70% of Devs Using or Will Use AI, Says Stack Overflow Survey
Artificial intelligence is hot, and GitHub Copilot and ChatGPT are poised to benefit developers, according to Stack Overflow’s 2023 Developer Survey.
Adoption of the Lua and Rust programming languages spiked in 2023, as did that of the Python-based FastAPI framework, reported the latest global survey of more than 90,000 developers.
When asked about their plans to use AI tools in their development process, 44% of developers said they already do this and another 26% plan to do so soon.
When this group was asked what specific AI-powered developer tools they use, 55% mentioned GitHub Copilot, while 13% use Tabnine and 5% use Amazon Web Services CodeWhisperer. The other seven tools included in the survey were used by no more than 2%.
The gap between GitHub Copilot and similar tools is most noticeable when looking at how many of its users plan to continue using it — 72% of GitHub Copilot users want to use it in the upcoming year, as compared to only 53% of AWS CodeWhisperer users and 37% of Tabnine users.
AI search tools like ChatGPT were also highlighted in the study. Among respondents who are already using one of 11 different AI search tools Stack Overflow asked about, the following percentages of devs have used these tools in the past year:
About 78% of both ChatGPT and Phind users claim they will continue using the technology in the next year, which is higher than the 61% of Bard AI and 62% of Bing AI users expressing that type of loyalty.
Lua, Rust, TypeScript and Go Gain Users
Lua and Rust were among the fasted growing programming languages. Rust usage grew 40% in 2023 and its adoption rate now stands at 13% of developers. Meanwhile, Lua adoption rose 50%, to a still modest 6%.
When it comes to web frameworks, Python-based FastAPI saw the most rapid growth, rising 48% to a still-modest 7% of developers surveyed. While not technically a framework, jQuery continues its steady decline, dropping 23%, to usage by 22% of developers.
Other notable changes include:
- Docker adoption fell 19% over the last year, but 51% of developers in the 2023 study reported that they were using it. It remains incredibly popular among its core user base — 75% of developers that have used Docker in the last year have a desire to continue using it in the next 12 months. This tells us that even after several bumps in the hype cycle, Docker and containers are here to stay.
- Use of Atlassian's Trello, a tool for asynchronous collaboration and project management, fell 42% since 2022, down to 19% of survey participants. Asana adoption also fell 36%, with only 5% using it in 2023.
- Less significant declines were also seen by the leaders in this category, including Atlassian's Jira and Confluence, which may indicate a market consolidation and that developers are relying on fewer collaboration tools.
- Adoption of popular package managers npm and Yarn are on the decline. Use of npm fell 24% to 49% of respondents and Yarn dropped 21% to 22% of respondents.
Heroku Usage Down 40% Since 2022's Report
Some of the biggest news coming out of the Stack Overflow survey is about the technologies and frameworks that have seen significant declines in usage.
Almost all of the cloud providers saw declines, but Heroku's was the worst. Only 12% of developers used Heroku in 2023, down 40% from the 2022 study. Even worse, only 22% of the technology's user base said they want to continue using it in the upcoming year.
Even the cloud leaders are taking a hit, with Google Cloud usage falling 11% compared to the previous year, Microsoft Azure dropping 9%, and Amazon Web Services declining 5%.
A new group of cloud platforms may be taking advantage of this slump. For the first time, Cloudflare (used by 15% of the survey participants), Vercel (used by 11%), Netlify (also used by 11%) and Germany's Hetzner (used by 4%) were included in the survey. Notably, Vercel and Hezner were the most admired cloud provider among those that survey participants were asked about.