DEV Community 👩‍💻👨‍💻

Cover image for dev.to is for webdevs and beginners - I have data to prove it
Lucy Linder
Lucy Linder

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at blog.derlin.ch

dev.to is for webdevs and beginners - I have data to prove it

(banner: top 100 tags, proportional to their number of articles)

I am on dev.to for a while now, and I couldn't help noticing that most of the featured articles I see are web development related (javascript, webdev), or targeted at beginners (beginners, basic git commands, etc.).

I wrote a few articles, that I consider not that bad (well, not that great either), but they don't seem to take. Might it be because I am not writing about the things the community cares about?

Instead of staying in the dark, I tried to better understand what works and doesn't work on dev.to. Here is a summary of my analysis.

Disclaimer

I am not a data scientist and did this in my spare time. I tried my best to stay unbiased and to clearly explain what I am doing, so you can see the potential biases and pitfalls.


The complete analysis with interactive graphs can be found at https://derlin.github.io/dev.to-is-for-web-devs-and-beginners/analysis.html

The full code is available on GitHub:

GitHub logo derlin / dev.to-is-for-web-devs-and-beginners

Analysis of the tags that work on dev.to. Full article: https://dev.to/derlin/devto-is-for-webdevs-and-beginners-i-have-data-to-prove-it-54c4

dev.to is for web developers and beginners, I have data to prove it

This repository contains the source code of one of my dev.to articles that analyses which tags are the most popular on dev.to.

The data collection was done on November, 13 2022 at 18:52, so the data may have changed since then !

Analysis ⮕ https://derlin.github.io/dev.to-is-for-web-devs-and-beginners/analysis.html

Article ⮕ https://dev.to/derlin/devto-is-for-webdevs-and-beginners-i-have-data-to-prove-it-54c4

Tag Cloud (top 10,000 articles of all time) (Top 200 tags appearing most often on the top 10,000 articles of all time)

IMPORTANT: the notebooks do not show graphs in GitHub preview To preview them, please go to
https://derlin.github.io/dev.to-is-for-web-devs-and-beginners/ instead.

Disclaimer

I am not a data scientist and did this on my spare time I didn't have much time to invest, but I tried my best to stay unbiased and to clearly explain what I am doing, so you can see the potential biases and pitfalls.

Feel free to run it yourself, improve it…

Feel free to run it yourself, improve it, and share your results ! (Just mention my work if you write about it somewhere, and 🌟 the repo :)).


Collected data

Dimensions

I am mainly interested in four dimensions:

  • the kind of article (tags),
  • the number of articles (count),
  • the number of positive reactions (reactions), and
  • the number of comments (comments).

There are many other properties available for an article (read time, published time, etc), but I kept them aside for now.

Datasets

I gathered two different datasets using Python on November, 13 2022.

top articles

The first dataset contains the top (i.e. with the most positive reactions) 10,000 articles of all time, gathered using the https://dev.to/search/feed_content endpoint:

count=1
curl "https://dev.to/search/feed_content?class_name=Article&per_page=$count&sort_by=public_reactions_count&sort_direction=desc"
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

top tags

The second dataset contains the top 100 tags. For each tag, I gathered the total number of articles and the top 100 articles.

Getting the top tags can be done using the forem API:

curl https://dev.to/api/tags?per_page=100&page=0
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Or by scrapping the page https://dev.to/tags.

The two methods however do NOT return the same results... As the API returned 4 nonexistant tags (404 Not Found for macosapps, southafricanews, sportnews, and latestnigerianewslat), I settled on scraping the https://dev.to/tags page.

There is no API endpoint to get the number of articles per tag, but they are displayed in two places on dev.to ("XXX posts published"):

  1. on the tags page https://dev.to/tags, and
  2. on each tag page https://dev.to/t/<TAG>

The problem is, they don't match at all, (1) being often way higher than (2).

