Laurie Voss

JavaScript: who, what, where, why and next

npm has more data than anyone about who JavaScript developers are and what we’re up to. Using registry stats and the results of our 2019 ecosystem survey of over 30,000 developers, I break down the current state of JavaScript and where trends look like they’re headed, so you can make more informed technical choices.

Portrait photo of Laurie Voss


Laurie Voss - JavaScript - who, what, where, why, and next

>> Hello, JSConf holy Cow! There are so many of you. This is the biggest conference I've ever been to, and it is also, I'm embarrassed to say, this is my first JSConf EU. I kept trying to come but I had immigration issues and all sorts of stuff, and I made it just in lime for the last one. I'm extra specially thrilled to be here and be invited to speak, but before we get started, the way that I don't die of nervousness is I always take a speaker selfie, but there are millions of you, so I'm going to take a bunch. Look happy! Like you just heard the best talk of your life! Amazing.

All right. With that important business out of the way, hello, everybody, I'm Laurie. I'm one of the co-founders of npm Inc, one of the chief data officers there, but what I really am is a web developer, making the web bigger, and better, and more accessible to everyone is what drives me, and it's been driving me for 23 years now, which means sometimes I meet people who are younger than my web development career! Which is weird.

And, today, I'm here to talk about JavaScript. I'm going to talk about who we are, the people who write JavaScript. I'm talking about where we use JavaScript, and what we are doing with it today, and also I'm going to talk about why, the forces that are driving us to the state that we are in right now. Finally, I'm going to talk about what comes next.

Looking at current trends, and guessing where they're going. The goal of this talk is to give you a sense of perspective about the state of JavaScript as a whole and where you sit in it. So many developers work in a vacuum, not knowing whether it is best practice, a fad, or this hopelessly out-of-date thing that nobody does any more.

I hope you leave this talk knowing the one thing you're using is a really good thing with feeling that you should move away from one thing that you're using, and also excited about learning one new thing that you hadn't heard about or you hadn't decided to get into before. But before I say all of that stuff, it's worth asking how I know? Where did I get all of this information? We have three main sources for the stuff I'm about to present. The first is the npm registry statistics. The npm registry contains amazing data about what JavaScript developers are up to and what they're using, and we also did a survey.

Our first annual survey got 1,600 responses, and our second got 33,000 responses. We have an enormous amount of information of people telling us what you're up to and why you're doing it. I also supplemented and double-checked our numbers using the excellent State of JavaScript Survey run by the community.

I also have one final surprise source which is ten years of JSConf EU talk proposals! Ten years! My goodness. That is so much work. Can we have another round of applause for ten years? [Applause]. As part of the celebration of the tenth year of JSConf EU, the organisers asked me to analyse the data.

They gave me all of the titles and descriptions of all of the talks that have ever been submitted to JSConf EU and they asked could I find something interesting in this? Boy, I found interesting things in this. First off, there are so many talks this year.

The first JSConf EU had 44 talks submitted, and this year, there were 932. In 2012, someone had the bright idea that someone submit their talks at JSON which was a goddamned nightmare to parse back into text and sentences, so thank you whose ever bright idea that was. The single most common phrase in the last ten years has been "in this talk we will ...", and the second most common phrase was "learn how to", and sometimes, it was both. But there's something much more interesting which is the JSConf hype meter. I wanted to track how popular various technologies were, and technologies get mentioned more and more often.

Everything is going up and to the right. Instead, I measured how many talks contain a word as a percentage of all of the talks submitted. This is an example one before it's of Node and npm.

We're talking about Node last time much less than we used to but talking about npm about as much as the same as we ever did. All through this talk, I will weave in the JSConf data and if what we are talking about lines up with the reality of what we're doing. But, l Laurie, you had a huge corpus of text. You could have built a markup generate colour.

You bet your ass I built up a markup generator. Here is a machine-generate the titles based on past submissions to use for your future consequences.

Train your next-level sequential arts. This is definitely going to be done by Jenn Schiffer. Talk about tools for capitalism! I think it's possible that CJ has already written this talk! Distributed computing in the world of CSS and JS. It is possible they did this yesterday! I wasn't here yet! AMP for why you're being an Eyebrow.

