It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for! Well, it’s the one we’ve been waiting for, anyway. It’s the 4th annual StackShare Awards! 🎉
This is your one-stop resource for developer tools, with a wrap up of what was hot in 2017 and what to be on the lookout for in 2018. We’ve analyzed thousands of data points to bring you these rankings. More on methodology at the end of the post. But first! The awards.
Here are the categories:
- New Tool of the Year
- Application & Data Tool of the Year
- Utility Tool of the Year
- DevOps Tool of the Year
- Business Tool of the Year
- Top Stack Stories of the Year
- Top Developers of the Year
- Developer Newsletters You Should Be Reading
This is our biggest undertaking of every year, combing through our enormous piles of data to find the killer insights we know you want. This year we aggregated usage from 40K+ tech stacks, over 3 million unique visits, and thousands of developer comments, reviews, and votes across all of 2017 (more on methodology below). Let’s do this!
New Tool of the Year
Our top new tool of the year is brought to us by the minds at Airbnb. Lottie is an open source mobile library for iOS, Android, and React Native that renders Adobe After Effects animations in real time, allowing apps to use animations as easily as they use static images. “Our goal is to support as many After Effects features as we possibly can, to allow for a lot more than simple icon animations,” says Lottie engineer Salih Abdul-Karim.
» Learn more about Uppy
LocalStack is a fully functional local AWS cloud stack by none other than the good folks over at Atlassian. Features include continuous integration, cost-effective testing, and speed and ease of use. One comment on Hacker News reads, “One of the biggest ‘drawbacks’ of using AWS as a production platform is that making your development environment look like production is hard. Having to deploy to test is cumbersome and having a cost associated with each test can definitely introduce some sort of ‘stress’ and encourage people to not test incrementally. I wonder if this changes that. Having services like S3, Lambda and SQS available locally sounds super interesting.”
» Learn more about LocalStack
React Sketchapp is the only tool this year that appears in both the top 10 New Tools list and the top 10 of its own category (Business Tools); yet another brainchild of Airbnb engineers, React Sketchapp renders React components to Sketch in real time. “I’m trying my best to bring design & engineering closer together at Airbnb (and in the world),” says creator Jon Gold.
» Learn more about React Sketch.app
A Vue 2.0-based desktop UI library, Element was built by the engineers at Ele.me, “one of the biggest food delivery companies in China.” The team released Element 2.0 in October, and continue to grow their product on GitHub with the help of the open source community. With Vue.js entering the top tools list this year, it’s not surprising to see a library based on it making the top new tools list.
» Learn more about Element
Standup integrates with all the tools you already use for source control and project management, including Jira, Trello, and GitHub, to deliver daily engineering progress reports, freeing up your engineers to do their work, rather than report on it. “We were doing some contract work for a customer that had stringent reporting requirements,” founder Kevin Coleman told us. “Compiling their reports was a manual, time-consuming process, but they were super high value for the customer. We decided to build a tool that would automate this report building process.
» Learn more about Standup
Google Analytics naturally appears in our list of top 10 Utility Tools this year, and it’s bringing along its new(ish) buddy Autotrack. Built by Google, Autotrack is a nifty little tool that automates some of the most common interactions most of us care about on our web pages. “Since most website owners care about a lot of the same types of user interactions, web developers end up writing the same code over and over again for every new site they build,” reads Autotrack’s README.
» Learn more about Autotrack
Kur was profiled in TechCrunch at the top of 2017, and it continued to impress throughout the year. Kur “was designed to appeal to the entire machine learning community, from novices to veterans,” say its creators at Deepgram.
» Learn more about Kur
An open source email delivery platform, Postal is keeping up with larger competitors like SendGrid and Mailgun with 7.5K GitHub stars — and a spot in our Top 10 New Tools — just since its launch in June.
» Learn more about Postal
Introduced in February, Docker Secrets integrates secret distribution directly into the container platform. Docker has said it now considers security one of its main selling points.
» Learn more about Docker Secrets
There are always new tools, but not all of them battle their way out of obscurity to find widespread usage. These newcomers are still gaining traction but we’ve seen former top new tools find their ways into mainstream usage the following year, so may the odds be ever in their favor. This year’s top new tools are a mix of fresh startups and tools backed by established companies including Google, Atlassian, and two by Airbnb. And 8 of our 10 Top New Tools are open source this year; open source continues to offer opportunities for developers across the world to collaborate, build skills, and share knowledge.