For example, at the time of writing, the archlinux tag shows "34635 posts published" on the tags page, but "151 Posts Published" on the https://dev.to/t/archlinux page... To settle this, I scrolled until there was no more new fetch, and got 181 articles.

I thus decided to rely on the number found on the tag pages (2).

ⓘ For more information on the discrepancies, see https://derlin.github.io/dev.to-is-for-web-devs-and-beginners/difference.html.

Finally, the top articles per tag can be fetched using the same https://dev.to/search/feed_content endpoint, with just an extra parameter:

count=1
# the separator is ', ', so ',%20' when url-encoded
tags_query_param='&tag_names[]=javascript,%20webdev'

curl "https://dev.to/search/feed_content?class_name=Article&per_page=$count&sort_by=public_reactions_count&sort_direction=desc&$tags_query_param"
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Top tags

The 100 tags listed on https://dev.to/tags at the time of writing are:

More than 30K articles:
  javascript (67K), webdev (55K), beginners (43K)

Between 20K-30K articles:
  tutorial, react, programming

Between 10K-20K articles:
  python, discuss, productivity, css, career, node, 
  devops, codenewbie

Between 5K-10K articles:
  html, opensource, typescript, aws, showdev, github, java, 
  testing, docker, php, security, linux, vue, ruby, git

Between 2K-5K articles:
   angular, go, database, dotnet, csharp, serverless, 
   machinelearning, kubernetes, rails, computerscience,
   cloud, android, design, laravel, azure, api, algorithms,
   architecture, help, learning, datascience, vscode,
   reactnative, graphql, frontend, nextjs, flutter,
   watercooler, django, ios, codepen, sql, rust,
   todayilearned, blockchain, performance

Between 1K-2K articles:
   hacktoberfest, startup, kotlin, motivation, news, coding,
   challenge, mongodb, development, microservices,
   tailwindcss, postgres, cpp, npm, ux, gamedev, wordpress,
   writing, devjournal, mobile, dart, leetcode, ai, agile,
   firebase, management, tooling, meta, braziliandevs, mysql

Less than 1K articles:
  web3, community, cybersecurity, actionshackathon21, archlinux
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Let's plot the number of articles (count), reactions and comments for those 100 tags, ordered by count.
As we don't have the total number of reactions or comments available on dev.to, they are taken from the sum of the top 100 articles for each tag.

IMPORTANT: remember that an article can have up to four tags, so a very popular article can boost the scores of multiple tags!

Distribution of count/reactions/comments on the top 100 tags - normalized
(interactive version and interactive version without normalization)

We can see that the first few tags account for most of the articles. The reactions and comments follow roughly the same trend, with high peaks and drops. Let's zoom in on the first 30 tags:

Distribution of count/reactions/comments on the top 100 tags - normalized and zoomed on the first 30

Taking only the first 4 tags, we account for 30% of all the articles of the top 100 tags: javascript (10.76%), webdev (8.85%), beginners (6.93%), tutorial (4.65%) → 31.10%!

Looking at the peaks and drops of reactions on the full graph, some types of tags clearly generate "reaction peaks":

  • web-related tags such as: react, css, html, vscode, vue, frontend...
  • generic tags such as: productivity, career, computerscience, design, architecture, learning, motivation ...
  • github, git, and docker, which are basic tools any (web) developer should know

On the other hand, some groups of tags show clear "reaction drops":

  • languages/framework not web-related: php, ruby, android, laravel, kotlin, ...
  • devops subjects: devops, cloud, aws, azure, ...
  • datascience and testing (← this one was unexpected)

The top 100 articles of the top 7 tags account for 30% of all the positive reactions in the dataset: webdev (6.15%), javascript (5.95%), beginners (5.44%), career (3.80%), react (3.78%), productivity (3.72%), css (3.66%) → 32.5%.

