GitHub updates Innovation Graph with latest developer trends

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GitHub’s Innovation Graph has been updated with data from Q4 2023, offering a comprehensive view of global developer activity over the past four years.

The latest findings highlight the increasing popularity of AI among developers, leading to a rise in project documentation. This trend is attributed to the widespread use of chat-based generative AI tools like GitHub Copilot Chat and ChatGPT.

“While we recognise that it’s not a panacea, perhaps generative AI technologies are helping to reduce the friction around writing documentation to enable maintainers and contributors to update project documentation more widely and frequently,” noted the GitHub team.

Developers are also using platforms like the Advent of Code to explore and learn more obscure programming languages, including COBOL, which serves as the digital backbone for nearly half of all financial institutions.

“In case you missed it, these are the developers who, with the help of AI, will save us from the next financial crisis,” GitHub quipped about the COBOL resurgence.

Other niche languages seeing an Advent of Code boost include Julia, ABAP, Elm, Erlang, Processing, Brainf*ck, and even LOLCODE.

Key UK findings from the data include:

  • Over 3,595,000 UK developers and 195,000 UK organisations are active on GitHub.
  • UK developers uploaded code to GitHub more than 5.3 million times.
  • The UK accounted for over 8.3 million repositories on GitHub.
  • Collaboration between economies is tracked, with the United States, Germany, and France being the top collaborators with the UK.
  • JavaScript ranked highest among programming languages in the UK, followed by Python and Shell.

The latest update offers four years of data across eight metrics including Git pushes, repositories, developers, organisations, programming languages, licenses, topics, and economy collaborators. Seasonal patterns, such as those observed in the “hacktoberfest” topic, reveal interesting trends in developer activity.

Another noteworthy seasonal activity highlighted in the data is the Advent of Code, an annual coding event where participants tackle daily challenges throughout December. This event often prompts developers to explore new programming languages, as seen in the rising interest in languages like COBOL.

The data also indicates a steady increase in documentation, possibly influenced by the introduction of chat-based generative AI interfaces. These technologies may be reducing barriers to writing documentation, enabling more frequent updates.

Changes to the graph’s functionality include excluding programming languages and GitHub profile README configuration topics from the Topics bump charts to improve readability and focus on more relevant data:

The GitHub Innovation Graph launched in September 2023 to help policymakers, researchers, and developers better understand software trends. With four years of data now available, GitHub encourages further analysis and sharing of insights found within the open dataset.

(Photo by ameenfahmy)

See also: JetBrains launches 2024.1 with local AI code completion

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