New Tool of the Year (Runner-Up)
2017 was yet another great year for dev tools. Along with the help of the community, we added 361 new tools to the StackShare database, all of them unique and useful in their own ways. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that developers will always find ways to make their jobs and the jobs of others easier, and the result is hundreds of incredible tools. Here are the 10 new tool runners-up.
React has made a strong showing this year in our top tools, and here’s one more React tool on the list. A flexible navigation library for React Native and web, React Navigation debuted on Hacker News last January to comments like “Awesome! A better navigator is the #2 feature request for React Native — this solves a huge pain point” and “Definitely going to try this out. Having a consistent navigation library seems to be the last missing puzzle when building cross platform apps.” Hackernoon said in November that “the React-Native community is finally settling for React-Navigation as the default navigation solution.”
» Learn more about React Navigation
Britecharts is a reusable charting library built by the team at Eventbrite as an open source project. It’s grown into one of the most popular D3.js-based libraries on GitHub; you can read an interview with two of the Eventbrite engineers behind the creation of Britecharts here..
» Learn more about Britecharts
Create React Native App allows you to do just that: create a React Native app on any OS with no build config. A collaboration between engineers at Facebook and Expo, you can develop for iOS devices using Linux or Windows.
» Learn more about Create React Native App
Castor is a simple, live data dashboard tool. It allows you to present your data on any screen, from an iPad to a TV, formatted with their simple drag-and-drop widget interface; keep data updated in real time with webhooks. A commenter on ProductHunt had this to say: “Woah — just tried it out and I was definitely surprised about how great of an experience I had. The user interface, controls, and design is beautifully done — the graph is excellent.”
» Learn more about Castor
» Learn more about Prepack
Awless is a small but powerful command line interface (CLI) for managing [Amazon Web Services]. Released in 2017, the open source CLI written in Go “got praise from AWS superstar Jeff Barr and attracted more than 2.5k stars on GitHub in just a few months,” according to creator Henri Binsztok.
» Learn more about awless
NanoNets is a machine learning API that uses less data. Founded in December 2016, NanoNets made its way to #17 in our list by the end of 2017 due to its easy setup and ease of use; it allows developers to train a model with no machine learning experience.
» Learn more about NanoNets
The official React integration for Semantic UI, Semantic UI React is free of JQuery and animation dependencies and was called “the best UI framework for React” by Vladimir Metnew on Hackernoon.
» Learn more about Semantic UI React
One more Facebook project makes the list with Prophet, a tool for producing high quality forecasts for time series data. Implemented in R and Python, Prophet is used in many applications across Facebook for producing reliable forecasts for planning and goal setting.
» Learn more about Prophet
Application & Data Tool of the Year
Bumping up one spot since last year, nginx continues to speed past the competition to be the first-choice web serving solution in the StackShare community. They launched two new major products in 2017: NGINX Unit (check out their StackShare profile here) and NGINX Amplify, a performance monitoring solution you install directly to your nginx host through an API key.
» Keep up with the latest nginx news
Coming in at #4 (down two spots from last year), the beloved front-end framework continues to show dominance in its class. Years after its first alpha release in August 2015, we waited patiently for the Bootstrap 4 beta and 2017 delivered with betas 1–3 (Bootstrap 4 was released in its production-ready final form just last week). Also in 2017 they launched a jobs board, and we predict even more growth in 2018 thanks to Bootstrap 4.
» Keep up with the latest Bootstrap news
Jumping up a spot since last year, PHP continues to hang onto its base and its popularity. No matter how fierce the competition from alternatives like Python and Rails, PHP isn’t giving up the throne. 2017 saw lots of chatter in the dev community around the topic of “Why won’t PHP die?,” and mostly the answer is “because it’s already everywhere.” Given that it’s moved up a spot, and its chief competitors Python and Ruby on Rails aren’t even in the top 10 this year, we’re going to guess it’s not disappearing any time soon. If you’re a PHP developer, your job is probably safe. » Keep up with the latest PHP news
The React competitor continues to hold strong, though it’s down a spot from last year (it switched places with PHP). Last year we predicted React would continue its high-speed rise to the top, and it has, outstripping AngularJS on this year’s list. AngularJS remains a strong contender, though, at #6 on our list, and they released version 4.0 in March, quickly followed by 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3, activity that could point to more growth in 2018.
» Keep up with the latest AngularJS news
No databases appeared on our top 10 list last year, but this year in-memory, key-value store Redis has broken the barrier. “The Fastest Growing Enterprise Software Company” credits its loyal community with making it the most-deployed database on Docker, and now it’s also the top database on StackShare.
