TL;DR Looking at job postings, Rails is more popular than Django, Laravel or Express. By a lot. If you specifically measure startup cities like San Francisco Bay area, Rails even beats ASP.NET . In fact, judging by job postings, Rails is probably the most used full stack web technology for U.S web based startups.
In a previous post I made the case that Rails is still popular but much less than in it used to be and that it’s used about as much as other frameworks like Laravel, Django, Express.JS etc. The method I used is looking at the number of Stackoverflow questions asked over time. Lots of people argued this is not a good metric so I decided to dig deeper.
Instead of gauging popularity by Stackoverflow or Google trends, let’s look at the number of job openings (I used Linkedin); jobs are what we actually care about most , right?
San Francisco Bay Area:
- Rails 1066
- Django 636
- Spring MVC 304
- ASP.NET 298
- Symphony 98
- Express.JS 74
- Laravel 30
- Sails 18
Caveat: Measuring ‘Express’ is problematic because it is a popular English word appearing in may jobs postings. I had to go with Express.js and it might do it injustice.
Rails is the most popular web framework in the bay area by job openings.
Notable mentions are “Spring” with 2498 and “.NET” with 1120. The reason I don’t include them is Spring is not a web framework but a general application framework (that is why I compare Rails to ‘Spring MVC’): a lot of Spring openings are actually meant for big data, data science etc. Same for .NET.
How about the languages themselves?
San Francisco Bay Area:
- Python 13866
- Java 11472
- PHP 3628
- Ruby 3371
- Node 2301 (Not a language, I know)
- C# 2070
It might not look that impressive for Ruby but being almost tied with PHP is impressive; and a possible explanation for PHP being popular as a language while it’s frameworks aren’t is that PHP is heavily used for Wordpress, Drupal or basic short scripts. That’s not classic app development.
Let’s look at the entire United States, counting everything from startups to Big Corps.
- Asp.NET 12203
- Rails 8710
- Spring MVC 3570
- Django 2650
- Laravel 957
- Express.js 620
That’s really high for Rails!
Key conclusions and takeaways:
- Rails is still extremely popular, especially in Silicon Valley and other startup cities, but also throughout the entire U.S. It gets more mentions in job postings than it’s immediate competitors Django, Laravel, Express.JS etc.
- Surprisingly low numbers for Laravel and Express in the Bay area. I can’t completely explain it because I know Node has a huge following. Either Node mostly became a front end tool or the server side is done frameworkless in Node world. Whatever the case you rarely see Express.JS in job posts.
- As a general application development frameworks (not just web) Spring and .NET are still the most popular, by quite a margin. Rails doesn’t yet come close to their numbers.
- I only checked the United States. I’m positive different countries will show different results. For example, being based in the Netherlands I sense that PHP is very popular here for app development. But like it or not, the influence of the U.S on the rest of the tech industry is huge.
How about coding boot camps?
Looking at Switchup’s list of best boot camps for 2018, Rails is still the most taught web framework in prominent coding boot camps. Many of the big ones still choose Rails to teach app development. I see a lot of Node.JS in there and some Django too but barely any PHP. I don’t see this changing any time soon; Scala, Elixir and newcomers etc are just not a good fit for coding boot camps.
This is important because boot camps know the market and care about their graduates employment prospects. They choose Rails not only because it’s fun and easy to teach but because there’s a huge market for it.
These conclusions somewhat contradict my previous post that argued all these frameworks are more or less equal. We should definitely be careful when assessing framework popularity and use many metrics.