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AI / Edge Computing / Frontend Development / JavaScript

Dev News: React Still King, Vercel AI Tools, Netlify Connect

Web framework usage declined, but React still rules. Also, Vercel's AI plans, Netlify's unified data layer and Google's script editor tool.
Jun 17th, 2023 4:00am by
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Web frameworks usage dropped overall by about 10%, while plans for specific frameworks increased by roughly 15%, according to a recent Stack Overflow survey.

Svelte, Next.js and Deno all saw an increase in adoption in 2023, while React, Vue.js and Angular all saw significant decreases in use. Despite the usage hit, React remains the most popular web framework with 40.6% overall reported usage this year.

There were also big drops in frameworks often used for mobile apps, such as React Native, which was down 33%, and Flutter, down 27%.

Special thanks to The New Stack’s analyst Lawrence Hecht, who contributed to this report.

Vercel’s AI Accelerator and New AI Tools

In the first four months of this year, frontend development platform Vercel saw an 800% increase in AI businesses launching on their platform.

“We realized there’s something happening here, the community [and] our customers are really excited about AI and large language models,” Lee Robinson, vice president of Developer Experience at Vercel, told The New Stack. “We’ve been trying to smooth the path for them to actually on-ramp from our platform and our products, to help them build better experiences”

On Wednesday, the company launched an AI accelerator program that’s open to individual AI developers and early-stage startups interested in building and scaling an AI solution. Participants will be able to leverage coaching from AI experts and have access to capital and credits from AI partners.”

Forty participants will be chosen for the six week program accelerator. They will get access to AI couching from leading AI experts via fireside chats and office hours, as well as support from Vercel’s Developer Experience team, who will act as accountability coaches.

“The folks on the Vercel team who have built a lot of AI applications understand what a great user interface looks like and how you combine together these tools,” Robinson said. “Giving them coaching for these builders to make something people really want to use, that maybe they could go on to actually be a company that takes on funding for example, would be awesome.”

The 11 AI partners include OpenAI of ChatGPT fame, open source machine learning company Hugging Face, AI safety and research firm Anthropic, and machine learning company Replicate. There’s also early access for the new LangChain evaluation platform. These partner companies will provide more than $850,000 in credits, to be split among the participants for the accelerator program.

“Sometimes these AI models, depending on what they’re trying to build, can be computationally expensive and they need access to these platforms to be able to actually build their ideas,” he said.

The participants also will gain access to a CRV investor, who will provide office hours and a fireside chat for deck feedback and guidance.

Vercel also announced its own AI support tools for customers, including:

  • AI playground: An interactive place for developers to test and experiment with AI technologies without setting up local environments or deploying AI models on their own infrastructure.
  • AI SDK: Vercel AI SDK is an open-source library designed to help developers build conversational streaming text and chat user interfaces in JavaScript.
  • Chatbot plugin: With the chatbot plugin, companies can develop and deploy their own chatbot solutions while maintaining control over their data. The robust and security features of Vercel ensure that sensitive company data remains protected while allowing organizations to deploy chatbot solutions at scale. The dominant way developers are building interfaces to AI is through chatbots, Robinson said.

“We have a massive amount of developers who are really, really interested in AI,” he said. “Developers want to build these really awesome applications, so we’re trying to give them the infrastructure, the tooling and the workflow to do that.”

Netlify to Offer Unified Data Layer

Web development platform Netlify launched Netlify Connect on Tuesday, which will provide frontend developers with a “clean, headless Graph QL API on top of their different content sources,” Matt Biilmann, CEO of Netlify, told The New Stack.

Connect provides a unified data layer that will enable organizations who want to shift from a monolithic to composable architecture, the company said. Notify Connect enables real-time content distribution across all websites and applications globally, it added. Under the engine, Connect has a GraphQL API that allows users to connect content sources and caches at the edge.

“Companies might adopt headless content platforms like Contentful, Sanity, or Contentstack to give their frontend teams more freedom, but at an enterprise scale, there are many different existing content sources, e-commerce platforms and CMS systems that will not be going away anytime soon,” Biilmann said. “A single data unification layer enables companies to decouple the frontend user experience layer from existing monolithic CMS and application platforms, giving web teams the freedom to create world-class websites, online stores, and applications with data from any existing or new content source.”

Hack Your Home with New Google Script Editor Tool

Google on Tuesday made available its script editor tool, which offers more automation for Google Home-powered smart products, the Verge reported this week. The script editor is part of the new web interface and the new Google Home app preview, which started Wednesday.

These automatons will allow developers to string together multiple devices to automate tasks, such as turning on the lights and playing music. The script editor also offers more advanced options for automation than are currently available in the existing Google Home app. Developers can apply for the public preview of the new Google Home app.

The average home now has 25 connected devices, Anish Kattukaran, director of product management at Google, noted in a blog post. That’s up from three devices nearly 10 years ago. But despite 10 years of progress, devices are hard to set up, don’t always perform when you need them to, don’t play well together, and you have to juggle multiple device apps, Kattukaran stated.

Google contends Matter, a new smart home connectivity standard, will help solve these problems. With Fast Pair for Matter, an Android phone will automatically detect a Matter device and help users set it up. Matter setup and app linking will be available by default on billions of Android devices with Google’s launch of Matter support later this year, he stated.

“We are even working directly with top device makers to ensure we have support across as many Matter-supported devices as possible,” Kattukaran wrote. “We’re also ​​updating our existing Google Nest smart speakers, smart displays and routers to control Matter devices.”

The Google Home app supports Matter devices, Nest and 80,000 devices, Kattukaran said. The Google Home app provides a single place to set up, control and automate these home devices, he added.

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Contentstack, Deno.
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