From the comments point of view, some obvious tags have a high peak: discuss, watercooler, meta, writing, help, showdev. I am not surprised to also see peaks for tags like career or productivity. vscode has a huge comment bump, I guess because it is the editor of choice for web developers (and IDEs are sacred). I am astonished to see many comments generated by linux and opensource.

Similar to reactions, tags for languages/frameworks not web-related or devops-focus have fewer comments: python, devops, aws, testing, machinelearning, kubernetes, aws, datascience, ...

Top 10,000 articles of all time

The data from the tags dataset has many flaws: the count is not guaranteed to be accurate, and the reactions and comments can only be inferred using the top 100 articles, which is far from ideal. So let's look at the top 10,000 articles of all time instead.

Note: the oldest article in the dataset is from April 2016, the latest from November 2022, with a distribution that is quite even along those two extremes. So it isn't just old articles!

As articles have multiple tags, let's "explode" the dataset, so an article with 4 tags gives rise to 4 lines (one for each tag). Then, let's group lines by tag. The distribution of count (number of articles), reactions, and comments are:

count reactions comments
mean 21 7024 439
std 192 67,768 3,719
min 1 122 0
25% 1 175 12
50% 1 335 29
75% 4 1,012 88
max 4,515 1,631,495 89,391

(out of 1,676 tags)

See the difference between the 75% quartile in the max? There are again a small number of tags that gather most of the attention!

Here are the top 25 tags (normalized to show percentages across the whole dataset):

Most popular 25 tags on the top 10,000 articles of all time, normalized

(interactive version and interactive version without normalization)

The first 7 tags, webdev, javascript, beginners, react, tutorial, productivity, career and css account for 53% of the articles, 48% of the comments, and 56% of the reactions!

But there is still a little problem. Since articles have up to four tags, a very successful article will boost the scores of multiple tags...

So instead, let's count articles only once. That is, if an article has multiple tags, we will keep only the most "successful" one, that is the one with the highest value for count, reactions, or comments (depending on the criterion under analysis).

Using a normalized cumulative sum, this is what we get for the number of articles:

cumsum number of articles with tag (normalized, out of 10K top articles)

webdev and javascript cover 62% of the articles (6K out of 10K)! Adding only beginners, productivity, and career cover 80%.

The same trend can be seen for reactions (66% for webdev and javascript, 84% adding the 3 other tags):

cumsum reactions for articles with tag (normalized, out of 10K top articles

For comments, we just have the welcome tag that inserts itself in the 3rd place. The rest of the top 6 is left mostly unchanged:

cumsum number of comments with tag (normalized, out of 10K top articles

bonus: Top 5,000 articles of the last month

The oldest the article, the higher its opportunity to have gained traction. Maybe the trend has changed since the beginning of dev.to ?

To ensure the conclusions based on the top articles dataset is correct, I reran the analysis notebook using a slightly modified top articles dataset: the top 5K articles between October, 16 and November, 16 2022.

How I fetched the data
I haven't committed the results, but you can get similar data yourself by adding a published_at[gte]=<isodate> parameter to the https://dev.to/search/feed_content query.

Note that I tried to add a published_at[lte] parameter as well, but it doesn't seem to work...

I ran it on November, 16 and used the following query parameter:

published_at%5Bgte%5D=2022-10-16T06%3A52%3A04Z
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

to get the articles in the last month.


Here are the top 25 tags that appear in this new dataset (out of 1,487):

Top tags of the months - counting articles once
(Tags of the top 5K articles between Oct, 16 and Nov, 16)

Counting articles only once, 60% of the top articles of last month are covered by: webdev (23.92%), <no tag> (14.12%), beginners (9.94%), javascript (8.38%), programming (5.50%) → 61.86%.

60% of the reactions on the top articles of last month are covered by: webdev (43.91%), javascript (10.68%), beginners (8.35%) → 62.93%.

Finally, 60% of the comments are covered by: webdev (29.01%), discuss (15.12%), welcome (9.66%), javascript (9.31%) → 63.10%.

