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best 7 code hosting services | GitHub alternative

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Source code can get increasingly difficult to manage and collaborate without a revision control system is involved. Developers embarking on any serious project are likely to be using a revision control system, and the recent trend has been towards distributed revision control systems such as Mercurial and Git rather than the older CVS and SVN.

In addition to a repository, a software development project needs a bug tracking system as well. code hosting in a central place, such that it is accessible by everyone involved is quite important, especially for open source projects.

best 7 code hosting services

A number of websites have emerged recently that make sharing code online simple and make it extremely simple to collaborate on. Many websites have evolved into a sort of source-code-based social networking sites. We take a look at some popular code hosting services, and the services they offer.

Google code

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Google provides free hosting for open source projects on its Google Code website. It is used by Google for hosting its own open source projects such as the Chrome browser, Chrome OS, and other open source tools and libraries.

Similar to SourceForge, Google Code is for open source applications only. Besides offering a repository for your project, Google Code also includes a Wiki, an Issue tracker, online source code browsing interface, and downloads for your project.

Google Code integrates with Google’s other services such as Google accounts, for login, and Google Analytics for tracking downloads. Additionally, Google Code also includes some integration with Google Groups to help form discussions around a project.

Suitable for :

  • People working on Google projects or derivatives
  • Open source projects
  • Those already using Google services
  • who prefer clean interfaces

SourceForge

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SourceForge is possibly one of the most popular code-hosting websites on the internet today. It hosts the largest number of projects and has the largest user base.

SourceForge is owned Geeknet, Inc. the same people who are behind ThinkGeek and Slashdot. Like many similar sites, SourceForge offers free hosting for Open Source projects.

SourceForge provides many unique features such as shell access to your projects, and a MySQL database to power your web site or applications online. Project owners can run their own CMS and host project information on SourceForge, allowing them to essentially host their entire project web site code and downloads on a single site for free.

SourceForge is also unique in that it does not enforce any usage quotas on their projects, instead of trusting their users to use this resource reasonably. SourceForge does not host closed-source software.

Suitable for :

  • Projects that need web hosting/ blog/forum in addition to code hosting
  • Open source projects
  • Pl Projects that need flexibility in bug tracker, and wiki
  • People who want shell access to their projects online

Bitbucket

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the next code hosting is Bitbucket, is a Mercurial-only code hosting website Like GitHub it offers both free and paid solutions. Bitbucket is unique among code-hosting websites in allowing free users to create unlimited private repositories. Bitbuckets differentiates its paid offerings based on the number of users allowed to access your private repositories.

Open Source projects do not have these limits on the number of users allowed. Bitbucket offers a per-project Wiki and issue tracker, which too can be kept private.

Bitbucket is similar to GitHub in features and has similar features for viewing status updates, following users/projects, forking, and merging. Like GitHub, you can also host your project page on Bitbucket itself. Your Bitbucket account can even be configured to be accessed from a custom domain. So if you have your own website for a project.

Suitable for:

  • Open and closed-source projects
  • People working on Open Source software no ready to be open yet
  • Personal small-scale closed-source projects
  • Closed-source projects where number of contributors is fixed

GitHub

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When it comes to code hosting managed using the Git revision control system, GitHub is the most popular of them all, and for good reason. GitHub offers a powerful social experience for coders that makes it incredibly easy to “fork” someone else’s work to create your own derivative, and to merge projects with common goals.

Social Networking-like concepts such as following people/projects and getting status updates on your profile are employed by GitHub to make following your favorite developers/projects easier.

Creating a fork of an existing open source project is a single-click process! GitHub also makes it easy to see a network of all the forks a project has undergone to get an idea of where and what development is happening.

While GitHub is free for open source projects that have a public repository, unlike the previous two code hosting sites, it offers paid plans that allow one to create private repositories for personal/closed-source projects.

GitHub has a 300 MB limit for storage, however, this is a soft-limit, and the project actually needing more space can contact GitHub to increase their capacity. Each GitHub project has its own wiki, issue tracker, and the web page that can be managed from GitHub.

Suitable for :

  • Heavily community-based projects
  • Open Source and closed source projects
  • People wishing to follow the development of, and contribute to many projects.
  • People who want an SCM on their own server

CodePlex

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CodePlex is Microsoft’s own service for hosting open source projects for free. It only allows for open source projects, although some Microsoft licenses that are allowed to be used are not compliant with the open source initiative.

CodePlex offers the usual Wiki and issues tracking features, along with support for hosting project downloads. CodePlex also offers a discussions feature for each project.

Unlike the other services we have mentioned, CodePlex has inbuilt support for displaying advertisements on project pages that can be used to fund the development of your open source applications.Being a Microsoft service it supports Microsoft’s revision control system, Team Foundation Server.

Suitable for: 

  • Open source projects
  • People targeting Windows
  • People already using Team Foundation Server for their code
  • Projects using/derives from Microsoft applications

Launchpad

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Launchpad is a service by Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, that is used for hosting all their open source projects. The Launchpad service code itself has been open sourced by Canonical, such that it can be run on your own server.

Other than code repository hosting, Launchpad offers a number of useful features, some of which are unique to the service.

Other than Bug / Issue tracking, Launchpad also offers a specialized software for tracking specifications and features called Blueprints; it also offers an online tool to help developers translate their applications to multiple languages; and an “Answers” feature for providing help and support powered by the community.

Launchpad can automatically build software for Ubuntu, allowing Ubuntu end-users to easily install and keep updated with the code on Launchpad.

Suitable for :

  • Applications derived from / designed for Ubuntu
  • Open Source applications
  • Projects already using the Bazaar system
  • People wanting a free open source SCM on their own server

Gitorious

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Gitorious is an open source code hosting website that is itself open source, with its source code hosted on itself! allowing you to clone/fork it and contribute to its development.

This also means you can host it on your own server. Gitorious is free for all open source projects and does not mention any storage or other limits. The way repositories are handled in GItorious is a little different from other services.

On Gitorious, you create a new project, and each project may in have multiple repositories. You can have a wiki at the project level, such that it is shared between multiple repositories for the same project.

Gitorious, however, does not include a bug tracker and doesn’t support creating a project page.

Suitable for :

  • Open Source projects
  • Large projects requiring multiple repositories
  • People wanting a free open source SCM on their own server
  • People working on the openSUSErelated projects

The internet is a friendly place if you are trying to develop open source software ‒ at least as far as code hosting is concerned. Some websites such as Google Code, Launchpad, Gitorious, and SourceForge are in fact intended only for open source projects and have no payment mechanism at all.

Code hosting on such services exposes your code and application to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of users, some of which may choose to contribute their time, effort or money to your cause.

For closed source projects too, using a code hosting site can have its advantages. They offer an integrated solution for code hosting, sharing information using a Wiki, and tracking bugs.

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