SitePoint 2017 JavaScript Survey — the Results Are In

    James Hibbard

    This is the editorial from our latest JavaScript newsletter, you can subscribe here.

    I’d like to start this newsletter with a massive thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out our survey. You rock! We had a great response and the results turned up some interesting facts about our audience. Here’s a brief summary of the main points.

    Of the people that answered:

    • 41% described themselves as front-end developers, 28% as full-stack
    • 55% described their skill level as intermediate
    • 50% consider ES6 to be the future, 39% had heard of it and are wanting to find out more
    • 77% use some kind of build tooling (be it a module bundler or a task runner)
    • 55% want to learn more about languages that compile to JavaScript
    • 57% use PHP as another language on a regular basis, only 7% use Ruby
    • 54% would like to see more content on application architecture, design patterns etc

    For those of you that are interested you can find the full results of questions 1-10 here. Please note that question 11 is not included, as it is a free text question and thus impossible to summarize.

    There were a few surprises in there for me, for example that there is such a high interest in compile-to-JS languages, or that such a small percentage of respondents use Ruby (sniff!). There was also a lot of actionable feedback. We’ll be weighing this up in the coming weeks and incorporating it into our content strategy.

    Reader Feedback

    In the final question we asked readers what we could do better. We got a lot of great comments and rest assured, we read them all. Thank you everyone that took the time and thank you too, to everyone that said we are doing a great job. We appreciate that!

    Other people left more actionable comments and I’d like to answer some of them here. Anyone whose comment I haven’t addressed, or who has further comments of any kind is welcome to drop us a line.

    Here’s what people said:

    We developers are always worried about our tools and shifts in tech trends (i.e., backing the wrong horse). It would be great to have more pieces aimed at validating our stack-choices. For example, “Is Angular adoption outpacing React in Enterprise?” or “What is the average salary of developers vs JS framework specialty?” or “What are some hot new npm packages we should be aware of?” This sort of analysis brings SitePoint from “nice” to “IMPORTANT”. Tutorials and tips are nice but they are everywhere. On the other hand, it’s hard to find good analysis to help with business decisions.

    Great feedback, thank you, noted. We do actually have an article in the pipeline on useful npm packages, so watch out for that. And we will take the idea of more analytical content on board.

    Tutorials should include editors so that we can practice right away

    Many of our tutorials have embedded demos for exactly this purpose. For simple client-side demos we use CodePen (example). For more involved code we use services such as Plunkr (example). We also include a GitHub repo with every tutorial so that readers can clone the demo and run it locally.

    The small tips that are missing from most of tutorials turn to be the small pieces that prevent newbies like me to understand and follow the articles. Don’t skip steps, for smaller they are.

    Got it. We can’t always cover every aspect of every technology in every tutorial, as we need to pitch our articles at the widest possible audience. When we do skim things for the sake of brevity, we endeavor to link to articles that will help you fill in the gaps. Also, don’t forget that there is SitePoint forums — a great place to ask questions if you get stuck.

    React for beginners

    Sure. We have an up-to-date beginner’s tutorial here. What else would you like to see covered?

    Please, bring Angular 2+ content (tutorials, courses, articles, etc.). Also, would be interesting to learn about Google Material Design as well as Angular Material implementation. Lastly, would love to learn Ionic 2 framework. Please, please, please :))

    Our Mobile channel has a fair amount of Ionic content. Hopefully they will have something on Ionic 2 soon.

    As for Angular 2, we have an article series that shows you how to build out a complete Angular 2 app with database integration. Part 1 focused on the Angular CLI and part 2 showed how to create a simple CRUD app using the CLI. Future articles will demonstrate how to communicate with a REST API and add authentication.

    Keep your office pets away from the keyboard.

    Err, okay. Sure.

    Not related to JavaScript, but more articles/tutorials/courses/books on accessibility.

    We have a fair bit of content on accessibility. Is that the kind of thing you are after?

    We also take accessibility seriously on the JavaScript channel. In fact any demo that creates a UI component or widget has to conform to our accessibility checklist (or say so if it doesn’t).

    More articles on advancing from Intermediate to Master level would be of interest (Pure JS, HTML, CSS and related things like Webpack and Electron). Particularly in-depth pieces on why, more than the how (although how is good too).