Martin is going to handle this one. Serverless. I don't know what this means but I bet somebody could talk for 25 minutes and persuade me it's true! Go Node and JavaScript Crypto.

I don't know what it is but it's probably a bad idea, and I'm looking forward to seeing these conference talks in future. Before we dive in, a couple of disclaimers, some of what I'm presenting here are facts, and some of what I'm presenting are opinions, and I'm trying to be as clear as possible. Sometimes, you're going to see a graph that says that your favourite technology is getting less popular, and what I'm asking is that you don't get mad about that. Don't get mad about facts.

I have so many terrible opinions that you can get mad about, but try not to get mad about the facts. I do not have a horse in this race.

Apart from npm, I'm not a contributor to any of the technologies I'm discussing, I'm just presenting the facts. Secondly, a lot of what I'm talking about involves relative popularity of technologies, and I want to make clear that, just because a technology is popular doesn't mean that it is good. It doesn't mean that it's the best technology. I don't know what the best technology means. But for technology, popularity is useful in and of itself.

If there are a lot of people using your technology, then there will be a lot of people find and fix bugs, there will be a lot of tutorials, there will be a lot of Stack Overflow questions answered for you. If you work with something popular, it often makes your work easier regardless of how good it really is. Finally, I really love what I talk about, and I'm going to get excited towards the end and swear like an absolute fucking sailor, so I have no intention of toning that down in any way, so apologies in advance.

Who are we, JavaScript developers? The answer is at this point, we're pretty much like everyone else. If you look at our demographics, the same age distribution, same instrument profile, we live in all the same countries as all of the other software developers and the reason for that is because we nearly are all software developers. We are 11 million developers now writing JavaScript every day. And those 11 million developers are using more open-source software than any other language community.

The npm registry is now the largest repository of open source of any kind, by any measure, by number of modules, by lines of code, number of users - what are you want to pick. It's more than twice as big as the next registry. You could fold all the other registries into our registry if you wanted.

Does having a big registry of open source software translate to activity? On GitHub, JavaScript is the biggest repository by numbers of line of code, and it has been in seven years in a row. In stack overflow's huge developer survey of 80,000 people, JavaScript was the most popular language with 68 per cent of all developers saying they write JavaScript at least some of the time. Of course, you're all at a JavaScript conference, so that you knew that JavaScript was popular already, but here is the truth: JavaScript is the most popular programming language in the world right now, and there are more developers than ever before, so JavaScript is really the most popular programming language there has ever been. And as JavaScript continues to grow, the JavaScript community is changing.

One thing we noticed that has changed between our survey in 2018 and the last one we did, is that JavaScript developers are getting more experienced. They've been writing JavaScript for longer. We especially noticed this with npm itself.

A year ago, half of our npm users were new, which is to say they had been using npm for less than two years, and this year, only about 36 per cent of people are. Around about 2014, and 2015, there was a massive spike in the number of npm users - around about that time, it's when JavaScript - existing JavaScript developers tuned into npm and the existing pool of JavaScript developers all sort of adopted npm en masse. But, today, the number of new npm users and the number of new JavaScript users, they look about the same, because, basically, anybody who learns JavaScript in 2019 is learning npm at the same time. So now believe that about 99 per cent of JavaScript developers are using npm, and that's part of why npm has so much information about what JavaScript developers are up to at the.

This ever-growing pool of increasingly experienced JavaScript developers means that we've also seen a shift? In what JavaScript developers care about. We knew from analysing last year's data that more experienced developers care more about best practices.

They do more testing, they use more linters and bundlers, they care more about security, and so now the whole community is getting more experienced, and so everybody is caring more about those sorts of things. Since last year's survey, the number of people who said they were concerned about the security of the open-source modules that they use, has increased. In the last two years, npm has added two-parking auth to protect publishers from account theft as well as security teams to detect and flag malicious packages. Malicious packages aren't the good threat model. Accidental vulnerabilities are much, much more common.

So, last year, we introduced the npm audit command which will find and fix security vulnerabilities in your application by upgrading to more secure versions of the packages that are out there. We have performed 335 million security audits in the last 30 days. If you think that your company should be doing more about security, you will forgive me if I mention we have a booth at this conference and we have a product called npm Enterprise, and it can help your company do more about JavaScript security than it's currently doing.