» Keep up with the latest Redis news
» Keep up with the latest Vue.js news
The third language in our top 10 is Java. Java knocked its top competitor, Node.js, off the list altogether (Node.js was #3 last year). Known for its commitment to requiring as few implementation dependencies as possible, Java appears in the stacks of giants like LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Groupon. Java has announced the upcoming releases of Java 10 and Java 11 in 2018, so keep an eye out for Java news this year.
» Keep up with the latest Java news
Utility Tool of the Year
What? That’s right. Google Analytics was knocked off the top of the heap by API tester Postman. The Postman team spent 2017 making small but impactful changes to their product, including their Mock service, an API Network, an Enterprise Beta, and the release of Postman 5.0.
» Don’t miss the latest Postman news
The search solution stays in the top ten for the second year in a row, this time joined by Algolia at #5. Elasticsearch engineers kept busy in 2017, releasing 6.0 along with a slew of other product updates. Elasticsearch is used by teams at Stack Overflow, Kickstarter, Mozilla, and Asana.
» Keep up with the latest Elasticsearch news
The #1 Utility Tool of last year, the analytics giant fell to #3 this year. That doesn’t mean it’s not still popular, though. GA remains everybody’s favorite free analytics tool, and one of the first things you install on nearly every project. The data giant announced a partnership with Salesforce in November; GA isn’t going anywhere for now.
» Keep up with the latest Google Analytics news
Coming out of nowhere, content delivery network CloudFlare takes the #4 spot for top Utility Tools. Its 1.36K fans on StackShare cite its easy setup and simplicity as things to love about CloudFlare, and it’s known for its security features including DDoS protection and free SSL certificates. The team at CloudFlare released updates and add-ons all year, including Warp, Argo, CloudFlare Workers, and CloudFlare Stream.
» Keep up with the latest CloudFlare news
Joining Elasticsearch on the top 10 is its close competitor Algolia, the search engine service used by Birchbox, Docker, Stripe, and us. With Google sunsettingtheir site search service beginning in April, the door was wide open, and Algolia was there to pick up the slack. Algolia made headlines in 2017 as the startup going head-to-head with Google, and announced a $53 million Series B in June. Required reading: How Algolia Reduces Latency for 21B Searches Per Month.
» Keep up with the latest Algolia news
At number 6, email service SendGrid has built a loyal base of developer and marketer customers who love it for its easy setup, affordability, and reliability. Easy integrations with Heroku and Azure also get high marks. SendGrid went public in November with a hugely successful IPO, shares surging nearly 13% on the first day
» Keep up with the latest SendGrid news
Not to be confused with its top-10 neighbor SendGrid, SendBird is a messaging SDK and chat API. Appreciated for its ease of use, scalability, and stellar support team, SendBird provides in-app messaging on mobile apps and websites. It was our #1 New Tool of 2016, and it’s good to see it hold its own a year later against older, more established tools in this category. The Y Combinator alum raised $16 million in funding in 2017.
» Keep up with the latest SendBird news
The beloved developer-friendly payment service is on our top 10 for the second time. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. In June Stripe launched custom analytics tool Sigma to help businesses track payment data, and in August they quietly began partnering with Amazon.
» Keep up with the latest Stripe news
Who doesn’t use Google Drive? Like Google Analytics, Drive is a staple in the workflow of teams across every industry, and it continues to score high in our rankings year after year. Despite a rather confusing announcement that sent people into a panic in September, Google Drive is still going strong.
» Keep up with the latest Google Drive news
Another repeat performer rounds out the Utility Tools list, with Amazon’s popular DNS service. It’s fast, cheap, easy to use, and backed by Amazon. What more can you ask for? Developer-friendly updates like an Auto-Naming API announced in December continue to keep Route 53 in a lot of our tool boxes.
» Keep up with the latest Amazon Route 53 news
Last year we saw Postman take the #2 spot, and this year it’s overtaken Google Analytics at the top of the heap. Mailgun and Mandrill didn’t make the list at all this year, and SendGrid dropped from #4 to #6, so email is still hot, but Postman is moving ahead of the pack. Replacing some of the transactional email tools we saw last year are search solutions Algolia (on the list for the first time) and Elasticsearch (moving from #3 last year to #2 this year). And in the payment-processing world, Stripe has knocked PayPal off the list, securing its spot as the developer-favorite payment service.
DevOps Tool of the Year
GitHub remains at the top of the list, and they spent 2017 iterating and improving their offerings at every turn. In January they introduced Topics, allowing you to tag your repos by type or technology. In March they announced the ability to restrict review dismissals with protected branches. Code owners were introduced in July, allowing you to define exactly who needs to review which projects. GitHub Desktop 1.0 was a complete redesign of the GUI app on Electron, released in September. And the GitHub Community Forum, a place for developers from around the world to gather and connect, was born in November. GitHub continues to dominate the DevOps world and serve as the glue for much of the tooling you’re using today.
