Reviewers and companies in the WebKit project

As promised, here you have the second part of our series on WebKit, which we started with the analysis of companies focused on who is authoring reviewed commits.

Commits by reviewing company (whole history of the project)

Commits by reviewing company (whole history of the project)

Now we come back with an analysis on who is reviewing, and to which companies reviewers are affiliated. To provide some context, it is worth citing the commit and review policy of the WebKit project, which explains how only specific developers, with long and recognized experience in the project, can become reviewers: “A potential Reviewer may be nominated once they have submitted a minimum of 80 good patches. They should also be in touch with other reviewers and aware of who are the experts in various areas.” Since changes to source code have to be accepted by a reviewer, to some extent they are acting as the gatekeepers of the project, those in charge of ensuring that new code matches quality standards, and are in line with the project guidelines.

Therefore, the analysis of which companies are employing reviewers shows the project from another perspective, this time focused on those involved in this gatekeeping activity. The landscape now is different from that shown by the authorship analysis.

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Report on the activity of companies in the WebKit project

[Update (2013.03.01): New post in the series: Reviewers and companies in the WebKit project]

Today Bitergia presents the first of a series on analytics for the WebKit project. After the preview we published some weeks ago, we finally have more detailed and accurate numbers about the evolution of the project. In this case, we’re presenting a report on the activity of the companies contributing to WebKit based on the analysis of reviewed commits.

Commits per company

Commits per company in WebKit

Some interesting results are the share of contributions by the two main companies behind the project (Apple and Google), and how it has evolved from a project clearly driven by Apple, before 2009, to the current situation, with Google leading the top contributors table, and both Apple and Google being almost equal in contribution share over the whole history of the project. During the last years, it is also noteworthy how the diversity of the project is increasing, with new players starting to show a significant activity.

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Activity of Apple, Google and other companies in the WebKit project

[Update: we have published a more accurate and validated report, please have a look at it]

WebKit is a well known free, open source software project which is producing the core of several of the most popular web browsers. Several companies (and other actors) are collaborating together to build this component, which is key to many of them. The two main players in WebKit are Apple and Google, but it is less known that there are many others participating actively as well. They are far away from the big players, but all together account for a sizable fraction of the total activity.

This post is the first of a series on different aspects of WebKit development, based on the analytics we at Bitergia are gathering about it. Our take is that WebKit is one of those projects massively used by the industry, and therefore worth studying with the aim of providing quantitative and objective data about it.

Activity of WebKit for six most active companies

Figure 1: Total activity in WebKit for the six most active companies (commits)

Specifically, this post is focused on the analysis of the evolution of the activity of companies in the WebKit source code management repository (currently Subversion, formerly CVS) since it was released as an open project back in 2005 and before, when it was still an internal project at Apple (if you don’t know about it, have a look at the fascinating history of the project since its ancient origins in KDE). The analysis of this activity provides useful information to understand, for example, how strongly companies are betting for the project (in terms of contributions to it), and what is probably more relevant,which companies are having some kind of “soft” control. Continue reading