Vue

The 2018 State of JavaScript survey results have just been released and so, as we head into the end of the year, it’s a good time to take a look at Vue.js and see where things are heading.

The yearly State of JavaScript survey, conducted by Sacha Greif, Raphael Benitte, and Michael Rambeau collects input from over 20,000 web developers on trends over the past year. While that’s not the entire industry, is probably a pretty good sample and a great place to start for a look at the fortunes of Vue. So what does it say?

Let’s jump right to the good stuff – how is Vue doing? Sure, it’s not a competition, but still… let’s add in React and Angular results. And then to really answer that question, let’s also show the data from last year to see how they have trended year to year. Yes, the survey lists a few other frameworks but they are in the “noise” range compared to the big 3 so I left them out of this.

Vue statistics

Very colorful! So what does this actually tell us? For starters, it looks like all three frameworks have increased in usage over the past year. I’m not going to go into detail on React or Angular data other than to compare their trends to Vue. There is a blog covering the data around React and one covering Angular that go into more detail on these.

One thing that stands out is that pretty much everyone has heard of Vue by now. In 2017 about 5% of people said that they had never heard of Vue, and this last year it was down below 1%.

Positive usage has increased from 20% to 29% over the last year. This places it slightly higher than Angular and about half of React (not that we are comparing). However… as with all data, we need to place it in context and correlate it with other information. Vue is, arguably, the easiest to pick up and get started with so those numbers may include more people using it in small projects or for learning. That seems to be confirmed with feedback from developers that I’ve talked with over the last year. This does not at all mean that Vue is not being used on real projects, just that the 29% might include a higher number of “tire-kickers” than the other frameworks. Still, there are a lot of people using Vue and the number is growing.

Note that the totals for “heard of it, not interested” and “heard of it, would like to learn” held about even, with some minor decrease. This is consistent with ongoing adoption and over time we would expect more of the “heard of it, would like to learn” to transition to “used it” categories.

One last data point to note is that the “used it, would not use it again” is quite small and has only increased a small amount. It is lower than React and much lower than Angular (again, not that we are comparing). This is a very good sign. People are trying it, they are using it, they like it.

Who Are These People?

Note that the following data and charts are for Vue developers only, not the full survey respondents.

There is some demographic information listed for the survey as well. The first one is salary information. This is split out by framework and for Vue, 17% make $100K-$200K, and 29% make $50K-$100K. The $50K-$200K range covers normal developer salaries in the US. What is interesting, however, is that 19% listed their salary as $30K-$50K and 17% listed their salary as $10K-$30K. These might be coming from other countries with lower pay scales, or they might indicate a number of students, part-time contractors, or people in other jobs who are moving to development. These categories might indicate a group of people that are using Vue but not in a production environment.

Also – if you are one of the few people who are making over $200K a year as a Vue developer please contact me immediately and tell me how you are doing that.

Vue statistics

We are also given company size data by framework. Here we see that, for Vue, 34% listed that they are working in a company with over 100 employees , and 20% in companies with 5 or less employees so there is a pretty good spread in company size. Note that the overlap of the categories (such as between “1-5” and “1”) was not a typo on my part, that is how the results are listed.

Vue statistics

Finally, they list years experience for each framework and here we get a pretty good spread as well. 30% have 2-5 years, 30% have 5-10 years experience, and 23% have 10-20 years experience. Less than 2 years was 13% so we do see some entry level interest but not as much as the more seasoned developers.

Vue statistics

A Deeper Dive

Looking at data specific to Vue gives us a better look at who and why people are using Vue.

For starters, of the “most liked” aspects of Vue, the #1 reason was “Easy learning curve,” followed by “Elegant programming style” and “Good documentation.” In other words, it’s easy to pick up. On the other hand, “fast performance” was #5 on the list so people are using it in real applications where they care about performance. Note that this was among the people who said they had used it and would use it again.

Vue statistics

Of the people who said they had used it and would NOT use it again, and remember that this was a very small percent, the #1 reason was “clumsy programming style” by a huge margin. This seems to be at odds with the very reasons the other group liked it and suggests that Vue is like pumpkin flavored beer. Some people just love it, and some think it’s nasty. It’s a matter of style and preference. (For the record, the people who think pumpkin flavored beer is nasty are correct).

Vue statistics

The next data set that is interesting is the breakdown of where happy Vue users are located. Higher percentages are found in China, France, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Nigeria, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, and a few others. Places with less satisfaction include the US, India, and Australia.

The report, in summary (for the frameworks section) points out that React currently is the hot framework, with Vue growing steadily. The report points out that Vue has actually overtaken React for total GitHub stars. Angular maintains a sizable user base and while not everyone is happy with Angular, it seems to fit in well in certain situations and does not show any signs of fading from the landscape.

But Wait, There’s More!

