State Of JS 2018 — Bad News for Angular

As you may have seen, the State of JavaScript 2018 survey results are now out in the wild, and have caused quite a stir.

Angular Devs in particular are not happy with what has been said about their front-end framework of choice. Here’s one passage that has had a few of them reacting like Donald Trump when he spots a CNN Reporter in the room:

The other story of those past couple years is the fall of Angular. While it still ranks very high in terms of raw usage, it has a fairly disappointing 41% satisfaction ratio. So while it probably isn’t going anywhere thanks to its large user base, it’s hard to see how it will ever regain its place atop the front-end throne.

Ouch!

But then numbers for Angular are quite shocking. Of the Devs surveyed, only 23.9% said that having used Angular, they would use it again. Whereas 33.8% of Devs who said that they’d used Angular, won’t use it again. The comparative figures for React are 64.8% have used it and will use it again, with only 6.7% saying they’d used but wouldn’t again. Little wonder then that the survey’s authors came to the conclusion that they did.

Not Angular but AngularJS?

However, some Angular aficionados think they’ve found the real reason for the increase in Angular Dev unhappiness compared to previous two years that this same survey ran.

You see, this is the first year that the Angular part of the survey did have categorise “Angular” and “AngularJS” separately. There was only one “Angular” category, which the authors assumed that respondees would take this to mean Angular 2 and higher. (A reasonable assumption seeing as that is actually the correct terminology.)

Here’s just one Angular Fan pushing this line. He actually goes so far as to call the whole survey “a farce” because of it. It’s certainly a interesting line of defence: to claim that your own Devs are too dumb to know what are the proper names of the tools that they’re using 😜!

I’m not an Angular guy (as you may have gathered). I have been doing a bit of of Angular for only the last few months, but even I still know that the version of Angular that I’m using, version 6.x, is called “Angular”, and not “AngularJS” (which is reserved for Angular 1.x). Odd that so many actual Angular Devs might still be unaware of this distinction.

Perhaps if the Angular Team had decided to refer to Angular 1.x as the once-mooted “Angular Legacy” when Angular 2 came out, then there would have been no such confusion. (Not surprisingly though, the AngularJS Devs kicked back on their thing being referred to as “Legacy”. I wonder why? 😉)

From AngularJS to…where?

But let’s run with it for a moment, and assume that there may be some truth in this. Doesn’t that rather beg the question, so where did all those (now ex) AngularJS Devs go? They surely couldn’t have moved from AngularJS to Angular, could they?

For that to be true, here’s the sequence that such a Dev would have gone through when filling out the survey:

  1. They see the survey’s one category of “Angular” and take it to mean AngularJS
  2. They fill out the survey to say that no, they won’t be touching Angular(JS) ever again because, you know, it’s deprecated and all that.
  3. They then realise that there’s no other Angular category on the survey that they can fill out to say they’re now using Angular 6 and are deliriously happy with it.
  4. The scratch their heads about this for some time. Eventually, they put it down as “just one of those things” and send in their completed surveys, as is. It doesn’t bother them that they never got to say anywhere on it which framework they’re currently using because you know, that’s perfectly normal.

Does this sound remotely plausible? I think not.

Still Bad News for Angular

If there was an AngularJS factor at work in these results, I can only see that it means one thing: those Devs have gone elsewhere. Maybe React. Maybe Vue. But not to Angular.

Either that or the survey results were actually about Angular 2+ all along, in which case the framework truly is in trouble.