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10 Most Valuable GitHub Repositories for Digital Development

By Guest Writer on March 18, 2020

github digital development software

GitHub is an enormous software developer network with over 30 million accounts, more than 2 million organizations, and over 96 million repositories. And yes, many digital development projects are hosted on GitHub. Yet, which of those millions of repositories are the most valuable?

The people behind U°OS ran the GitHub network through a simplified version of their reputation algorithm and produced the top 100 most valuable repositories based on individual GitHub activity, such as commits, releases, pushes and other events.

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Guess what? In their collection of highly valuable repositories are software that we use every day in digital development, including the following 10 repos identified by Brian Lamb, Clayton Sims, Richard Stanley, and Wayan Vota.

AMP

Accelerated Mobile Pages is an open-source HTML framework that provides a straightforward way to create mobile-optimized web pages that are fast, smooth-loading and prioritize the user-experience above all else. It consists of speed-optimized HTML, JavaScript, and cache libraries that accelerate load speed for mobile pages.

AMP is important because many digital development users have limited Internet access, and it helps web pages load faster, improving usability and engagement, and reduces bounce rates that waste everyone’s resources.

Ansible

Ansible is an IT Automation engine that allows teams to streamline the management of servers and distributed backend services. Ansible provides huge value to teams in digital health who are hosting national scale on-premisis deployments, and allows engineers to share the efforts that they are putting in not just to build Open Source tools, but to configure and manage them at scale.

CommCare HQ

CommCare HQ is an Open Source web service which has been independently identified as the most frequently used mobile platform for frontline health workers, and hosts a diverse array of digital health applications for more than 600,000 FLW’s worldwide.

CommCare HQ provides a platform for teams to rapidly develop, deploy, and maintain mobile apps which can provide complex longitudinal job aids all the way to the last mile with sophisticated Offline First technology built on a modern, scalable open source foundation.

ElasticSearch

Elasticsearch is an open source search engine that enables users to build powerful applications that can quickly display relevant content. Elasticsearch allows its users to store data without needing to adhere to the same schema each time. This allows users to dynamically update what their content looks like as their business cases evolve.

iHRIS 5.0 is powered by Elasticsearch to store data concisely so that it can rendered meaningfully with a visualization tool such as Kibana. With a simple script, data can be synced to an Elasticsearch instance from any FHIR compliant server to enable more in depth search than is currently available with FHIR.

Facebook React

Facebook React is an open source frontend framework. React allows users to create reusable components for their frontend website. By loading the data asynchronously, the website doesn’t need to wait for a server response to fully load the page. Instead, different threads are creating to fetch the data from different endpoints.

This encourages quicker load times for websites, even with slower than average web connections. React allows developers to build fast, clean, responsive applications for developing nations where bandwidth comes at a premium.

Kibana

Kibana is an open source data visualization tool that allows users to easily create custom dynamic graphs and charts to display data in meaningful ways. Data visualization is a hard problem. Kibana makes that easy by allowing it’s users to create a wide variety of graphs that update dynamically in real time based on filters that you create.

Kibana is the cornerstone of iHRIS 5.0’s reporting feature in that we allow our users to create the graphs that are meaningful for them. It allows iHRIS to visualize the data from any FHIR compliant application.

Kubernetes

Kubernetes is the answer to the question, “How can I easily scale-up apps in country the way I do in Amazon’s cloud?” There have been many attempts to create an open source deployment and scaling up solution that can compete with AWS, and Kubernetes is now the clear winner.

Created based on the lessons learnt from Google’s Borg cluster manager and using containers (a lightweight way to have isolated spaces for apps) Kubernetes may be a bit overkill for most folks who don’t need a planet-wide platform to manage apps, but it’s there for inspiration and use.

You may be using container innovations right now with the Docker platform which also partly came out of innovations at Google. Docker is commonly used to create end-to-end tests of software in digital health and across the software industry.

Node.js

Node.js is an open source software programming language that uses JavaScript to create both the frontend and backend components of a website. This allows frontend developers to develop their own backend code.

Node.js also allows for the server to communicate with the client whereas most web servers only allow the client to communicate with the server, not the other way around. It is also very lightweight meaning it is not going to require a heavy duty web server to run the application.

iHRIS 5.0 is using Node.js to power it’s backend. This allows iHRIS to be easily portable to new servers and serve customers in developing nations that may not have access to high performance web servers.

Python

Python is so widespread, it’s hard to underestimate its use and power. Python is an ergonomic programming language that has taken off in the data science space. Many digital health platforms are written in it, including the venerable RapidPro. (Yes, for the detail-oriented folks, it also uses other open source awesomeness, like Facebook’s React for UI and the Google’s Go language for backend performance.)

Python is often the starting point for new learners in programming, and for good reasons: it’s elegant interface, popular and mature packages like numpy and Jupyter, and the massive trove of learning materials.

WordPress

WordPress is a free and open-source content management system with a plugin architecture and a template system. WordPress is used by more than 60 million websites, including 33.6% of the top 10 million websites.

WordPress made blogging easy for the average user, unleashing a torrent of self-expression and community building that underpins countless digital development initiates – including ICTworks!

What Else?

We’ve listed our favorite 10 software repositories above, but there are millions of other repos on GitHub. Which ones do you use? Which do you contribute to? Which ones are yours? Please share your own usage of GitHub in the comments so we can join you in using open source software in digital development.

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3 Comments to “10 Most Valuable GitHub Repositories for Digital Development”

  1. Matt says:

    As a digital logic and firmware developer, you and I have somewhat different definitions of Digital Development!

  2. David McCann says:

    Check out https://registry.dial.community/ for a list of Digital Development Products (and their github repositories)!

  3. Vince says:

    WordPress

    lol Noooooooooooooooooo