Google is shutting down Google Code, their hosting service for open source projects and coding initiatives. If you haven’t already migrated your projects to another service, now’s a good time. 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 their 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 they shut the door to new projects at Google Code, and will make all projects currently hosted there read-only on August 24th, 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 25th, 2016, the service will shut down entirely, and 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, obviously, 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 availablestarting ata few dollars per month. Github has the ability to both function as an independent development resource, where individual devs build their projects, share with the community, who then all pull their work, tweak it, update it, and then contribute their own finished projects back to the community at large, or as a centralized dev tool, where a business or team manages a specific repository with check-in/checkout features, revision history, logged changes, issue tracking, and more.
Google mentioned GitHub by name in their Google Code shutdown announcement, and evenhas 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 as well, which can help you get started and familiar with GitHub’s best features. There are also plenty of shortcuts and commands to learn that’ll 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 (or most, arguably) have to do with the Windows ecosystem, 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 features like version control, a built-in Wiki for support and FAQs, issue tracking, project homepages, and more.
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, without much fuss.
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 or letting other developers have a hand at them. When you are, the service is free for up to five users on the same team, and plans go up from there. If you haven’t noticed, BitBucket is generally meant for people looking to work on their projects as a team—businesses, startups, and other organizations. It’s not exactly 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. It also features rich integration with Jira, so your issue-tracking features are taken care of in that regard.
Launchpad is Canonical’s (the team behind Ubuntu) software collaboration platform. Launchpad is the home of Unity, Docky, and some other popular Linux utilities you’ve probably heard us mention in the past. The majority of the projects hosted at Launchpad are developed by and built for the Linux community, but that doesn’t mean yours has to be exclusive to it—although it certainly helps, since 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, issue tracking, and more, all for free, and all with a distinct focus on open-source, community-built software. Best of all, it’s completely free to use.
SourceForge is tough to recommend, but no list of Google Code alternatives would be complete without it. It’s 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 world-class 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 their own guide and code importer to smooth over the bumps.
Others to Consider
These may be some of the big players in the arena, but they’re by far the only options if you’re looking for an alternative to Google Code, or if you just want an alternative to some of the options above. Here are a few others we think you should check out:
- GitLab: If you’re interested in running your own code repo, GitLab lets you do it. Licenses are pricey though, so be ready to open your wallet for a premium plan or license. They’ll host your own private repos on their servers though for free (like other web services here), if that’s all you’re looking for. They’re serious about their claim to bebetter than GitHub, though.
- CodeBase: Codebase is another business-focused service. They have a 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 their 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, many of which are tailored for a specific set of needs for a specific type of developer. These are some choices, but they’re not the only ones out there. 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 tons of choices, both free and paid—and there’s bound to be one perfect for your project.
Title image made using Hitcom and geralt. Additional photo