GitHub vs GitLab vs Bitbucket: which is the best way to run a virtual workplace development project?
Repository management services are undeniably crucial to speed up your team’s efficiency and prevent errors. First, nowadays, it’s impossible to perform high-quality remote work without a version control repository manager. These are necessary for remote developers to see, edit, update their code while tracking edits and feedback from others. Second, each offers features such as pull request, issue tracking, two-factor authentications, the ability to fork or clone repositories, and more.
GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket are the most popular repository management services. Here are their benefits and differences and why they are fundamental for any dev project.
What is Git?
By definition, Git is a ‘free and open-source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to extensive projects with speed and efficiency.’
Before Git was created, developers used to submit their scripts to central servers without keeping a copy of their code. As a result, developers couldn’t see if changes were made to their source code. And, more importantly, they had no chance to communicate with others.
In 2005, the first Git version control system was introduced to track changes in computer files and source code. In addition, the distributed version control tool allows dev teams to work together on several parallel branches. In short, it makes possible an interactive collaboration between developers working in distributed teams.
- Here are the core Git’s features:
- History track
- Free and open source
- Non-linear development and virtual collaboration
- Backups building
- Scalable applications
- Easier Branching
Services using Git can support your development team while creating and running software projects for your company. Let’s have a look at the three most popular ones and which one is best for your business:
Github vs Gitlab vs Bitbucket: Functionalities & Features
Since 2008, GitHub has been the most extensive code hosting service. Developers can store and manage their script tracking and controlling changes. Its peculiarity is repository branching and forking, pull/merge requests, and codebase cloning. Having wiki support, GitHub is the fastest platform to make and share documents in several text formats. It allows developers to quickly upload files to remote repositories and receive immediate notifications from contributors.
GitHub Additional Functionalities:
- Tracker to detect issues in the codebase and alert collaborators.
- Issue boards supporting Kanban and Scrum to allow structuring tasks.
- Epics to track team’s processes.
- Roadmaps to plan remote team projects.
- Estimation of effort points for each issue and shared details with collaborators.
- Synchronization merged versions, GitHub issues, and pull requests.
- Desktop applications for Windows, Mac, and mobile app for Android.
- Support 200+ programming languages
- Integrations with Asana, AWS, Windows Azure, Google Cloud, Code Climate.
- Syntax highlighting (isn’t present in BitBucket)
- Dynamic open-source communities
Source: GitHub Desktop Guide
On the platform interface, you can find:
- Attribute commits with collaborators easily: On their desk, you can add co-authors to your project. Excellent for pair programming, GitHub desktop is meant for project collaboration.
- Checkout branches with pull requests and view CI statuses: You can see open pull requests for repositories and monitor them like a local branch.
- Syntax highlighted diffs: The new GitHub Desktop highlights when viewing defer for a variety of languages.
Following the increased adoption of CI/CD and DevOps, GitLab grew in popularity.
Launched in 2011, GitLab is the most popular alternative to available repository management solutions. Unlike GitHub, it provides free private repositories, and a free open source GitLab Community Edition.
GitLab Additional Functionalities:
- Subgroups, compliance management, and audit events to restrict access and view the compliance status of each participant.
- Track code issues with built-in task lists, description templates, and issue management panels.
- Files exchange, threads, track changes, labels to prioritize discussions, set goals, and finalize iterations.
- Source code management for branching, merging, file locking, and reporting.
- Continuous integration of free CI tools like parent-child pipelines, horizontal autoscaling, visualization of HTML artifacts and protected variables, etc.
- Package building PHP, Node.js, Java, and others.
- Security scans and testing.
- Configuration and DevOps.
GitLab has an interactive interface and functionality, with extensive DevOps and CI/CD free functionality. On their dashboard, you can find:
- Filename and path filter for advanced code search: Your dev team can easily find specific bits of code with new advanced search syntax options, like filename, file path, and even file extension.
- Container Scanning and DAST pipeline reports: Security reports are essential throughout the whole development process. However, vulnerabilities can appear at any time. So, this feature allows developers to know the security status for a specific branch.
- Merge request widget info and pipeline sections redesign: Merge requests and the merge request widget are GitLab’s pillars.
- Group dropdown in navigation: GitLab allows users to switch between users without disrupting the workflow easily.
- View merge request description in the Web IDE: You can track and refer to the merge request description for any change.
- GitLab subgroups in the JIRA Development panel: You can access the JIRA Development panel integration using JIRA. It allows JIRA users to view GitLab merge requests, branches and work on issues. Finally, you can configure the integration by pointing a JIRA instance to a GitLab top-level group.
Initially, BitBucket was designed for Mercurian version control. Now, the platform started to support Git, becoming part of the Atlassian ecosystem. So, it allows hosting code on private and public unlimited repositories. Users can create unlimited repositories if no more than 5 users use them. As a result, developers can monitor activity in Jira, measure productivity, and connect to collaborative repositories.
BitBucket Additional Functionalities:
- Pipelines CI/CD service displays and tracks the whole development life cycle of the product.
- Branch permissions with limited access to a repository.
- Integrations with Slack, Bamboo, Jenkins, HipChat, Crucible, and other tools.
