JavaScript and Swift: Stars Of GitHub

GitHub JavaScriptDice

GitHub says JavaScript is a star.

Curious about which of those exciting new GitHub repos you’ve been monitoring is actually the most popular? The company just released a blog post detailing how many stars the most desirable repos earned in their first week, revealing some interesting results (and quite a bit of JavaScript).

Swift, Apple’s newest programming language, was far and away the most popular repo on GitHub in its first week. Released December 3, 2015 to the open source community, the main repo garnered a massive 23,097 stars in seven days. Considering Swift’s scope – Apple is basically asking all iOS developers to make an about-face, and there’s good reason to think it will be coming for macOS soon enough – its place at the top of the heap is warranted.

A surprise second place finish goes to Yarn, Facebook’s new JavaScript NPM manager. It’s not a re-working of NPM, just a different (most would say nicer) way to manage dependencies. Released October 11, it earned 16,068 stars in the course of week one. Yarn proves that JavaScript developers are finding favor with their new method for managing and leaning into libraries.

Google’s TensorFlow earned the third most stars in its first week, with 11,822 stars. It allows developers interested in machine learning to tap into the tools Google uses for things such as Gmail, Photos and Search.

Facebook’s React Native, a framework for building native apps, earned 10,976 stars in its first week. Rounding out the top five is Material Design Lite, Google’s design language meant for static content webpages. Considering both have a strong bent towards mobile, it’s a nice way to round out the top five, showing mobility continues to dominate our technical landscape.

GitHub first week stars

The rest of the top ten:

  • N1, an extensible mail app built on Electron: 8,588 stars
  • Visual Studio Code, Microsoft’s IDE (also built on Electron): 7,847 stars
  • Clipboard.js, a JavaScript clipboard management library: 6,522 stars
  • create-react-app, Facebook’s incubator for React apps: 6,348 stars
  • Anime, a JavaScript animation library: 6,013 stars

GitHub writes that “stars are an important measure of the community’s interest and just one of the many ways to determine a project’s success,” and there’s likely a lot of truth in that statement from a long-term perspective. Many of the repos listed here are distributed and managed by large corporations, suggesting they’re invested in the technologies just as much as the developers who star the repos.

And there’s little reason to think those companies would pull away from their respective projects (save for Facebook, which ditched Parse and left us all surprised). Google’s Tensorflow helps its own machine learning initiatives, while Material Design is the company’s all-in effort to refurbish both web and mobile applications. Swift has a lot of focus within Apple, which also creates experiences for it apart from the open-source community (Swift Playgrounds is a great example).

Beyond big corporations and their repos, JavaScript figures heavily in this mix; perhaps not such a surprise considering it’s one of the more widely used languages worldwide. Electron also made a healthy showing on the list, but the chances any repo will ever out-star Swift in its first week is slim.

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