GitHub Details Year's Most Popular Programming Languages, Active Projects, More

GitHub, mission control for today's open source software development, published its annual report detailing a wealth of data including the most popular programming languages used in its hosted projects, the most active repositories and much more.

The vast amount of data results from the site's enormous popularity, having been used by 24 million coders working across 67 million repositories.

It's all presented in GitHub Inc.'s annual report on its ecosystem, titled "The State of the Octoverse 2017."

GitHub provided the report at its recent conference, where it unveiled many new initiatives and improvements to the platform, including dependency graphs to help weed out projects with bad code, security alerts about those bad actors and more.

Along with recapping the platform's new features, GitHub looked back at the year so far, revealing that JavaScript is by far the most popular programming language used across its repositories, among 337 unique alternatives. This finding is based on the metric of opened pull requests, which number some 2.3 million for JavaScript, more than twice that of any other language.

Top Languages Measured by Opened Pull Requests
[Click on image for larger view.] Top Languages Measured by Opened Pull Requests (source: GitHub).

JavaScript's popularity is no surprise, as it's often names No. 1 in such studies, possibly fueled by its ubiquity in Web development and the new uses that go beyond the Web, such as mobile apps and even desktop development.

What might be more interesting is the ranking of other languages, specifically the race for No. 2.

"Python replaced Java as the second-most popular language on GitHub, with 40 percent more pull requests opened this year than last," the report states. "Typescript was also on the rise in 2017, used in almost four times as many pull requests as last year."

Python, with some 986,000 opened pull requests, relegated Java to third place with about 870,000 pull requests opened.

In other findings, a new topic tag feature introduced by GitHub this year sheds light on what technologies developers are interested in.

"In January, we released topics: repository tags that let you explore projects by technology, industry, and more," the report states. Heading the list of the top topics developers used for their repositories since the feature launched -- not including frameworks or languages -- was machine learning, followed by game and iOS.

GitHub also provided many other tidbits of interesting information, including:

  • The most-forked project was TensorFlow, a machine intelligence library, with about 24,000 forks, followed by Bootstrap (15,000) and GitIgnore -- specifying what files Git should ignore -- at about 10,800.
  • DefinitelyTyped (TypeScript type definitions) was the project with the most reviews, at 800, followed by Kubernetes (680) and HomeBrew-Core (580), described as "default formulae for the missing package manager for macOS."
  • Microsoft's Visual Studio Code editor was the project with the most contributors (about 15,000), followed by Facebook's React Native (some 8,800) and the npm package manager associated with Node.js (7,600).
  • Kubernetes, a container scheduling and management tool, was overwhelmingly the most-discussed repository, with more than 388,000 comments, followed by OpenShift Origin, a distribution of Kubernetes optimized for continuous application development and multi-tenant deployment (91,100) and the "cms-sw/cmssw" project, associated with particle detection with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), at about 81,100 comments.

Finally, one more fun fact: The filed GitHub issue that received the most "happy face" emoji responses concerned the Redis database. GitHub described the issue as "cat-aclysm for Redis." Others called it "cat overflow," "Cat-a-clicksm" and "CATastrophe." The filed issue is mostly a long string of numeric "3" characters with a few other random characters mixed in.

The issue, opened on March 31, led with this comment from the originator: "Cat walked over the keyboard sorry guys."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.