Judging the health of BitBucket, GitHub, etc.

At my new job, we’re selecting a hosted “revision control + wiki + issue tracker + document repository” service.

My first recommendation was Bitbucket. I’ve used it for a while, and have always been satisfied. (I even have a paying account plan!) But after a day of use, we bumped into odd problems. Like, Windows users couldn’t upload documents, and errors when we used HTTP Secure protocol. And then I found many issues in Bitbucket’s issue tracker (i.e., issues about Bitbucket) that were (open && non-trivial && had no activity for many weeks).

How do we confidently assess the health of a hosted service? Large enterprises can meet the other company’s management and get privileged information about its finances, staffing, etc. But individuals or start-ups getting at that kind of information is impossible, or at least will need way more back-and-forth e-mails than they have time for.

The only reasonable way is to ask friends for their opinions, and search for anecdotal evidence about whether the service’s “slope” is negative or positive. You’ve got to look for grumbles, gripes, and unanswered (or insufficiently answered) questions. From that, and poking around the service’s own site, you come up with a health assessment. All of which is imprecise, sometimes wrong, and can be a little challenging. In the end you’re reading between many lines, and giving online sources your personal sniff test. Real business decisions are based on many indirect and vague indicators.

Rightly or wrongly, my partially informed, best-guess-on-the-available-data opinion is that Bitbucket’s development isn’t as healthy or vibrant as that of GitHub or other services. So we’re now looking for an alternative. CodebaseHQ looks very good. I just need to get a sense of how healthy it is! If you have any opinions about CodebaseHQ, please share them. There’s quite a bit of “Bitbucket vs. Github” commentary on the web, but not much about CodebaseHQ.

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4 thoughts on “Judging the health of BitBucket, GitHub, etc.

  1. John,

    Thanks for the feedback. We haven’t been (as) good at keeping people up to date on what we’re doing, and I feel bad about that. What kind of information would you like to see more of?

    We are quite active, although much of our time has gone into keeping the site stable as of late.

  2. You might also look at http://firefly.activestate.com/. Basically, hosted trac. Only did a brief review myself – trac plugins setup, comfortable if you already know it.

    Github is offering scn write compatibility now too. Probably what I’d consider the leader in the hosted space. They know it too – highest cost.

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