That brings us to the first visit of the hype meter. Are we talking more about security? No. The thing that we talk about is performance. We talk about performance three times more than security.

If we care about security, we should be talking more about it. Another aspect of our increasingly experienced user base is that people actually care what software licence they use.

That was a big surprise to me. I like to throw it in there without thinking about it. 58 per cent of developers say that the software licence affects their decision to use a piece of open-source software, and of those, 55 per cent say that their company prevents them using certain open-source software licences means 45 per cent of people can't use them overall. Which? The GPL and the APL are unpopular because of the restrictions they place on commercial use of software, but much bigger than that was unrecognised licences.

Basically, anybody who cares about software licences has had to hire a lawyer to tell them which software licences are okay, so, if you use some software license that they've never heard of before, they have to hire the lawyer again, and they don't want to do that, so they just don't use your software. So, if you're licensing your share, please put a licence on your software, and please pick a big popular licence that people have heard of. The second is a consequence of how ubiquitous JavaScript has become in 2019.

26 per cent of JavaScript developers say that JavaScript is not their primary language. JavaScript is so popular it's become inescapable which means there are lots of JavaScript developers who aren't writing JavaScript by choice, they're writing it because they have to, and that is going to show up in a bunch of places in this data I'm about to present. So what are these other languages that the non-primary JavaScript developers are writing? Well, top of the list is TypeScript. We are going to talk more about TypeScript in a bit but there's lots of Python, Java, C++ in there. A fun fact is that 12 per cent of JavaScript developers don't write any other languages, they're just all JavaScript all the time, but 88 per cent of us are writing JavaScript and some other language - at least one more.

So, now we have covered who we are, we are all over the world, we are every age and experience, increasingly sophisticated, we care more about licensing and security, where are rewriting this JavaScript? The answer is every goddamned place you can imagine. Let's go to the hype meter. Do they talk more about front-end or back-end at JSConf? For the last three years, front-end has been winning HP how does that stack up to the facts? Pretty well. 97 per cent of JavaScript developers are writing code for browsers. 77 per cent of JavaScript developers are also writing code for servers, so node.js is still a big deal in the community.

There are two big surprises in here, and the first is that 46 per cent of JavaScript developers are writing native apps. I don't mean progressive web apps, a short cut to a web app that you put on a home screen, but they're compiling it down to another thing or running natively on a desktop or running natively on a phone. 13 per cent of us are writing embedded applications, stuff that runs on handsets, watches, stuff that you wear.

Let's dig more into all of these numbers. First off, when people write for browsers, do they target the mobile web or do they target the desktop web? The overwhelming majority of us target both, but despite all our talk about mobile first, only two per cent of us target exclusively mobile. But 27 per cent of us are getting away without thinking about the mobile web at all, which is probably legitimate. There are probably a bunch of web apps that are never going to run on a phone, and that's fine.

But now let's talk about native apps. 46 per cent of JavaScript developers are writing native apps. As you can see, the biggest group is mobile developers - 35 per cent of us are writing native mobile apps, and 26 per cent of us are writing native desktop apps.

A big chunk of us are doing both. So what are we using to do that? First, let's look at the desktop developers: 26 per cent of developers say they write native desktop apps but here we have a bit of a puzzle. You've all probably heard of Electron which is a way of writing native desktop apps but only 28 per cent of us say we use it which means there are 5 per cent of us writing native applications in JavaScript using something other than Electron. I don't know what it is! That 1 per cent of electron uses is down to 24 per cent of users.

Not only is it that queer not using electron, we're using less Electron than before. Where are they going? Let's ask the meter about it. It says interest has peaked since 2017 and going down since then? What is up? Somebody needs to tell me.

If you know what they're doing, please come and talk to me after this. Let's look at mobile app developers. I measured the popularity of a bunch of - don't pay too much attention to how I measured it. The green line is all native app frameworks.

So native development has been staying pretty much as popular as before, but the tools have fragmented. The most popular framework I can find is React Native which is the red line and then Cordova which used to be the only game in town for mobile apps but now little less popular of React Native.

