprise applications on PCs and mobile devices - forms, data grids, reports. They are not for games or media applications.
- Google’s Angular
- Jakarta Server Faces (was JavaServer Faces)
- Facebook’s React
- Vue (“Vue.js” is the correct but longer name)
State of the Art
Declarative UIs are state of the art. Learn about it here.
Why Popularity - and How?
Picking a popular technology makes our developer life easier: Easier to learn, easier to build, debug & deploy, easier to find jobs/hire, and easier to convince teammates & bosses. Now popularity can make a difference in two situations: When multiple technologies score similarly, we could go for the most popular one. And when a technology is very unpopular, we may not use it.
I measure popularity among employers and developers as the trend between competing technologies. I count mentions in job ads at Indeed for employer popularity. For developer popularity, I use Google searches, Udemy course buyers, and Stack Overflow questions.
Employers: Job Ads
The Indeed job search is active in 62 countries. I picked 59 countries representing 69% of the worldwide GDP in 2022, excluding three countries because English word searches proved ineffective there: China, Japan, and South Korea. Job searches demonstrate the willingness of organizations to pay for a technology - the strongest indicator of popularity in my mind. Angular is the baseline.
This is the first time I exclude China, Japan, and South Korea from the ranking because English word searches proved ineffective there. I adjusted all past numbers as well for this issue, so they are different from past issues. And because of technical difficulties on my end, I don’t have the numbers for October 2022.
For comparison, here’s the last chart version with China, Japan, and South Korea from Q4/2022. These are the differences:
- React is 15% lower generally.
- Vue is about a third lower generally and staying steady, vs. rising before.
React wins, Angular is second, and Vue is third. After bumping up and down, React, Vue, and JSF are back to their August 2021 levels: React leads Angular by 15%, Vue trails it by 70%, and JSF has just 4% of Angular’s mentions. With 0.3% and 0.5%, respectively, Thymeleaf and Vaadin are missing from the chart.
Please see here for details, caveats, and adjustments to the job ad mentions.
You can find the detailed search results with links here. They include breakdowns by continents:
Students at Udemy
Udemy is one of the biggest online learning sites. They publish the number of people who bought a course (beyond a certain threshold, possibly around 100k). This shows how many people evaluate a technology. Angular is the baseline. The other frameworks don’t cross the reporting threshold for Students at Udemy (possibly around 100,000 students).
React wins, Angular is second, and Vue is third. React steadily pulls away from Angular while Vue catches up at a very slow rate.
Here are the links that show the courses for all and the number of students for some:
Google Trends demonstrates the initial interest in a technology over time. Thymeleaf is not on the list because Google only allows 5 search terms. “More searches = better” to me.
Google changed its measurement algorithms on January 1, 2016, and January 1, 2022. That caused spikes for all values, especially in 2022.
React wins, Angular is second, and Vue is third. React is 10% off its all-time high from April and leads Angular 2.5:1. Angular lost a third of its July 2019 peak. Vue is 22% off of its April 2022 peak and has half of Angular’s volume. All other frameworks are insignificant against these three.
Questions at Stack Overflow
Stack Overflow Trends shows which percentage of questions at Stack Overflow has a particular technology tag. It is a proxy for using a technology during evaluation and productive use. “More questions = better” to me.
This link produces the chart above.
React wins, Angular is second, and Vue is third. React has grown spectacularly for 7.5 years but seems to have peaked in spring 2021. Still, one in 17 questions at Stack Overflow is about React. Angular continues its 4.5-year decline and lost half of its questions. Vue has declined for 1.5 years but still has gained on Angular, reaching 61% of its question volume. JSF, Vaadin, and Thymeleaf barely register against the “Big Three”.
I use the following criteria to recommend one of the three choices - Angular, React, and Vue:
- Declarative: Declarative is state-of-the-art for front-end development. Please see my guide for it. React uses it by default. Angular does not, so React wins.
- Safe: Google has the image of killing projects and has multiple competing front-end frameworks. That’s why I’m a little more confident that React will still be around in five years.
- Popular: As you can see above, React is the most popular framework.
- Web functionality: It’s a draw as all three frameworks can build the kind of applications we need.
- Libraries: I don’t know which of these three frameworks has the most and best libraries. I think many libraries work in all three.
- Speed: I think you can build the fastest applications with React because it has features to speed up the concurrent loading of components.
- Build, Deploy & Debug: I don’t know which of these three frameworks has the shortest build & deploy cycle and the best debug experience.
Based on these criteria and my ratings, React is the winner, Angular second, and Vue third. My recommendation is this:
- If you already use React, Angular, or Vue in your project, then keep using them.
- If you use another framework, then investigate migration to React first, then Angular, and finally Vue. In many (most?) cases, such migration doesn’t make business sense.
- If you start a new project, then start with React first, Angular otherwise, and finally, Vue.