Alternatives to Using GitHub in 2021
Today’s world is a connected one. The technologies we have allow us to connect with people half a world away. Companies can work with people from different locations. Cloud technologies, for example, are helping people collaborate from afar.
Source code repositories are digital libraries that store codes of different projects created by developers. They contain different versions of the project and can help development teams identify which developer updated the code. Some source code repositories also provide web hosting facilities so teams can work remotely and collaborate at any time and place. It helps developers manage their code’s version control and track changes throughout the life cycle of development. Because it supports version control, it allows projects to follow the previous version if something goes wrong with the current code. This way, it is creating a historical record of everything related to the code.
It prepares these codes to become ready for production. These repositories can also serve as a digital portfolio for developers, especially those that serve a social purpose. Since different developers are working on the same project, they can make different branches and compare notes, which helps provide a supportive team environment.
GitHub is one source code managing repository that does all that, along with many others on the market. We will talk about some of Github’s features and provide insights into other similar services to help you choose the best source code management repository for your projects. Knowing your options dramatically helps you to optimize your goals. So, buckle up, and let’s get to it.
What is GitHub?
GitHub is one of the popular source code repository service providers on the market. It hosts a slew of features that can make a developer giddy with joy. Its tagline is where the world builds software. It currently boasts more than 56 million users, over 3 million organizations, and more than 100 million repositories. In 2008 it was registered as Logical Awesome LLC. It was later acquired by Microsoft, becoming its subsidiary in 2018. GitHub supports Git repositories uploaded to GitHub’s cloud-based hosting service.
It supports open source projects, and with the paid version, organizations can also maintain private versions of the repositories. For many developers, it is also a good source of information because of this. Developers are encouraged to be more efficient by using GitHub’s software package registry helping them to not work on things entirely from scratch.
Codes available in the repositories can be reviewed; you can provide feedback, propose changes and even create a branch. You can even request input so that it fosters an environment of collaboration with other coders, whether it be with your organizational team or other coders from around the world.
Within the community, developers can contact each other by commenting and creating discussions to share knowledge and insights. Community building also encourages more open source projects. These open source projects can help other developers so that they can become more efficient.
The platform provides basic features for free. This option is mainly targeted towards open source projects/teams or independent developers. It’s also great for young coders who want to learn from other available projects. The whole point of GitHub is to create a community of coders. Developers can run all actions, in any language, on any operating system. It also provides them with the ability to scan code automatically so that software developers can review their work before merging or launching it.
Like other code management and repository platforms, GitHub is used as a digital portfolio or resume. Developers can make a profile that documents all the projects they have contributed to which is shown in a timeline.
All these features are available on GitHub, but are they free? Of course, some of these features will be limited. There are payment plans available for more premium features that would help coders, especially teams. There are four payment plans available for GitHub, including the free version, and with each additional upgrade have better features available.
Why Switch from GitHub?
You might be wondering if GitHub has all these great features why would anyone want to switch away from it? While it has a great reputation and can hold its own in the market, it is important to know that GitHub has some limitations. These limitations are described below:
- If you are new or have a team with predominantly new coders, then it can get a bit daunting to get used to the interface.
- It is very good for tracking changes in code, but it isn’t supportive of design changes; this is especially true if you have a design that depends on code.
- Many users have complained about the CUI being confusing for the user experience.
- Security is something that you have to consider. Being a highly popular platform means that it can easily come under attack. Although security features keep getting updated and improved, it is still something that organizations have to consider when using an online platform for important information.
- Pricing can become too steep if you have many team members. Even the basic plan of $4 per user every month still adds up, especially if you need a seat for every member of a large team yet only 80% of that team actually contribute to repositories every month. The usage amount is a very important aspect to consider when deciding where to allocate budget.
While there are many users on GitHub and it is a huge community, it is a good idea to look at other alternatives. Having information about other source code management tools can help organizations make better-informed decisions on making sure that they are getting the right kind of tools that match the company’s needs.
GitHub Alternatives: Comparing Features and Pricing
Code management, repository, and hosting services can be very similar at face value. Additionally, there are many of these services available to choose from. Here, we are going to look at the 10 source code repositories that may work for you. We will explain the features that they have and also compare the prices. This way, you can make a more informed decision when choosing the right source code managing service for you and your organization.
Let us begin with SourceForge. It is an open source software community. Its primary focus is on promoting open source business software projects and helping them become more visible. It attempts to provide software developers with a centralized location online where they can control and manage free and open source software projects. It wants to promote open source software and code so that it becomes accessible to the masses.
It currently boasts 30 million users all over the world. In addition, it has over 18 million downloads, with almost 10 thousand code commits that happen within a week. It is also a widely popular tool to use to advertise your projects. It is home to thousands of projects that are hosted there not just as source codes, but also help build communities of developers and users.
