Github vs Gitlab vs Bitbucket

If you are involved in software development, you need to find a good version control system (VCS) for your development team as it helps make sure that you do not commit incorrect code and also allows you to refer to the code that you have written in the past. VCS provides an easy to follow history of changes that have been made to the code. There are many free version control systems like Git, Mercurial and Subversion, but many of these are difficult to use. In this blog, you will learn the similarities and differences between the three popular Git hosting platforms and will also figure out which one suits you the best.

Let's start with

What is git?

Git is a useful DevOps tool used for source code management. It is a free and open-source version control system, used to track changes and make working with multiple developers easier. In addition to being good at merging and branching, Git is efficient because, developers can commit changes without connecting to a central server. Git's popularity comes from its simplicity, efficiency, and low barrier of entry compared to other version control systems like Subversion or Perforce.

Being a part of the software world, we would have obviously been a part of the "Gitlab vs Github" war. With BitBucket added to the list, it only gets tough to decide between them. Read this article till the end to gain a clarity on each of the tool and choose wisely.

What is GITHUB?

Another reason for Git's popularity is Github. Github launched in 2008. It was one of the first Git hosting platforms. The open source community started to use it for code sharing. It made Github an instant success. So the platform started to gain lots of users today. Github had more than 28 million users and hosts about 57 million repositories. Recently, Microsoft has acquired Github for a price of 7.5 Billion dollars. The acquisition has stirred up controversy in the open source community. A lot of people are worried that Github will lose its open source roots so many are looking at alternatives like Gitlab.

GitHub dashboard screenshot
Github user dashboard

GitHub features

Github has a host of features that can help you manage your projects and collaborate with other developers. Here are just a few of the most popular:

1. Github Issues - This is a great way to track and manage project issues. You can create a new issue, reply to an issue, or merge an issue into another one.

2. Github Wiki - This is a great way to document your project and share information with other developers. You can add new pages, edit pages, and delete pages.

3. Github Pull Requests - This is a great way to get feedback on your code changes from other developers. You can create a pull request, add comments, and set a due date.

4. Github Calendar - This is a great way to keep track of deadlines and plan out your work schedule. You can add new events, view past events, and add notes.

5. GitHub Milestones - This is a great way to mark important milestones in your project and share the progress with other developers. You can set up milestones and add notes on them.

What is GITLAB?

Similar to Github, Gitlab is a git based repository hosting platform. It was launched in 2011. From the beginning, Gitlab wanted to distinguish itself from Github, so it created a single product for the entire DevOps lifecycle. In Gitlab, tools like Issue trackers, continuous integration and continuous delivery are part of the product. Gitlab provides a single interface to the whole DevOps cycle. Today, Gitlab is used by more than 100,000 organizations. Organizations like IBM, Sony, NASA and Alibaba are using Gitlab.

GitLab dashboard screenshot
GitLab user dashboard

GitLab features

Gitlab features are designed to streamline the workflow of developers, making it easier for them to manage their code and collaborate with other developers. Some of the key features that Gitlab offers include:

1. GitLab Pages - GitLab Pages allows you to create dynamic websites with GitLab. This feature makes it easy for you to create and manage websites without having to learn any coding.

2. GitLab CI - GitLab CI lets you automate the testing of your code using a variety of different testing tools. This helps ensure that your code is always up-to-date and bug-free.

3. GitLab Flow - GitLab Flow is a Continuous Integration (CI) tool that helps developers automate the process of building, testing, and deploying their code. This makes it easy for them to keep their code updated and running smoothly 24/7.

4. GitLab Teams - GitLab Teams is a collaboration platform that lets you organise your team into projects and teams, assign roles and permissions, and track all the activity related to those projects and teams in real time. This makes it easy for you to manage your team's workflows and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

5. GitLab Enterprise Edition - The Enterprise Edition of GitLab offers extra features such as advanced security measures, scalability, performance, and reliability. It also comes with a host of other features such as ready-to-use Apps, integration with popular tools, and more!

What is BITBUCKET?

BitBucket is another online source code hosting service. BitBucket was launched in 2008. During that time it worked only with Mercurial (a free distributed version control system), but it also has been using Git since October 2011 after being acquired by the Atlassian. It had its own advantages since Atlassian develops mainstream software tools like Jira, Trello and Confluence. Having great integration with such tools has been a great advantage for BitBucket.

