Stars on GitHub serve two functions – to bookmark and to appreciate an open source project. The Star button sits on each GitHub repository page, directly between project watchers, and project forks. They’re a useful metric for a bit of insight around open source project management.
Late last week, on 14 November 2021, the TinyMCE GitHub repository reached a major milestone: over 10,000 Stars from contributors and visitors to the TinyMCE open source project.
We want to take a moment to reflect on the achievement – and to acknowledge and thank our developers – both within Tiny and in our incredible open source community – or the work they’ve done to improve and expand the project. Growing an open source software community requires strong open source project management – tracking metrics like Stars helps keep initiatives on track, and to plan for future projects.
How TinyMCE reached the 10K Star count
Since 2010, TinyMCE has steadily grown a community of contributors around the TinyMCE open source project. Tiny has and always will be an open source-first rich text editor – it’s a way of life for TinyMCE.
Since TinyMCE’s launch, the development team has taken big steps to make it as uncomplicated as possible to contribute to the source code. For example, the change to TypeScript in 2017, and other refactoring efforts have compounded over time. You can see these effects reflected in the chart below, showing Stars gained since 2010:
The benefits of the changes we’ve made to the TinyMCE GitHub repository (to make contributions easier), become clear from 2 November 2017, through to 2 November 2021 in the Stars vs. Time chart. From the chart, it’s clear that tracking stars provides support and insight for our ongoing open source project management.
Don’t take Stars as a popularity endorsement
Despite the success of the TinyMCE GitHub repository, It’s important to remember that Stars aren’t the only indication of popularity. It’s likely more accurate to say that a Star metric gives a good first impression of a project, but doesn’t show how many users have a positive regard of the project overall.
Researchers have endeavored to better understand what Stars mean, and in 2017, a survey of 791 developers , found that 3 out of 4 developers consider Star numbers before making a contribution to a project. It’s clear they carry some weight to different developer communities, however additional survey results could show how important Stars are across time.
If Stars represent a bookmark overall, then consider not just the act of saving a repository link for later, but also the act of contributing. A popular project is more likely to be one that’s actively worked on by different developers, and implemented with current, running software. Therefore, contribution numbers and activity use give more accurate points of information when deciding on whether an open source project is popular (or not) in different developer communities.
TinyMCE has an active community of contributors, which is clear in TinyMCE Commit data:
Tiny is staying open source
At Tiny, we’re looking forward to the next milestone in expanding and improving our rich text editor. We’re working on several new features and expansions, and the TinyMCE 6.0 release is drawing closer.
If you’d like to start contributing to TinyMCE, visit our GitHub repository, and check out our contributor guide.