New to Tidelift: version usage analytics for lifters

Keenan Szulik
by Keenan Szulik
on October 8, 2019

By virtue of working with hundreds of open source maintainers, one of the loudest and clearest pain points we’ve heard is that they have limited insight into how their projects are being used. Open source developers release their work into the world, but have no way of learning about what works well, what doesn’t, and what end users are actually using.

A common option is asking for insights in a project’s issue tracker or mailing list, which often fails to get accurate results. 😕 Why? There’s a high degree of selection bias in those responses: most users don’t respond, and those that do are typically from a highly self-selected group.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve begun sharing anonymized package usage analytics with lifters!

This is the first step in a larger initiative by Tidelift to provide lifters with deeper feedback and analytics so that they can get a better understanding about how other developers are leveraging their project, especially inside commercial applications. 

pytest-data

The idea of sharing anonymized subscriber data with lifters actually came from lifters themselves! At our lifter event in May, many attendees highlighted that receiving data about the usage of their packages should be a top priority from Tidelift. We’re delighted to deliver on that request!

With this data, we hope to enable lifters to understand which versions of their projects are actually being deployed to production right now

What’s more, this data ties nicely into a task that lifters are already completing for subscribers: providing recommended release streams. Thanks to the work of lifters, Tidelift subscribers are able to see which versions of a package are safe and recommended for enterprise use; some versions may be vulnerable, deprecated, or no longer supported, but it’s brutally hard for developers to keep track of exactly which versions those are. 

Tidelift provides guidance to subscribers not only identifying where they’re using versions that they shouldn’t be using, but how they should upgrade to those versions that they should be using.

By empowering lifters to actually gain insight into the versions of their projects being used in commercial applications, they’ll be able to focus their maintenance efforts on the highest value bugs and improvements, quite literally making open source better—for everyone.

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