The hugely popular container platform turned 4 last year, and it’s not losing any steam with age. 2017 saw the launch of Docker Enterprise Edition in March, and Docker 17.06 Community Edition — the first version of Docker built entirely on the Moby Project — in June. In October, Docker announced native Kubernetes supportfor the first time (if you can’t beat ’em, join ‘em?).
» Keep up with the latest Docker news
Continuous integration and continuous deployment continue to grow in popularity, and Jenkins is leading the pack. The free, open-source tool is used by teams at Instacart, Intel, eBay, and Pandora. The Jenkins teams continues to iterate (continuous iteration?) on their popular Blue Ocean plugin.
» Keep up with the latest Jenkins news
Git continues to dominate the version control space, and GitHub alternative GitLab has carved itself a nice niche, beating out BitBucket this year for the #4 spot (BitBucket appears below at #10). The free, self-hosted platform wins fans with its easy setup, nice UI, and continuous integration features. GitLab announced a $20 million Series C round in October, setting themselves up nicely to continue their climb to the top.
» Keep up with the latest GitLab news
» Keep up with the latest Webpack news
Last year’s #3 DevOps tool comes in at #6 this year, and it’s still the only text editor in the top 10. It continues to gain fans who rave about its beautiful UI, modular design, hackability, and you can’t beat the price at free. It’s also open source, which people love. Atom is the brainchild of the team at GitHub, who also released Teletype for Atom this year, adding real-time collaboration to this fan-favorite text editor
» Keep up with the latest Atom news
Performance monitoring service New Relic did a lot of interesting work in AI in 2017. They also announced some new Infrastructure integrations in 2017, including Apache and Redis, and can now say 50% of Fortune 100 companies use New Relic. That’s not a bad way to wrap up the year!
» Keep up with the latest New Relic news
» Keep up with the latest npm news
Atlassian’s entry into the Git management game, BitBucket isn’t being left behind; once again it joins GitHub and GitLab on our list of top DevOps tools. Atlassian released BitBucket 5.0 in May, and in December introduced BitBucket Deployments, calling it “the first deployment solution that sits next to your source code and can be configured with a single line of code.”
» Keep up with the latest Bitbucket news
The container movement continued to gain steam throughout 2017, Docker hanging onto its spot at the top but making room for Kubernetes to make its own mark. In November Amazon AWS announced long-awaited support for Kubernetes on top of ECS in the form of EKS, and even Docker found a way to play nicely together, announcing native Kubernetes support in October (“Kubernetes and Swarm, side by side”). In December Kubernetes announced Kubeflow, an open source project to make machine learning stacks easier to use on the Kubernetes platform.
» Keep up with the latest Kubernetes news
DevOps this year is still a Git game with GitHub, BitBucket, and GitLab all making the list once more, and the rise of containerization we predicted last year has come to pass with Docker and Kubernetes staying strong. Atom wiped out Sublime to take the only text editor spot, and conspicuously absent are both Gulp and Grunt; both were dethroned in the JS task runners space by Webpack.
Business Tool of the Year
No surprise here. Slack has steadily overtaken the workplace chat industry, and it’s not difficult to understand why. The huge number of integrations, mobile-friendliness, and clean UI make it a joy to use. In January 2017 Slack unveiled its Enterprise Grid product, bringing the platform squarely into the enterprise space for once and for all. In October Slack rolled out an update to its screen-sharing feature that allows participants to interact with the shared screen.
Another widely-used tool across all types of industries, Trello slides into the number 2 slot. The kanban-inspired organization tool is beautiful, flexible, and intuitive. September saw Trello release a set of desktop apps for Mac and PC. Prior to that in June, the creators of Trello at Fog Creek sold the company to Atlassian for $425 million, so they must be doing something right!
» Keep up with the latest Trello news
The sole password manager on our top 10, Passbolt stands apart from the crowd because it’s free and open source, and because of its laser-sharp focus on securely storing and sharing passwords for teams. Passbolt was #3 on last year’s list of Top New Tools, and this year it’s taking that spot in its own category. We love seeing one of our hot “new” tools become a top “all-around” tool.
