How does your technology choice today impact your custom software profitability tomorrow?
Praxent’s Director of Engineering, Ryan Ostrom, speaks on some of the ways in which your choice of technology can impact the profitability of your software product in the long run, and reveals some leading indicators that can help you navigate this decision. Plus, he shares his recommended technologies today.
Hi, my name is Ryan Ostrom, and I’m the Director of Engineering here at Praxent.
From time to time, folks ask us: how important is my technology decision? Does it really impact my strategy? In the short term, probably not so much. In the long term, absolutely.
The most important and relevant reason why technology affects your strategy has to do with your ability to hire capable developers who have the tools they need at affordable prices three, five, and ten years from now.
Now nobody has a crystal ball – nobody can tell you which technologies are going to be popular with really great community support in a few years. But we do have some leading indicators we can look at to ascertain which technologies have the best shot at being much more widely adopted with great community support.
The better we can be at choosing technology that does have better developer support in the future, the more likely that we’re going to keep our cost down, by:
A) having better developers for lower cost
B) Having more off-the-shelf solutions instead of having to invent everything ourselves, and
C) Having better support and maintenance from the whole community at large go into your application.
Today, we thought we’d share just a few tips and tricks at how we look at some of those leading indicators to see which technologies may have the best shot at being relevant in the years to come.
Front-End Technologies Example: React, Angular, and Vue
We have four tools that we’re going to look at today. The first tool is something anybody can access – Google Search Trends. With Google Search Trends, we can look at any keywords like React, Angular, and Vue, and we can compare the trend over time of how many people are searching for those keywords. This is an indicator about who’s trying to learn about these tools, trying to figure out more information about them, and maybe who’s looking for resources or getting started with programming in these tools.
Our second indicator is from Stack Overflow’s 2018 Developer Survey. It’s a very lengthy survey – I’d encourage anybody out there to take a look at it. There’s a section in here that specifically covers front-end libraries and frameworks by popularity. We can see here that React appears at the top of the list, with Angular near the bottom of the list. Now, in this case, this was before they really had their rise in popularity.
Our third resource we’re going to look at today is GitHub Stars. Now, every library, framework, or package out there has a GitHub repository (likely), and on that GitHub repository, we can see some information that developers have contributed, such as GitHub Stars. GitHub Stars are and indication from developers that they really like this package, so one of the things we can do is we can say how many developers are leaving stars out there.
In this particular case, we can see React has about 157,000 stars with 31,000 forks, which means 31,000 people have forked this repository and began making their own changes, meaning they like it and want to use it. Let’s contrast that to Angular and Vue. Vue has 173,000 stars – actually more stars [than React], but there have been fewer forks, 27,000. And finally, Angular: 66,000, far fewer stars, and far fewer forks at 17,000.
Let’s take a look. React – about 8 million weekly downloads. Vue – about 1.8 million weekly downloads, about a fourth of the amount. And Angular, about 559,000 weekly downloads – far fewer.
Coming back to our Google Search Trends, our NPM data, our GitHub Stars data, and our Stack Overflow survey developer data complements what we found here in Google Search Trends, which has React is trending the most, and Angular and Vue trend below.
Now, what we’ve seen that doesn’t necessarily reflect itself here, is Vue is actually trending even more so than Angular – we see a decline from Angular and an incline for Vue. We could go into more detail why, but we won’t today.
There are a lot of other market research out there you can look at to try to ascertain which libraries are progressing the best and are the most likely to be relevant in the future, but these are some of the tools that we use. When we look at the market research, what we find is in the front-end, React and Vue are really the two popular frameworks if you’re going to build a web application. On mobile, we tend to find React Native and Native (meaning actual iOS or Android native), and on back-end applications (that is, APIs), we tend to find .NET Core and Java, and sometimes Node.js, are trending.
These are the application frameworks tools that we see are trending, and it changes every day. Make sure that when you’re working with a development partner, they’re thinking about things in this way – they’re equipping you with the information to go out there and do the market research yourself, and they’re bringing their findings to you as well. In the long run, you might save yourself quite a bit in terms of timeline and budget by choosing the right technology today.
Thanks so much, and have a great day.
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