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Almost one month ago I created a survey in order to try and understand how .NET developers are using Ajax. And also to compare it with the results I collected at the end of 2007.

I left the survey running a few weeks and once I received around 2500 responses I closed it: but without further ado let’s have a look at the results, and later I’ll do a more in depth analysis of the data collected.

The results

top10_JS_frameworks The most used Ajax/JS library among .NET developers is jQuery, which is used by the 71,4% of the users. Second comes the Ajax Control Toolkit with 58,8%, followed by the core ASP.NET Ajax library, which is used by 44,8%.

The 3 most used libraries are still the same of 2007, just with the opposite order (it was ASP.NET Ajax, the Control Toolkit and then jQuery).

Looking at the results of the question about which Web framework you are using, the results shows that quite a few users are starting to adopt ASP.NET MVC for building they applications: 87% are using WebForms and 32% are using ASP.NET MVC.

The other interesting question was about the adoption of the technology, and 77% of the developer that responded say they are using it in production, 70% in development stage, but is astonishing to me is that 8,3% is not using it at all, or just using in personal tests, not related to their jobs. This looks more astonishing since 2 years ago this percentage was lower (it was just 5%).

ASP.NET Ajax and the Ajax Control Toolkit

Time for more analysis: it seems strange to me that there are more people claiming they are using the control toolkit and not using ASP.NET Ajax (probably some didn’t realize one is just an abstraction over the other), so I digged into the results a bit more and I found out that the percentage of people that are using either ASP.NET Ajax or the Ajax Control Toolkit is 73% of the population. This means that jQuery and the Microsoft Ajax stack are pretty much on the same market share: 71% of jQuery vs 73% of MS Ajax.

What changed since 2007?

As you saw in the previous sections, not much: jQuery gained a lot of attention (probably due to the official endorsement of Microsoft) and all the rest remained pretty much the same. Some libraries gained a few points, like JSON.NET, and others, like Prototype and Scrit.aculo.us, lost a few. And, despite becoming a dormant project, AJAX.NET Professional lost only 3% of the users.

 top10_JS_frameworks_comparison

The first chart from the left (click to enlarge) shows the big gain of jQuery (in blue), the slight increase in the Ajax Control Toolkit (red) and the drop in the usage of the core ASP.NET Ajax library (in green). All of this combined lead to final result of having jQuery and the Ajax Microsoft stack with more or less the same usage (second image from the left).

top10_JS_frameworks_comparison_chart  jQuery_vs_ASPNETAJAX_chart

WebForms vs ASP.NET MVC users

Which library is preferred by developers using WebForms? And which by developers that use ASP.NET MVC?

Nothing new here: the 804 developers that checked ASP.NET MVC prefer jQuery (88%) over MS Ajax (17%) while the 907 developers that use only WebForms slightly prefer Ajax Control Toolkit over jQuery (65% vs 59%).

An interesting stat is about the developers that checked both WebForms and ASP.NET MVC: among these all-round developers the market share of jQuery is even higher: 90%, compared to the 16% of the MS Ajax stack.

Commercial 3rd party libraries

And seems like commercial libraries are starting to gain their space among .NET developers, showing a cumulative 7% gain, going from 20% to 27%: which means that 1 developer out of 4 is using a commercial library. The top spot is held by Telerik with 15,6%, followed by Infragistics with 3,9%. A company that gained a lot of market is DevExpress, which went from 0,7% of 2007 to 3,7%.

Partial rendering vs client library

The last question was about how people are using MS ASP.NET Ajax:

Option Response %
Partial Rendering /Update Panel 88%
Ajax library + services (JSON or XML) 54%
AJAH (Async Javascript and Html) 36%

Compared to the previous survey nothing changed: the partial rendering trick is still the preferred way of using MS ASP.NET Ajax, even if the percentage felt down a bit (92% to 88%). Another proof of the goodness of this approach is that 1/3rd of the developers have server-side code that directly returns HTML code. And I guess this approach is even more popular with jQuery + ASP.NET MVC where you can easily return a Partial View from you actions and have the Ajax helpers inject it into your views.

Some final random thoughts

17 people (0,7%) responded they don’t use any web UI library: they just plain HTML + JS and Handlers/WCF services on the server. And this approach is even more used than ASP Classic, which is used by only 7 developers 0,3%.

It is pretty impressive that 8,6% of the people that took the survey are still doing Ajax calls manually, without relying on library to ease the development.

The audience

Someone claimed that all the surveys not held by a 3rd party company specialized in interviews are irrelevant since someone else can cheat in order to gain more percentage points. And also because being a non randomly selected audience, it might be biased toward my readers.

Unfortunately I cannot do anything about companies asking its users to vote for them, but I tried to get the wider possible audience. At the end the survey has been linked by Bertrand Le Roy, Scott Hanselman (via twitter), Craig Shoemaker, Brad Abrams, Keyvan Nayyeri, my Italian blog and Pietro Brambati blog (DE in Italy). All these blogs have different kind of audience, and probably more “mainstream” than mine. So I hope this helped solving the bias problem.

Wait, I want more!

Which percentage of developers is using the AJAH approach with ASP.NET MVC? And what about the ones that use Dojo? If you are interested in a particular report, you can either ask in the comments or you can download the raw data and the complete results as Excel spreadsheet (Office 2007 format).