Ex-extrapolating, about 19 per cent are using React Native, and those two add up to about the 35 per cent of us who are writing native mobile apps, but if you're using some other framework, I want to know. The final "where" question I want to answer is about server-side apps. Where are we deploying them? Unsurprisingly, Docker and Kubernetes is everybody's jam these days. They're the dominant way we deploy. Deployment platforms like Heroku and Netlify are surprisingly unpopular.

VMs are the way I that considered - the real number here is serverless. 33 per cent of us are deploying on serverless platforms. That's not some early adaptor shit any more, that's some mainstream technology.

It's part of a broader trend in ten providing that I'm going to touch on later. Let's check out the hype meter. I decided to look at serverless, micro services, and Docker. Docker came strong out of the gate in 2015 and you has slowed down recently, but serverless is on the up and up.

That's the blue line. But isn't serverless just like a microservice that one else is running for you? I don't know.

That brings us to the end of where. Now let's talk about what. What are we doing? What are we doing with all of this stuff? I'm going to try and keep this section also as factual as possible, and keep my opinions out of it. To measure this stuff, I use a metric called "shared registry".

I used it in that graph a little while. It's a very useful metric but it's also a kind of confusing metric so I'm going to explain it a bit. This is a graph of the weekly downloads from the npm registry.

We do nearly 12 billion downloads every week. This has grown. This presents a popular if you're trying to present how popular something is by download numbers, because download numbers always go up. Here's a graph of downloads from major front-end frameworks and they're all growing pretty fast in absolute terms.

In fact, everything in the registry grows super fast. Even the shittiest package is constantly acquire new users because there are so many people showing up all the time say I don't know what to use, I'm going to use evil package JS.

Absolute growth won't work. So just like with the JSConf submissions, we're using relative popularity. We use the percentage of downloads of a pack garage as a percentage of all of the downloads, and that is what we call a shared registry. Here's the same graph again using the shared registry metric instead. Suddenly, what is going on is a lot more clear - some stuff is going up, some stuff is staying flat, some stuff is going down, but it's important to remember that going down is not actually declining, it's just meaning that it is going up more slowly.

Staying flat on this graph means that you grew 25,000 per cent, and, if you're going up on this graph, it means that you are growing faster than 25,000 per cent. Growing up is growing incredibly fast. So now let's talk about these frameworks.

The story of front-end face, in 2019 is pretty simple, and it is that React has conquered the web. React has more than four times as many downloads as the next most popular framework. There hasn't been a framework anything like this popular, and part of the reason for that is that it's not just a front-end framework. In fact, it's not even a front-end framework.

React is just a component model, and that component model is used in web apps, in React Native apps, and also in desktop apps. This is the download data.

What about the survey where we asked actual people? In our survey, 63 per cent of JavaScript developers say they're using React, but "using" is a vague term, right? It can be anything. We asked a specific question. 57 per cent of people say they write React themselves and 67 per cent said they use it written by other people. 15 per cent of us say we don't use React yet but we are considering it, so React already a ridiculously dominant framework still has room to grow, apparently.

Although the shared registry appears to be slowing down, so, we don't know it yet which one of those things is going to happen. To dig even further, we asked people how much they write React. Inside the 57 per cent of people who write React, 49 per cent of people say they primarily write React, and which means 26 per cent of all npm users are primarily building React, and, if you add in the people who write it only sometimes, that means that 57 per cent - near half of all JavaScript developers - are writing React some or most of the time.

There has never been a framework of which that is true. That is a strange and new situation for JavaScript to be in. Moving on to the other frameworks. Last year, I got into some trouble because I took Angular version 1 and Angular version 2 onwards and treated them as a single framework called Angular, and I was strenuously informed that that is incorrect.

Angular version 1 is called Angular JS now. Angular version 2 is unrelated to the first one also called Angular which I think is still kind of confusing.

Angular JS has been in decline since 2016, and 2 since 2017. It's important to keep it in mind this is relative popularity. In absolute terms, both of these frameworks are growing up, both of these frameworks have more users than they've ever had before. Angular is extremely popular. 37 per cent of npm users say they use some flavour of Angular, 29 per cent say they use the current version of Angular.

That means there's probably about three million people using Angular which is definitely nothing to sneeze at, and Angular is not going anywhere. Let's look at one more framework of note which is Vue. Vue is the only major framework other than React showing strong positive growth, but it is very positive growth.

