Simple Research Study – Top Starred Open Source Projects

Open Source Project Stars Histogram

Introduction

Background

GitHub is the leader in hosting open source projects. For those who are not familiar with open source projects, a group of developers share and contribute to common code to develop software. Example open source projects include, Chromium (which makes Google Chrome), WordPress, and Hadoop. Open source projects are said to have disrupted the software industry (2008 Kansas Keynote).

Hypothesis

The top 5 starred open source projects on GitHub are JavaScript frameworks.

Methodology

For this study, I crawled the leader in hosting open source projects, GitHub.com and extracted a list of the top starred open source projects. On GitHub, a user may choose the star a repository representing that they “like” the project. For each project, I gathered the repository username or Organization the project resided in, the repository name, a description, the last updated date, the language of the project, the number of stars, any tags, and finally the url of the project.

Data Set

Date Crawled: 6/24/2017 2:20pm

Total Open Source Projects Pulled: 980

Raw Data

Results

Open Source Project Stars

When analyzing any data, it’s important to look at the distribution of the data. As we can see, the number of GitHub repositories (open source projects) with more than 51,000 stars is only 13. It is every coders dream to release a popular open source project. The following list are the 13 projects with 51,000 or more stars:

  1. Free Code Camp – 290,000
  2. Twitter Bootstrap – 112,000
  3. Free Programming Books – 87,800
  4. Facebook’s React – 69,700
  5. D3 – 65,700
  6. You Don’t Know JS – 62,000
  7. Google’s Tensorflow – 61,600
  8. Awesome – 60,700
  9. Vue – 57,700
  10. AngularJs – 56,200
  11. Oh My Zsh – 55,200
  12. Airbnb’s Javascript – 54,100
  13. GitHub’s gitignore – 54,600

From this list of 13 most popular projects on GitHub, we see that the top is a course how to learn programming. Two from the list are books on programming. One is a list of resources and one is a reference guide. We can see that 5 of the top 13 starred open source projects on GitHub are focused on a programmer’s education. 3 of the 13 top projects are JavaScript frameworks.

Open Source Project Stars Histogram

Open Source Project Stars vs Last Updated Date

Prior to this micro-research study, I hypothesized that the number of stars and the number of hours since project update will be strongly positively correlated. However, I was proven wrong. The correlation between stars and hours since project update was -0.0883, which means that it has a very weak negative correlation.

Number of GitHub Stars vs Last Updated Date

Open Source Projects with Tags

Before analyzing the data, we need to distinguish the difference between a tag and the language. The language is auto-tagged onto the repository while the tag is put in by the repository owners. Tags are not required. 491 repositories are not tagged. Looking at the tags on each of the GitHub repositories that have tags, it’s no surprise that the top tagged repository is JavaScript.

Repositories With Tag

Open Source Project Most Popular Programming Languages

Many of the top starred open source projects are written in a programming language. 109 projects are not written in a programming language. Of the 871 top starred open source projects on GitHub, 39% of them are written in JavaScript. 8% is Java and 7% is Python.

Total Open Source Projects Programming Languages

Conclusion

To conclude, the hypothesis that the top 5 starred open source projects on GitHub are JavaScript frameworks is rejected. Of the top 13 starred open source projects, 3 are JavaScript frameworks and they rank 4, 9 and 10. Additionally, the other findings were:

  • 5 of the top 13 starred open source projects on GitHub are focused on a programmer’s education
  • The correlation between stars and hours since project update was -0.0883, which means that it has a very weak negative correlation
  • Of the 871 top starred open source projects on GitHub, 39% of them are written in JavaScript

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