ArticleMarch 21, 2021 · 6 min read time
This January, we conducted the first-ever Nitor developer survey. The goal was to understand better which technologies we have used during the previous year, what we think of them, and what we are interested in using in the future. Two-thirds of developers at Nitor responded to the survey. In this post, I’ll present and discuss the results from the most important categories. I’ll also conclude with the “ideal stack” of the average Nitorean.
Another notable result is the high placement of Java on the list, especially compared to C#. Their usage is similar in the SO survey, but Nitor has focused on Java development from the start. While this has diversified, it is still a reliable and well-liked language among Nitoreans. Java usage is also much higher than Scala, another JVM-based language. At Nitor, Scala is among the most disliked technologies. A clear competitor to Java is another JVM language, Kotlin. While usage is lower, it is well-liked and has gathered high interest, which might forecast greater future use.
Finally, there are a few other languages where interest is especially high. These include GraphQL, a popular query language for APIs, Go, designed and used prominently by Google, Rust, the most loved language in the SO survey, and WebAssembly, which lets you compile any language for the browser.
The most popular frameworks for the Java platform are Spring Boot and Spring Framework, while alternatives, such as Ver.tx, have only marginal usage. For Python, Flask is number one while Django comes second. Finally, we have nFlow, an open-source Java framework for managing workflows created at Nitor. It is used by many Nitoreans, who are also pleased – the satisfaction rate is highest among all technologies in the survey.
React holds the crown among front-end frameworks with very high usage and satisfaction rates. The competitors include Angular, which is far less utilized and more disliked too. It is interesting and unfortunate that Nitoreans still use the older AngularJS slightly more often than Angular. Vue.js is also included, which paradoxically has a high interest while being disliked by all its users. Svelte has seen some hype during the past year, and reached first place in satisfaction among the front-end frameworks category in the newest State of JS survey. This has led to gaining some interest among Nitoreans too. For the Clojure stack, re-frame (based on Reagent) is the main framework.
Among React ecosystem frameworks, Create React App was most popular and well-liked. Next.js, a hybrid framework supporting both server-side rendering and static generation, was also mentioned with particularly high interest. It is worth mentioning that the new nitor.com site, launched in December, is built using Next.js, which might have contributed to the appeal. Finally, there’s Gatsby, a static site generator that is not used as much but has high interest and is liked by its users.
PostgreSQL is the most widely used database and is also quite liked. Among relational databases, Amazon Aurora comes next, then MySQL and MariaDB. Among NoSQL databases, Amazon DynamoDB is in the lead, with Redis next and MongoDB in third place. Elasticsearch is the most used search engine.
AWS has traditionally been the main cloud platform used at Nitor, and we have long been an AWS partner. It is still the most used by far, although usages of Azure, Heroku, and Google Cloud (GCP) are also significant. Notable here is the very high interest in GCP, the highest overall among all technologies in the survey. Lately, we have completed many certificates, and this year we achieved GCP partner status, making Nitor a partner of all three major cloud providers.
This category was limited to operating systems used for work. The preference for Linux and macOS turned out to be very even. Both are also very well-liked, in the top five among the most liked technologies overall. The use of Windows is significantly lower, also with fewer satisfied and some dissatisfied users. This differs from the SO results, where Windows is the most used operating system.
Among continuous integration/continuous delivery platforms and tools, Jenkins has a big lead. However, it’s not very well-liked and might therefore be giving way to alternatives in the future. Next in line are AWS CodeBuild, Travis, GitLab CI, and GitHub Actions. Especially GitHub Actions is both well-liked and has a high interest. These results might signal a trend towards CI/CD tools built into version control service providers.
The deployment and infrastructure-as-code tools category has Docker in the first place. In second place is AWS CloudFormation, although it is more disliked than the alternatives that are next in line: Serverless Framework, Ansible, AWS CDK, and Terraform. CDK, which allows using CloudFormation with modern programming languages, has exceptionally high satisfaction in the category.
To conclude, I’ll present the technologies with the highest positive sentiment at Nitor, which I calculated from the number of “liked” plus “interested” minus “disliked” responses as a share of all responses.
The list gives an overview of technologies that are both established and viewed positively by Nitor’s digital engineers, which together indicate they might be good choices for the kind of large-scale business-critical software Nitor focuses on.
Excluding the editor and operating system categories (as they are mostly personal choices), we get the top ten “ideal stack” of an average Nitor developer: TypeScript, React, AWS, PostgreSQL, Docker, Kotlin, Next.js, Java, Node.js, and Google Cloud.