The world's most popular programming language is JavaScript, but why?

While Python regularly polls as the fastest-growing language, JavaScript is consistently the most popular.

Much of the interest in JavaScript still seems to arise from front-end web developers, despite the language finding new uses in areas such as back-end development in recent years.

Now the code repository service GitHub has shed further light on what's fuelling the continued popularity of JavaScript, as part of a round-up of which non-language topics saw the largest rise in the number of associated open-source projects on GitHub in 2018.

SEE: Hiring kit: JavaScript developer (Tech Pro Research)

Here's a breakdown of the JavaScript-related tech that made it into the top 10.

Node.js

The server-side runtime environment for JavaScript has opened up a range of uses for the browser-based language.

Not only is Node.js used to run the backend of websites, but it's used everywhere, from on-demand microservices running on cloud platforms to controlling robots and IoT appliances using Node-RED.

Celebrated for the ability to asynchronously handle data as and when it's ready, the latest LTS version is Node.js 10.14.2, which offers significant performance advantages over earlier LTS versions, and is available to download here.

React

React is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces for web sites and apps, which has seen rapid growth in use since its creation by Facebook in 2013.

Prized for its simplicity due to its declarative approach, ease of management, and reusable components, React can also be used to build interfaces for mobile apps using React Native.

React was the most commonly used front-end software library / framework in The State of JavaScript 2018 survey of more than 20,000 JavaScript developers. The average salary for users with experience of the library was $73,600, according to the report.

You can find out more about getting started with React here.

Vue

Vue is another framework for building web UIs and is designed to be a simple library that controls the look and functionality of the UI.

Rather than try to handle every element of a web app, such as routing HTTP requests, Vue is designed to integrate with other software libraries to add features as needed.

Vue was the second-most widely used front-end framework in The State of JavaScript 2018 report, with the average salary for users with experience of the library being $62,400, according to the report.

You can find out more about getting started with Vue here.

Outside of JavaScript there were also a wide range of new open source projects tagged with machine learning and Docker, among other topics, as you can see in the list of tags below.

"In 2018 alone, we saw more new users than in our first six years combined, and we celebrated hosting over 100 million repositories. All of this growth is thanks to the open source community," writes Thomas Elliott, data scientist at GitHub

Also see