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GitHub Report: JavaScript, Java and Python Repeat as Top Languages

No matter how you slice the data, JavaScript, Java and Python rule in the open source world, confirmed the big yearly Octoverse report just published for 2018 by GitHub.

Those three languages have repeated their standings for the fourth year in a row, with their dominance last interrupted in 2014, when PHP came in at No. 3. GitHub ranked the languages according to how often they were used by contributors. In last year's report, those three languages also dominated when measured by opened pull requests.

"You’re coding on GitHub in hundreds of programming languages, but JavaScript still has the most contributors in public and private repositories, organizations of all sizes, and every region of the world," the report, introduced here, said.

"This year, TypeScript shot up to #7 among top languages used on the platform overall, after making its way in the top 10 for the first time last year. TypeScript is now in the top 10 most used languages across all regions GitHub contributors come from -- and across private, public, and open source repositories."

Top Programming Languages Used over Time
[Click on image for larger view.] Top Programming Languages Used over Time (source: GitHub).

The leap in popularity by TypeScript was another strong showing for projects created or related to Microsoft, once largely viewed as anathema to open source. For example, based on the number of contributors, Microsoft's cross-platform Visual Studio Code editor (Microsoft/vscode) repeated as No. 1, with some 19,000 contributors. Coming in at No. 5 was Microsoft Azure Documentation (MicrosoftDocs/azure-docs), with 7,800 contributors.

In between VS Code and Azure documentation were React Native (10,000 contributors), TensorFlow (9,300) and Angular (8,800). Another Microsoft-related project, DefinitelyTyped -- to consolidate TypeScript type definitions -- was at No. 10 with 6,000 contributors.

The State of the Octoverse 2018 report, published yesterday (Oct. 16), reveals a huge ecosystem of open source activity on the software development platform and open source (and public and private) code repository managed by GitHub, which itself was recently acquired by Microsoft.

For example, it reveals collaboration across 1.1 billion contributions, with more than 31 million developers taking part, from 2.1 million organizations. The number of GitHub repositories as of Sept. 30, 2018, climbed more than 40 percent from last year to reach more than 96 million.

GitHub's favorite highlights from the report included:

  • Ruby contributors use the [heart] reaction on issue and pull request comments more than contributors to any other programming language—no surprises here.
  • Open source contributors from the Czech Republic are the “chattiest” in the world.
  • Developers from all over the world take holidays off, but the quietest time on GitHub happens around New Year’s Day (January 1).
  • The open source community makes time to contribute. Contributors are working in OS repositories well into the evening.

In other rankings:

  • The Microsoft Azure Documentation project topped the fastest-growing list, with a 4.7x change from last year, followed by pytorch and godotengine.
  • In a "coolness" ranking -- based on the number of stars awarded -- the google/dopamine project, described as "a research framework for quickly prototyping reinforcement learning algorithms," was No. 1.
  • Microsoft dominated the organization contribution ranking by a wide margin, with 7,700 contributions made by employees, with Google coming in second at 5,500.
  • The top topics tagged were React, Android and node.js.
  • The fastest-growing topics were hacktoberfest, pytorch and machine.
  • The top language used by contributors was again JavaScript, followed by Java, Python, PHP, C++, C#, TypeScript, Shell, C and TypeScript.
  • The fastest-growing languages were Kotlin, HCL, TypeScript, PowerShell, Rust, CMake, Go, Python, Groovy and SQLPL.

The sprawling Octoverse report is broken down into three categories: People (how, when and where developers build and learn on GitHub); Projects (popular projects, topics and programming languages); and Platform (the GitHub application ecosystem, Marketplace and security programs).

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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