Cristina Heredia

Outlier y graduada en Ing. Informática en la ugr. Computer science.

Cristina Heredia's posts | Porfolio

In this post we are exploring our github community considering our friends (or followers) in that social network. We will first give some directions for creating an application and starting to use the github API. Then we will extract the information we need to perform our analysis and get what programming languages do our friends use and what is the most popular and the less popular language. Let’s explore the languages popularity in your community!

1. Create the app, install packages, authenticate

1.1 App registration

First of all, as we want to access public data from Github, we need to register an app with authentication to do that. This will allow us to have no limit of calls. So go to github developer program page and click on Register now. Then select an account and in Personal settings tabs select Authorized applications.

If you already have an authorized aplication to access gitHub API, you must see it here. Otherwise if you don’t have any registered app, then go to OAuth applications and click on Register a new application.

There you have to register your new application, giving it a name, a description… Fill the fields and in Callback URL enter localhost:1410 which is the URL that github will return once the app is authenticated.

Now you have registered your app, the Client ID and Client Secret for your app will be generated. You can see them clicking on OAuth applications -> Your App. Remember to keep them secret and safe!

Wow! you’re now a member of the developer program. The next thing we will do is installing the R packages we are going to use to work with gitHub from R.

1.2 Packages installation

We will use the version 3 of GitHub API to access data github v3 API. As all the data from the API will be received in JSON format, we are going to use the function fromJSON which will let us use the API url directly, and will parse the JSON data returned to a data frame format. That function is on package jsonlite, so we must install it if you don’t have it installed:


If you have not installed stringr package, install it as we just do with jsonlite. We are using it to make some common operations on strings. Install ggplot2 if you have not, too. We must use it to make the graphics, and install httpuv, a package to work with HTTP.

For connecting to the GitHub app, we will need to install rgithub package. We do it directly from github source code. Note that it have a dependency on package devtools:


After installing, load the packages:

# load libraries

1.3 Authenticate the access

We will need to authenticate the access, and we will do it through the function interactive.login from the rgithub package, passing to it our ID and secret. My recommendation to you is to put that lines in a separate file and not share it with anyone or anywhere. Then just source the file when you need to authenticate, or just execute its lines.

# github app autentication

2. Get your friends info

Now you’re authenticated, lets get your followers on GitHub. The function will give us the people following us and some info about them:

# get your followers

we can easily check how many people is following us using length function:

# get number of my followers

Now we have our followers, lets create a dataframe to store all the info returned. First, we extract each content line in myFollowers list, and append them in a dataset variable using rbind function:

# create a dataset with your followers

for(i in 2:length(myFollowers$content)){

Then we make it a data frame, name the columns as they were originally named in myFollowers$content list and save it as a csv for later use:

# create a data frame and save it for later use

Obviously you can save it with whatever name you like. But don’t forget the extension.

3. Get our friends’ repositories information and create a new dataset

As you sure have seen, in the last information we extracted, there’s info about our followers name, id, avatar, type, and some url of interest. However, that info doesn’t includes our friends repositories info as repo name, repo language, repo lines of code…

That info is fundamental to make our analysis, so we must get it. If you have took a look to the latest extracted data, you must have realized that there’s a column named repos_url which tells us that the url to get the repos from a user is . For example, to get my repos information we should call , and we will get the data in JSON format from the API.

So we are getting that data for each of our followers, by reading the already created dataset and getting our followers names, composing their repo url and parsing the returned data from the API using the fromJSON function:

# read latest created csv

# extract the names

# extract data from friends' public repositories
compdata<- NULL

for(i in 1:nrow(myFriends)){
  data<-fromJSON(paste0("",str_trim(unname[i],side = "both"),"/repos?clientID&clientSecret"))

# write data for reuse

In clientID and clientSecret you should put your ID and secret generated at the begining of the post. It is not necesary but this will let us avoid request limitations. We remove the 4º column because it has redundant data. Whith rbind function we are appending the new data obtained to the existing one.

4. Lets do some data processing

Lets read (if you have not read it yet) the dataset : activeFriends<-read.csv("UsersWithRepoInfo.csv") We are going to perform some transformations over it to make data more readable for the analysis in R.

