Since I’ve started using SourceForge and Google Code to host my Quickfire CMS and Zyne Bound theme projects, I’ve found that utilising project hosting websites for such matters is crucial in order to push out versions of your own projects. In this post, I’ll run down the top 5 free sites that will do the hard work by hosting your open source project for you.
Probably the most popular of all the sites I’ll be discussing in this post, SourceForge will provide you with a range of settings and apps such as wikis, ticketing systems, forums, file browser and metadata editing. From my experience of using SF, it does take quite a while of getting used to, but once you master it, you’ll be glad of it! However, the recent withdrawl of their hosted apps solution (including WordPress) is a disadvantage, but not enough to stop me using the service.
Priding itself as being a site for “social coding”, Github, takes on a minimalistic appearance which is effective when it comes to tweaking your project hosting settings online and navigating the backend of your hosting settings. Just like SourceForge, GitHub also comes with wikis, issue tracking and forums along with pages and SSL protection. If you need a greater range of features, GitHub offers a wide variety of upgraded premium plans.
If you have a Google Account, you’ll probably favour this product to save the time creating a new account on another site. Other Google sites have recently undergone a makeover to match their new brand colours and ethos, Google Code still needs to see the light of day for this re-design, this to me could suggest that Google sees Google Code as a less important product. Feature-wise Google Code does not really offer much, if anything less, than the previous two sites. Space is quite limited, but setting up your project shouldn’t be too hard. Probably the best solution for the newbie coder with close integration with Google Developers.
Microsoft’s own dive into the project hosting market is a fabulous entry, taking on a modern Windows 8 Metro appearance, it’s easy to see that CodePlex is a modern venture by Microsoft. Focusing more on collaboration on the project development side of things, it’s somewhat easy to get up off the ground when starting your project on CodePlex. Overall, it’s worth a shot.
Not to be confused with a feature of Mac OS, Launchpad is probably the smallest of these hosting providers. It seems that this solution is more tailored to developers planning to reach the Ubuntu and Linux market, with features such as Ubuntu Package Building and Hosting. PRojects can also be thrown open to the community for translations. Overall, a confusing appearance that seems to be a little outdated, but when mastered, will be a powerful source for distributing projects.