GitHub's State of the Octoverse 2017

Python jumps past Java, JavaScript is still most popular language for GitHubbers

Jane Elizabeth

© Shutterstock / Crowley

GitHub celebrates another year in the Octoverse with 24 million developers working in over 67 million repositories. That’s an awful lot of code. Let’s take a look at what is going on in the many repositories of GitHub!

GitHub has been around for nearly 10 years. And in that time, it’s become a dominant force as a code repository. In the last year alone, there’s been 1.0 billion public commits, 25.3 million active repos, 12.3 million active issues, and 1.3 million new pull requests. GitHubbers merged their 100 billionth pull request and closed over 68.8 million issues this year.

Well, we’ve certainly been busy.

GitHub’s State of the Octoverse 2017 goes over the data. Let’s dig deeper, shall we?

Popular programming languages

GitHub may be open to requests in a whopping 337 languages, but the odds are good that any given request will be in JavaScript. For the fourth year running, JavaScript has been the most popular language for GitHubbers.


Original from the State of the Octoverse 2017

Python jumped past Java this year to the number two spot thanks to nearly 40% more new pull requests in the past year. Judging from the data from two years ago, there’s been some other notable changes in the charts. Ruby may no longer reign across GitHub, but it’s still a force to be reckoned with on the site.

Newer languages have made their appearance on the charts. Two years ago, Scala and Go hadn’t even ranked. Now, they’re only a stone’s throw of requests from C/C#/C++. Other changes include the rise of TypeScript and Swift on the charts as they work their way up.

SEE MORE: GitHub’s Marketplace is open and ready for business

Most-forked projects on GitHub

This past year has seen some pretty interesting projects. Number one? Everyone’s favorite open source library for machine learning – TensorFlow!

Here’s the most-forked projects of 2017!


Original from the State of the Octoverse 2017

Not surprisingly, favorites like Vue and React made this list, as did the Spring Framework.

Surprisingly, one of the most forked projects is actually a MOOC series on R from Coursera. It’s been left off the list, but had online courses been allowed on, it would have gotten thousands of forks. And judging by its stats, it looks like over a hundred-thousand students have gotten better at this programming language for statistical analysis. (Good to see all of you enjoying your open source education!)

SEE MORE: Top 5 open-source tools for machine learning

Projects with the most contributors

Okay, so people like TensorFlow and Vue. Not a surprise. But where have we all been helping out? You can’t get to 68.8 million closed issues without a whole team of devs helping out here and there.


Original from the State of the Octoverse 2017

Microsoft’s VSCode and Facebook’s React top this chart. And then followed NPM and Angular. Other notables include TensorFlow and Docker.

SEE MORE: GitHub invites developers to join Open Source Fridays


We’re not insisting that you code with emoji (although that is an option!) but it’s a truism that a picture may be worth a thousand words. And really, sometimes, you just need a 👍.

According to GitHub, the thumbs up was the most used emoji of 2017 on the site by a mile, followed by 🎉 and then  ❤️ .

But the post with the most lols? The great Cat-aclysm of 2017.

Teach your children code

Coding initiatives are big these days. It’s not surprising to see this interesting shift in demographics. After all, a substantial chunk of the world’s code is on GitHub: might as well teach tomorrow’s developers where to find it and how to use GitHub from the very beginning.

Over 1.3 million students are learning to code with GitHub, thanks to efforts of over 5,300 teachers all over the world. Signups for GitHub Classroom has grown over 100% this year. Now, classrooms from San Francisco to Singapore are starting to utilize this tool in their lesson plans.

SEE MORE: Open source your education: the best online courses for ML, AI and more

Thanks to the GitHub Student Developer Pack, over 200K students received some of the best developer tools free of cost. This initiative is aimed to help students learn by doing without being stalled out by prohibitive costs.  (Interested? All you need is a school ID, a school email, and proof of enrollment in a degree-granting program.)

As for universities, it’s mostly a North American phenomenon, with the US and Canada taking up the lion’s share of registered university accounts. France’s Epitech University is the only European institution to make the cut.

In conclusion

It’s been a good year for GitHub. We’re excited to see how the community continues to develop and grow and occasionally have cats walking across our keyboards.

Jane Elizabeth
Jane Elizabeth is an assistant editor for

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