The State of JavaScript Frameworks 2017: Express takes back-end by storm

Gabriela Motroc

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npm recently published the third part (Back-End Frameworks) of its State of JavaScript Frameworks 2017 report. Although the most important highlight is that Express is the dominant solution for back-end services written in JavaScript, there are a lot of interesting findings.

npm’s State of JavaScript Frameworks report

Earlier this week, we analyzed the results of npm’s State of JavaScript Frameworks 2017 report and we talked with Laurie Voss, co-founder and COO of npm about React, which is growing faster than JavaScript in general.

Now it’s time to look at the back-end frameworks but I warn you, the situation is not as complicated as you’d think. Quite the opposite, actually.

According to Laurie, Koa, Next, Hapi and Sails are so small in comparison with Express that one can barely see them. Therefore, it’s safe to say that Express is the “overwhelmingly dominant solution for back-end services written in JavaScript.”

It doesn’t seem that way judging by this graphic, but Express has actually declined. Laurie explained that at one point, 1.5% of all npm downloads were Express and now it is only a tenth of that (0.15%). Still, it’s worth mentioning that Express has grown 6000% since the beginning of 2013.


“It’s worth having a visual reminder of what ‘flat’ growth means in terms of the npm registry. Nearly all of the frameworks we’ve discussed so far are, in this graph of absolute downloads, increasing in popularity.

In other words, the JavaScript community is growing at a rate unprecedented in the history of programming languages.”

— Laurie Voss

“This 2 to 1 ratio suggests that the future of the npm community lies in front-end development and tooling”

Findings show that over 80% are writing JavaScript that runs in the front-end and only 41% are writing code for the back-end (28% write for both).


SEE ALSO: JAX Magazine is out: The darlings of the JavaScript world

Comparing results: The State of JavaScript 2017

If you want to compare JavaScript reports, you should have a look at this State of JavaScript report. For what it’s worth, this one also says that “there are very few true contenders here apart from Express”.

Although Meteor is quite well-known, it hasn’t managed to impress a lot of people. This time, it occupied the third position after Koa, the runner-up, and Express, the back-end framework which gathered a lot of thumbs-ups from respondents.

For those who want to explore the connections between the inhabitants of the JavaScript ecosystem, that can be arranged. You can see how many React users also use Redux, if Express users are also into Ember and so on and so forth.  Have fun!


Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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