Its share of registry has doubled in the last two years which means that it its downloads grew 10x in that time. Our survey data backs that up. Up from 24 per cent last year, which means almost as many people use Vue as use the current version of Angular. Let's swing by the hype meter are and he and see what they said about front-end frameworks.

In 2009, of course was talking about Dojo and jQuery. You can see the trajectories.

They react well to share share of registry which is nice. Angular's decline starts in 2015. Amber is flat, and yellow, and React in blue is continuing to grow, just like it is in the registry data. One thing I haven't talked about in terms of front-end frameworks is web components, and part of that is they're built into browsers so there is no shared registry to track.

Nobody's downloading them. The other reason is they don't seem to be very popular. We didn't ask about npm survey, which is embarrassing, but the State of JS people did.

They allowed people to volunteer if they used web components but less than one per cent of deem did. I'm not ignoring web components, I don't have gad data about them. The people who build web components in browsers, they tell me that web components are a lot more popular than they think they are, and you but of course they would say that. Moving from the front-end to the back-end, there has been a real revolution. Previously, if I was talking about back-end frameworks, I would have talked about stuff like Sales, and Amber.

>> Happy, and they have still around about flat growth. They're not going anywhere. Everybody's right rich front-end apps and frameworks like those that produce static views are not as useful for that use case any more. So, instead, what has happened, is front-end framework enthusiasts realise that they needed no deliver pre-rendered HTML for performance reasons and they called it "server-side rendering" or SSV.

They invented stuff to do that which is is to say they invented back-ends. The front-end frameworks are also back-end frameworks, collections of servers and routers that make it easy to build a full server using your favourite framework.

I don't know about you, but the idea that I can just write components and then throw them into an existing framework and not have - that does the serving and the parsing and that pain-in-the-ass stuff for me is great but super familiar. I'm sure that's how PHP used to work! Some day soon, someone will tell me I can FTP my React components on a server and then the circle will be complete! [Laughter]. Before I talk about these SSR frameworks, it's important to know they're all still pretty small. Here for comparison is Express, which is a goddamned monster of a package. It used to be 1.5 per cent of the registry all by itself, and it is still enormous.

All of the other frameworks that I'm about to talk about are that flat line at the bottom of the graft that you can barely see. But, when you take Express out of the picture, something very interesting is happening. At the top of our list is Gatsby. It uses React and provides a whole set of tools for hooking it up to back-ends and deploying it. It snuck up on us.

Eight per cent of people are using it. Sales of Amber and Happy are all around the four to five per cent area, and Gatsby is bigger than that now, it's huge, and real, and growing like gang busters. The others I want to talk about are a trio of products that nearly have the same name. Next is NextJS.

Our survey respondents were big on that. Nine per cent said they use it. Share of registry is giving Gatsby the edge but clearly both very popular. Then there's NuxtJS which is like NextJS which is for Vue instead of React.

Then NestJS which is like NextJS except it's for Angular. I know very little about it.

I didn't ask about it in our survey, but extrapolating it from our survey, two per cent of people are using NestJS and showing healthy growth. What about the hype? It's super frustrating. "Next" is just a word. They say it all the time, don't mean the framework.

And "nest" shows up all the time because people talk about nested code and loops, and this is a graph about Gatsby. Closely related to these front-end frameworks which are now back-end frameworks is GraphQL, which is the hot new way of building an API to power all of this stuff. As you can see, GraphQL's core library and two of its most popular client libraries are growing off the chart super fast in share of registry, and that climb is reflected in the survey data. 22 per cent of our respondents say they're using GraphQL but 49 per cent say that they are considering using GraphQL which is an enormous number. It means that 2019 is going to be the year of GraphQL when everybody gets on board the train.

And the final set of trend data we're going to look at is the hottest trend of all which is not writing JavaScript any more. Remember all those non-primary JavaScript developers that I was talking about? Especially the ones coming from typed languages like Java, C#, and C++? This is how their influence is showing up. The biggest part of this trend is TypeScript.

