Should Web Developers Know Julia?
Julia was designed by Jeff Bezanson, Stefan Karpinski, Viral B. Shah, and Alan Edelman in 2012, it is a high-level language that is very fast. It has since grown in popularity and usage to become the 5th most loved programming language, behind Rust, Closure, Typescript, and Elixir.
According to a Stack overflow survey of 2021, Julia is loved by 70.69% of professional developers versus 29.31% of professional developers who dreaded it. Its popularity and usage in software development and data science continue to grow rapidly.
Julia is a general-purpose, high-performance, dynamic programming language. Although it is a general-purpose language and can be used to write nearly any application, many of its features have an orientation toward numerical analysis and computational science.
Julia can be used for Data visualization & plotting, Data Science, Machine Learning, applications, microservices, Scientific computing, web UIs, databases, embedded systems, Parallel & Heterogeneous Computing, and more.
Working with Julia is very easy and straightforward, its syntax is concise and easy to learn. Julia has foreign function interfaces that make it work well with other programming languages such as Python, R, C, C++, Java, and many others. Python and R packages such as PyJulia and JuliaCall can be used to call Julia packages.
WHAT ARE SOME OF JULIA BASED WEB FRAMEWORKS?
Julia can be used for both frontend and server-side web applications, to make it easy to work with Julia in web development, there are a number of web frameworks that you can use, here are some of them
- Genie – the most popular Julia-based full-stack MVC web framework.
- Dash.jl – A Julia interface to the Dash ecosystem for creating analytic web applications.
- Bukdu – A web development framework inspired by the Phoenix framework.
- Merly – a micro framework for declaring routes and handling requests
- Http.jl – an http client and server functionality.
There are not many mature Julia-base web frameworks, this makes it quite hard to develop web applications using Julia.
Plus, there are very few Julia-based resources for web development, meaning, you will have to do most of the hard work yourself, and build web apps almost completely from scratch. Julia is simply not well suited for web development.
Julia is used by many companies such as BlackRock, Intel, Aviva, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, NASA, Brazilian INPE, Moderna, Climate Modelling Alliance, Google, Microsoft, and many others. It can be seen that Julia is loved, trusted, and used by a lot of big companies and businesses.
Even though Julia’s popularity is growing and many companies are adopting it, it is not popularly used in web development, the lack of a matured Julia web development ecosystem makes it an undesirable choice for web development.
There are many other alternatives to Julia that you can use for frontend and server-side programming, meaning that learning Julia for web development is not necessary.
WHAT ARE ALTERNATIVES TO JULIA FOR WEB DEVELOPMENT?
There are many frontend and server-side programming languages and frameworks that you can use as alternatives to Julia. Here are some of the popular ones:
PHP is the most popular server-side programming language, it powers more websites on the internet than the rest of the server-side programming languages put together.
According to statistics from w3techs.com, “PHP is used by 77.5% of all the websites whose server-side programming language we know.” PHP website usage has been decreasing over the years, but it will take more than 25 years to decrease to 50% at the rate at which it is decreasing.
To make your development process easy, quick, and well structured, you can use PHP frameworks such as Laravel, Symfony, CodeIgniter, Slim, Zend, Phalcon, CakePHP, and many others.
PHP is used by many popular platforms and websites such as WordPress, Drupal, Wikipedia, Facebook, Slack, Etsy, Tumblr, MailChimp, etc. PHP is simple to work with and it is a great alternative to Julia.
Python has an easy to understand syntax that makes it easy to write code. Getting started with Python is much easier than with Julia. Python is used a lot by web developers for backend development. According to a 2021 Stack Overflow survey, Python is the third most used programming language by professional developers.
Python Django is one of the most popular web development frameworks, it was used to build part of the Instagram backend. Other python web frameworks that can be used in place of the Julia include Flask, FastAPI, CherryPy, Falcon, etc.
Instead of using Julia in the frontend of your web application, you can use more popular frontend frameworks and libraries such as React, Angular, Vue, or Svelte. These frameworks are much easy to work with than Julia.
You can also use Java as an alternative to Julia for server-side programming. Java is used by many websites, especially in the enterprise world. You can learn more about how Java is used in Web Development in our article DO YOU NEED JAVA FOR WEB DEVELOPMENT.
Go is an open-source programming language supported by Google, Go is used in web development to power fast and scalable web applications. It is a good alternative to Julia. Some of the companies using Go are shown in the image below.
Since its invention in 1995 by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto of Japan, Ruby has grown in popularity and usage to become the third most widely used server-side programming language after PHP and ASP.NET.
According to statistics from w3techs.com, “Ruby is used by 5.9% of all the websites whose server-side programming language we know.” Ruby usage for making websites has been decreasing over the years, but it is still one of the popular choices for many companies and startups.
Ruby is much easier to work with than Julia, its syntax is simple, elegant, and English-like, similar to that of Python. Getting started with Ruby and Ruby on Rails for web development is very easy and you will serve a lot of development time by using this language and its framework.
The popular online E-commerce store builder Shopify was written in Ruby (Ruby on Rails). Other popular websites using Ruby include Twitter, Github, Basecamp, Airbnb, Dribbble, Hulu, Kickstarter, Zendesk, Fiverr, SoundCloud, and many others.
There are many other alternatives to Julia that I have not listed here. The availability and usage of many other powerful frontend and server-side programming languages and frameworks show that you can work on web development projects without using Julia.
It can be seen that even though Julia is popular and widely used by a lot of companies and professional developers, learning Julia for web development is not necessary. There are other frontend and server-side programming languages and frameworks that you can use.
If you want to make a website but you do not want to write any server-side or frontend code, you can use Website builders like WordPress, Shopify, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, etc. to do all the heavy lifting for you. You can make powerful websites without writing any line of code.