Javascript framework usage among top websites

Which Javascript frameworks are the most common?

To answer that question, we here at Pingdom have examined a set of almost 200 popular websites to see if they use a Javascript framework, and in that case which framework they have chosen. The websites were collected from the Alexa US Top 100 and the Webware Top 100 Web Apps. The frameworks we looked for were Prototype, JQuery, MooTools, Yahoo! UI Library, Dojo, ExtJS and MochiKit.

We quickly saw that Dojo, ExtJS and MochiKit were not used at all by these sites, which lead us to focus on the other four in this article.

Logos for JS frameworks

Prototype

Prototype is one of the earlier Javascript frameworks and is also included in the Ruby on Rails framework. Of the websites in this test, a total of 13 used the Prototype framework.

JQuery

JQuery is a framework that has received a lot of attention due to its speed, size and smart modular approach which has led to a big library of plugins. Of the websites in this test, 11 used the JQuery framework.

MooTools

Just like other Javascript frameworks, MooTools contains several functions to help development. One of the more known ones is its advanced effects component. Of the websites in this test, four used the MooTools frameworks.

Yahoo! UI Library (YUI)

Yahoo has developed its own Javascript framework. They use it for their own websites, but have also made it freely available to others. Of the websites in this test, seven used the Yahoo! UI Library.

Websites that couldn’t decide

Some of the websites didn’t just use one framework, but several. This will force all visitors to download more than needed and should be avoided.

The reason for using more than one framework could either be that they want to use the best parts of several frameworks or that they simply started developing using one framework and then later decided to use another one and haven’t been able to migrate all of their code yet.

The ones using more than one framework were Digg (Prototype and JQuery), Bebo (MooTools and YUI) and YouSendIt (Prototype and YUI).

Conclusion

Prototype turned out to be the most-used framework in this survey, with JQuery not far behind. It was also interesting to see that several sites are using the Yahoo! UI Library. We had imagined that this number would be lower and that far more websites would be using Prototype and JQuery.

It should be noted that this survey doesn’t necessarily give a 100% complete picture since we only looked at the homepage of the websites. We also didn’t log in to any websites. And of course, we didn’t look for every single Javascript framework out there.


How the test was performed

We made a list of websites consisting of the Alexa US Top 100 and also Webware’s Top 100 Web Apps (minus actual applications such as Firefox and Skype). Using a special tool we then looked at all the websites after specific keywords to identify the frameworks.

For example, for Prototype we looked for the strings “prototype.js” and “/prototype” which should cover most variations of including the framework, unless the word “prototype” has been completely removed.

We also manually checked all sites that were found to contain references to the frameworks we tested for. In the case of the Yahoo! UI we excluded sites that only used its CSS framework and not any Javascript.

23 comments

  1. This is actually quite interesting… I’d love a follow-up article on the approach / files you took for each of the frameworks. It almost reads like the “how the tests were performed” section was a last minute addendum and to me it’s the most interesting part.

  2. I would have to question the accuracy of this test… Apple uses the Dojo Toolkit, yet its missing here? http://store.apple.com/us (view source, find dojo) or in Firebug simply type “dojo” in the CLI… if it missed this, what else did it miss? The apple store is probably one of its highest trafficked parts of their website… (I know its the part I visit most often). I’m only pointing out Apple because I knew for a fact they used it, I did not go hunting through any of the other sites to see if anything else was missed.

    -Karl

  3. jquery is the best in my opinion as it has the largest amount of documentation, fansites, tutorial sites and plugins available. Unless you want a specific function that only one library performs i would recommend it. The only thing i havn’t been able to do with it yet is get a working ‘slide’ to #anchortag working!

  4. Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Karl: This is interesting that they use Dojo in Apple Store. As we say in the post we only checked the main page which in this case uses Prototype. So it seems Apple uses both Dojo and Prototype. We do not claim that this survey is full-proof as described in the methodology, it does however give a interesting overview.

    jminkler: YUI contains tools to help DOM and AJAX development etc. so it should be comparable to the other frameworks, or?

    Si: Maybe this can be of help?
    http://ajaxian.com/archives/jquery-scrollto-plugin

    BLR: When we did our research we thought that the frameworks listed in the top was the major ones, and some of them wasn’t even used on any site we looked at. We know there are several more frameworks and looooots of more sites out there that may use them, somewhere we just needed to draw a line.

  5. Interesting. I wonder what the results are for smaller or lesser known sites? The programming habits and tastes of less corporate outfits may vary, and I’d love to see the results from a wider selection of sites.

  6. It’s rather disapointing that Scriptaculous and the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) were not included. Both of these are relatively popular AFAIK.

  7. You say

    “Websites that couldn’t decide
    Some of the websites didn’t just use one framework, but several. This will force all visitors to download more than needed and should be avoided.”

    What should be avoided? The websites? Why on earth would you say that?

    I tend to evaluate by _what_ the website enables me to do. I use more than one toolkit and library in my programming job – I hope you wouldn’t avoid my program because of that.

    If the toolkits would clash and cause problems on the website, then sure, avoid it, because it doesn’t work right. But just because it uses multiple toolkits? Huh?

  8. Guyswithdogs, I believe you misunderstood.

    He meant that developers should avoid using more then one library, as not everyone has 8MB connection. Most of the world is still on slow ADSL and dial-up.

    He was not implying that we should stop visiting such sites.

  9. So far I’m not to impressed with sproutcore. I browse the demos with IE7 and get so many JS errors I can’t even use the page (yes I have debugging turned on in IE).

    I bet if this survey was run again in 6 month JQuery would be on top. Critical mass is definatly behide JQuery at this point.

  10. Very usefull information. Thanks.
    I’m checking what the best choice of framework would be for an open source, javascript powered web application. JQuery seems to make the chance that people can contribute to the code the biggest.

    Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and not published in real time. All comments that are not related to the post will be removed.