There is not much change in the trend compared to the top 10K articles of all time, except for a rise of articles without any tags.


Conclusion

However we look at it, webdev, javascript and beginners are by far the most prolific tags on dev.to. They account for more than 50% of the top 10K articles of all time, and have more comments and positive reactions than any other tag.

webdev alone covers 12% of the 10K top articles of all time, 20% of the top 5K articles of last month.

Just after, we find tags like productivity and career, which also take a big part of the cake.

Looking at other successful tags, we find mostly webdev-related tags (react, vscode, etc), beginner-friendly tags (codenewbie, tutorial, etc), and generic tags (programming, opensource, etc).

Tag cloud based on the top articles
(tag cloud based on the tags appearing in the top 10K articles on dev.to)

More specific tags (not webdev-related) are also present in the top articles, but represent a small proportion and have in general fewer interactions.

 Weaker assertions

For the rest, the trend is fuzzier, as results from the top tags dataset and the top articles datasets do not always match.
After staring at the data for a while (especially the top tags datasets), my feeling is that "successful" articles on dev.to are mostly:

  1. web development and web framework articles,
  2. beginner articles for "newbies",
  3. generic articles for productivity and career / tips and tricks,
  4. generic articles on coding (programming, computer science),
  5. technologies and tools that are used by all developers, but especially web devs (docker, git, github, vs code).

While other languages (especially compiled ones) and frameworks that web developers do not use on a daily basis or more advanced topics are fewer / trigger less reactions and comments (kotlin, php, devops, datascience, machine learning, ...).

In other words, if you are not a web developer and like to write highly technical articles, it may be hard to shine on dev.to (this doesn't mean you shouldn't contribute!)

This is just my analysis though, and maybe you will disagree after staring yourself at the full analysis. Let me know in the comments !

Top comments (38)

Collapse
 
siph profile image
Chris Dawkins

I've noticed this too. Hackernews tends to have a more advanced backend/systems focus. While dev is mostly react and ts/js. I wish dev drew more interest from the backend/systems types because that's what I am more interested in and I like dev as a platform more than hackernews. Reddit is probably my favorite because it's a nice mix of everything.

Collapse
 
derlin profile image
Lucy Linder

I agree ! They launched community.ops.io a while back, but it is really focused on devsecops, not much room for backend devs either.

Collapse
 
duegreg profile image
Gergo Miklos

Can you recommend some subreddits?

Collapse
 
siph profile image
Chris Dawkins

It depends on what you're into. /r/rust /r/linux /r/nixos /r/programming /r/unixporn and /r/neovim are some of my favorites.

Collapse
 
katafrakt profile image
Paweł Świątkowski

Nice job with the numbers ;)

I think we all know that, it was even discussed around last community survey, I think. And while I don't mind not being in mainstream (although it does not exactly encourage to write), I don't love association webdev == javascript, like nothing else exists.

Collapse
 
leob profile image
leob • Edited on

Great analysis, not a surprising outcome ... I've bookmarked this article, but more for the techniques that you used to do the analysis than for the results per se.

Yes, obviously (but you proved it) dev.to is heavily skewed towards beginners, webdev, JS/CSS/HTML, React (I mean React is also HUGE on dev.to) ...

Then when you say "web dev" you overwhelmingly say 'frontend' ... and when you say frontend React is dominant, 'vanilla JS' is there, CSS is popular, stuff like Vue, Angular, much less so.

And if you say "backend" then most of the time you say "node.js" - a bit Python too, much less Ruby/Rails, PHP/Laravel, Golang, Rust etc.

Collapse
 
adamkdean profile image
Adam K Dean

It's interesting really. I migrated my personal blog posts over to here some years ago, and wrote a few posts for here, including a top 7, but since then I found most of the posts are beginner oriented and mostly web dev or top lists etc. More advanced subjects don't seem to really do well, which discourages old hats like myself from both posting, and reading. In fact, I only read dev.to posts now when I stumble upon them. As you say, fantastic for the newbies, resources like this didn't exist decades ago, but sadly, pushes out some of us older folks at the same time.

