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Open HUB: How to find the best open source projects

Open HUB lets you search, slice, dice, and compare tens of thousands of open source projects so you can identify those worth checking out

Credit: Timothy Appnel / Flickr

Let’s say you want to identify something like a Kanban system for your software project management and you’ve looked at various commercial products but for one reason or another nothing quite fits your requirements. Perhaps they’re not organized in a way you’d like or they come with a load of other features at a price that doesn’t make sense for you or they can’t be integrated into your workflow so you’re going to bite the bullet. You’re going to look for an open source Kanban system and adapt it to meet your needs. But how do you find such a beast?

Sure, you can Google for “free open source kanban” but then you’ve got to figure out whether potential solutions are actually mature and active projects and that'll be a lot a browsing and virtual legwork. There's a better way: Open HUB, a free service that can help you to figure out which FOSS projects are worth evaluating ...

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Open HUB is an index of free, open source software (FOSS) that slices and dices the popularity and activity of FOSS projects and compare them. Open HUB searches show matching entries that can be sorted by “relevance” (I hate the criteria “relevance” as it never is … it’s usually some kind of commercial decision about what matters that has no relevance to me; but I digress), activity level, users, how recently it was added to Open HUB, user rating, and current contributors. Each entry shows how long ago Open HUB analyzed the project, the language used, licenses declared, number of lines of code, number of current contributors, time since last commit, and users on Open Hub.

Here’s a search for “Kanban” sorted according to “Newness on Open Hub”:

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Checking “Compare” on interesting projects then clicking the “Compare” button produces an even more detailed breakdown that provides insight into how sophisticated, current, and dynamic the projects are. For example, I’ve decided that three of the top hits sorted by “Newness” that are written in PHP are interesting.

This is what comparing these choices looks like:

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You can export your Compare results to CSV and share them and if you click on the project name you can drill down into the analysis of that individual project. I like the look of kanboard; it’s got a lot of activity and comments and involves a lot of contributors:

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 Sure, you can mine Google or look for articles like “Top ten Kanban FOSS projects that will blow your mind” (good luck on that one) but if you’re serious, you’ll go with Open HUB’s in depth analysis even if you’ve already found a project you like the look of.  This is an impressive service and did I mention it’s free? Outstanding.

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