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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.

  • CNN
  • The New York Times
  • Digg
  • Apple
  • Veoh.com
  • TypePad
  • Fox News Channel
  • Finetune
  • iLike
  • Last.fm
  • Twitter
  • Hakia
  • YouSendIt

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.

  • Digg
  • BBC
  • Major League Baseball
  • Dell
  • IsoHunt
  • Break.com
  • TinyPic
  • FixMyMovie
  • eMusic
  • Kayak
  • Box.net

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.

  • Mint
  • Worth1000
  • Bebo
  • Vimeo

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.

  • Yahoo! Shopping
  • Zillow
  • Bebo
  • YouSendIt
  • ImageShack
  • LinkedIn
  • Walmart.com

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.



30 comments
TanerAltinsoy
TanerAltinsoy

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TanerAltinsoy
TanerAltinsoy

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Menno Bieringa
Menno Bieringa

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!

Joe
Joe

I was curious why do you expect the number of YUI usage to be lower?

chazzuka
chazzuka

I agree to avoid uses of more than one framework at the same page, but choose the best for specific task among them is the smart way. i personally love Jquery and think it is the easiest among them, but i also excited with the mix of prototype + scriptaculous.

Haris
Haris

Dojo is one of the powerful and complete javascript frameworks, I was wondering y its not in list.Isn't Dojo simple?

Tyler
Tyler

I'm sure if you looked for protoculous instead of just prototype you'd come up with a lot more too.

Deepak Mittal
Deepak Mittal

A very useful survey indeed! I have been using jQuery for quite some time and quite happy with it. jQuery (as I know it!) came much later than Prototype and YUI but has been catching quite fast. I expect that the use of jQuery will increase over a period of time. It would be good to see a follow-up survey after some time to find-out any interesting trends.

Chuckchillout
Chuckchillout

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.

Steven
Steven

It would be interesting to see js library usage breakdown among top sites in various categories: news, social etc.

Mark
Mark

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.

GuyWithDogs
GuyWithDogs

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?

JasonG
JasonG

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

Pingdom
Pingdom

In addition to Apple using Prototype and Dojo as discussed above, they now also use SproutCore for their new web applications. It also seems Apple will focus on SproutCore in the future. More information: http://www.sproutcore.com/

jminkler
jminkler

@Pingdom - True, but there is an advantage to using it with Prototype. (Easily create classes)

Andre Charland
Andre Charland

if you do another study like this you should definitely be looking for the Microsoft Ajax for ASP.Net library too, I think it's one of the most popular used based on other research I've seen.

Jerome
Jerome

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.

Pingdom
Pingdom

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.

BLR
BLR

Why limit to those frameworks? It looks like you decided in advance which ones would be on top.

Si
Si

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!

jminkler
jminkler

Would you really consider YUI a framework, or a set of UI component tools ?

Karl Tiedt
Karl Tiedt

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

Tyler
Tyler

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.

Pingdom
Pingdom

John: We just added links to all the Javascript frameworks.

Sas
Sas

Google it my friend!

John
John

I enjoyed your article. Would you please put links to the Javascript frameworks themselves.

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