BitBucket dashboard screenshot
BitBucket user dashboard

Bitbucket features

BitBucket is a popular web-based platform for software development and content management. It offers developers a wide range of features to help them manage their projects, including version control, source control, code review, task management, and more.

Some of the most popular BitBucket features include:

1. Version control - BitBucket allows developers to keep track of changes to their code using versioning. This helps them avoid the mistakes that can be made when working with unversioned code.

2. Source control - BitBucket also offers source control, which allows developers to keep track of the changes made to their project's source files. This ensures that they can always understand where the project is at and makes it easier to collaborate with other developers.

3. Code review - Another great feature of BitBucket is its code review functionality. This allows developers to have other people look over their code before it's submitted for publication. This helps to ensure that the code is correct and meets the standards set by the team.

4. Task management - BitBucket also features task management functionality, which allows developers to manage their tasks in a more organized way. This makes it easier to track progress and stay on track with your deadlines.

Github vs Gitlab vs Bitbucket

The following similarities and differences are going to be based on various functionalities across the platform.

PROPERTIES GITHUB GITLAB BITBUCKET
Free Private Repositories Provides free private repositories to its users Provides free private repositories to its users Provides free private repositories to its users
Free Public Repositories Provides free public repositories to its users Provides free  public repositories to its users Provides free public repositories to its users
Integrated CI functionality The integrated CI functionality is not provided by GitHub. One has to use a third party tool for this function The integrated CI functionality is provided by GitLab The integrated CI functionality is provided by BitBucket
Navigation usability The navigation usability is provided in the GitHub platform The navigation usability is provided in the GitLab platform BitBucket does not provide navigation usability
File storage GitHub has the capacity to store large files GitLab has the capacity to store large files Bitbucket has the capacity to store large files
Open source GitHub is also not an open-source platform. It provides limited features in the free version GitLab is an open-source platform.
Users can access all the features at zero-cost
Bitbucket is not an open-source. The platform provides some features, but is not wholly a open-source
Integration GitHub can be integrated with third party tools Gitlab can be integrated with third party tools BitBucket can be integrated with third party tools
Project Analytics GitHub does not have such feature GitLab allows the users to see the Project analysis and burndown chart BitBucket allows the users to see the Project analysis and burndown chart

Price Comparison

TYPE GITHUB GITLAB BITBUCKET
Free Unlimited public/private repositories, 2,000 automation minutes/month (Free for public repositories), 500MB of Packages storage (Free for public repositories), New Issues & Projects (beta), Community support Supports all DevOps stages, Own GitLab CI runners, Free static websites, 400 CI/CD minutes per month Provides free private repositories to its users
Premium Protected branches, Multiple reviewers in pull requests, Draft pull requests, Code owners, Required reviewers Pages, and Wikis, 3,000 automation minutes/month (Free for public repositories), 2GB of Packages storage (Free for public repositories), Web-based support Faster code reviews, Advanced CI/CD, Enterprise agile planning, release controls, Self managed reliability, 10,000 CI/CD minutes Provides free public repositories to its users
Enterprise Automatic security and version updates, SAML single sign-on, Advanced auditing, GitHub Connect, 50,000 automation minutes/month (Free for public repositories), 50GB of Packages storage (Free for public repositories) Advanced security testing, cloud-native security, Compliance, Portfolio management, value stream management, free guest users, 50,000 CI/CD minutes per month
The integrated CI functionality is provided by BitBucket

WHAT SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

Now that you have understood the platforms, lets see which one suits for you and your company.

If you are going to work only on open source projects, Github would be a good choice since one can upload their own projects and it also acts like an online portfolio. While GitLab can be used if you are an enterprise. It has free private and public repositories which doesn't restrict on the number of users. If you are someone who wants to host multiple repositories and work with many colleagues, then GitLab might be a good choice for you.

BitBucket is the most popular among many organizations because of its user interface. It also has mercurial support. If you are an organization and you want to host your project, BitBucket would be a great choice.

But honestly, this question has to be answered by you. It depends on your requirements, team size and your niche.

For eg. If your are a software company that deals with web development, you would need a good integration with a project management tool, bug reporting tool, text editor tool etc. Check if you can integrate your project management tool like Trello and your bug reporting tool like Disbug to your repository and then make a move.

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