The “State of JavaScript” survey gives us good information, and it does pull input from a large number of developers, but it is not the entire market. It also asks certain questions but not others. There are other surveys available that are worth looking at to compare, and one of these is the “Developer Survey Results” from Stackoverflow. Or at least it would be if they included Vue, which so far they don’t. Vue may be growing by leaps and bounds, but it is not everywhere (yet). Note that there are a ton of posts on Stackoverflow about Vue.

The 2018 Stackoverflow survey included Angular and React along with .NET and a variety of other tools, but not Vue. It is interesting to note that in the Stackoverflow survey, Angular beats out React as the most commonly used framework at 37% to 28%.  That would seem to be at odds with the State of Javascript survey results where React dominates over Angular. While this has nothing to do with Vue, it highlights the importance of really digging into survey data – exactly how were the questions asked? Who had access to the survey? Who completed the surveys? Etc. It also shows that you need to be careful about relying too heavily on one survey’s results.

I’ll add two notes about the Stackoverflow survey. First, it was conducted at the beginning of 2018 so it’s almost a year old. Second, I did not see the actual survey so I (reasonably) assumed that Vue was simply left off the list of choices since it was not in the results list at all.

Who is Hiring

There are a number of other ways we can look at the growth of Vue. We can, for example, scan job postings to see how many companies list “Vue” as a required skill for a job description. A search of the popular job site Indeed.com for “Vue” shows 2,661 jobs that include the word “Vue” in the description. Most of these are for developers. If we really wanted to get an accurate number we should spend some time and find other “Vue” results to filter out. I see one that refers to “Pearson Vue”, one about “Campus Vue,” one on “Playstation Vue” – but most are for developers and I’m more looking for a general feel for the market rather than a perfect number. “Directionally accurate.”

What is interesting is that React gives us 58,433 jobs and Angular gives 17,219 jobs. Both results look like they are mostly developers as well although the React number seems pretty high and any detailed analysis would need to spend some time looking for keywords to filter out. Also note that some of the job postings phrase it something like “Experience in technologies like React, Angular, etc. etc.” so they are not necessarily looking for a React developer.

Despite all the caveats I list, this paints a pretty clear picture of a market that is deep into React, still strong for Angular, and just getting started with Vue in production usage. With all this interest we have seen in other sources, we should expect the Vue job postings to increase over the next few years as interest translates into usage.

Who is Searching

Google is always good for some analytics and we can use Google Trends to look at the popularity of Vue over time based on searches. Here, too, we need to have a care how we structure the query. Looking at the timeline for results tells us a lot because we know when Vue came on the scene (2014) so if the results don’t start out from zero around 2014 and then climb steadily, we are probably using the wrong search terms. We can also simply Google “Vue” or other variations and see what else is ranking that we might need to filter out.

Searching for “Vue” trends gives us strong results going back to 2004, so that is obviously not good. Searching for “Vue.js” trends gives us a curve that starts in 2014 and then climbs from there so that looks good, and there is definitely no other “Vue.js” that could be adding unwanted results. On the other hand, some people might just be searching on the term ‘Vue” because it is more common to abbreviate it. Searching only on “Vue.js” will miss those people. 

Vue statistics
Google Trends Data

Also interesting on Google Trends is the “interest by region” report, which lists South Korea as #1. St. Helena is #2 and I welcome any explanation for that one. Japan is #3, and so on. I would be more concerned about the “St. Helena” results (bad data?) except that doing a trend analysis for just the US returns a very similar graph. From the results we see here, Vue is clearly still growing (and we are missing the December data for the 2018 total which will make the total even higher). People are looking for information about it. The growth in 2018 will be unlikely to match the 2017 growth but remember that the “State of Javascript” survey showed Vue with almost zero people who were not familiar with it in 2018. I’m not going to show the comparisons to React or Angular since it is difficult to get exact apples-vs-apples search terms.

Conclusion

All of these data sources are useful in painting a picture of the adoption of Vue and its use in the real world. I cannot caution you strongly enough to take each source, however, as just one data point. As I mention above, what exact questions were asked or search terms used, how the data was gathered, who had access to contribute, etc. all can skew the data one way or another. It is only by looking across multiple data sources and getting a big picture. And the big picture here is that Vue may be #3 but it is growing, it does have a strong following already, and it is well liked.

One last data point that I will add is my own personal experience having been to a number of Vue conferences over the past year. For starters, there were several new Vue conferences added in the past year that were quite well attended. The ecosystem is still growing and as adoption grows, so too will supporting activities like events and supporting tools like Kendo UI for Vue. I have talked to a number of developers at these well-attended Vue conferences and they are enthusiastic and many of them are using Vue on real production apps. Vue is here, and here to stay. At least for now, because in the web app world the only real constant is change.


John Willoughby
About the Author

John Willoughby

John loves technology and because he just doesn’t get enough during the day, he also sometimes writes apps for fun as a hobby. He has worked in various software development and product marketing roles at both hardware and software companies. John has a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering (Computer Design) and is in the middle of his Master's in Computer Science. When not actually sitting in front of a monitor he enjoys playing guitar.

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