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GitHub Vs GitLab: Which Is Better For Your Project

In today’s software development scenario, mastering version control systems (VCS) like Git is pivotal. While 87.2% of all surveyed developers use Git, choosing among GitHub and GitLabs continues to be debatable as we inch towards 2024. 

The experts at Talent500 have contributed to make an all-comprehensive comparison between the two, comparing the two against a whopping 51 factors.

To understand what is Git, let us first understand the basics if VCS:

Why VCS and Git?

Understanding if your project demands a VCS is the first step. VCS tracks code changes, ensuring consistent access for all collaborators, simplifying the software development process.

Git Basics

  • Git: This is a powerful, open-source Version Control System (VCS) that efficiently tracks modifications across various software projects.
  • Snapshots: With Git, snapshots of the evolving code are taken, allowing users to revisit or analyze prior iterations.
  • Branching: One of Git’s remarkable abilities is handling multiple branch versions at once, streamlining feature creation.
  • Comparison: In the VCS realm, Git has a noticeable edge over older tools, such as CVS and Apache Subversion, because of its rapid response and flexibility.
  • Self-Reliance: Git lets global teams operate on a self-sufficient server, reducing reliance on external VCS platforms.

Embracing Cloud-Based Platforms

Distributed groups are increasingly gravitating towards cloud solutions like GitHub and GitLab. These platforms enhance standard Git features, providing vast code storage, integrated DevOps utilities, and powerful project management capabilities. 

As remote work becomes more prevalent, these platforms are valued not only for storage but also for their holistic developmental utilities.

What is GitHub

GitHub stands out as a hub where developers collaborate to manage and oversee their evolving code. As an early cloud-based Git platform, GitHub has evolved into a complete development ecosystem.

GitHub originated from the minds of Chris Wanstrath, Scott Chacon, Tom Preston-Werner, and P. J. Hyett in early 2008, crafted using Ruby on Rails (RoR).

With the advantage of being an early entrant, GitHub swiftly became a hotspot for hosting numerous open-source code bases.

GitHub Vs GitLab: Which Is Better For Your Project 1

Noteworthy GitHub Features

  • Hosting: Fundamentally, GitHub serves as a code repository platform, promoting easy collaboration and control among developers.
  • Collaboration & Bug Management: It’s a nexus for developers to converge, rectify bugs, and support open-source endeavors, enhancing code modification tracking.
  • Organizational Tools: It offers milestones and labels, paving a lucid trajectory for projects.
  • Branch Analysis: Allows comparison of distinct branches, facilitating code variation assessment.
  • Website Creation: The GitHub Pages feature lets individuals create and host sites directly from their GitHub repositories.
  • Readable Code: Syntax highlighting augments code readability.
  • Third-party Synergy: GitHub’s adaptability allows easy integration with other APIs, accommodating various tasks like bug management and cloud hosting.

What is GitLab 

GitLab, a holistic cloud platform, supports developers across the software creation lifecycle, from ideation to deployment.

Founded by Ukrainian technologists Valery Sizov and Dmitriy Zaporozhets in 2011, GitLab intended to provide an innovative, comprehensive touch to software creation.

GitHub Vs GitLab: Which Is Better For Your Project 2

GitLab’s Features

  • Repository Excellence: GitLab emerges as a comprehensive repository management tool, guiding software projects from inception to culmination.
  • Interoperability: Allows smooth transitions of repositories from platforms like Google Code and Bitbucket.
  • Open-Source Roots: GitLab proudly offers an open-source community edition.
  • Developer’s Tools: Tools like Group Milestones, Time Management, and Issue Tracking ensure a smooth development trajectory.
  • Intuitive Design: GitLab sports an intuitive design, reinforced with sturdy security measures.
  • Robust Safeguard: Emphasis on user roles and branch safeguards ensures code security and controlled access.

51 Parameter Difference List: GitHub vs GitLab

In this section, we will go through the 51 differences between GitHub and GitLab ranked according to their impact on DevOps:

