Alternative Data on Developer Products

Oct 17, 2021

Anyone who has evaluated developer projects knows that stars are a terrible metric for a project's usefulness or popularity. So what other data is out there?

Package manager analytics

Homebrew Analyticsdata on package installs and builds for the macOS and Linux distributions of the Homebrew package manager.

DockerHub image pulls – not the most useful data since this data will vary widely for CI/CD projects vs. others. Can benchmark against similar products.

Terraform RegistryIncludes the number of installs for different terraform modules.

GitHub SearchGet rough estimates of project adopters by searching unique configuration file strings, either file name, e.g. docker-compose.yml or string identifier apiVersion/v1.

You can also use this to find project centrality – how often is the project used as a dependency in other projects?

The index seems to be broken and returns different answers sometimes. Better to use a scraped dataset from Google or Sourcegraph.

Visual Studio Marketplacepublishes install counts and reviews of different extensions.

Integration-Platform-as-a-Service marketplaces – Products like Zapier and other API integration platforms don't always publish numbers, but relative popularity can also give a sense of what products are often used together.

StackOverflow questions

Community members (Slack/discord/discourse)

What else did I miss? What other data do you look at for open-source projects or developer products?

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