BitBucket vs GitHub — The Complete Review

BitBucket vs GitHub — The Complete Review
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Written by Debarghya DasNovember 24, 2021
25 min read
DevOps
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Debarghya Das

Junior Front-End Developer

I’ve created this “BitBucket vs GitHub” content piece to help you make a better decision when picking up between the two.

About Bitbucket

Bitbucket supports Git, but the situation has changed when it comes to other repository types. Bitbucket’s advantage over GitHub used to be that both Git and Mercurial repository hosting were available with Bitbucket. There was never support for SVN, however, Bitbucket’s modernization has come at the expense of support for Mercurial. Bitbucket is written in Python and uses the Django web framework.

Bitbucket was launched in 2008, in Australia, and was originally an independent startup offering hosting only for Mercurial projects. It was acquired in 2010 by fellow Australian company Atlassian, and about a year later added support for Git repositories.

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Bitbucket's Features:

Bitbucket incorporates very well with JIRA, initially worked as a bug tracker, yet is so adaptable now it tends to be utilized for: bug tracking, issue tracking, service desks, and project management. This is nothing unexpected given that JIRA is additionally an Atlassian item. Different features are:

  • Pull requests and code reviews
  • Unlimited private repos
  • Branch comparison and commit history
  • Bitbucket Mac and Windows client called SourceTree; Android app called BitBeaker
  • Bitbucket for Enterprises, called Stash
  • Integration with tools like Jira, Crucible, Bamboo, Jenkins, HipChat
  • Deep integration with Trello, via their Bitbucket Cloud capability which offers seamless integration of branches, commits, and pull requests into Trello boards.
  • Branch permissions. Rather than give developers access to every branch in a repo, Bitbucket lets you restrict access to a single branch. This prevents nightmare situations such as an accidental master push, and is a key differentiator for Bitbucket.
  • Built-in continuous delivery, issue tracking and wikis.
  • Easy integration with Bamboo and Confluence in addition to Atlassian's own Jira Software Cloud for additional setup customization and hosting.
  • Bitbucket Snippets allow you to create and manage multi-file snippets of all kinds.
  • Third-party integrations allow you to integrate Bitbucket into several facets of your existing workflow, making the complete development process much more efficient.
  • Bitbucket supports Git Large File Storage (LFS) which means shorter clone and fetch times for those working with large files.

Bitbucket's Pricing

You can use BitBucket for free with up to 5 team members on board. With that plan, you also get unlimited and free private git repositories. You just need to apply for a community license and adhere to Atlassian’s open-source guidelines.

However, BitBucket Standard and Premium pricing plans come at significantly lower prices compared to GitHub, respectively $3/user/month and $6/user/month.

About GitHub

First of all, GitHub only hosts projects that use the Git version control system (VCS). That’s it. Nothing else. But Git is far and away the most commonly used VCS, so GitHub is still the largest code host of them all, with now over 100 million repositories of code.

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GitHub's Features:

GitHub.com was originally started in 2008, with the platform written in both Ruby and Erlang. GitHub is designed to encourage close communication and collaboration within development teams. To this end it includes features like highlighted code comments and collaborative code review. Other notable features are listed below:

  • An integrated issue tracker right within your project
  • Milestones and labels within projects
  • Branch comparison views
  • Native applications for Windows and Mac desktops, and also an Android app
  • Support for over 200 programming languages and data formats
  • GitHub pages, a feature for publishing and hosting within GitHub
  • Security such as use of SSL, SSH and/or https for all data transmission, and two-factor authentication for login
  • API integration for easy integration of 3rd-party tools, and integration with a large number of other tools and platforms. Some examples are Asana and Zendesk for issue/ bug tracking; CloudBees, Travis and CodeClimate for Continuous Integration (CI); AWS, Windows Azure, Google Cloud, and Heroku cloud hosting.
  • The GitHub guys also recognize that SVN is also a widely used alternative to Git, so they provide a tool to import SVN repos into Git and host them on GitHub, although reports are that it’s at best a clunky, somewhat awkward solution. And they shrewdly made sure that GitHub repos are fully accessible on the SVN client.
  • Syntax highlighting. GitHub users will be used to this as a standard, indispensable feature, but Bitbucket notably continues to lack it.
  • High level of usage in open source projects. Given that GitHub has a large number of public repositories, this is hardly surprising. Supporting trending repos and showcasing popular topics has helped GitHub become the defacto choice for the open-source community. Major open-source projects like Linux, jQuery are hosted on GitHub.

