The (extremely) loud minority

— 3 minute read

Often on Twitter, we’ll hear stuff like this:

The cascade was a mistake

Or:

CSS just doesn’t work for the web anymore

The latter may be true for a tiny minority of cases, such as in a code-factory, full of developers, independently working on small pieces of a very large product, but this represents a tiny proportion of the web.

How small is that percentage, though? I’m glad you asked. We’re going to be using data from W3Techs, who crawl the top 10 million websites to calculate what market share certain technologies have. For this example, I’ll compare WordPress and React, because I use this example in my talk about CUBE CSS to illustrate various points.

WordPress is used by 63.6% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 38.6% of all websites.

W3Techs

And to compare:

React is used by 0.4% of all the websites whose JavaScript library we know. This is 0.3% of all websites.

W3Techs

Emphasis on both examples, mine and the data is accurate as of October 16th 2020.

Even when you consider the reality that these technology paths likely cross and some sites hide the tech they are using, the difference is extreme. Even if you add together React and Vue, it’s still less than one percent.

It’s also worth caveating (for the sake of my mentions) that React and Vue usage doesn’t mean that we’re only talking about SPAs. Those likely account for such a small percentage of the web, it’s barely worth counting.

Just for fun, here’s React and Vue’s market share, visually represented by 100 people:

100 grey simple illustration that represent a person. 1 of those 100 is white with a grey border

Now, here’s WordPress’

100 grey simple illustration that represent a person. 38 of those 100 is white with a grey border

The point I am trying to make permalink

It’s understandable to think that JavaScript frameworks and their communities are eating the web because places like Twitter are awash with very loud voices from said communities.

Always remember that although a subset of the JavaScript community can be very loud, they represent a paltry portion of the web as a whole. This means that when they say something like “CSS sucks”—what they mean is “CSS sucks for a small subset of less than 1 percent of the web” *.

Now when you look at it like that, it makes you wonder why we give these people such a large stage which the very quiet majority don’t get a voice at all. The very quiet majority are out there building 99% of the web, after all.

Even a slight change in that dynamic would likely have a massive positive impact, over time.


* There are lots of fantastic people in the JavaScript community who have much better, balanced opinions. I recommend seaking them out instead. Also, CSS doesn’t suck.

Hi 👋, I’m Andy — an educator and web designer

I produce front-end development tutorials over at Front-End Challenges Club and Piccalilli. You can sign up for updates on Piccalilli to stay up to date with its progress.

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