- Available for Mac, Windows, and the Android app Bit Beaker.
- BitBucket Snippets allows creating snippets for the codebase.
- Documentation and wiki;
- Search panel for codebase navigation.
- Several add-ons on the Atlassian marketplace.
- Build quality software with code review: Their dashboard allows a more efficient system to approve pull requests and create a checklist and private discussions.
- Deploy often with built-in continuous delivery: Bitbucket Pipelines with Deployments allow building, testing, and developing with integrated CI/CD.
- Build secure software from the start: You can have real-time visibility for each security issue in code scripts and containers, identify vulnerability fixes and monitor risks post-deployment.
Growth Github vs Gitlab vs Bitbucket in 2021
Following Google Trends analysis, the competition GitHub vs GitLab vs BitBucket is still open.
As you can see in the graph below, GitHub is still the most used platform. GitLab is slowly growing in its niche. And BitBucket is the least popular.
- With 40 million users, GitHub is the biggest code repository for either private organizations and open-source collaboration. Because of its popularity, most people confuse Git and GitHub. To specify once for all, Git is a system to store and track code changes in real-time. On the other hand, GitHub is a software technology using Git, among other things protecting hosting services. Going back to GitHub, Microsoft/vscode is the most popular GitHub open source project, with over 19.100 contributors. It hosts leading open-source tools such as Flutter, Microsoft’s VS Code, Azure Docs, Facebook’s React Native, Tensor Flow, Kubernetes, etc.
- According to GitLab’s case studies page, companies like Drupal, Ticketmaster, BI Worldwide, and other enterprises use this tool to manage their development projects. Instead of significant business projects, GitLab mainly works with scientific initiatives and NGOs. While there aren’t official stats on their users, around 200,000 – 500,000 organizations and developers rely on this service.
- BitBucket‘s popularity is growing thanks to Jira. Companies like Slack, Accenture, Figma, Paypal use it even though the open-source community isn’t so vast. Indeed, typical BitBucket clients come from the Atlassian ecosystem rather than not open-source communities. According to their press release, the platform reached 10 million developers last year.
Prices: Github vs Gitlab vs Bitbucket
Like everything in the world, great features and functionalities don’t come for free. For example, one of the biggest deterrents in using GitHub is its cost. So, based on the scale of your company and budget, GitLab and Bitbucket can be a valuable option.
Let’s have a look at the subscription process for each of them:
To note, Bitbucket’s build minutes are for Bitbucket Pipelines, and File storage is for Git Large File Storage – both shared among all users on an account.
As the graph shows, the prices vary significantly between services and their features. With a large number of remote developers, Bitbucket is the most economical plan. If you have a smaller team, GitLab might be best as it doesn’t require a minimum number of users for its mid-sized project. When you work with a single person developing remotely for you, GitLab would be the most affordable option.
Most remote teams host their info in the cloud. For this reason, the prices refer to cloud repositories hosted instead of server repositories.
For more information on the features at each price point, including cloud and self-hosting, visit their website: GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket.
Github vs Gitlab vs Bitbucket: A Comparison For Remote Teams
After this overview of each repository management service, we can analyze which one is the best for your project:
First, let’s talk about Bitbucket. Unless you want to integrate many Atlassian products with your version control repository, you should look at GitHub or GitLab. Bitbucket and GitLab have a similar price range, but the first has mixed reviews about its UI. Some users say it’s very unintuitive. On the flip side, others claim they love the layout and can access and manage all projects, whether personal or professional, from one screen.
Generally speaking, the main advantage of BitBucket is the simplicity of the management project. Both business owners and project managers save time viewing repository files directly in Jira. Also, BitBucket makes good use of Jira features, including reporting and communication.
Second, let’s take a look at the most popular option, GitHub. Probably most developers already know it. For remote teams, features like sharing code snippets (called Gists in GitHub), editing files directly from the browser, powerful searching, or LDAP and JIRA integration make this platform the best option. Plus, it provides Syntax highlighting – which isn’t present in BitBucket despite its more versatile functionality.
Third, GitLab is a great option and has almost the same features as GitHub’s. However, the latter charges for private repositories, and BitBucket is restricted to 5 users. Unlike these two, GitLab is free. For example, working with Digital Ocean, GitLab is the most efficient solution to host 1000 repositories and 100 distributed team members. As open-source, it provides integrations and features written by other developers speeding up the development process. Finally, you can install almost any combination of hardware, OS, and CM, including cloud providers, virtual machines (VMs), onto a server directly, and more.
To sum up:
When it comes to organizing remote teams, ButBucked is the most recommended. Essentially, if you use or would like to use Atlassian products, choose Bitbucket. With a good budget and the confort of a popular platform, GitHub is the one. And when budget is a concern, GitLab gives you excellent functionality with affordable plans.
We’ve gone over the most critical details. However, the best choice doesn’t depend only on the platform and budget. It also starts with your team structure. These tools help your dev team organize tasks and stay on track with their work. So, before making your choice, don’t forget to arrange a meeting with those that will use them for your project.
Do you still feel overwhelmed and unsure which option is best for you because you haven’t hired your IT team yet? Reach out to us to find you the remote developers and experts to help make your decision even simpler.