Collapse
 
ravavyr profile image
Ravavyr

It's also because the more experienced you are, the more you will only look up complex articles when you're working on a project and have to solve that particular issue. It's rare for example to have fix emails for outlook 2003, or to fix SSL on a server within a load balanced network config, or to fix some specific API issue from some specific service. So articles aimed at specific things like that only get read when a dev needs it and googles for it.
Personally, i like reading random stuff, but unless it's a stack or tool i personally have a need for, i don't always read it either.

Thread Thread
 
adamkdean profile image
Adam K Dean

Politely, I disagree. My most hit site has to be HN, and I mostly look each day for interesting articles. When I see things like how the original Pong had no software, but was entirely hardware based, or when I see interesting articles talking about known AI methods being used for novel purposes, or when I see lists of advice from the older generation, the 1970s and 1980s programmers (with my being a 90s programmer), I love to read them. If anything, dev.to just isn't the right crowd for me. That's fine, that's totally okay, Ben is doing a great job here in providing for our new devs the things we didn't have all those years ago. Where we lived on IRC, now people have this modern internet, with such a wealth of resource: tutorials, blogs, comment sections, Twitter, a whole world of curated information and experience. So while dev.to doesn't really cater to folks like me, it is a great place, and I hope it continues to flourish.

Thread Thread
 
andre_adpc profile image
Andre Du Plessis

Adam, why not share about the advanced stuff you discover here, cross-post, link do whatever and just put it here together with contributions like your comments above.

It makes you "a friendly approachable human" that from my point of view is someone worth looking more into. It might get more senior-dev folks interested and assisted as clearly is the need discussed here.

Even thouh many senior devs feel they don't want to write or blog a lot, which is all good,why not simply stroll in now and then, those article links on the "Dev.to coffee table" and say:

Hi!, look what I've found while looking for answers to X,Y,Z. I recommend you take a look if you ever run into A,B,C.

Us "kids" can then sneak in, have a look at all those "adult mags" and come asking questions in your "Note-posts" section. "So, Adam why should I use SOAP when linking my user auth to ... ? Wouldn't REST be easier? Everybody says SOAP is an archaic old-timer and should be avoided." ...

Just a thought.

Collapse
 
cicirello profile image
Vincent A. Cicirello • Edited on

Interesting analysis. Some posts in popular tags may touch upon the tag topic just enough to avoid tag removal by tag moderators, but are mostly about something else. Someone a while back posted about their strategies to reach more readers, and suggested including some connection in posts to webdev or javascript based on tag. I disagree with that strategy because ultimately it may just annoy those who do read it expecting something else. But if many use that approach, then popular tags become more popular due to their popularity.

This post isn't the one I was thinking of, but includes a quote related: "for nearly any article the #webdev tag is likely to fit": dev.to/grahamthedev/it-is-possible...

Collapse
 
derlin profile image
Lucy Linder

That is a good point, and I also strongly disagree with this technique. I used it for the first time on this post, but it was more for the joke.
Please, do not use this article to pick the best tags for your articles, just keep writing and tagging what you love!

Collapse
 
andre_adpc profile image
Andre Du Plessis • Edited on

@derlin and @ben Can't the DEV.to team add something like a "priority tag" or "main-focus tag" to lift say Vue, Laravel, Node, Go or any other #tags out?

Like a high-lighter the post writer can use.

Yes it's about web dev, but it's Laravel-based and even more so Lumen microservice-based, discussing GraphQL API interfaces and using Vue for example?

#Laravel: #lumen, #microcervice, #aws, #api, #graphql, #vue, #webdev

And even use the order of the sub-tags from most relevant to least relevant to the specific post.