First, as the data timezone is UTC+2 (also Madrid timezone) we need to set the timezone parameter. Let’s build a function to do that and apply it to every date column:

# make date format supported by R
  date<-as.POSIXct(datestring,format="%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S",tz="Europe/Madrid", usetz=TRUE)

# update dates with new format

Feel free to explore the dataset. You will have noticed that there’re some very interesting columns for our analysis, and others that are not so. Next we are doing is selecting the most interesting columns for our analysis:

# selecting just the interesting cols
activeFriends<-activeFriends[,c("id","name","full_name","private","description","fork","created_at","updated_at","pushed_at","homepage","size","stargazers_count","watchers_count","language",                             "has_issues","has_downloads","forks_count","open_issues_count","forks","open_issues","watchers")]

Now binarize the columns which have True and False values:


Finally, in the full_name column we must just get the user name, because the repos names are already included in name column. It can be achieved by spliting each item by the slash, and getting the first:

# Getting the username
activeFriends$full_name<-unlist(lapply(strsplit(as.character(activeFriends$full_name),split = '/',fixed = TRUE),function(x) (x[1])))

Save it if you want, for later reuse.

5. Analizing programming language popularity

We can get a first understanding of the data distribution like the mean, median, max or min of each column using summary over our dataset. That is just an example of the output for my community, showing the metrics for the first columns:

       id                 name      full_name            private                                                                      description
Min.   : 2054512   IV      :  4   Length:524         Min.   :0   Asignatura de infraestructuras virtuales para el Grado de Informática     :  4
1st Qu.:32878832   blog    :  3   Class :character   1st Qu.:0   Repositorio para la asignatura Infraestructura Virtual de 2016-2017       :  3
Median :51252063   DAI     :  3   Mode  :character   Median :0   An example repo in Ruby for continuous integration with Travis CI         :  2
Mean   :51191269   IV16-17 :  3                      Mean   :0   Curso de LaTeX organizado por AMAT para alumnos de Trabajo de Fin de Grado:  2
3rd Qu.:70082791   swap1415:  3                      3rd Qu.:0   Diferentes scripts para representación de carreras en cifras              :  2
Max.   :88848228   TFG     :  3                      Max.   :0   (Other)                                                                   :404
                   (Other) :505                                  NA's                                                                      :107

Now lets dive into what concern us: see what programming languages are being used in our friends’ community, and how much they’re used. For that purpose we can start creating a contingency table to give ourselves a quick look at our answer:


         Arduino                C               C#              C++            CLIPS              CSS             Dart
               1               13                7               55                5               19                2
      Emacs Lisp              GAP         GDScript               Go           Groovy          Haskell             HTML
               2                1                1                3                1                2               48
            Java       JavaScript Jupyter Notebook              Lex              Lua         Makefile      Mathematica
              60               67                3                1                1                6                2
             PHP       PostScript           Prolog           Python                R             Ruby            Scala
               8                2                1               56               12               24                1
           Shell              TeX       TypeScript
               7               38                1

With nrow(languagesAndUse) we can get the number of different languages our friends are using. For mine it is 31. We can also see that there are many repos with JavaScript code between my 30 friends, however Scala, Lua, Arduino, TypeScript, Groovy, Lex, Prolog, GDScript… each one of these seems to have been used just for one person in my community.

Finally, we use qplot from ggplot2 package to plot an hibstogram representation of the usage of langugages in our github community:

langUssage<-qplot(languages,geom = "bar",xlab = "Language", ylab="Usage",fill=I("cornflowerblue"))
langUssage+theme(axis.text.x = element_text(angle = 90,hjust = 1)) +ggtitle("Programming languages used by my friends")+theme(plot.title = element_text(hjust = 0.5))

Where we use na.omit to omit from data representation those languages which are NA (cannot have been extracted). The resulting hibstogram is the following:

Programming languages used in my github community
Languages use in my github community

So, as we can see, in the representation, JavaScript is the language most used with 67 repos containing JavaScript code. Then Java, C++ and Python are also very popular in my community.

We find that Tex code is in 38 repositories, so LaTeX is also very present in my friends’ community. They’re also many repos with HTML, and much more less with CSS, Ruby, R and C code. Then come some languages not loved that much by the people such as PHP, C# or CLIPS that are contained in less than 10 repositories.

Finally, we can see that there’re less than 5 repos with Dart, Go,Haskell, Jupyter, PostScript and Mathematica code, and just one using Scala, Groovy, Lua or TypeScript. So that answers my own question: as my favorite programming language is Scala, I wanted to know if my friends use it too.

So What happens in your friends community? Are the languages used similarly than in my friends’ community? Is JavaScript also the top used language?


Spot a typo?: Help me fix it by contacting me or commenting below!