GitHub digs into language trends

Natali Vlatko
Ranking image via Shutterstock

Since GitHub launched in 2008, an assortment of languages have held pole position as most popular on the Git repository hosting service. Using the Linguist library to populate their list, excluding forks, the service serves up some interesting statistics.

GitHub have released some information about their language trends, after examining data collected since the launch of the repository hosting service in 2008. The ranking represents languages used in public and private repositories, excluding forks, as detected by the Linguist library.

GitHub staff member Alyson La made sure to note that the graph below represents each language’s relative popularity on GitHub, meaning that peaks were likely to show up once a new language was introduced.


This explains Ruby on Rails’ early popularity, which moved to GitHub in the service’s early days from the Rails SVN repository. Ruby experienced a notable decline in popularity from 2012, which is mirrored by Python’s drop in 2011.

At the time of Ruby’s debut on GitHub, the high-profile projects noted for using the service included Merb, RSpecDataMapper, and Nu and Io.

The interesting statistic here is Java, which La described as gaining the most traction on GitHub, changing in rank from 7th to 2nd. She also says that possible contributing factors to this growth could be “the growing popularity of Android and the increasing demand for version control platforms at businesses and enterprises”.

However, coinciding with Ruby’s slump, JavaScript ascended the ranks to top spot and has maintained its dominance as the most popular language on GitHub for the last three years. It’s popularity has been incredibly consistent, with the prize for the most steady language going to PHP, setting up shop in 4th place.

SEE ALSO: Comparing language rankings and radars

These results share similar traits with RedMonk’s latest programming language rankings, again seeing JavaScript and Java claiming first and second positions. Stephen O’Grady noted that the top 10 language positions have remained rather static for RedMonk, which is also reflected in GitHub’s data.

This presentation of rankings data seems to be a first from GitHub. There’s no word on whether further analysis of the data is expected or whether we’ll be privy to statistics outside the top 10.

Natali Vlatko
An Australian who calls Berlin home, via a two year love affair with Singapore. Natali was an Editorial Assistant for (S&S Media Group).

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