Collapse
 
derlin profile image
Lucy Linder

I haven't thought of it this way, very good points! The new expertise level features may help improve a bit the feed, let's see.

Since you work(ed) at dev.to, any idea about the discrepancies we see in the "XXX posts published" on the top tags vs tag page? I am curious.

Collapse
 
andre_adpc profile image
Andre Du Plessis

This was a great read you produced Lucy @derlin!

(I so wish the DEV.to team would fix the display method of people's user-tags to rather display their first names and/or full names, based on a profile setting perhaps?)

Anyway, as a beginner I find these types of advanced posts, with a great practical example, as given here by you, fascinating, valuable to learn from and thus priceless. Thank you!

From my perspective the data is showing me that many beginners prefer to come here to DEV.to because they are not frowned upon when posting something from their learning-point of view. And even more so female devs and even non-devs feeling comfortable with appearing in public, accepted and welcomed without the type of scorn and toxicity found on places like Stackoverflow and even Reddit sometimes. The crap behaviour of many senior developer elitists is quite sickening.

So yes, the masses are moving to places where they feel safer and welcomed, regardless of their skill levels. The easiest entry-point into SW Dev is web-development so it makes sense.

In my opinion to get noticed or "shine" as a senior dev is when people like you and quite a number of others here are willing to come down to our level of existence,and:

  • Comment with guidance, rather than scold,
  • Show us the errors in our thinking/approaches/ways,
  • Allow us to see how you guys think and approach problems
  • Teach about your personal failures and why it happened,
  • And a hundred more.

All in a manner that we have no choice but to come running back with praise and thanks, or even more questions.

Now you will get noticed by the masses, your "magnetism" will "shine" and draw in other senior devs when they start seeing the results of "giving, before asking" and both junior and senior networks here will grow in a synergistic and accessible-to-all way.

Please do consider yourself followed and bookmarked!
Thank you again for the lesson of above and opportunity to speak from the bottom up.

Collapse
 
derlin profile image
Lucy Linder

Such a wonderful message you give us here, thank you!

It is true the dev communities may be harsh sometimes, and senior devs have a responsibility and a big part to play. Dev.to is currently a good example of non toxic environment, let's all work together to keep it that way.

And many (many) thanks for the kind words, I hope it will motivate other senior devs to post and comment more!

Collapse
 
andre_adpc profile image
Andre Du Plessis

Thanks for your time, Lucy! And please do continue, we are here, ready and eager to sit our asses down to learn from you guys.

Collapse
 
costinmanda profile image
Costin Manda

The more complex the article the fewer people have the resources to spare for reading and understanding it. It is much easier to write a short tutorial for beginners than a high level white paper. It is easier to do webdev and understanding it just by reading than other dev work.

All this is very normal. The only improvement I see is to focus on highlighting quality rather than reads and likes.

Collapse
 
ingosteinke profile image
Ingo Steinke

Thanks for collecting, analyzing and sharing! Some thoughts after a quick look at your findings:

  • how is #php "not web related", but JavaScript is? Both can be (and have been typically) used for web related programming, but both can also be used in completely different contexts.
  • no surprise that #javascript, and even #react in particular, is still more popular than #css. It shows! So many disfunctional, poorly designed single page web applications out there these days, sometimes I feel ashamed to admit that I am a web developer. ;-)
  • I am, unfortunatley, not at all surprised that #testing leads to interaction drop. Much like accessibility, web performance (page speed optimization), usability, sustainablity, ethical and environmental issues, most classic devs (at least the kind of gamer nerd dudes depicted wearing a black hoodie, scaring away aspiring women from STEM) seem to ignore or even dislike doing their work properly and responsibly.

After reading your post, I am even less interesting in the results of the upcoming State of JavaScript and StackOverflow survey results and what our profession's apparent mainstream seems to care about.

My own conclusion, as a web developer who once was a beginner: trying to learn and discuss something new and focus (even more) on the less popular hashtags when choosing what to write about in the future.

