This report highlights the top projects of the year, explores the most popular front-end frameworks and back-end/full-stack solutions, reviews the 2023 React ecosystem, and delves deep into other insights.
Back-end category sees a familiar champion
Next.js retained its top spot in the back-end/full-stack category, continuing its reign from previous years.
In October last year, Vercel introduced Next.js 14. This iteration prioritises enhancing server actions and unveils a novel Partial Preview rendering mode. The version also marks the official debut of Server Actions. This feature streamlines form submissions and data mutations through efficient RPC calls, echoing the progressive enhancement philosophy of Remix.
Following Next.js, Astro climbed to the second spot. Building on its core strength of generating lightning-fast static sites, Astro now expands its capabilities to handle dynamic page generation as well. Version 4 introduces a new developer-friendly toolbar, smooth i18n routing, and enhanced user experience through its new View Transition API.
React remains at the top
Despite facing some criticism and controversy, React remains a dominant force in the front-end framework landscape, holding onto its top spot since 2021 and 2022. This coincides with a previous survey from Stack Overflow titled 2023 Developer Survey, titling React as one of the two most common web technologies used by over 90,000 of its respondents.
Some developers may consider React as outdated. A notable concern is the lack of "signals," a reactivity mechanism found in libraries like Solid or Preact. However, supporters applaud React for its adaptability and ability to reinvent itself. React enthusiasts also value the predictability inherent in React's data flow.
Htmx followed closely at second place for its ability to build interactive web apps using just HTML through new attributes, while Svelte took third with its compiler-based approach and focus on performance and maintainability. Anticipation is high for Svelte 5's release, as many expect it to bring major improvements and further enhance development experience and app performance.
Top projects in 2023
Overall, the most popular project in 2023 is shadcn/ui, a versatile collection of pre-built UI components that can be used to create custom components without installing libraries.
The project's success is linked to Tailwind CSS's widespread popularity (ranking 20 overall), seamless compatibility with React Server Components, and outstanding documentation. It also integrates seamlessly with popular React-based frameworks like Next.js, Astro, Remix, and Gatsby. It has become the preferred choice for new React projects, including its selection by Kent C. Dodds for his cutting-edge Epic Stack.
The project’s approach has inspired multiple other projects, such as:
- shad-cn/svelte, the port for the Svelte framework.
- Draft UI built on top of React Aria instead of Radix.
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About the Author
James has 8 years with Fortune 200 US firm ITW, experience of managing projects in China, USA, and throughout Europe. James has worked with companies such as Tesco, Vauxhall, ITW, Serco, McDonalds. James has experience in supporting start-up and scale up companies such as Readingmate, Gorilla Juice and Harvest London. James completed his MBA at the University of East Anglia in 2018.