It’s been only about 9 months since Appsmith became a GitHub project. Since then we’ve amassed about 4500 stars, which is a simple way for GitHub users to bookmark repositories that interest them. We’ve been very curious to learn more about these people. Who are they? What are they like? Are there things we could do to accelerate awareness and interest?
I recently came across this incredible post from Spencer Kimball (CEO, CockroachDB) based on the code that he wrote many year back and thought of running it over our Stargazers to learn more.
As a project which took an open source turn, we’ve been building in public. Most of our team members are going out and answering questions on Discord, Github, Reddit, Hacker News and Twitter. A lot of what we achieve is going to be determined by the community that we build. We like to think of stars as bookmarks and while we’re thrilled at our star growth, we also know that it’s often just one of the many indicators we’d like to consider when learning about how we’re being known in the wider technology ecosystem. The ultimate joy is going to be to see people build and use our product and there’s no replacement for that and the team is burning the midnight oil to gather feedback, observe usage and be there to help in any way we can.
That being said, given that Spencer did most of the heavy lifting, we were curious to learn more about our Stargazers and see if there’s something we could pick up from this analysis.
As a project that hasn’t particularly invested in paid marketing, a lot of our outreach has been primarily through engaging with our community and writing content.
Content also has a compounding effect: we can repurpose it, we can start a thread on a new discussion board or link it back to twitter. By going through our cumulative growth in stars over the last 9 months and checking if that overlapped in any major releases or news items gave us a sense of what might have contributed to it.
Trending on Github gave us an initial bump, however the credit for this goes to the early community that was nurtured which allowed us to trend in the first place.
A big part of our steady growth honestly was just via our team being extremely active on public forums. This Reddit post got us a lot of traffic. As did our showcase on Hacker News . We were also featured in The Hindu (a major newspaper in India). And then sometime in April, something interesting happened, we got a couple of mentions from the community in China and Korea and that led to a lot of users from these places, which in turn led us getting mentioned in RunaCap’s list of most popular Github Projects in Q1 of 2021, as well as constantly trending on niche categories of Github.
In the meantime, we’re continuously coming up with a lot of listicles around low code platforms like this , this or this . None of these by themselves are needle moving, but together they all add up and it helps that this category is gaining traction.
Needless to say, we intend to continue to invest heavily in content, from tutorials to showcasing how our community is using Appsmith to other learnings around building software and teams.
In total, our Stargazers are from over a 100 countries. This data however isn’t complete since getting the exact location from a Github profile often becomes tricky. Why? For starters, only 60% of our Stargazers mentioned a location. Within these, folks have mentioned multiple locations, misspelled names or mentioned places like Mars ;)
However, from an indicative perspective, these are the top 25 countries.
For our team at Appsmith, at the very least, it means having a global outlook towards our community, as well as keeping a lookout on certain geographies, where we might see Appsmith suddenly gain traction.
Starring on Github is super easy and people can go trigger happy with it. Still, analyzing the other repositories our Stargazers star gives us a directional sense of their interests. Our Stargazers starred a total of 247K repos. Of these, 222K repos had < 5 stars, which sorta points towards a power law that we’ve come to expect from social networks.
Here are the top 20 repositories
Our users love dev tools which should come as no surprise. Some common themes that are noticeable here: Tools that make it easy to create UI, tools that help automate workflows and tools that help on the database side of things. And since Appsmith is highly relevant to users trying to accomplish each of these things, it makes sense that these end up becoming the most correlated repos.
29.1% (1310) of our Stargazers have made atleast 1 commit to a repository. repository. In total, our Stargazers made about 379K commits, of which the top 10 contributed 127K commits (or 33.5%). Spencer was kind enough to include some base criterion in his code to make the numbers palatable: only repositories with > 25 stars or 10 forks, or 10 open issues were included. This puts the average number of commits at 289 with a median number of commits at 46.
The top 20 active Stargazers had these impressive stats
Do our Stargazers follow each other? If so, to what extent. To make the data meaningful, we decided to go with only those Stargazers that had atleast 10 followers. This gave us a dataset of 2214 (~49%) Stargazers. Plotting the distribution bases % of shared followers, we see that for 62% of our Stargazers, there was an overlap of atleast 40% of their followers with other Stargazers of the Appsmith repo. Talk about a networked platform! And since we get followers from many countries, we can be reasonably certain that such a networked effect isn’t restricted to one or two locations.
