Five full-stack trends that exploded in 2022

James Murdza
5 min readFeb 2, 2023

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The “full-stack” is the entire set of software needed to develop and run an application from how the user interacts with the app to how data is processed. With so many new development tools released each year, last year’s modern full-stack can feel quickly outdated. So what tools and tech are growing the fastest, and why?

The fastest-growing developer tools tend to be those that prioritize three key areas: speed, scalability, and a high-quality user experience for developers. By striving to improve in these areas, tool creators are constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Let’s have a look at the developer tools that are now growing the fastest and see how they allow developers to make better software.¹

Note: To make the analysis more fun, I’ve uploaded the growth data in browsable format to devtrends.info and the source code behind it to GitHub. This way you can also browse and code along.

1. Infrastructure-as-code use skyrocketed.

The availability of cheap computing resources has made cloud hosting a very attractive solution in recent years. Riding on this trend is infrastructure-as-code (IaC), the process of writing code to completely automating the process of deploying full-stack software from codebase to the cloud. Software deployed this way can support hundreds of cloud providers. The leading product in this trend is open-source Terraform, the go-to tool for infrastructure-as-code and multi-cloud software deployment.²

2. Streamlined React alternatives gained popularity.

React.js is the web’s favorite front-end library. It gained massive popularity by allowing developers to create interactive UIs with building block components. But its pitfalls—computational overhead and a steep a learning curve—left space for improvement. Newer libraries such as Qwik, Solid, and Svelte, allow for same modularity and “reactivity” as React, but with a slimmer codebase, better benchmark performance, and a more gradual learning curve for developers.

Svelte was the fastest growing JavaScript library in 2022, with the highest retention rates and also developer satisfaction.³ Like other newer front-end frameworks, it does not use a virtual DOM. Instead, Svelte code is compiled into JavaScript at build-time, making Svelte apps extremely lightweight in the browser.

3. Flutter took over the cross-platform mobile app scene.

Of the many options for making a cross-platform mobile apps, none grew as fast as Flutter in 2022. Last year, the number of Flutter apps for Android surpassed the number of React Native apps for the first time. I predict that this will be true for iOS apps as well by the end of 2023.⁴

Why is Flutter dominating the cross-platform app scene? To start, junior developers prefer it for its simplicity. Flutter was designed to abstract away the components of the underlying OS for the developer, rather than take full advantage of native OS features. Flutter for mobile is also fast, and that’s important when providing a quality user experience.

4. Serverless, server side rendering is standard.

Serverless functions are a type of cloud hosting which allow “just code” to be uploaded to the cloud, with limited thought needed regarding the type or amount of resources needed. The flexibility of serverless and its ability to scale easily has made it a popular choice for backend software deployment.

A second trend in backend development is server-side rendering combined with static generation. This means that computation is moved from the browser to the host. The tangible speed benefits along with a downward trend in computing resource costs has been a push for server-side rendering. (There is also a third benefit: improved search engine optimization.)

The speed and scalability of severless hosting and dynamic rendering are some of the features that have made the full-stack framework Next.js (and its cousin Nuxt.js) recently popular. Both of these frameworks allow for severless and server-side rendering of popular frontend frameworks.

5. End-to-end type safety gained popularity with GraphQL and Prisma.

Type safety is a feature of programming languages and interfaces clearly communicate and enforce the data types they expect. This assists developers to write more understandable code and catch errors quickly, but is not a feature of JavaScript. This frustrating fact is also a large reason why many developers and frameworks now use TypeScript instead of JavaScript.

A complete adoption of type-safety would mean that all components in the stack—front-end, back-end, datastore and API—use a single consistent schema which is enforced across the codebase. With the introduction of GraphQL for APIs and Prisma for backend, this is now indeed feasible. The benefits of type-safety have driven these technologies to become popular for applications needing a data-heavy and quickly adaptable backend.

What should developers learn?

For a developer in the space, the fast pace of innovation can be exciting and overwhelming. That said, most developer tools take a decade to reach maximum adoption, so there is plenty of time to get familiar with big changes. Following sites such as StackShare and Github Trends is a great way to stay up-to-date with monthly and weekly trends. Investing a small amount of your time weekly helps to develop better software in the long run and also a more enjoyable experience for yourself!

For more content like this, follow me on Twitter at @jamesmurdza. And to have a look the full-stack I’m using on a daily basis, see here.

Footnotes:

[1] My primary source for these growth numbers is StackShare, a website which tracks the internal stacks of over 150,000 companies.

[2] In this case growth just means the number of new companies using a technology minus the number of companies that have stopped using it.

[3] See the results from “The State of JS 2022”.

[4] I found data for the App Store and Play Store on Appfigures.

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