JavaScript Dominates GitHub, Language Study Shows


JavaScript may be 19 years old, but the object-oriented programming language shows no signs of slowing down. A study of GitHub’s most used languages in the service’s most popular repositories indicates that JavaScript still dominates.

Developer Asad Dhamani took a look at the code hosting service and found that JavaScript is still a top language choice, no matter how he crunched the numbers.

Dhamani found that there are 68 projects on GitHub with more than 10,000 stars. Users “star” projects they want to keep tabs on, indicating that these are the most popular and well-liked projects GitHub has to offer. JavaScript was the dominant language for 55.7% of them. It was even more dramatic in the ten most starred projects of all time, where JavaScript ruled 70% of these.

Sixty-eight projects isn’t very many when you consider that there are currently upwards of 16.9 million code repositories on GitHub. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to analyze all of these, since they don’t all have a language assigned to them. However, when it came to the 20% or so that do, Dhamani found JavaScript to be dominant here as well, with a more modest slice of the pie at 16.4%.

See also: Why Javascript Developers Should Get Excited About Object.observe()

Dhamani is not the first developer to make this observation. GitHut, an analytics site that records which languages are most popular on GitHub, routinely lists JavaScript at or near the top.

Why does a nearly two-decades old language still reign? Probably because it is rife with innovation. Even if developers are not using raw JavaScript, they are likely using modern frameworks based on JavaScript, like Node.js. Furthermore, JavaScript is consistently receiving updates, like the new Object.observe() feature, that make it a convenient language choice.

Furthermore, JavaScript integrates well with other languages. Even if the programmer is designing the back end in another language, JavaScript makes a browser-friendly front-end choice. It’s probable that many of the JavaScript-dominant repositories in this study have a much wider variety of other languages being utilized nearly as much. 

See also: Angular, Ember, And Backbone: Which JavaScript Framework Is Right For You?


From the most starred repositories to the most forked repositories, JavaScript tops the charts in Dhamani’s study. Take a look at his site for the full results.

Illustration by Madeleine Weiss for ReadWrite

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