SourceForge is run on ApacheAllura, which is also open source, and we will be talking about that below. You can also import your project from GitHub, so if you are already a user of GitHub you can use SourceForge to promote your work as well, providing it another home. Following are the features of SourceForge:
- Code Repository: Needless to say this wouldn’t be on the list if it did not provide a code repository. It is able to host code with git, Subversion (svn) or Mercurial (hg).
- Downloads and Statistics: SourceForge lets you manage downloads, and also see statistics of downloads. It also provides analytics for you to better understand the success of your work. It can also manage mirror downloads to help manage bandwidth and give a better download experience to people who will download your program.
- Open Source Directory: Every time you upload a project onto SourceForge, it’s added to the Open Source Directory, where you can categorize it according to the topic, platform, license, etc. SourceForge can also nominate your project as a staff pick, feature, or project of the month. This allows users to review and recommend your project, along with many other services.
- Forums, Blogs, & Mailing Lists: These features allow you to be more approachable to other users on the website and make it easy for you to hear feedback, provide updates, and have discussions with other developers.
- Integrated Issue Tracking: All actions can be traceable, and you can generate tickets for issues that arise. These tickets are organizable so that you can keep improving your project.
- Documentation: This allows you to make wiki pages and attachments about your product, and you can also create threaded discussions.
Unlike GitHub’s pricing plan, which focuses on upgrading to better features, SourceForge has an entirely different revenue model. The pricing model is for promoting your software code, instead of paying for the features provided by SourceForge. If you are interested in knowing how to advertise, then it would cost between a basic of USD 4,950 billed annually to USD 19,980 billed annually to promote your projects only. Keep in mind all features otherwise are free to use on SourceForge.
BitBucket, unlike GitHub and SourceForge, is a Git Code management platform that focuses on organizations. It also provides BitBucket servers for organizations to control and manage their development environment while operating on the company’s hardware. The platform is specifically for organizations to manage their code, plan, collaborate, test, and deploy.
It is owned by Atlassian, Inc. and has been around since 2012. It is written in Java and built on Apache Maven. Similar to GitHub, it provides users to conduct general Git operations related to reviewing and merging code. This all-in-one platform allows companies to take control without having to involve a lot of social interference. So this is not a community-based approach. The features available for these are as follows:
- Plan: Using Jira Software integration or Trello boards, BitBucket supports teams by letting everyone know their tasks and creating an environment or interface that is clear about objectives, deadlines, and statuses. This makes collaboration much easier and allows for better communication within the team.
- Manage: For this feature, the development teams can suggest specific conditions on merges of specific individual branches or look at branch patterns. The premium version of BitBucket provides more flexibility and supports deployment permissions, where you can manage branches more easily.
- Collaborate: BitBucket lets teams view what is changing in the repository and helps you track what is happening every step of the way. This helps you better review the project and ensure that the code is doing exactly what you need it to do. It helps the team focus on the goals of the project. It also includes IDE integrations to help build and deploy the code.
- Launch: BitBucket supports plug-and-play for automating CI/CD pipelines and helps inform you about your code’s health status.
It has over 50 tools to help with managing code. It provides an integrated CI/CD tool that lets a development team build and test automatically so that they can deploy code confidently. It also helps organizations by creating flexible deployment permissions depending on the plan you are on.
For pricing, BitBucket has three plans, Free, Standard, and Premium.
Git with a cup of tea is the by-line for Gitea, which calls itself a painless self-hosted Git service. It is a collaborative version control forge for developers to create, collaborate, contribute and build a community for coders. It is open source, which means there is no paying for the services. It is free for a public first-party instance which is hosted on DiDi’s cloud. It can be free because it is funded on the platform Open Collective. This is where individuals can contribute to Gitea to make it sustainable. It was launched in 2016 when several Gog users created Gitea as a response to the aforementioned service providing low limits for input and speed. Gitea is considered a fork of Gog, and it follows a community-driven model for itself to develop.
The goal for Gitea is to provide the easiest, fastest, and the most painless ways for the coders to create a self-hosted Git service. Linux, Windows, and macOS support it. It also works on architectures like ARM, PowerPC, i386, and amd64, among others.
The features Gitea provides are as follows:
- Open source and completely free
- Low resource usage
- Support for multiple databases
- Integrated Git-powered wiki
- Repository management
- Tracking issues
- Many 3rd party integrations
GitLab is a DevOps lifecycle tool that is web-based and provides Git repository facilities. It provides a platform for software development teams to plan, code, test, and monitor product changes within the application. While initially written on Ruby, it has some parts rewritten in Go. Currently, its technology stacks include Go, Ruby on Rails, and Vue.js.
GitLab has a whole slew of features that support all the DevOps life cycle stages—making it a one-stop-shop for developers for writing, testing, monitoring, configuring, releasing, and so much more. Gitlab prides itself on being able to help developers cut down their time by reducing the timelines from weeks to minutes and reducing costs so that teams can build software faster and release them sooner.
While it supports open source projects, it does have more features for its paid versions.
