I am constantly using open source projects during my work.
Usually I view the dependents graph to see which other open source projects use it.

However, How do I gauge the reach of a project such as python-poetry?
As there are 0 dependents in its repo dependents graph, but I am quite sure that a lot of projects use it.

  • 1
    Stars are potentially related to downstream use, especially when trying to estimate closed-source use. Libraries.io often has more detailed statistics. GitHub's dependency graph feature depends on scanning requirements.txt files which has inherent limitations.
    – amon
    Oct 26, 2020 at 22:47

1 Answer 1


It's more of an art than a science, but there are a few metrics that may be useful to look at:

  • Stars on GitHub. A star is essentially someone showing their appreciation and interest in the project.
  • Watchers on GitHub. Watching a project essentially says you want to be notified of any change in the repository.
  • Forks on GitHub. A fork is the starting point of someone (openly) working on a project in GitHub.

As noted, none of these metrics are iron clad (e.g., you could watch a project but ignore updates from it, or fork a project and do nothing with this fork), but they are somewhat of an indicator of interest.

It's also usually a good idea to normalize these numbers by comparing to similar projects, as the absolute numbers are sometimes hard to interpret. E.g., let's look at Python's psychopg2 library for connecting to PostgreSQL databases. At the time of writing, it has 73 watchers, 464 forks and 2.8K forks. Is this a lot? a little? Hard to tell from the numbers alone. But if you compare it to the mysql-connector-python library for connecting to MySQL databases, you'll see similar numbers, but if you compare it to db2-python for connecting to DB2 database, you'll see substantially smaller numbers. This is a strong indicator that PostgreSQL and MySQL are more popular databases to use in Python applications that DB2.

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