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GitHub Showcases Most Popular Open Source Developer Tools

With open source having "won" in becoming "today's preeminent architecture," developers may want to check up on the most popular development tools used in community projects.

One place to do that is GitHub, the go-to choice for developers worldwide to host their open source projects. Sure, the company has published the occasional report based on data mining its stores of projects, such as one recent study of the most popular programming languages, but there's another resource that devs can consult at any time to check up on the hottest trends in open source development.

That would be Open Source Showcases, where developers can "Browse popular repositories based on the topic that interests you most."

It's a compendium of code repositories categorized by dozens of themes, ranging from front-end JavaScript frameworks to emoji to machine learning, all ranked by the number of stars awarded to the projects. Stars are affixed to projects by developers who want to bookmark a project of interest for further exploration or to show appreciation for the work of the repository maintainer. In other words, they serve as a rough gauge of popularity.

Showcases were introduced in March 2014.

"Showcases are a new way to discover related repositories on GitHub," the company said at the time. "We take the most interesting trending repositories and curate lists to explore by topic. A lot like the staff shelf at your local book store.

"On a showcase page, you'll find the full list of repositories that we're showcasing, including why we think they're special. On the right you will have a place to search all showcases, view related showcases, and any newly created showcases."

They're also useful for developers to quickly track trends or just see what development tools are most favored by open source developers.

For example, if you wanted to quickly see what open source programming languages are being used most in GitHub projects, the Programming Languages showcase reveals "A list of programming languages that are actively developed on GitHub." It reveals that Apple's Swift language leads the pack by far (33,496 stars) over Google's Go language (19,704 stars). It also provides other information, such as C++ was primarily used to write Swift, while Go was used to write Go.

Here's a quick look at the top 5 entries for several different types of development tools:

  • Programming Languages
    1. Swift
    2. Go
    3. Rust
    4. TypeScript
    5. CoffeScript
  • Web Application Frameworks
    1. Meteor
    2. Rails
    3. Laravel
    4. Flask
    5. Django
  • Package Managers
    1. Bower
    2. Vundle.vim
    3. npm
    4. Alcatraz
    5. CocoaPods
  • Productivity Tools
    1. oh-my-zsh
    2. The Silver Searcher
    3. Quick Look plugins
    4. ShareX
    5. dotjs
  • Text Editors
    1. Atom
    2. Brackets
    3. Neovim
    4. TextMate
    5. LightTable
  • Front-End JavaScript Frameworks
    1. Angular.JS
    2. React
    3. Backbone
    4. TodoMVC
    5. Ember.JS
  • Software Development Tools
    1. Sentry
    2. UglifyJS
    3. JSHint
    4. Jenkins
    5. Better Errors
  • NoSQL Databases
    1. Redis
    2. RethinkDB
    3. MongoDB
    4. PouchDB
    5. Titan

Developers who want to continually track showcased repositories such as these can subscribe to an Atom feed to stay current.

About the Author

David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.

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