About the Ohloh Hotness Score

We have added a new metric on Ohloh and are just bursting to share it with you.  The Ohloh Hotness Score can be found on our new Project Landing Page in the table titled “Hot Projects on Ohloh”

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Why add yet another indicator on Ohloh?  Good question, thank you for asking.

With the fairly recent release of the Ohloh Project Activity Indictor, we felt we did a really good job of showing a projects overall activity at a glance. Ohloh takes about a multi-year-long look at project activity — number of commits and committers — and values the work done more recently than work done a while ago.  This has helped to identify consistently developed and maintained projects: another interesting facet about open source beyond usage counts, reviews, etc.

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But, what about shorter term activity?  The PAI looks at activity over the past two years (!).  What if a project got a flurry of activity by a dedicated team to meet some deadline? What if they were scrambling to add a killer new feature?

Also, what about up-coming projects?  By definition, a project with less than a year’s existence in the PAI is “new”.  Can’t do much with that.  We want to be able to give new projects more love!

By the very nature of the Project Activity Indicator, it’s going to favor more established, mature code bases with more contributors.  We really wanted to also be able to show which projects were getting a significant proportion of steadily increased focus.  And we wanted to do it in a way that would give new projects some equal footing with more established projects.

Ta Daa!

If we could show project activity as a sum of vectors of commits, contributors and acknowledgement, then the projects with the highest vectors are the projects that are getting the most consistent — and increasing — attention.

The way this works is to count the number of commits and committers on every day over a two week period and generate a vector from the sum of that activity.  The angle of increase is analogous to the vector of activity over this most recent two week period.

We chose a two week period because we typically touch most every one of our over 660K projects every three days.  Doing a one week trend would be too short; we’d have to look at the one week trend as of a few days ago, and that just seemed silly.  As if we were saying, “Here’s the almost hottest data!!”  Sheesh.

We also looked at data from a month-long trend.  That was more stable, but, c’mon — a month ago?  This is the 21st Century!  And this is a web-site!! We can’t wait that long!!!

Ja, that two week period won out as being fresh and meaningful.

But wait: there’s more! To make it completely Ohloh — because any Tom, Dick or Harry can look at commit and contributor data — we added a uniquely Ohloh-centric measurement that indicates adoption.  We add the number of people who click on the project’s “I Use This” button each day within the window to the vector calculation.  Again, this is very even-handed way to show a project is trending up.  And is a not-so-subtle encouragement to trumpet your project’s page on Ohloh.

By design, the Ohloh Hot Project value is very volatile.  We don’t expect to see the same project on this list for long runs of time.  Even a few days would be a major surprise.  If you get your project on the Ohloh Hot Project list, take a screen shot and put it on a t-shirt.  You deserve kudo’s just for doing that.

The New Landing Page

This also seems like a good time to tell you a bit about the new Project Landing Page, upon which the new Hotness list appears.  The old projects page was the project search page with no filters applied.  The same projects appeared in the default order, which is ordered by the number of folks who said that they use  the project.  We wanted to give you more.

At the top of that is, of course, the new Hot Project list.  In addition to the new Hot Project list, we provide a number of quick search tools on the left side of the page:

  • A search box for easy project searching
  • A new tag cloud of the tags from the most visited projects
  • Quick comparison of projects — just type in the names of up to three of the projects you’d like to see side by side.  We autocomplete the fields so you can be sure you’ve got the names right
  • Quick Similar Projects list — type in the name of a project and we’ll take you directly to the Similar Projects page for that project
  • Link for adding a new project to Ohloh

Under the Hot Project list is the Project Demographic by PAI.  This chart shows the number of projects on Ohloh that have a Project Activity Indicator (PAI) available and how they break down in terms of activity.  It really helps illustrate the general distribution of attention that FOSS projects get. We’ve got other ideas about interesting things we can display here, and are always interested in hearing your thoughts.  Please don’t hesitate them to share them.

About Peter Degen-Portnoy

Mars-One Round 3 Candidate. Engineer on the Open Hub development team at Black Duck Software. Family man, athlete, inventor