The results are in for the first ever Gleam Developer Survey! Over the month-and-a-bit the survey was open we had a total of 211 entries! Thank you to everyone who took part! 💖

The survey was a Gleam web application with both the frontend and the backend written in Gleam. It was deployed to and wrote data to the local filesystem rather than using any particular database.

All the questions in the survey were optional, and several of the questions had a free-text field for people to give their answers. For these free-text answers I’ve manually categorised them so that we can see some trends, and the raw data is not shared in order to protect the privacy of the participants.

Let’s take a look at the results now.

The Gleam folks

These questions are about the participants themselves. Community is one of the most important aspects of Gleam and it is vital that everyone feels welcome regardless of who they are, so these questions are intended to give a feel for the makeup of the community, and if there is anything we can do to improve.

Where do you live?

China, France, India, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, and Switzerland each got 3 responses. Argentina, Austria, Czechia, Nepal, Norway, and Romania each got 2 responses. Colombia, Croatia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Nicaragua, North Macedonia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia Taiwan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates each got 1 response.

What’s your age?

What’s your gender?

Are you transgender or cisgender?

What’s your sexual orientation?

Overall the Gleam community are a wonderful bunch, and I’m glad we’ve got an array of different people from different places participating. It is disappointing that there are so few responses from women. This certainly is an area to improve on in future.

Gleamers as programmers

These questions are about programming without being specific to Gleam, so we can get an understanding of where Gleamers are coming from. If we know what ecosystems people are familiar with, we can better understand how to help them get started with Gleam and if there are any integrations we ought to build.

How much programming experience do you have?

How much professional programming experience do you have?

I was really surprised to see such a high level of experience in the Gleam community! To me this suggests that we may be doing a good job of communicating how Gleam helps with real-world professional development problems such as refactoring and keeping codebases maintainable, though we may need to do more to communicate value to people who are new to programming.

We should probably also not lump everyone with more than 10 years of experience into one group!

How large is your company?

What is your job role?

Director of Engineering, Head of Engineering, Maker, Infrastructure engineer, Student each got 2 responses. Security engineer, Intern, Data engineer, Lecturer, Teaching Assistant, Security Manager, and Agile Coach each got 1 response.

Lots of experience and seniority on show here again!

Which programming languages do you use?

F# got 8 responses, Julia got 7 responses, Clojure got 4 responses, and Nix got 3 responses. Crystal, Prolog, Zig, Ada, Dart, GDScript, and PureScript got 2 responses, and BQN, CSS, HTML, Jakt, Lean, Mercury, Nushell, Perl, Racket, Ren, SML, and SQL got 1 response.

No surprise with Elixir making a very strong showing here! Though I was not expecting to see more Rustaceans and Gophers than Erlangers.

What operating systems do you use for development?

I think sometimes it can be easy for projects to assume that developers will be on macOS, so this is a good reminder that all platforms must have an excellent development experience.

What operating systems do you use in production?

Good to see a range of operating systems in production too. I’d love to have have the Gleam test suite also run on OpenBSD and FreeBSD, but unfortunately GitHub Actions doesn’t support these platforms.

Using Gleam

This set of questions is about the participants’ experience using Gleam and participating in the community.

When did you first hear about Gleam?

Another question where we probably should have given more options! We underestimated how long people have been following the project.

When did you start using Gleam?

56% of respondents haven’t started using Gleam yet. Gleam is a young language so this is to be expected, hopefully we’ll have much more users next year.

What Gleam compiler targets do you use?

When the JavaScript target was first created it was seen as a value-add to the “default” Erlang target, so it is cool to see people using it by itself.

Why do you like Gleam?

Thank you everyone for the kind words! I’m glad you like Gleam.

Predictably the static type system and the Erlang VM are the most popular characteristics of Gleam, and I’m pleased that all the work we’ve put into making Gleam as simple and consistent as possible is resonating with people.

When I started Gleam I had the opinion that syntax largely did not matter much, and we had an ML language style syntax. After a good amount of feedback I relented and put a lot of work into making a new syntax that would hopefully feel approachable to anyone familiar with a mainstream language. Judging by the results here that work has paid off! The syntax is now one of the most popular characteristics of Gleam.

Also, thank you to the peeps who said I’m one of the things they like about Gleam :)

What Gleam merchandise would you be interested in?

People have been asking for Gleam merchandise for a while now, so this helps us understand what sort of things people would be interested in.

I don’t know if I can make butt plugs, but I’ll try my best.

Where do you get your Gleam news?

The Gleam Discord Server continues to be an excellent place for Gleamers to hang out ✨

And that’s all! Once again thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey, it has been a great help. See you next year!