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Highlighting key accomplishments over the last one year, Microsoft’s recent major acquisition GitHub released their yearly Octoverse report. The last 365 days have seen GitHub grow from strengths to strengths as the world’s leading source code management platform. The Octoverse report highlights how developers work and learn on GitHub. It also gives us some interesting, insights into the way the developers and even organizations are collaborating across geographies and time-zones, on a variety of interesting projects.

The Octoverse report is based on the data collected from October 1 2017 to September 30, 2018, exactly 365 days from the publication of the last Octoverse report. In this article, we look at some of the key takeaways from the Octoverse 2018 report.

Asia is home to GitHub’s fastest growing community

GitHub developers who are currently based in Asia can feel proud of themselves. Octoverse 2018 states that more open source projects have been created in Asia than anywhere else in the world.

While developers all over the world are joining and using GitHub, most new signups over the last year have come from countries such as China, India, and Japan. At the same time, GitHub usage is also growing quite rapidly in Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. This is quite interesting, considering the growth of AI has become part of the national policies in countries such as China, Hong Kong, and Japan. We can expect these trends to continue, and developing countries such as India and Bangladesh to contribute even more going forward.

An ever-growing developer community squashes doubts on GitHub’s credibility

When Microsoft announced their plans to buy GitHub in a deal worth $7.5 billion, many eyebrows were raised. Given Microsoft’s earlier stance against Open Source projects, some developers were skeptical of this move. They feared that Microsoft would exploit GitHub’s popularity and inject some kind of a subscription model into GitHub in order to recover the huge investment. Many even migrated their projects from GitHub on to rival platforms such as BitBucket and GitLab in protest.

However, the numbers presented in the Octoverse report seem to suggest otherwise. According to the report, the number of new registrations last year alone was more than the number of registrations in the first 6 years of GitHub, which is quite impressive.

The number of active contributors on GitHub has increased by more than 1.5 times over the last year, suggesting GitHub is still the undisputed leader when it comes to code management and collaboration. With more than 1.1 billion contributions across private and public projects over one year, I think we all know where major developers’ loyalty lies.

Not just developers, organizations love GitHub too

The Octoverse report states that 2.1 million organizations are using GitHub in some capacity, across public and private repositories. This number is a staggering 40% increase from 2017 – indicating the huge reliance on GitHub for effective code management and collaboration between the developers. Not just that, over 150,000 developers and organizations are using the apps and tools available on the GitHub marketplace for quick, efficient and seamless code development and management.

GitHub had also launched a new feature called Security Alerts way back in November 2017. This feature alerted developers of any vulnerabilities in their project dependencies, and also suggested fixes for them from the community. Many organizations have found this feature to be an invaluable offering by GitHub, as it allowed for the development of secure, bug-free applications. Their faith in GitHub will be reinforced even more now that the report has revealed that over the last year, more than 5 million vulnerabilities were detected and communicated across to the developers.

The report also suggests that members of an organization make substantial contributions to the projects and are twice as much active when they install and use the company app on GitHub. This suggests that GitHub offers them the best environment and the luxury to develop apps just as they want.

All these insights only point towards one simple fact – Organizations and businesses trust GitHub.

Microsoft are walking the talk with active open source contribution

Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation after its initial (and vehement) opposition to the Open Source movement. With a change in leadership and the long-term vision came the realization that open source is essential for them – and the world – to progress. Eventually, they declared their support for the cause by going platinum with the Open Source initiative. That is now clearly being reflected in their achievements of the past year.

Probably the most refreshing takeaway from the Octoverse report was to see Microsoft leading the pack when it comes to active open source contribution. The report states that Microsoft’s VSCode was the top open source project with 19,000 contributors. Also, it declared that the open source documentation of Azure was the fastest growing project on GitHub.

Top open source projects on GitHub (Image courtesy: GitHub State of Octoverse 2018 Report)

If this was not enough evidence to suggest Microsoft has amped up their claims of supporting the Open Source movement wholeheartedly, there’s more. Over 7000 Microsoft employees have contributed to various open source projects over the past one year, making it the top-most organization with the most Open Source contribution.

Open source contribution by organization

Open source contribution by organization (Image source: GitHub State of Octoverse 2018 Report)

When we said that Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub was a good move, we were right!

React Native and Machine Learning are red hot right now

React Native has been touted to be the future of mobile development by many. This claim is corroborated by some strong activity on its GitHub repository over the last year. With over 10k contributors, React Native is one of the most active open source projects right now. With JavaScript continuing to rule the roost for the 5th straight year when it comes to being the top programming language, it comes as no surprise that the cross-platform framework for building native apps is now getting a lot of traction.

Top languages over time

Top languages over time (Image source: GitHub State of Octoverse 2018 Report)

With the rise in popularity of Artificial Intelligence and specifically Machine Learning, the report also highlighted the continued rise of Tensorflow and PyTorch. While Tensorflow is the third most popular open source project right now with over 9000 contributors, Pytorch is one of the fastest growing projects on GitHub.

The report also showed that Google and Facebook’s experimental frameworks for machine learning, called Dopamine and Detectron respectively are getting deserved attention thanks to how they are simplifying machine learning. Given the scale at which AI is being applied in the industry right now, these tools are expected to make developers’ lives easier going forward. Hence, it is not surprising to see their interest centered around these tools.

GitHub’s Student Developer Pack to promote learning is a success

According to the Octoverse report, over 1 million developers have honed their skills by learning best coding practices on GitHub. With over 600,000 active developer students learning how to write effective code through their Student Developer Pack, GitHub continue to give free access to the best development tools so that the students learn by doing and get valuable hands-on experience.

In the academia, yet another fact that points to GitHub’s usefulness when it comes to learning is how teachers use the platform to implement real-world workflows for teaching. Over 20,000 teachers in over 18000 schools and universities have used GitHub to create over 200,000 assignments till date. Safe to say that this number is only going to grow in the near future.

You can read more about how GitHub is promoting learning in their GitHub Education Classroom Report.

GitHub’s competition has some serious catching up to do

Since Google’s parent company Alphabet lost out to Microsoft in the race to buy GitHub, they have diverted their attention to GitHub’s competitor GitLab. Alphabet have even gone on to suggest that GitLab can surpass GitHub.

According to the Octoverse report, Google are only behind Microsoft when it comes to the most open source contributions by any organization. With Gitlab joining forces with Google by moving their operations to Google Cloud Platform from Azure cloud, we might see Google’s contribution to GitHub reduce significantly over the next few years. Who knows, the next Octoverse report might not feature Google at all!

That said, the size of the GitHub community, along with the volume of activity that happens on the platform on a per day basis – are both staggering and no other platforms come even close. This fact was supported by the enormity of some of the numbers that the report presented, such as:

  • There are over 31 million developers on the platform till date.
  • More than 96 million repositories are currently being hosted on GitHub
  • There have been 65 million pull requests created in the last one year alone, contributing to almost 33% of the total number of pull requests created till date

These numbers dwarf the other platforms such as GitLab, BitBucket and others, in comparison. Not only is GitHub the world’s most popular code collaboration and version control platform, it is currently the #1 choice of tool for most of the developers in the world. It will take some catching up for the likes of GitLab and others, to come even close to GitHub.

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