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When did GitHub become the place to host new programming language projects?

by Breck Yunits

November 9, 2018 — Before GitHub started in 2008, the source code for nascent programming languages was stored in a variety of places. In the early days it was physical media; later on it was publicly accessible servers; and even later it started moving to online source control systems like self-hosted SVN servers or Sourceforce.

But nowadays new language creation happens on GitHub more than anywhere else. Of the 44 languages created in 2008 that I track, 7% were put on GitHub that same year. Last year it was over 50%.

This does not include languages that were created and then moved their source control to GitHub a year or more after their creation. I wanted to know, if you are starting a language, should you create the GitHub project right away? According to the data that is the popular thing to do.

In the future I hope to refine this list to include factors such as whether the language has an origin community and how that affects things. I also hope to add more missing languages to the database, as always.

Data used for this chart:

appeared newLangs repoOnGitHubSameYear percent
1950 2 0 0
1951 2 0 0
1952 1 0 0
1953 1 0 0
1955 4 0 0
1956 3 0 0
1957 4 0 0
1958 5 0 0
1959 6 0 0
1960 10 0 0
1961 2 0 0
1962 2 0 0
1963 8 0 0
1964 9 0 0
1965 5 0 0
1966 9 0 0
1967 6 0 0
1968 9 0 0
1969 8 0 0
1970 17 0 0
1971 6 0 0
1972 10 0 0
1973 6 0 0
1974 10 0 0
1975 6 0 0
1976 14 0 0
1977 13 0 0
1978 8 0 0
1979 5 0 0
1980 18 0 0
1981 4 0 0
1982 9 0 0
1983 13 0 0
1984 11 0 0
1985 24 0 0
1986 23 0 0
1987 14 0 0
1988 18 0 0
1989 13 0 0
1990 18 0 0
1991 16 0 0
1992 16 0 0
1993 32 0 0
1994 19 0 0
1995 27 0 0
1996 37 0 0
1997 29 0 0
1998 17 0 0
1999 20 0 0
2000 26 0 0
2001 32 0 0
2002 20 0 0
2003 25 0 0
2004 33 0 0
2005 30 0 0
2006 33 0 0
2007 30 0 0
2008 44 3 7
2009 30 7 23
2010 19 3 16
2011 45 9 20
2012 28 10 36
2013 26 16 62
2014 38 19 50
2015 26 12 46
2016 27 10 37
2017 26 15 58
2018 7 4 57
Analyze this data yourself in Ohayo

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