The Node.js Foundation, a consortium of organizations fostering the development of the Node.js platform, today announced the results of its first Node.js User Survey Report.
The foundation interacts regularly with Node.js developers but decided to conduct a survey to take a more definite pulse of what developers are doing with Node, Rogers said.
“We’re always looking at what people are doing with Node and how we can help them as a foundation,” Rogers told eWEEK. “We do a lot with metrics. But we found that the metrics weren’t enough, so we built out this survey and had over 1,700 responses. Every time we pull up new data, we end up invalidating some of our old assumptions.”
Indeed, the user survey report features insights on emerging trends in the Node.js community, including microservices architectures, real-time Web applications and IoT.
The report paints a detailed picture of the technologies that are being used, in particular, with Node.js in production and language preferences (current and future) for front-end, back-end and IoT developers.
Among the key findings of the survey is that Node.js has begun to take off in the enterprise. Indeed, Node.js being increasingly used in enterprises such as PayPal, Go Daddy, Capital One and Intel. The foundation survey results showed that more than 45 percent of respondents said they are already using the Node.js Long Term Support release (v4), which is targeted at medium to large enterprise users who require stability and high performance. Of those who haven’t upgraded, 80 percent report definite plans to upgrade to v4, with half of respondents planning to do so this year. In addition, the survey showed there is strong interest in enterprise tooling among 34 percent of technology leaders.
“Node has always been very efficient—really fast startup time, good on memory usage, a lot of I/O and throughput on very little resources in a single CPU,” Rogers said. “As Docker and microservices and these stacks are built out, they’re cutting up machines more and more into smaller chunks and it’s very important that you’re very, very efficient. So we’ve been a good technology choice and very competitive in that environment. So it was really no surprise when we saw enterprises start adopting this new stack—like two-speed development and microservices, Node was one of the things that they went for.”
Moreover, enterprises are beginning to see the value of “full stack” Node.js development.
“One of the things we found is that Node really is this more universal platform,” Rogers said. “We kind of redefined front-end development and, of course, we’re very good for back-end development. So there’s the full stack that we’ve always maintained. But now the definition of full stack is expanding and starting to include not only mobile and Web front ends and back ends, but also these new API tiers and basically connected devices in IoT.
The popularity of real-time, social networking and interactive game applications is advancing this new stack among developers, Rogers said. The MEAN—MongoDB, Express, AngularJS and Node.js—stack can handle the number of concurrent connections and the scalability required by these applications. The MEAN stack also enables developers to more efficiently do both front-end and back-end development.
“The MEAN stack has been around for a long time; it’s been a buzzword out there for quite a while, but the popularity of it and the market share is tremendous,” Rogers said. “We did not expect to see this much of it because our community is so broad. But Express is showing 80 to 90 percent market share in this kind of thing. So the MEAN stack is still very much a dominant force in Node development.” The survey showed that 83 percent of Node.js developers are also using Express.
Node.js Foundation Survey Shows Strong Enterprise Developer Adoption
“What we’re seeing now is that there is still that full stack story,” Rogers said. “There are a lot of languages that can run on top of Docker and into microservices, but enterprises and developers are choosing Docker more and more because they can reduce the number of teams that they have.”
With Node.js and the full stack, enterprise development teams and people can float more freely between front end and back end, and there is less communication and managerial overhead to get products out, Rogers said. This enables individual developers to accomplish a lot of work and also adds to developer satisfaction, he said.
“We also did an enterprise interview with Azat Mardan, a technical fellow at Capital One, and he said they were able to take two teams that were doing front-end and back-end development and make them one team,” Rogers said. “And where it used to take eight people to do a project, it now takes four. And they seamlessly go between this API-tier, back-end stuff and the front end. This is a story we hear over and over again when you look at Node adoption.”
The survey showed that Node.js working with containers is an emerging trend for developing and deploying microservices architectures—45 percent of developers that responded to the survey said they use Node.js with containers. In addition, 58 percent of respondents that identified themselves as IoT developers said they use Node.js with Docker; 39 percent of respondents that identified themselves as back-end developers said they use Node.js with Docker; and 37 percent of respondents that identified as front-end developers said they use Node.js with Docker.
Added Rogers: “We knew Node had been driving the robotics and IoT community for a while, but it was always cool demos and hobbyist stuff. But what we saw through the survey—as well as with Node being supported on platforms natively now, like all of Intel and Samsung’s platforms are now running Node on-device—is Node move from that hobbyist community to more traditional IoT programmers. So among those IoT respondents, they were far more likely to have 10-plus years of experience. A lot of them have skills in C and C++ and they’re still using C and C++ every once in a while.”
Rogers said the survey reveals that the full stack is no longer “front end and back end,” but rather “front-end, back-end and connected devices” all enabled by Node.js. The survey showed that 62 percent of respondents are using Node.js for both front-end and back-end development, and nearly 10 percent are using Node.js for front-end, back-end, and IoT development.
“Data about developer choices is catnip for developers,” James Governor, industry analyst and RedMonk co-founder, said in a statement. “In this survey, the Node.js Foundation identifies some interesting results, notably about languages programmers are using alongside Node.js and IoT demographics.”
Meanwhile, Rogers also noted that although Docker is a server technology, the 58 percent of IoT developers who said they are using Node.js with Docker is significant, particularly when compared to only 39 percent of back-end developers who said they are using Node.js with Docker. This metric is significant as it means that the new IoT world also is quickly adopting containers and microservices, he noted.