Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Is this a SourceForge Killer?

I doubt that the Google Code Projects Hosting will compete with SourceForge anytime soon but it does put Google one step closer to being the next SkyNet. I've been hosting one of my recent open source projects there and been quite pleased. Here are a few features of note:

  • It's FREE! (So is SourceForge by the way)
  • Provides a Subversion Repository with a really slick online browser. Check it out here.
  • Most of the interface is a just a frontend to a smart wiki. So you can use wiki code just about anywhere.
  • You can add users into different roles.
  • The Issue Tracker is relatively complete and fairly customizable since it's a highly specialized wiki. It allows you to assign tasks and track the workflow in your own way.
  • Plain old Wiki. For all your other needs there is a fairly robust wiki.
  • Package Download system allows you to upload your latest builds, documentation or whatever.
  • 100MB of storage for your source (you can request more).
  • Google account logins are used. As a matter of fact an Google Account login can be used.
  • Limited customization of the look and feel.
What has impressed me the most is it's barebones nature. No banner ads poping out. Searching is fast. Most of all, it seems to be growing in features. When I first started my project they had no source browser available. Now it has one of the best SVN browsers I have seen (FishEye would be better). I also feel like they are driven by user's needs. If enough people request a feature then they just build it in!

Finally, I really think that Google's approach to software development is very Agile. They always build the simplest thing that could possibly work and then add new features as users ask for them. We could learn a lot from this approach.

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