Best source and version control repository systems

By Mark on Aug 7
Best cloud version control systems

So, what’s the big deal about version control?

Software development author Joel Spolsky, is widely respected in the developer community. The former Microsoft Program Manager for Excel and VB strategist, and co-founder of the Stack Overflow programmer Q&A website, described the distributed model of version control as "possibly the biggest advance in software development technology in the (past) ten years."

OK, so in the software development community, it’s a given that version control of source code is crucial, so at least that’s a high-level point on which they can agree.

As source code is the fruit of a lot our labor, it’s a highly valued asset. One key benefit of a Version Control System (VCS) is that it is a smart data loss prevention measure that lets us store our code securely in a safe place. What’s not to like?

Tools for source and version control just make sense!

But there’s more! In a team project, the source code may be the product of several programmers where any one of them may have the potential to make changes.

Code can degrade as small changes accumulate and have negative effects, or human error may be the cause of a catastrophic single event. With good source control we can experiment more easily with new features without the risk of fatally harming our programs and reducing them to the binary equivalent of a train wreck.

In any software development project, change may introduce new bugs. Essentially, you cannot trust new software until it's tested. Testing and development have to happen alongside each other until the new version is ready.

VCS tracks each change by every team member and stops people from inadvertently working against each other. Sometimes, changes made in one part of the coding project might be in conflict with those made concurrently by someone else. VCS enables such issues to be discovered and solved without delaying or otherwise impacting the work of the other team members.

Something that is also pretty good from the perspective of agile and Kanban is that well thought out version control software doesn’t force developers to work in a specific way and they can follow a workflow that suits them.

Best software for version control

Because of all the benefits of eliminating the cost, complexity and effort of local VCS servers, of course, putting VCS in the cloud is a no-brainer.

However, code jockeys tend not to agree on much. Android or iOS… Windows or OSX…? So, when it comes to VCS it’s a dead cert there are different ideas on fundamentals on models like Distributed Version Control System (DVCS) or Centralized Version Control System (CVCS)?

It follows that the topic of what is the best VCS creates a considerable debate. So, we’re not going to give you a categorical and definitive answer on which one is best. Here, we’re simply going to suggest some that are ‘up there’ with the best…

GitHub

Github screenshot

GitHub is a good platform for sharing code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. Over two million people are using GitHub to build amazing things together.

It’s software that enables development teams to collaborate, and review and manage code. GitHub works with Windows, Mac and mobile devices. Pull requests are fundamental to how teams review and improve code on GitHub. Evolve projects, propose new features, and discuss implementation details before changing your source code.

This VCS platform brings teams together to work through problems, move ideas forward, and learn from each other along the way. There are significant opportunities to integrate with other favored platforms, including Breeze.

In a Breeze project, open the projects settings window and click on the "Link GitHub repos" button. You authenticate on the GitHub page and then you'll be redirected back to Breeze.

Pros
  • Provides collaboration features such as read me, wikis, issue tracking, pull requests
  • Compare two branches or two commits called pull request
Cons
  • There are costs for having a versioning repository on GitHub
  • The subscription may seem be slightly pricy to small developers
Price from free for opensource, $7.00 month for private repos

Bitbucket

Bitbucket screenshot

Bitbucket is a VCS tool for professional teams from Atlassian. You can review, manage, and collaborate around your code. It lets you store all of your Git and Mercurial source code in one place with unlimited private repositories. Includes issue tracking, wiki, and pull requests.

Bitbucket is more than just Git code management, it gives teams one place to plan projects, collaborate on code, test and deploy. Of course, Bitbucket integrates with Breeze, providing a clear process to configure a POST webhook to receive commit messages.

Free for small teams of less than 5 users and unlimited private repositories. Enables continuous delivery – you can build, test and deploy with integrated CI/CD and benefit from configuration as code and fast feedback loops.

Pros
  • Clean, user friendly interface
  • Easily accessible links with tutorials and tricks to get started
Cons
  • For very large teams the costs rise very fast
  • Encryption key set up is a little trick at the start because of a very busy UI
Price from $2.00 month

Beanstalk

Beanstalk screenshot

Beanstalk is designed to remove the hassle from hosting code and managing deployments. It lets teams focus on writing software instead. Since 2007 over 100,000 companies both large and small have used Beanstalk to improve their development process.

Beanstalk is intended to give you a complete workflow to write, review & deploy code. Once you've deployed, Beanstalk can integrate with and update your favorite group chat tools, or you can build your own with modular webhooks.

Once again, if Beanstalk is a favored VCS, Breeze integrates by providing a clear process to configure a POST webhook to receive commit messages.

Pros
  • Browser-based editing with the need for a local client app
  • Full control of repository and branch level permissions for both individuals and teams
Cons
  • Code review feature is seen as fairly basic and cumbersome by some
  • You are not always able to customize deployments to your liking
Price from $15.00 month

Gitlab

Gitlab screenshot

Gitlab is a web-based Git-repository manager with wiki and issue-tracking features and it claims to be the first single application for all stages of the DevOps lifecycle.

GitLab enables Concurrent DevOps, releasing organizations from the constraints of the toolchain. GitLab provides unmatched visibility, higher levels of efficiency, and comprehensive governance. This makes the software lifecycle 3 times faster, radically improving the speed of business.

Primary features of GitLab are Git repository management, code review, issue tracking, activity feeds and audit logs. If you want to use GitLab with Breeze as your favorite Project Management tool, you can just enable the integration under project settings.

Pros
  • Simple messenger that can be accessed from almost any device
  • Use it for business and personal tasks and properly organize each day
Cons
  • Ticket search engine is unsatisfactory
  • Frequent, large updates and unnecessary UI tweaks take time to get used to
Price from $4.00 month Comments
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