Wrapping up

The big news is that jQuery joined the ASP.NET Ajax stack in term of usage among .NET developers and that lots of developers don’t see the Ajax Control Toolkit as being and abstraction on top of ASP.NET Ajax, and this probably shows that now the ACT is becoming a product on its own.

ASP.NET MVC is used by 32% of developers after only 2 months from the RTM.

Again, a big thank to Keyvan, Bertrand, Brad, Scott Hanselman, Craig, Pietro Brambati and all the others that posted and re-tweeted the link to the survey. And all youg guys that answered the survey: this would have not been possible you.

Now it’s your turn: what do you think about these results?

kick it on DotNetKicks.com

posted on Monday, June 22, 2009 5:39 PM

Comments on this entry:

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied

Left by Keyvan Nayyeri at 6/22/2009 5:43 PM

Very interesting analysis and results.

Thank you for the effort and the time you spent on this survey :-)

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied

Left by Elijah Manor at 6/22/2009 6:52 PM

Very informative... thanks for pulling together all the information and making sense of it!

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied among .NET developers

Left by amr elgarhy at 6/22/2009 8:27 PM

Very nice information, good statistics.

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied among .NET developers

Left by Mats at 6/22/2009 9:41 PM

I feel sorry for those stuck with MS Ajax Control Toolkit. After switching from it to ExtJS I'm never going back. Tried jQuery too which is a very weak alternative to ExtJS if you're building a large application. Jquery is perfect for brushing up a content site though...

My 0.05$

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied among .NET developers

Left by Simone at 6/22/2009 11:02 PM

@Mats: jQuery is just a core js library. All the widgets/UI elements of ExtJS can be done using jQuery UI.

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied among .NET developers

Left by Sean at 6/22/2009 11:58 PM

I'm more surprised at the lack of adoption of the ASP.NET MVC framework. I'd like to revisit this survey, with focus on how many developers are working on older projects and their plans on using ASP.NET MVC for future projects.

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied among .NET developers

Left by Sean at 6/23/2009 12:02 AM

In regard to my previous comment, I've been using ASP.NET MVC since November of 2007, so I guess I forgot that the official RTM was only a couple of months ago.

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied among .NET developers

Left by Simone at 6/23/2009 12:11 AM

@Sean: What I see is that, at least in Italy, 95% of the projects are either maintenance of old projects or new projects that are built on top of Sharepoint or CRM. Very little projects are new ad-hoc development with ASP.NET

Anyway this survey was about Ajax, not about MVC vs WebForms

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied among .NET developers

Left by James G Arthur at 6/23/2009 12:17 AM

Thanks for the hard work and the informative survey. Contrary to Sean's comment, based upon discussions at code camps and similar gatherings around metro DC, I view the MVC / Web forms numbers as right on. MVC requries two leaps, first a leap into a framework and then a leap to MVC in particular. I suspect that a large majority of web form guys are either older projects that cannot be updated, or reflect smaller developers whose sole project is a single site and they do not have the expertise or confidence to make the switch. I am one of the group working on redoing at least two sites into MVC framework. And, yes, I made both leaps. But I have talked to a lot of developers like myself who just do not see the need for learning MVC.

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied among .NET developers

Left by James G Arthur at 6/23/2009 12:18 AM

Do I remember seeing a new project on CodePlex for integrating ajax into MVC? I do not remember what flavor it was --

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied among .NET developers

Left by Mats at 6/23/2009 8:05 AM

Sorry, I meant JQuery UI, not Jquery in my comment.

You probably could build _some_ of the stuff in the ExtJS examples. But the code produced would look like utter crap.

If you take a peek at the source of JQuery UI you'll see there are no design patterns to be found (except perhaps for the "spaghetti" anti-pattern).

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied among .NET developers

Left by Si Philp at 6/23/2009 9:03 AM

Fantastic write up Simo. I have to say jQuery is the dogs and deserves the top spot. Over the last 12 months we've seen it expand in UI and in performance, well done jQuery dev team :)

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied among .NET developers

Left by Todd at 6/23/2009 5:26 PM

Since Telerik builds on both ASP.NET AJAX and jQuery, technically the adoption of those "base" frameworks may be even higher. If you layered people that use Telerik -or- jQuery -or- MS AJAX, perhaps we'd find almost another 10% of devs using the base frameworks without realizing it.

Doesn't mean much, other than to fully paint the broad adoption of the core "Ajax for ASP.NET" frameworks.

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied among .NET developers

Left by Frans Thamura at 6/23/2009 10:02 PM

how can the total of the % = 250

must be 100, to make the survey relevan

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied among .NET developers

Left by Simone at 6/23/2009 11:51 PM

@Frans: It was possible to select more than one library, so the sum doesn't add up to 100%

# re: Ajax survey 2009: jQuery and MS Ajax are almost tied among .NET developers

Left by Dimitris at 7/16/2009 10:35 AM

Congratulations on this very informative and straightforward survey. God knows when was the last time I've read such a programming focused research. I think the presentation post is excellent, too. Nevertheless, I agree that only a tiny % of new web applications is created using asp.net today and that makes me sad.

Comments have been closed on this topic.