Last year, we were caught by surprise when 49 per cent of people - sorry, 46 per cent of people said they used TypeScript, and this year, that number is up to 63 per cent. But what does "using" mean? Are you using it, writing it, what are you doing with it exactly? It turns out 15 per cent of people are just using things that are written in TypeScript, and the main culprit there is Angular. Angular is written in TypeScript, so everybody who uses Angular reports themselves as a TypeScript user. In fact, React and Amber have TypeScript in them.

Now the only major framework that doesn't have TypeScript in it is Vue. Even if you say you write TypeScript, do you mean you write it all the time, or just to try it out? Are you a TypeScript dev or dabbler.

52 per cent of them primarily write TypeScript, and another 34 per cent are writing TypeScript some of the time which means 36 per cent of npm users are writing TypeScript most or all of the time which is a tremendous change - a third of JavaScript users don't write JavaScript any more. That's amazing. Incidentally, one of the features of TypeScript is that it has these typed definition files, and those typed definition files are hosted on the registry. The last time I checked, 2.5 per cent of all registry downloads are Type definitions.

The most downloaded - they are mostly downloaded automatically, so we should have a chat with Microsoft about that. But what about the hype? The hype is doing fine. For fun, I through in Coffee Script which is the last time somebody tried to replace JavaScript with something that looked like JavaScript. We don't talk about that any more! The other part of the not-writing-JavaScript trend is Web Assembly. It lets you run it on the web at near native speeds.

The first interesting thing is the speed, and the second is the people who write WebAssembly say that is less interesting than the second part which is the ability to use existing code written in other languages directly on the web. To me, one of the most exciting features of WebAssembly is that you can write modules to it and publish them to the npm registry and install them into your app and use them seamlessly without knowing they're there. The way I know that you can do that is that it has already happened. Our stats say that WebAssembly is very knew.

Only three per cent of people say they use it, but that's 300,000 people, and only 0.6 per cent of the packages in the registry with Wasm, but those packages are cool, but the big number for WebAssembly is 54 per cent - that's how many people say they consider they're using it which means the interest in WebAssembly is enormous. So, now we know what we are and what we are using, and those facts together can point us towards an explanation as to why. This is where I switch from facts to analysis, which is to say opinions, which is to say I am wrong. Before I do that, I need to split the room up into two teams.

Everybody on this side of the room is Team A. Everybody on this side of the room is Team B.

Let me hear it from Team A. Team B! [Cheering]. Team A! Team B! Great. I wasn't using that for anything.

Just to wake you up after 30 minutes of graphs. The first question to answer is why is JavaScript the most popular programming language? I think we can discard the idea that it is the best-designed programming language. One answer is the npm registry. A guy did a study where he researched why people use programming languages. Is it the features, the speed, or because their boss forced them to? The number-one reason was the existence of open-source libraries in that language.

If there is a library that helps you get the job done, you adopt the language of the library, and because there are so many libraries in JavaScript already, it keeps sucking people in. Once about every 15 minutes, somebody sends me this picture thinking that it is super hilarious and I won't have seen it before. It's not a bad metaphor.

Every time somebody adds another package to the pile, it increases - another developer gets sucked in, and that developer increases the pull even further. And this has created a new type of JavaScript developer: the reluctant JavaScripter. They were once a really small group but now there are quarter, or possibly even more of the JavaScript population. They don't write JavaScript because they like it, they write JavaScript because they have to, and that's bad.

That's bad for them, because they hate it, and it's bad for us because people who hate JavaScript won't write it well. Why are we forcing people to write JavaScript? This happened one time before.

A few years ago Ruby developers found themselves sucked into the JavaScript world, and they hated it. They hate JavaScript, and they keep telling me they hate it in their survey results. Some of them attempted to resolve that problem by inventing Copy Script but the Ruby folks mostly won. JavaScript is full of features that we used to have in Ruby, and TypeScript is something like that pattern. Remember all of those non-primary JavaScript developers? A bunch of people from typed languages, in particular from Java and C#? They miss the types.

JavaScript is giving them the type back. That's what they like about it. Given the popularity of TypeScript, and types, and Microsoft's backing in particular, it's unlikely to go anywhere. In our survey, 17 per cent of people who heard of WebAssembly said part of the reason they were interested in it means they wouldn't have to write JavaScript any more. WebAssembly frees developers from JavaScript, and the result will be that a lot of people will stop writing JavaScript.

