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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.

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.

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