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2023 JavaScript Rising Stars

MMS Founder
MMS Agazi Mekonnen

Article originally posted on InfoQ. Visit InfoQ

The recent report from Rising Stars highlights the trends in the JavaScript ecosystem and showcases standout projects based on GitHub Stars in 2023. Overall, the most popular project was shadcn/ui, a collection of UI components that can be used to create custom components. The JavaScript runtime Bun continued its momentum, making it the second most popular project. Excalidraw, an open-source virtual hand-drawn style whiteboard, gained popularity.

Shadcn/ui, now a year old since its first commit on GitHub, is a collection of reusable components that can be copied and pasted into apps to build components. This eliminates the need to install the library. According to shadcn/ui FAQ page, the idea is to

… give you ownership and control over the code, allowing you to decide how the components are built and styled.

Shadcn/ui can be used with frameworks that support React such as Next js, Astro, Remix and Gatsby.

Bun, which claimed second in the overall most popular project, is a JavaScript runtime, package manager, test runner, and bundler that gained attention for its speed, efficiency, and comprehensive toolkit. Developed in the Zig programming language, Bun aims to be a replacement for Node.js.

In the frontend framework list, React continued to hold its ground as a frontrunner in the JavaScript ecosystem. Secondly, Htmx took the lead as a JavaScript library enabling developers to create interactive web applications using HTML alone. This is achieved by extending HTML with new attributes that trigger HTTP requests and handle response data, allowing the development of modern web applications without extensive JavaScript code.

Securing the third spot in front-end frameworks was Svelte. Svelte is a compiler-based frontend framework that uses declarative syntax and reactivity to build performant and maintainable web applications. The anticipated major release, Svelte 5 is expected to introduce significant improvements and new features to further enhance the development experience and application performance.

In the Vue ecosystem, the community navigated the sunset of Vue 2, with efforts to upgrade to version 3 supported by frameworks like Nuxt, Vuetify, and PrimeVue. Nuxt was ranked as the most popular Vue framework.

Next.js maintained its dominance in the back-end/full-stack category. Next.js 14 was released in 2023 and the most notable changes are Turbopack Optimizations for faster initial page load times, improved performance, and reduced code size. Server Actions Stability is now stable and Partial Prerendering(preview), a technique that pre-renders only parts of an application, is introduced as a preview feature. Astro climbed the rankings with its innovative static site generation and dynamic page generation capabilities.

In the mobile space, Expo, Tamagui, and Nativewind led efforts to unify web and native development experiences, maximizing code reuse and increasing accessibility for web developers. React Native maintained its dominance, but a shift toward more opinionated solutions indicated evolving paradigms in mobile development.

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