Collapse
 
ingosteinke profile image
Ingo Steinke

I am still not sure about the consequences and importance of the findings. Is it a bad thing, that DEV is for beginners and web developers? Does the popularity of these topics mean that there is nothing else, and if there is, can we filter topics and create bubbles of interest, if we want to?

I am guilty of using popular topics to gain more attention, writing some posts for beginners, and writing more about JavaScript than I would otherwise have done would it not be that popular. I also tried other deceptive patterns like including upcoming years ("for 2022") or emojis in the title, or watiting for a specific "lucky" time to release, holding back content instead of releasing immediately. While some of that might actually have helped, I would not follow that path any further.

So, besides JavaScript, what else will I possibly want to share and discuss? I already wrote about PHP, Linux, networking (both social networking between human beings, attending meetups, recommending coworking cafés, and solving problems connecting computers to local WiFi networks and the internet), career, and sustainability. I also engaged in the meta discussion about DEV, Mastodon, Twitter, and other social networks. I even wrote about "Web3", which I am mostly skeptical about, but I always want to be fair and open minded.

What else does your list of less popular hashtags has to offer?

  • #ai, like #web3, seems to be a hot topic (trend/fad) otherwise, not sure why DEV does not care that much;
  • #tailwindcss is another hot topic outside the DEV bubble, but then again, anything concerning CSS and design is overshadowed by JavaScript and front-end frameworks (with a back-end mindset) these days;
  • #gamedev, #datascience, #kubernetes, #graphql more and more trends that have been so popular in the dev world but not on DEV.to - do we start to see a pattern here?
  • #mysql, like PHP, a proven technology still valid and worth learning after several decades, same goes for #postgres, but - like #css - this is not popular just for not being #javascript?!
  • #flutter, #dart, #reactnative - so the native app devs seem to have other places to discuss their topics?
  • #wordpress: much dreaded from a developer's perspective, still very popular among site owners and even small web shops (#woocommerce) and moving into a new direction, I will definitely keep using it, try to help improve the developer experience, and I will write more about WordPress on DEV as well;
  • #laravel is at least ranked in the top list, while #symfony isn't? I will probably have to boost Symfony much more in 2023,
  • #typescript and #vue are in the list, but no #svelte, no #solid, no nothing?

After reading your post again and again, I come to the conclusion, that we should not take quantitative analytics too seriously. Just like most people seem to celebrate football (soccer), baseball, cricket, or whatever is the mainstream sports spectacle in your culture, we do not need to care just because everyone else does.

Collapse
 
derlin profile image
Lucy Linder • Edited on

I don't think it is a bad thing, and hope my readers didn't take it this way. My main goal was to reassure writers like myself who write about other topics that they shouldn't interpret the lack of reaction (compared to other articles) as solely a judgment on quality. You got ten readers or a couple reactions on a more backend post? Celebrate it and keep going, that is amazing given the trend!

I also hope this post will inspire some to "rebel" against this, by participating more on less trendy topics.
I would be so happy to re-run the analysis in a year, and see a different, more balanced curve. You seem to be one of them, thank you!

Thread Thread
 
ingosteinke profile image
Ingo Steinke

You got ten readers or a couple reactions on a more backend post? Celebrate it and keep going, that is amazing given the trend!

This is the right attitude!

I also hope this post will inspire some to "rebel" against this, by participating more on less trendy topics.

I will!

Collapse
 
elmardi profile image
Mohamed Elmardi

Great job!

Collapse
 
bobbyiliev profile image
Bobby Iliev

Very interesting research!

Collapse
 
eekee profile image
Ethan Azariah

(See last paragraph for tl;dr)

I thought there was such a bias. It's good to have numerical confirmation. :) The whole site was a bit of a surprise to me because, 6 years ago, I had successfully cloistered myself away from flashy pushy software which gives me a headache and, quite unscientifically, from technologies associated with it, especially javascript. The topic which brought be here was balanced ternary computers. (They didn't use binary numbers.) Dev.to was a modern site, but I hadn't really noticed that modern sites (and apps) were starting to move beyond flashiness and pushiness.