    Great feedback, thank you. This is something that we have tried to focus on when possible, for example with articles such as this: Untangling Spaghetti Code: How to Write Maintainable JavaScript. Nonetheless, we hear you.

    Out of interest, do you have any specific topic/article suggestions. Feel free to drop us a mail and let us know.

    I’d like to hear more stories of peoples journeys about how they got started and where they are now.

    This isn’t something we had considered covering on the main channel, so thanks for the suggestion. We do have a podcast (the Versioning Show) where most guests will explain how they got started in tech. In a similar vein a new podcast has sprung up (an offshoot of JavaScript Jabber) dedicated to exactly this.

    I would like to see roadmaps for learning JS. Not the typical Introduction to JS tutorial neither create a React app in 30 minutes. Create a roadmap for people that can understand the basics of a programming language, played with jQeury a bit, but they want to take the next step.

    A roadmap is a great idea. Noted. Thank you.

    I think some of the articles could be better screened. Sometimes the topics presented are outdated or the advice provided does not seem thoroughly considered, e.g. not addressing potential criticisms. I want to feel confident when reading a Sitepoint article that I can employ the advice in my code.

    Always feel free to hit us up and let us know if you spot sub-par content on the JavaScript Channel. We operate a peer review system for our articles to ensure their quality, so theoretically that shouldn’t happen. Would you maybe like to join as a reviewer?

    Don’t forget Jquery, it’s not dead.

    Never. I love jQuery. I would brush my teeth with jQuery if I could.

    As a hobbyist in JavaScript but experienced in other languages, I feel I understand the logic really well, but when it comes to file structure of JS, HTML, CSS. Build tools like gulp, ect. I’m completely lost. I can build something small, but the architecture of a large project intimidates me.

    You are not alone :) We have an article in the pipeline entitled “The Anatomy of a Modern JavaScript Application” which aims to address exactly that.

    Coverage of Aurelia

    We are lucky enough to have two of Aurelia’s core contributors (Vildan Softic and Jedd Ahyoung) writing for us. Also, Rob Eisenberg (Aurelia’s creator) recently published an Aurelia roadmap on our site. Is there anything else in particular you would like to see?

    More cat !

    Sure. This CodePen pulls in kitten pictures from the Flickr API.

    More “what’s interesting / happening in JS this month” type articles with explorations of new, little-known frameworks and tools.

    We do try and cover larger, more important events in a reasonably timely manner (for example, a look at how Yarn stacks up against npm shortly after Yarn was released). However, there’s room for improvement and we’ll bear this in mind when choosing themes for future editorials.

    I like SitePoint as much as I like vanilla JavaScript.

    Thanks … I think.

    Really need more stuff in the intermediate levels, particularly things that help put everything together, integrating things with AJAX and back-ends such as PHP and/or other things. Some things on the site are too easy, while the rest seems to make a jump to levels that are difficult for new and intermediate learners. Remember that many of us are longtime learners who have trouble with design patterns and other stuff that seems obvious to people more classically trained in it or who have been working as professionals for a long time. What might be a good thing would be to work through a whole, simple full-stack project and over-engineer it. Do all the stuff you would do for a bigger project like planning, testing, version control, and deployment.

    Thank you. All good points. There have been a couple of attempts at cross-channel collaborations (for example showing how to build an API in Ruby or PHP, then consume it with Angular), but for one reason or another, these haven’t come to fruition. It seems we need to try harder here. You might also like the Angular 2 series of articles I mentioned above — these aim to build out a simple CRUD app in a series of article to include database functionality, authentication and more.

    More cross liking to other articles to explain topics / concepts in depth. I should be able to come into an article and branch off to understand core concepts (or explain them in the article and provide a link for extra info) Sometimes code samples are confusing and made intentionally small at the sacrifice of simplicity / readability

    I was under the impression that we do this already. For example our quick tips are meant to serve as building blocks for articles, meaning that authors don’t need to cover the same ground again and again. Could you point me at an article that could be improved by cross linking or extra info?

    In Conclusion

    Thank you once again to everyone who took part in our survey. Your feedback will certainly help us shape our content going forward. And don’t forget, anyone whose comment I didn’t address, or who has further comments of any kind is welcome to drop us a line.