One additional thing that Spencer included in his code was to look at the follower and commit activity of Appsmith’s incoming Stargazers. Honestly, we’re not quite sure of what to make of this data except that there’s a positive (albeit weak) correlation between average follower count and average commits on Github.
Go ahead and use the Stargazers repo yourself to analyze yours (or anyone else’s) repo’s trends. Depending upon the number of Stargazers you have, it can take some time. It took us about 7-8 hours (with a 5K/Hr rate limit).
And incase you're fed up of spending months building internal tools, dashboards, admin panels and what not or are just curious about why these 4500+ folks starred Appsmith, do check it out here !
Did you know that Appsmith is a fully remote distributed organization? We have colleagues in 5 countries! This makes total sense for us as an open-source platform with contributors from over 100 countries (take a look at our activity on Github). It’s also why we think of ourselves as learners; we read, talk to people, and love feedback. And in that spirit, every new team member makes an app on Appsmith in their first week upon joining us! And there is only one rule, that there are no rules! These apps range from functional to fun to downright silly!
This week, we’re featuring our colleague, Favour Ohanekwu’s app. Favour is a front-end engineer from Ibadan in Nigeria. Over the years, he has been actively involved in building web applications across several industries ranging from health, agriculture, and IoT. You can follow his work here.
Favour toyed around with a few ideas before landing on a final app idea. Some of these app ideas were:
Favour chose to work on the third idea to build a Github Dashboard to view and track several projects, using Github’s REST API.
We’ll outline the steps involved in making this app, and you’ll see how easy it is to build this application in few simple steps using Appsmith!
This short tutorial uses the cloud version of Appsmith. However, you can always export and import Appsmith apps to different environments (cloud, self-hosted, local). The recommended way to use Appsmith is to use Docker; follow the documentation here for detailed instructions if you want to build locally.
Now you can build a simple UI with Appsmith widgets to build the dashboard and display all metrics crucial to your project!
Now that you’ve configured the app, you will need to configure a data source that will fetch all the repos from a Github organization. To do this, follow the steps below:
Additionally, you can drag text widgets and add some context regarding the same for the dashboard. Here’s how it looks:
Displaying Core Metrics
Now that the repositories are listed on the application, you can fetch the data of a single repository and display all the crucial information such as network count, forks, subscribers, and a few more.
Additionally, you can add more text widgets and a container widget to organize this more beautifully.
Here’s how Favour did it:
Displaying Repository Events
In this section, you can display a table widget to show all the events for a repository. In this way, you can monitor who is creating pull requests, pushing new changes, etc.
Follow the steps below to do this:
With this code snippet, you can display all the data from the get_repo_events API and bind it on the table widget. Following is how the output looks like:
Last, you can add a couple of charts that will help you visualize the number of repository forks and the number of watchers for the repository by following the below steps:
Following is a screenshot:
Now, wasn’t that easy to do with Appsmith?
Have you made something using Appsmith? Write to me (email@example.com), and I would love to feature you on our blog!
If you’re interested in building an app on Appsmith, sign up today. We have docs, and tutorials and live help, and a vibrant discord community to help you along the way. So go ahead, put your ideas out there!
Do you want to join Appsmith? We’ve got a bunch of openings; take a look here and apply!
I announced the Appsmith project on Dev.to for the first time on Aug 21st. While stars don't reflect the quality of a project, seeing 1K stars on our GitHub project makes me happy. 😺
Check out the project at: https://github.com/appsmithorg/appsmith
A few reviews from developers:
In the past two months, we've seen thousands of users from 65 countries who've used Appsmith for building all sorts of internal apps and admin panels. We've also seen over 40 contributors who've reported issues and code.
We built Appsmith because there is no open-source platform that helps you build custom and beautiful internal tools or admin panels. Today Appsmith ships with 17 UI components, 7 database integrations, and a REST API connector. There's a lot more coming soon.
An Appsmith user said this: "This tool is perfect when you need an admin panel that needs to query multiple data sources in the same UI, update values from one with the other, and even use values retrieved from both to query external APIs."
Try Appsmith at appsmith.com