My self-cloistering was not unique to myself, and not really confined to just the "flashiness and pushiness" aspect. I surrounded myself with people more intelligent than myself, but these people had even less respect for Web 2.0. We wanted straightforward and simple code and standards because we felt complexity wasted our time, increased bugs, and gave us unnecessary headaches. We didn't realise that simplicity itself is a surprisingly complex subject, but I still think we weren't entirely wrong.

And we weren't the only ones. Valuing simplicity is common (though by no means universal) amongst systems developers. Ken Thompson of Unix fame was particularly keen on simplicity. And while Hacker News is not in his league, it's particuarly interesting for this discussion. As @siph points out, "Hackernews tends to have a more advanced backend/systems focus," yet its web design and coding is intentionally primitive. Launched at a time when the hate for tables was already entrenched, Hacker News uses tables for layout. Why? Because they're simple and straightforward. It's implemented in a form of Lisp which eschews Lisp's traditional long-compound-names in favour of short abbreviated names. It's widely understood that short names limit code clarity, but they're fine if the language has a limited vocabulary -- limited scope. A limited scope is intrinsically simple to understand and to use for its intended purpose. Hacker News very publically posted both of these facts about its implementation at its launch, and it quickly developed a community of backend and systems engineers.

Does anyone else remember when mobile browsers would simply rearrange table elements, stacking all the cells in a vertical run, sizing them to the screen width horizontally and to fit the contents vertically? I was more comfortable then. I found more sites were accessible then than they are now, because now users are almost entirely dependent on site coders understanding the full range of users needs. Far less than half of the sites I visit were coded with such understanding. I also recall the Opera browser in the early 2010s making other little accessiblity/quality of life improvements such as taking containers which were wider than the screen and wrapping text to the screen margin rather than the full width of the container. That was a very big help, but it and all the other little conveniences have been swept away with the tide. And, as someone who would like to again have a site of my own, I can no longer rely on these things. I'd have to do all the accessibility work myself or rely on a big site provider with their flashy, pushy UIs, though again, they're not really so flashy and pushy any more.

Sooo... have I got off topic? I guess I have. I was trying to explain that some deep coders prefer "Web 1.0" sites or even more primitive technology, but looking at the big picture, I think Hacker News caught a lot of deep coders early on and network effects keep it that way. Others prefer smaller more focused communities, Reddit has been mentioned by others, but I think a really big one for deep coders is Stack Exchange. It doesn't carry the same sort of content, but it is a coding community and if you spend hours on one community every day, you're not going to have time for others.

Collapse
 
ricovz profile image
Rico van Zelst

Great article Lucy.

I feel like part of the reason that dev.to is mostly used by frontend, web & beginner developers is that backend / full-stack developers are much more likely to set up their own blogging solution and integrate it to their personal website.

Collapse
 
stojakovic99 profile image
Nikola Stojaković

I noticed this long time ago. For example, my article 7 interesting deprecated JavaScript features is the most popular one compared to all others and right after it comes the In defense of TypeScript. Both are catered more towards beginners and are related to JS / TS.

I would like to see more advanced content on the site but I understand there is a small audience interested for that.

Collapse
 
santosh profile image
Santosh Kumar

What about medium.com?

Collapse
 
derlin profile image
Lucy Linder

Medium has amazing content, but I dislike the limited access and the writing experience is awful. Having to use gists to get proper code formatting is soo annoying!

Collapse
 
udanielnogueira profile image
Daniel Nogueira

Medium is for a general purpose, dev is more related to programming.

We want your help! Become a Tag Moderator.
Check out this survey and help us moderate our community by becoming a tag moderator here at DEV.