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Throughout the years, GitHub has become the biggest platform dedicated to open-source software ever created. Countless open-source libraries, tools, and even books hosted there aid you in your daily virtual life - whether you're a programmer or not. With that said, as 2019 is coming to an end, I think it's a good time to explore some of the top open-source projects hosted on GitHub.
Before we get into the list, let's first decide on a few rules. Most importantly, what "the top" even means.
GitHub's stars system effectively created a social impact, that's currently unmatched by any other Git service provider. The number of stars determines the popularity of the project. When you think about it there's a cycle of cause and effect going on. The more stars, the more popular the project, the more popular the project, the higher the chance its author will maintain it, etc., etc. So, while it's not the best metric, it does the job pretty well and that's why we'll be using it.
Also, for other rules, we’ll be ranking only repos containing the actual code. If we do otherwise, the list would contain e.g. FreeCodeCamp repo, which is far above any other repos in terms of stars count. Lists, interactive tutorials, and example-only code also go away. Only “real” projects containing actual meaningful and useful code are allowed.
With these rules in place, hopefully, we’ll make this list a bit more interesting. Let's get started!
Containers with the improvements they provide for cross-environment development and deployment have taken developers by storm! Kubernetes (K8s for short) is a very popular open-source container-orchestration software, originally developed by Google. It allows you to easily manage, scale and deploy your contained code. It’s in use by Docker and many other cloud service providers, so if you’re interested in containers, you should check it out!
18. Font Awesome
Whether it's the web, or mobile or desktop app, the one thing you might always need are icons - the easiest way of sending a clear message, no matter the user’s language. With over 1000 of them, Font Awesome is one of the biggest and certainly the most popular open-source icons toolkit. SVG, web fonts, CSS - you name it! Font Awesome comes in many formats, with a nice website to explore them all! There’s also a Pro version that provides even more goodness, but only if you’re willing to pay.
CSS Animations are probably the easiest way of animating anything DOM. Animate.css is a library that gives you access to a set of reusable CSS class names that do just that. Each of them applies different animations to the element. There are also some class names to control the playback. Overall, Animate.css is great whenever you want to pull off some quick and nice animations.
Go (or Golang) is a programming language developed at Google, meant to compete with high-performers like Rust or C++. While it's somewhat new to the game (compared to some of its competitors), it's gaining popularity and developers' favor very quickly. It's a statically-typed, memory-safe language with pleasing syntax and garbage collector built-in. If you're looking to learn something new, then go with Go.
13. Create React App
Without a doubt, React is one of the most popular front-end JS frameworks. But, while it's pretty obvious, the sole fact that the tool called Create React App (CRA for short) found a place on that list is quite astonishing! CRA boosts the development process of your React app by allowing you to set up a nice boilerplate with a single command. Also, there's a lot of features and customization options built-in.
If you ever wanted to develop a desktop app with JS, you must have heard of Electron. Based on Google's Chromium and Node.js, Electron is a framework for creating full-blown desktop apps for Windows, Mac OS and Linux with the power of web technologies. With it, you get access to many different APIs, great documentation, vast community and many more! Furthermore, with apps like Spotify and Slack, chances are that you're already using Electron, without even knowing!
10. React Native
I think Linux needs no introduction. The most popular open-source operating system powering most of the World Wide Web (WWW), countless servers, super-computers, and maybe even your workstation! While GitHub repo is only a mirror of the official repository containing the Linux kernel, it still managed to get above 80K stars. Outstanding!
8. VS Code
Widely-used, Electron-based code editor created by Microsoft, VS Code is loved among web developers and general programmers alike. Great user experience, performance, and customizability and extendability define this great development tool.
Pretty old, but stable and popular, D3 (standing for Data-Driven Documents) is a feature-packed JS library for visualizing and manipulating data with the help of DOM, Canvas and SVG. From charts and graphs, all the way to diagrams and maps - you'll find that D3 provides everything you need to display your data in a stunning-looking way.
5. Oh My Zsh
With Oh My Zsh - a framework for managing Zsh configuration - we're getting into the >100K GitHub stars territory. Oh My Zsh brings your Z shell to another level with numerous plugins, helpers, themes & vast community support!
Ever since its introduction in 2011, Bootstrap has become one of the most popular CSS-centric front-end frameworks. Unlike modern JS frameworks, Bootstrap focuses on CSS, allowing you to create nice-looking UIs with nothing more than simple HTML and CSS. JS is used only when necessary. The extensive ecosystem consisted of themes, third-party implementations, and vast community are things that you'll certainly experience while working with Bootstrap.
React is the most widely-used and well-known JS library/framework for creating interactive UIs. With its component-based, declarative approach and immense popularity, React has influenced a lot of JS libraries and tools that came after it. Component libraries, frameworks, static site generators and a lot of other tools add up to React's already impressive ecosystem.
So, the first place on this list goes to Vue - progressive JS UI framework. Ever since its introduction in 2014, Vue has grown to an impressive size, with a community and ecosystem rivaling or even exceeding those of React and Angular. An interesting fact is that even though Vue has more GitHub stars than React, it's still has a lot fewer NPM downloads.
But what are your thoughts about this matter? As the year is coming to an end, does this list make you think about the future? What are your predictions? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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