Google announced last week that it was shutting down Google Code, its hosting service for open source projects and coding initiatives. If you haven’t already migrated your projects to another service, you’ll need to do so. Here are a few alternatives that can get you up and running quickly.
Google Code was never the most popular service out there, but that it was still good. Initially launched in 2006, thousands of projects called it home. Google Code offered developers a robust and reliable hosting option for their projects — especially for open-source initiatives.
Over the years, however, Google says that many developers moved away from Google Code to other services, like GitHub. As a result, last week it shut the door to new projects at Google Code, and will make all projects currently hosted there read-only on 24 August 2015. After that, you’ll still be able to download, checkout, view source and browse documentation, but you won’t be able to change or upload anything. Then, on January 25 2016, the service will shut down entirely, though you’ll be able to download a tarball of your projects and data for the rest of the year.
If you have a project hosted at Google Code, now’s a good time to go ahead and migrate, before you’re up against a time crunch to do it. Here are some options worth checking out:
GitHub is the juggernaut in this arena, and the web’s most popular code repository. For basic users, it’s completely free. If you’re looking for professional features, or the option to build a portfolio of development projects there are premium plans available starting at a few dollars per month. Github has the ability to both function as an independent development resource, where individual developers build projects and then share with a broader community which can make modifications, or as a centralised commercial development tool, where a team manages a specific repository.
Google highlighted GitHub in its Google Code shutdown announcement, and has a handy export tool and an export guide to make moving your code easy. We have a how-to guide to get you started if you’re an aspiring developer, which can help you get started and familiar with GitHub’s best features. There are also plenty of shortcuts and commands to learn that will save you time in the long run.
CodePlex is Microsoft’s open-source project hosting site. It too is host to thousands of popular projects, and while many are Windows-based, that doesn’t mean that your mobile app or cross-platform project isn’t welcome. Accounts are free, and you can build in any language for any platform you choose. If you’re just looking to get involved, CodePlex also makes it easy to find projects that could use assistance, or development teams that have issues they’re working with the community to resolve, so it’s easy to jump in and find something to work on, or a project to contribute to. Like any good code repository, CodePlex offers version control, a built-in Wiki for support and FAQs, issue tracking and project homepages.
BitBucket is another huge code repository that’s home to thousands of projects and developers. Built by Atlassian (the same company behind the issue tracking software Jira and chat service HipChat), BitBucket is another option that’s so popular that Google has a migration guide and tool that you can use to move your projects quickly.
BitBucket accounts are free, and you get unlimited private code repositories, so you have plenty of room to build your projects, fork them, update them, and let them branch out and grow into other things — as long as you don’t plan on sharing them. The service is free for up to five users on the same team, and plans go up from there. BitBucket is generally meant for people looking to work on their projects as a team — businesses, startups, and other organisations. It’s not the ideal tool for the indie dev looking to jump into the open source or coding community and try to get involved, but it’s great for a small group of people looking to build a new site, web service, or mobile app and want to be able to communicate and work together.
Launchpad is the software collaboration platform from Canonical (the team behind Ubuntu). Launchpad is the home of Unity, Docky, and many other popular Linux utilities. While it’s not a requirement, the majority of the projects hosted at Launchpad are developed by and built for the Linux community, and Launchpad has built-in tools to make rolling your code up for installation on Ubuntu and other Linux systems super-easy. The platform supports code reviews, community translations and pull/push requests and issue tracking.
SourceForge is tough to recommend, but no list of Google Code alternatives would be complete without it. It has fallen from grace in a big way — the site was all but abandoned by its owners and admin staff for years, operated by a group of volunteers and admins who worked on it for the love of it — but it still wound up becoming home to “projects” that were laden with malware, or worse. Then users discovered Sourceforge started bundling downloads with adware in all of its installers.
Even so, SourceForge is still one of the web’s most popular code repositories, and it offers solid code management, issue-tracking, versioning and collaboration tools. There are plenty of massively popular projects that still call the site home (as one glance at the front page will tell you.) Google has a guide for migrating to SourceForge, and SourceForge has its own guide and code importer to smooth over the bumps.
Others To Consider
These are the biggest players in the arena, but they’re not the only options if you’re looking for an alternative to Google Code. Here are a few others to check out:
- GitLab: If you’re interested in running your own code repo, GitLab lets you do it. Licences are pricey though, so be ready to open your wallet for a premium plan.
- CodeBase: Codebase is another business-focused service. It offers free account that limits you to one project, but that one project comes with great code management tools and robust project management tools as well. It’s designed to get you hooked and bring you back to paid plans for your future dev projects.
- Beanstalk: Simple and elegant Git and Subversion hosting that supports deployments to your own servers or other web environments like AWS, DreamObjects, Rackspace, Heroku and others. Ideal for web developers, and less for software builders looking to join a community. Pricing is reasonable, too.
The loss of Google Code stings, but if there’s one thing you can count on the global dev community to offer, it’s options and alternatives. Most people will probably just move from Google Code to GitHub or SourceForge, given their popularity, but you don’t have to feel locked in to just those services either. There are lots of choices, both free and paid — and there’s bound to be one perfect for your project.