» Keep up with the latest Passbolt news
Atlassian’s flagship product remains enormously popular among agile development teams who call it flexible, powerful, and customizable. Fans also cite its REST API, easy separation of projects, and the fact that it runs in the cloud as benefits. In May they released JIRA Cloud for iPad, and November saw Atlassian make this exciting announcement: “After 13+ years and over 2,500 votes, we’re closing the #1 customer voted feature request in our public issue tracker: Global Admins can now add priority schemes to the configuration options in Jira Software.”
» Keep up with the latest JIRA news
Jumping up 3 spots from #8 last year, InVision continues to set the bar high for prototyping software. Gone are the days designers and developers wasted hours building something nobody wanted; now InVision allows teams to quickly create interactive, clickable prototypes that can be iterated and refined before anybody builds anything. InVision teased an upcoming release (codename: V7) at the end of 2017, so expect to see some exciting things out of Invision in 2018.
» Keep up with the latest InVision news
It’s still the leading CMS on the Internets, and shows no signs of giving up the crown any time soon. WordPress added social scheduling in June, giving content creators everywhere one more reason to never leave.
» Keep up with the latest WordPress news
This catch-all encompasses Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive. In other words — if you’re using a computer in 2018, you’re probably using some piece of Google’s G-Suite. The StackShare community calls it simply a “no-brainer,” and the G-Suite team steadily rolled out new updates and features throughout 2017, working hard to stay at the head of the pack.
» Keep up with the latest G Suite news
Asana joins fellow task-management tools Trello and Jira on 2017’s top 10. The three tools overlap in a lot of ways, but each has managed to carve out its own space on the market. Fans of Asana love its speed, flexibility, and integration options — in 2017 Asana announced new integration with Gmail, Salesforce, and JotForm.
» Keep up with the latest Asana news
By now, you’ve probably heard the familiar ping when you land on a SaaS marketing site. Intercom continues to be a favorite among product teams this year. People love its auto-messaging and usage tracking features, and that it offers both in-app messaging and email functions. The Intercom team shipped a lot of features in 2017, so if you haven’t checked it out in awhile you might want to take another look.
» Keep up with the latest Intercom news
» Keep up with the latest React Sketch.app news
Communication and task management are still top priorities here, with Slack and Trello holding the top spots a second year in a row, joined by Asana, JIRA, and Intercom. Gone from the top 10 are old favorites like MailChimp, Skype, and Confluence, replaced by newcomers: Passbolt was a top new tool last year and has held onto its momentum, rising to the top above its more established competition this year. React Sketchapp is the rare tool that’s both new this year and in the top 10 for its category, indicating a real interest in bridging the gap between engineering and design (also represented by InVision).
Top Stack Stories
Gather ‘round the campfire folks, it’s story time! 2017 was packed full of some awesome scaling tales. While the list is dominated by insights into how consumer and enterprise companies are scaling to billions of things- it’s no surprise that the top spot went to this year’s #1 Application & Data tool: React. Pete Hunt, one of the original creators of React.js, sat down with us to explain how React came about and how the Facebook/Instagram teams set the library up for success. If you missed any of these stories, now is the time to double back and see what you missed.
Without you, there is no us. Developers power everything you see here on StackShare (literally). This year, we wanted to take a moment to thank the top contributors on StackShare- the folks that left witty one-liners, got others to agree (vote), left reviews, added stacks, and left comments. Thanks for helping steer your fellow developers towards the right tools!
Newsletters You Should Be Reading
Everybody loves a good newsletter, the kind packed with useful and actionable information you can use in your work and life. These aren’t ranked in any particular order, just a list of our favorites. And while we’re on the subject, check out our newsletter if you haven’t
This daily digest is curated “by AI and a network of globally distributed nerds” and covers a wide assortment of software-related topics, all tagged by category for easy navigation. Show me the good stuff
Breaking news and info for developers, brought to you by the team at Inside.com.Be on the inside
Like GitHub trending repos, but just the new ones. git checkout -b git_logs
Software Lead Weekly is unique because it goes beyond code to curate the best content on leadership, entrepreneurship, people, and culture in the software industry. Lead By Example
DailyNow is a browser extension (for Chrome and Firefox) that replaces your “new tab” screen with up-to-date developer news. “We help devs focus on code instead of searching for news.” DailyNow Read All About It
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For tool rankings, scores are calculated using a combination of # of stacks a tool was added to, votes, favorites, and pageviews for the year. Beyond that, New Tool rankings were chosen from tools that were created added to StackShare in 2017 with favorites weighing more than other metrics since new tools don’t just enter stacks overnight.
Once again, we removed Git from the #2 spot (behind GitHub) in the DevOps rankings since the placement didn’t make sense. Many developers mention GitHub in their stack, but leave out Git.
If you have any questions about the rankings, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!