GitHub's Pricing

Is on another hand, Github also brings unlimited private and public repositories to the table. Still, it allows you to bring an unlimited number of users on board as well.

GitHub Team and Enterprise pricing plans are respectively priced at $4/user/month and $21/user/month. With these plans, you also get access to GitHub’s premium support.

BitBucket vs GitHub: UX and Ease of Use

The widespread use of GitHub by small developers for hosting their code has resulted in a well-tested platform that has one of the best user experience in the open-source community. Bitbucket, which did not start out with such a heavy focus on open source, and saw lower usage, has struggled at times with an interface that was seen as more complex to navigate than what GitHub offers. In recent times, though, this has changed. Bitbucket now draws rave reviews for its user experience. Its online editor is among the best for editing code directly online without checking it out onto your machine first. While not being the simplest platform to use, it’s powerful and versatile, with plenty of features to support the needs of small businesses and enterprises who have long been heavy users of the platform. The Bitbucket interface is centered around the “Your Work Dashboard,” which gives you easy access to your repositories and pull requests. Bitbucket offers a fully-fledged Git interface and supports everything from filtering pull requests to issue tracking, management of SSH keys, and other features.

GitHub has a basic interface that is friendly even for beginners to Git and online source code hosting. The stage has for some time been open-source agreeable and packs a UI that gives admittance to Git's basic elements just as giving its very own portion. That said, there are scenarios where you will still need to know how to use Git at the command line, especially if you are managing large open source projects with complex merging requirements.

GitHub lets you easily see and review commits by collaborators, with online diff features, so you can manage code at a granular level. The interface also offers excellent support for collaborative code review, highly useful for working in teams, tracking, and management of tasks, as well as DevOps features like CI/CD. Through its other tools such as GitHub Desktop, GitHub lets you expand the range of features you can use for managing your Git code collaboration still further.

Bitbucket vs GitHub: Developer Adoption

Developer adoption and community reach are one region where Bitbucket and GitHub have encountered separating fortunes. Coming up short on the prevailing situation in open source that GitHub has since quite a while ago appreciated, Bitbucket keeps on playing the supportive role to GitHub as far as the quantity of clients. Nonetheless, its local area has recorded amazing development throughout the most recent quite a long while.

Bitbucket now boasts more than 10 million registered users, which, while not enough to supplant GitHub, which has been growing for its part as well, makes Bitbucket firmly one of the leaders in the online Git code hosting marketplace. Since the company’s founding in 2008, its commitment to help companies write code, test software, and collaborate, has seen it grow to a level where it can claim that 60 of the Fortune 100 corporations use Bitbucket every single day. While it might have a smaller community than GitHub, Bitbucket is also notable for its plethora of integrations, which means its community can access tools like Slack, AWS, Datadog, and JFrog just as well as those developers using GitHub.

GitHub’s community is far more impressive, especially when it comes to its reputation in the open-source community. To be a credible open source project or open-source developer, it’s almost a de facto standard that your code must be hosted and publicly available on GitHub. GitHub’s user base now consists of over 40 million registered users, with over 100 million Git repositories hosted on the platform. GitHub’s community is active in 200 countries and is a significant driver in the platform’s preeminence in the tech world. This sizable community also drives business value and might have been a factor in Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub for $7.5 billion back in 2018. While Microsoft and the open-source world had long been at odds, the partnership between GitHub and Microsoft does give GitHub new-found credibility with enterprise customers, and Microsoft new-found credibility with open source developers and software users. Needless to say, the GitHub community, which already counts a good share of Fortune 50 and Fortune 100 companies, could continue to grow by leaps and bounds in the years ahead.

GitHub vs Bitbucket: Wikis and Collaboration

Every BitBucket repository comes with a wiki. You simply enable it and have full control over it. Having a wiki for your projects can be unbelievably helpful as you can use it as notes or public docs.

You also get wikis to your GitHub repositories but only when subscribing to the following plans — GitHub Free (for public repositories) and GitHub Pro, GitHub Team, GitHub Enterprise Cloud and Server (for private and public repositories).

GitHub also offers a plethora of collaboration features, with its history of facilitating very large open-source projects bearing testimony to the robustness of tools supporting collaboration on the platform. To name a few, some of the projects with the most influential collaborator networks and highest numbers of contributors include:

  • Node.js
  • Rust
  • Ansible
  • TensorFlow
  • React Native
  • Kubernetes
  • Apache Spark
  • Visual Studio Code

The GitHub workflow, with simple cloning, repository forking, branching, pull requests, merging, diffs, and more, makes this one of the best platforms for teams looking to work on code together, whether open source or not. GitHub also comes with support for wikis to document your project and share information with your team. Wikis are available for GitHub Free, GitHub Enterprise Cloud, and GitHub Enterprise Server. Wikis can be written in Markdown or other supported formats. Just as with source code, wikis are visible publicly for public repos, and limited to team members for private projects.

