Jacob Kaplan-Moss

Measuring the Django Community:

The Django community in 2009

I wrote this post in 2009, more than 14 years ago. It may be very out of date, partially or totally incorrect. I may even no longer agree with this, or might approach things differently if I wrote this post today. I rarely edit posts after writing them, but if I have there'll be a note at the bottom about what I changed and why. If something in this post is actively harmful or dangerous please get in touch and I'll fix it.

In March of 2007, I attempted to measure the size of Django’s community. That March turned out to be a major inflection point in Django’s growth: the release of 0.96 brought a lot of new features – testing and the new forms library being the critical ones – and those in turn brought in a lot of new users. Growth since then has been at a much faster pace.

So I thought it’d be interesting to review the same metrics I used back then. I was quite curious to see what’s changed, and by how much.


In 2007, I shared three ways of getting at the number of folks using Django:

  • The Django web site got about 1 million hits each month.
  • The official Django tarball got downloaded about 1,000 times per day.
  • About 500 sites were listed as Django-powered on our wiki.


  • The web site gets around 4.7 million hits per month. That breaks down to about 2.2 million to the main web site (www.djangoproject.com) and 2.5 million to the docs (docs.djangoproject.com).

    The development site gets an astounding 24 million hits per month, but that includes SVN traffic, and SVN’s protocol is quite chatty so I wouldn’t read too much into that number.

  • Downloads of the official Django tarball are still at roughly 1,000 times per day. However, Django’s now available through most mainstream Linux distributions’ package managers, so I have to imagine there are lots of installs that way. And there are also those who’ll install direct from SVN.

    There was also a big spike when 1.0 was released (about 5,000 downloads per day that week), and another, slightly smaller, when 1.1 was released.

    Not really that related, but interesting: about 65% of downloads today are of 1.1.X, and the remainder are 1.0.X.

  • We no longer have a Django-powered sites area on the wiki, but djangosites.org has taken over that role. It now lists about 2,700 sites.

Based on these numbers (1 million to 4.7 million hits; 500 voluntarily registered sites to about 2,700), we could guess at roughly a 5-fold increase in the size of the Django user community since March 2007. Not very scientific, to be sure. But it’s clear that the user community is much larger now.


In 2007, I recorded these numbers:

  • The django-users mailing list had 4.500 members, and was growing by about 100 members per week.
  • The django-developers mailing list had just under 2,000 members, of which maybe 100 participated regularly, and only about 20 very frequently.


  • django-users has a smidgen over 16,000 members. That’s one of the largest programming groups on Google Groups (and big enough to make it clear that Google Groups is broken for groups this large. But that’s another post.)

    The group’s still growing at a rate right around 100 new members each week. Daily mailing list traffic has increased about 25%.

  • django-developers has 5,200 members. List traffic hasn’t increased much (in fact, I think it’s down slightly over 2007), but the number of regular participants has. I’d guess at least 500 people participate with any regularity, and there are at least 100 who’re likely to weigh in frequently.

These metrics show a less extreme growth curve, perhaps “only” 2- or 3-fold since 2007. It’s not surprising to me that the segment of the community passionate enough to engage in these groups grows slower than the “just a user” community. It’s a sign of maturity that users don’t necessarily have to get involved in the project to be successful.


In 2007, we had:

  • 160 people who we’d credited in AUTHORS (i.e. folks who’ve contributed a significant chunk of code).
  • 10 developers with some level of commit access to the repository.
  • 5 “core contributors” with unlimited commit access.


  • AUTHORS thanks 447 contributors.
  • 36 people have some level of commit access (this includes a handful of GSoC students who’ve stuck around to help see their code merged).
  • We have 15 core contributors with unlimited commit access (and I expect to add a few more before Django 1.2 ships).

I’m happy to see that the 2- to 3-fold increase seen among the community members seems to have translated directly into a similar increase in contributors. This means we’re doing as good a job as ever bringing a certain (small) percentage of folks from user, to contributor, to committer. We’ve always been on the conservative side when it comes to giving out commit bits, so I’m glad to see that we’re not getting any more conservative as time goes by.

This was fun! See you again in 2011?