Launchpad is a platform that supports users in developing and maintaining software online. Launched in 2005 by Canonical Ltd and written in Python, it mostly supports open source software for developers. It encourages software collaboration. This website hosts more than 44 thousand projects and detected more than 1.8 million bugs, 1 million branches, with more than 22 thousand Git repositories, almost 700 thousand answers, and over 75 thousand blueprints. These statistics show that this is a platform that is growing steadily.
Launchpad provisions include:
- Tracking bugs
- Code hosting via Bazaar and Git
- Reviews for code
- Building and hosting of Ubuntu package
- Translations of various languages
- Mailing lists
- Answer tracking and FAQs
- Specification tracking
All these features are free of cost, and so companies can take advantage of it. However, many developers usually use it to develop Ubuntu.
Google Cloud Source Repositories
Google Cloud provides the services of Cloud Source Repositories. It is a single place for the team to store, manage and track code. It helps teams collaborate on their projects and has all the features required to create a private Git repository. It includes tools such as Cloud Build, Pub/Sub, App Engine and Cloud Logging, and Cloud Monitoring. It supports building, deploying, verifying, and debugging and helps cut down the time to write code.
You can view repository files using the tool Source Browser. You can use filters to find what you are looking for, depending on tags, commits, and even branches. You can perform Git operations, and it automatically syncs with the repository so that you do not have to worry about manually uploading. Since it is run on Google’s infrastructure, users can be assured that it will be reliable.
Google does not openly share the pricing of the cloud source repositories. You can find it out by contacting them directly.
This is Amazon’s answer to providing a source control service. AWS CodeCommit is fully managed and hosts Git-based repositories for development teams to collaborate. The environment created for users is secure and highly scalable. The simplest thing to do is start a repository. There is no need to worry about hardware configuration to run your Git repository, and so it promises the following features:
- Collaboration: Easily commit, branch, and merge code so that teams can easily manage and control the projects.
- Encryption: Repositories are encrypted immediately through AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS).
- Access Control: AWS Identity and Access Management is used to control and monitor your data access. This can identify when, where and who is accessing the data. It also helps track your repositories through AWS CloudTrail and AWS CloudWatch.
- High Availability and Durability: The architecture ensures the availability and durability of the data.
- Unlimited Repositories
- Easy Access and Integration: Integration on AWS is straightforward, especially through AWS Management Console, AWS CLI, and AWS SDKs to manage them.
- Notifications and Custom Scripts: Notifications are sent to you when an event impacting your repository arises. You can also control what kind of events it should send notifications to you.
AWS is free for the first five active users, and they receive unlimited repositories, 50GB for every month of storage, and 10,000 Git requests per month.
Phabricator is an online software development collaboration tool. Initially developed for Facebook in 2010, it was advanced by its principal developer, Evan Priestly, who used to work for the company. He left Facebook for a new company called Phacility which now focuses on Phabricator. It integrates with Git, Subversion, and Mercurial and is also available as a free software.
Its features are as follows:
- Pre-Commit Code Review: It supports development teams by ensuring they do not commit a code before testing it out. The written code is shared within the group as reviewers to test and finalize it so that the commit will have little to no errors.
- Supports Git, Mercurial, and SVN repositories, so it is easy to integrate and connect with.
- It uses Herald to Audit Source Code after it commits, so you know how your code is doing even after completion.
- Customizable Task Management allows you to track bugs, plan features of your code.
Phabircator has two choices, the free version to support open source projects and a hosted version for organizations.
Allura is an open source forge software for managing source code repositories and is free to use. Apache Allura’s features include:
- Issue Tracking and Feedback - you can easily find out if there are problems in the coding and development.
- Threaded Discussion Forums - to openly communicate with those who are part of the development team and users of the developing software.
- Code Repository - since it is a forge software, it will support hosting codes with Git, Mercurial (hg), or Subversion (svn), and coding can be done on the browser.
- Documentation - you can create wikis about your project so that people can learn about its features.
GitBucket is another open source Git platform, but it is written on JVM. It is powered by Scala and is available for free for developers under the Apache License Version 2.0. You can easily download it from the website to run a demo on it to see if you are interested in integrating it for your team. It is considered a GitHub clone that Scala powers.
Source Code Repositories: No Shortage of Options
There really is no shortage of options for source code repositories for you to choose from. It can become very exhausting trying to go over all of the services available. We have made it easy for you by not only showing you what GitHub is and what are its features and payment plans but also help you compare features of 10 other alternatives. These ten alternatives are SourceForge, BitBucket, Gitea, GitLab, Launchpad, Google Cloud Source Repositories, AWS CodeCommit, Phabricator, Apache Allura, and GitBucket. They all provide a way of saving your codes for collaboration within the organization and are an excellent tool for developing teams worldwide. However, choosing the right service will depend on your organization’s needs and the amount of money you are willing to invest. Some of the options available focus on building a community for developers, and others focus more on organizations working on their own licensed projects. Some of the mentioned platforms are free to use but may not provide as many features, so it is best to check their websites and see what works for you.