BitBucket vs GitHub: Integrations

One of the main selling points of Atlassian’s BitBucket is that it integrates flawlessly with the rest of the tools in Atlassian’s suite of developer tools. Many enterprise companies using JIRA use BitBucket as well as it allows development teams to manage projects effortlessly without any hassle.

BitBucket boasts tons of integrations but the most valuable seems to be the integrations with JIRA and Trello. JIRA for issue tracking and Trello for project management. Both tools are world-renowned and used by millions of organizations. Here are other great integrations BitBucket comes with:

  • Amazon Web Services.
  • Microsoft Azure.
  • Docker Hub.
  • NPM.
  • Sonar.
  • And many more.

BitBucket also allows you to import repos from Git, CodePlex, Google Code, HG, SourceForge, and SVN while GitHub is limited only to Git, SVN, HG, and TFS.

Nonetheless, GitHub also comes with JIRA and Trello integrations. In fact, in 2018, GitHub came out with a statement announcing that it has been working closely with JIRA to create an integration allowing you to connect your repository code to JIRA Software Cloud.

What’s more, the GitHub Trello integration allows you to link GitHub pull requests inside your Trello cards. GitHub also boasts tons of other integrations with Slack, Codefresh, Semaphore, LogRocket, and Waydev, to name a few.

However, GitHub as a stand-alone product doesn’t offer the unifying compatibility of a product suite that Atlassian offers along with its amazing products like JIRA, BitBucket, Confluence, and more. Therefore, you’ll have to familiarize yourself with new 3rd-party apps every time you integrate.

Alternatives to Bitbucket and GitHub

They may be the most visible and reputable Git hosting platforms available to developers today, but the popularity of Bitbucket and GitHub does not mean they are the only viable platforms available to you. Some low key longtime players have always been chugging along in the background and may receive more attention now that Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub, and other changes, have at least a small number of open-source developers asking questions.

Gitlab

Since its appearance on the scene in 2011, GitLab has become a notable competitor to both GitHub and Bitbucket. Over the years, it has gone from offering source code management to a full DevOps lifecycle product. To quote the company’s own web page, From project planning and source code management to CI/CD and monitoring, GitLab is a complete DevOps platform, delivered as a single application.

LaunchPad

LaunchPad is the software collaboration management platform used by Canonical, makers of the Ubuntu Linux distro and related software. Canonical is one of the big names in the open-source movement and its software management platform, with support for both Git and Bazaar, will be a great solution if you are working on open source code.

SourceForge

Another notable platform in the open-source world, SourceForge allows open source developers to host their code and distribute their software and downloads through the platform. It also has tools to import GitHub repositories along with related data such as wikis.

Others

There are many other Git source code management and collaboration platforms that your team can use to develop software. Some notable ones to look at are Google Cloud Source Repositories and AWS CodeCommit. These tools also integrate well into cloud computing resources offered by their respective providers, Google and Amazon.

Google Cloud Source Repositories

Google Cloud Source Repositories offer a 12-month free trial with a limit of 5 users and 50 GB of storage. You, alongside your team, can test the platform without risking a penny to see if it’s the right fit for you.

Yet, the trial period can be a bit limited in regards to features, you may not be able to fully examine each feature that Google offers. Nevertheless, you can upgrade your plan easily. If you want to check more about Google Cloud Source Repositories’ free plan limits, do it here.

Google has ensured that its repository platform can handle your entire DevOps cycle and that’s why it has a built-in CI/CD framework to accelerate your development process. You can set up automated triggers for testing your code as well.

AWS CodeCommit

AWS CodeCommit is another source code platform quite similar to Google Cloud Source Repositories that comes with a free tier plan as well. All you have to do is adhere to the free-plan limits as mentioned here. You can bring 5 users onboard and get 50 GB of storage. Adding extra users comes at $1 per user.

What’s more, you can pretty much get access to unlimited repos. You’ll first be granted 1,000 repos. And then upon a free request, you can increase that number.

Conclusion

That’s my two cents on “BitBucket vs GitHub” — tried to make it as thorough as possible. Hopefully, I was able to shine light upon some aspects of both platforms.

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Debarghya Das
Junior Front-End Developer
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