Sr. No. Parameter GitHub GitLab
1 Code Collaboration Features Milestones, statuses, assignees Milestones, statuses, assignees
2 Development Workflow Speedy dev workflow Slower, controlled workflow
3 Integrations and Ecosystem Hundreds of Marketplace integrations Fewer native integrations
4 Self-Hosted Options Self-hosting only in paid plans Self-hosted options available for free
5 Pricing Free for public repos, paid plans for private repos Free for open source, paid tiers
6 Open Source Philosophy Encourages open source contributions Open source Community Edition available
7 Security and Administration Less secure, limited administration More secure, fine-grained access controls
8 Scaling and Availability Vertical scaling, manual failover Horizontal scaling, Geo replication for DR
9 Third-party Integration Services Supports third-party integrations via Marketplace Also supports third-party integrations
10 Issues Setup Milestones, assignees, statuses for issues Milestones, assignees, statuses
11 Clear Labeling Scheme Color-coded labeling system Color-coded labeling system
12 Issue Tracking Native issue tracker with filtering/search Native issue boards with filtering/search
13 CI/CD Services GitHub Actions for CI/CD Built-in GitLab CI/CD
14 Preview Code Changes Preview via pull requests Preview via Merge Requests
15 Wiki-based Documentation GitHub Wikis for documentation Searchable GitLab documentation
16 Multiple Issue Assignees Multiple assignees on public repositories only Multiple assignees supported
17 Team Discussions Discussions under issues and PRs Discussions on issues and MRs
18 Project Management Dashboards Project boards for task tracking Project dashboards and reports
19 Load Performance Testing Requires third-party integration Load testing via GitLab CI
20 Location Cannot pinpoint location of private repo Can pinpoint private repository location
21 Issue Tracker Links issues to code branches Links issues to merge requests
22 Documentation Guide documentation not fully searchable Structured, searchable documentation
23 Integration Integrations through Marketplace apps Tightly integrated platform
24 Authentication Role-based access control Fine-grained access controls
25 Community Large active open source community Smaller open source community
26 Platform Code hosting and project management End-to-end DevOps platform
27 Inner-sourcing Supported on public repositories Inner-sourcing not allowed
28 Confidential Issues Can make confidential issues Can create confidential issues
29 Workflow Simple workflow with PRs Slower, more controlled workflow
30 Backup Manual backups and restores Built-in backup tools
31 Maintenance Mode Maintenance mode available Maintenance mode available
32 Configuration Via GitHub admin interface Via GitLab configuration file
33 Architecture and Scalability Vertical scaling, monolithic architecture Horizontal scaling, modular architecture
34 Installation Installs on VM image Installers for Linux/Docker
35 Disaster Recovery Manual failover to replica Geo replication for disaster recovery
36 Groups Organizations for grouping members Groups and subgroups
37 CI/CD – Setup Relies on third-party tools Integrated CI/CD tools
38 Integrations with Third Parties Hundreds of Marketplace integrations Fewer native integrations
39 Code Navigation Jump to definitions and references Code navigation via LSIF
40 Code Search Powerful search queries Search across projects
41 Developed By Developed by Chris Wanstrath, Tom Preston-Werner, P. J. Hyett, and Scott Chacon Developed by Dmitriy Zaporozhets and Valery Sizov
42 Open Source Not open source Open source Community Edition available
43 Public Repositories Unlimited free public repositories Public repositories available
44 Private Repositories Free private repositories (limited to 3 collaborators) Free private repositories
45 Navigation Improved navigation usability Navigation within repositories
46 Project Analysis No built-in project analysis Development analytics available
47 Advantages Great for public sharing Organized documentation
48 Disadvantages Limited private repositories, Git version control only Some bugs, difficult code reviews
49 Company Owned by Microsoft Owned by GitLab Inc.
50 Security Less secure More secure
51 Attachments No support for attachments Supports attachments

GitHub vs GitLab: Which Is The Best Option for You?

Now that you have an expansive list of differentiators between the two, let us address the elephant in the room:

Which is better among GitHub and GitLab?

We all know that it ‘depends’ so let me cut through the noise and give you an actionable answer for your project:

So, why might you lean towards GitHub?

  1. Code Collaboration Features: Ever wanted to speed up your dev process? GitHub’s got this zippy workflow that can help you out big time.
  2. Integrations and Ecosystem: Here’s a thing – GitHub’s marketplace is packed! Think of a tool, and they probably have it integrated.
  3. Pricing: Looking to flaunt your code? Public repositories won’t cost you a dime here. Oh, and you can have private ones too, but only three pals can collaborate for free.
  4. Open Source Philosophy: If being part of a bustling open-source crowd is your jam, GitHub’s your place. They’re all about that open-source life.
  5. Preview Code Changes: You know those moments when you wish to sneak a peek at code changes? Pull requests on GitHub are just the ticket.
  6. CI/CD Services: Heard of GitHub Actions? Well, if you’re into CI/CD, you’ll want to dive right in.
  7. Community: GitHub’s like this massive block party for devs. Lots of folks to meet, collaborate with, and get feedback from.
  8. Platform: Everyone knows GitHub. If you’re into sharing with the public, it’s like the Times Square of code hosting.
  9. Company: Fun fact – Microsoft’s the big name behind GitHub. And they’ve been around the block a few times, if you catch my drift.
  10. Navigation: They’ve spiced up their navigation recently, making wandering around a whole lot easier.

Alright, now what about GitLab? When should you give it a go?

  1. Self-Hosted Options: Ever dreamed of having your own cozy corner on the internet? With GitLab, you can self-host without spending a penny.
  2. Security and Administration: Security buffs, rejoice! GitLab’s got these nifty access controls, and word is, they’re tight on security.
  3. Scaling and Availability: If you’re thinking big, GitLab’s got the architecture to match. Plus, they’ve got this Geo-replication thing that’s a lifesaver in a tech crisis.
  4. CI/CD Services: GitLab comes with its own set of CI/CD tools. No more hunting for third-party add-ons.
  5. Documentation: Ever lost yourself in unsearchable docs? GitLab’s got their documentation game on point.
  6. Pricing: GitLab’s got this open-source Community Edition that’s free. And the sweet deal? Free hideaways for your private code too.
  7. Project Management Dashboards: If you’re into tracking progress, GitLab’s dashboards will feel like having your own mission control.
  8. Location: Want to play hide and seek with your private repository’s location? GitLab lets you do that.
  9. Attachments: Sometimes, you just need to attach stuff, right? GitLab’s got you covered there.
  10. Platform: Here’s the kicker – GitLab sees itself as the one-stop-shop for all things DevOps.

Wrap Up

That’s about the GitHub vs GitLabs debate. We’ve covered the basic details regarding both platforms and gone through a comprehensive list differentiating between the two. We have also learnt how to choose among the two, bringing this article to the conclusion.

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Neel Vithlani

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