That is not something to be worried about. First, not everybody is going to stop. Just the folks who hated writing it, and, second, when people writing WebAssembly are looking for a way to share code, the in registry is the natural way for them to do that. WebAssembly will make JavaScript stronger by giving it access to the best libraries from every other language, which is a tremendously exciting idea.

The next question we're touching on is what the hell is going on with React? Part of the explanation is that React isn't a full web framework. It has no opinions about routing, or data models and other frameworks do, so as models change, it means that people can keep using the React components and shift and go and change within that group. It's just a component model and it creates truly reusable useful components. These are two examples that I particularly like: a colour-picker, and a date-picker.

I hate installing those. That's been the dream for 20 years.

Other projects provide libraries of excellent prebuilt components. This is one that does it for Google's Material UI. Reach UI makes React components more accessible. React can go further with React hooks which are a way of handling state that you can just npm-install into your application.

React Use is a library that gives you a whole bunch of really cool stuff that uses the web APIs without you having to write a bunch of code. You can just import it and start using it in your React app. This suggests an enticing future where we can build web apps as a new and higher level of abstraction. We won't have to think too hard about the server but put existing components together instead of building them from scratch for each project, especially components that we add will create the same feedback loop as npm itself, the more components there are, the stronger the gravity well, and the stronger the users will be in that community. It could make React an unstoppable force that changes web development forever.

It's not guaranteed. React is slowing down and Vue is showing strong growth. In the next couple of years we get to find out if React fades.

React's dominance on the front-end has totally changed the back-end. Frameworks that enable server-side rendering of React apps are now more popular than traditional back-end frameworks. Instead of writing code for client and server, we just write code for the client and we get the server to deal with it and figure it out. Is that a good idea? Is building all web apps as rich front-end apps and getting the server to do the work a good idea? I don't know.

It's certainly a popular idea, and popularity has its own momentum. At least one browser maker is already working on specific optimisations to make React apps faster at the browser level.

Last year, I made the case that React components should become part of the web API, and I stand by that. Let's take these trends and analyses and weave them together and make guesses about the future. I'm going to go from slightly wrong to completely wrong. The first is npm Tink, it's an tremendously exciting thing that I don't have time to demo.

Dan Abramov tweeted this, and it's exactly what this looks like where it might be going: imagine a world where you can build a web app without needing to know all the details of how your components work. People hate VB6 but at one point, it was the world's most popular programming language. That's us now. VB6 unlocked and created a whole generation of programmers by reducing the barrier to entry. Think how many more people could get involved if you could build a real useful web app by just dragging and dropping open-source components into your application.

This wouldn't make your job obsolete, we would still need everyone in this room to be writing components but we would need a room ten times this size to hold all the people who would be using those components. A whole new level of abstraction, a whole new kind of web developer. That is a tremendously exciting idea. And then you add to that mix WebAssembly which is early days now but you could bringing every other library from the JavaScript world and make them interoperable.

Not only is it easy to build apps but what you can build is vastly expanded. The last piece of the puzzle is the native app developers, nearly half of us, take highly performant rich web apps and suddenly don't run them on the browser but run them on your phone, shoes, VR headset - wherever. JavaScript running everywhere, absorbing every language into a unified world of open source components built by an ever expanding and increased community of diverse developers. I can imagine a world where it happens. After watching 23 years of watching the web grow, no time has ever been more exciting right now, and you, my friends and colleagues, are perfectly placed.

You're in the right place at the right time to participate in that. The web is an amazing force for good and evil. It is a toy, and it's a tool. It's a playground, and it's a marketplace.

It's ultimately amazing and terrifying in the power that it gives us. We can do so much good and so much harm. But I choose to believe that, in the long run, we will collectively decide to do more things that help the world than hurt it. We've all made mistakes that hurt the world. I know that I have.

But I believe that, in the course of time, our good decisions will outweigh our mistakes, and the web will grow forever. I hope what I've shared with you today that is helped you see where you are, and what you're doing, and I hope it's helped motivate you, and made you curious, and I hope you all have a fantastic JSConf and thank you so much for your time and attention. [Cheering and applause].