WebAssembly hasn’t grabbed JavaScript developers

State of JavaScript 2019 developer survey says TypeScript, React, Express, and GraphQL are hot, Angular and WebAssembly not

WebAssembly hasn’t grabbed JavaScript developers
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JavaScript developers are still getting their feet wet with WebAssembly, a survey of JavaScript developers has found. 

Survey data published in the State of JavaScript 2019 report issued this week indicates that WebAssembly has drawn plenty of attention but not many users among JavaScript developers. Only 8.6 percent – 1,444 developers – of the 16,694 persons who said they were aware of WebAssembly had actually used it.

WebAssembly has been highly touted as a mechanism to speed up web applications and support the use of languages such as C, C++, and Rust for client-side and server-side web development. JavaScript is a compilation target for WebAssembly.

The State of JavaScript 2019 report, produced by developers Sacha Greif and Raphael Benitte, is based on a survey of 27,717 JavaScript developers worldwide, who weighted in on everythong from JavaScript language features and flavors to frameworks, utilities, editors, and testing tools. In highlights of the report:

  • 58.5 percent of respondents said they had used TypeScript and would use it again.
  • The destructuring assignment syntax was used by 85.1 percent of respondents.
  • 35.8 percent of respondents had used the Angular JavaScript framework but would not use it again. Only 21.9 percent said they had used Angular and would continue to do so. Dissatisfaction with Angular has risen dramatically since the 2017 report.
  • 71.7 percent of respondents had used the React JavaScript UI library and would do so again.
  • 71.6 percent said they had used the Express Node.js framework and would use it again.
  • 50.6 percent of respondents had heard of the GraphQL query language and execution engine and wanted to learn it, while 38.7 percent had used it and wanted to use it again.
  • Electron, a tool for building cross-platform desktop apps with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, was used by 25.6 percent of respondents who also responded that they would use it again. But Electron trailed React Native framework (27.2 percent) in this regard.
  • For JavaScript testing, 61.2 percent had used Jest and would do so again.
  • Async/await functions are a popular JavaScript feature, with 89.3 percent of those aware of it having used it.
  • JavaScript promises have been used by nearly 95 percent of the 20,543 developers who said they were aware of it.
  • The Local Storage browser API was used by 89.5 percent of the 20,021 developers who were aware of it.
  • JavaScript typed arrays were used by 28.1 percent of respondents while 35.4 percent knew of it but had not used it.
  • Service workers, which act as proxy servers sitting between web applications, the browser, and the network, have not been used by 54 percent of respondents who were aware of them.