Web Development in 2023

What the data says

RenderATL 2023

Who is this guy?

Laurie Voss

  • web developer
  • co-founder, npm Inc.
  • data scientist
  • pretty nice guy

@seldo@alpaca.gold on mastodon


What are we

talking about?

  • The state of web developmnet
  • How we got here
  • Where we're going next

“History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.”

Alexis de Tocqueville

Spoiler alert:

you are probably going to hate

my prediction

The model

Stage 1:

Wild experimentation

Stage 2:

best practices evolve

Stage 3:

design patterns

Stage 4:


Stage 5:

intense competition

Stage 6:


This process is often not a lot of fun

Custom built is better but still loses because capitalism






Stage 7:

whining about fundamentals

Stage 8:

mass adoption

Each step has far more people than the previous step

Stage 9a:

migration to specialization

Older layers of the stack never die

they just fade away

Stage 9b:

migration to adaptation

There is

no such thing as

"the fundamentals"

The history of web development is full of examples

1. Web servers

2. Web applications

3. Server hardware

1+2+3 = LAMP

Linux Apache MySQL PHP

4. Blogs


as a framework


as a framework


as a framework


as a framework

...but there are still people who rack servers for a living

in fact more of them than ever

Other frameworks

  1. npm (you knew I'd find a way to mention it)
  2. Kubernetes
  3. TypeScript
  4. AWS Lambda

We're caught up

What's in mass adoption right now?

Serverless adoption hit 70% in 2022

Mass adoption ahoy!


I work at Netlify

but this is the reason I chose to do that


as a framework

Jamstack is at stage 5

It hasn't won (yet)


as a framework

React dominates the modern web

74% of developers report using React in 2023

Will React become part of the platform?

You know who's going to win the game when people start leaving the stadium

What's next?

The metaverse


Stealing money is not a new idea

How do you

figure out

what comes next?

Are we bored enough of React

to abstract it away?


one potential future

A visual editor

like Webflow on localhost

Imagine a new kind of web developer

doing a new kind of web development

AI can build back-ends

AI can build front-ends

AI might eat whole layers of the stack



a new generation of engineers will create HTML without writing it

This is how the WWW was supposed to work

Sir Tim would approve (probably)

The economics

of web dev in 2022

means something

has to give

We are unsustainably expensive

We need 10x more web developers

than we have

The shortage is making websites terrible

This is scary!

Great migrations always are

Surviving the next great migration

  1. Use the new tools
  2. Build the new tools

I could be wrong

I'm wrong all the time


...but what if I'm not?

Thank you.


See you on mastodon!

Web development in 2023

By seldo

Web development in 2023

  • 681