Free code repository software is a type of archive and hosting facility that is used to store the source code of a particular software project, the documentation, specific applications and web pages.
A free code repository is a free alternative to conventional source code repository systems that are commonly used by every software development team out there. A good developer’s toolkit should include a robust code repository host. Code repository solutions are designed to host software code and other key components of the software development process, such as applications, technical documentation, notes, snippets, web pages, and patches. It is also very useful for team collaboration with multi-developer projects and for working with open-source software development. A code repository is utilized to facilitate the versioning management system. It holds or stores the source code while the versioning system works to archive that code.
There are plenty of different code repository solutions and hosting service available in the market. Some are free and are often used as public repositories for open-source codes, while others cost premium and are typically utilized as private repositories for securing code that is used for proprietary or custom software development projects. Both premium and free code repository software categories have their own strengths and weaknesses. It all depends on the software development team or organization and their specific code repository and hosting requirements. Moreover, each code repository and hosting solution available has varying levels of support for the underlying versioning or version control systems, which is a different entity from a repository hosting service.
Before anything else, let’s get one thing straight, free code repository software and hosting service is an entirely separate entity from a version control system. It is important to acknowledge this since version control systems are low-level command line utilities, which are implemented for the purposes of managing the entire software development lifecycle modifications and converting them into a collection of documents and source code files.
Code repository and hosting services, on the other hand, are third-party web solutions that are specifically tailored to seamlessly integrate and enhance the functionalities and capabilities of the version control system. The bottom line is software developers and teams can’t capitalize on the full potential of their code repository software and hosting service without utilizing an underlying version control system.
Now that we’ve cleared up the key differences between code repository hosting services and version control systems, let’s get back on topic. Both premium and free code repository software solutions are a type of organization management system that effectively provides a somewhat transparent view or insight into the often confusing and overwhelming workflow process of software development. A good code repository solution is fully capable of offering tools that are designed to accurately measure, manage, compare and communicate, as well as monitor the efficiency and viability of the software development process.
A code repository and hosting service is designed to integrate seamlessly with other management systems like customer support and ticket management, software launch or release management, customer relationship management (CRM) and task management solutions. Through proper integration, the service can provide a truly interconnected organizational communication and collaboration network for software development teams, contributors, customers and other stakeholders, including the open-source community in the case of open-source software development projects.
Regardless of the type of programming language you’re using when developing software applications, you definitely want a good premium or free code repository software and hosting service that’s readily available in your toolkit. Also, there are plenty of different types of code repository and hosting services available that caters to your specific needs, whether you’re looking to collaborate or contribute on software development projects.
Premium code repository solutions are often equipped with a broad range of features and tools designed to facilitate the development process of both private and open-source projects. This also applies to most free repository tools, although their capabilities might be limited in terms functionality and/or the number of users. Some free solutions allow for free unlimited users, while others are only free up to 5 users. So you’re going to have to consider how many individuals will be working on the project before landing on a free code repository and hosting service. This is especially crucial for multi-developer projects.
One of the most basic features of free code repository software is the code review function. This feature is especially crucial for software development projects that are comprised of multiple developers, collaborators and contributors. This is mainly because most of the time that such teams normally spend using the repository hosting service is allotted for code reviews and discussions. The code review function has become a standard component and a critical tool among the majority of code repository systems and hosting services.
Another key feature that DevOps teams will definitely find useful in any software development process is the built-in CI/CD function, also known as continuous integration and continuous delivery or deployment. CI/CD works by bridging the gap among software development, operational activities and development teams through enforced automation in the creation, testing and implementation of software applications. In layman’s terms, the feature provides software developers a safe and secure space to build, test and deploy their application using fully integrated CI/CD. It enables configuration via code as well as unlimited scaling without having to manage build infrastructure.
Release management and scheduling is also a very important feature that most software development teams will find useful. Release management is often available even in free code repository software solutions, although its capabilities might be limited. This function makes it possible for developers to initiate either small but frequent updates or larger periodic releases, depending on their specific requirements. Some code repository and hosting services will also offer issue tracking, also referred to as bug tracking, on top of the release management tools.
Finally, there’s the free private repository feature that is available in a number of free code repository hosting services. This is quite useful to teams working on open-source software development projects. It allows them to utilize the free private repository to house their source code. However, most repository services consider privacy as a premium feature, so if privacy is important to your development project and your overall business goals, then considering a premium repository and hosting service that offers free private repositories might be in your best interest.
There are many benefits to using free code repository software and hosting services. The most prominent of which, needless to say, is the cost—or lack thereof. It’s free, so you don’t have to spend anything, so long as your requirements are simple or basic enough for the free software of your choice.
One significant advantage that this type of software provides, other than the fact that it’s free, is the added support for various version control systems like Git and Mercurial. Depending on the code repository and hosting service, you can expect the service to support a variety of distributed version control systems. However, it’s still important that you take a look at the supported version control systems when choosing the right code repository, especially if you’re opting for a free version since not all of them will be compatible with certain version control systems like Git.
Free code repository software also enables permission-based access to the secured source codes. You have the ability to provide your team of developers with easy access to the right source code at the appropriate time, without risking a security breach. You can easily manage and override existing access permissions for specific team members and users, as well as enable the merging of restrictions at the branch level.
Source code repository and hosting services provide developers and programmers with the ability to host their software development projects through public or private repositories, depending on their specific requirements. It allows them to easily and efficiently review codes, make modifications and submit patches in a more streamlined and organized way. With the available collaboration tools, this type of service also allows multiple individuals, contributors and stakeholders to collaborate and work together efficiently on the same source code and software development project.
In addition, free code repository software also makes for inexpensive and highly efficient digital portfolios, especially for developers that are just starting out and want to showcase their capabilities through their code creations and builds. For an up-and-coming developer, using a free code repository and hosting service can serve as a good digital resume or portfolio of their coding knowledge and expertise. This is especially useful for when they want to commit to an open-source project or apply for a position within a software development company. They can just share a link to their code repository and showcase what they can actually do.
Free code repository software often has all the basic functionalities and capabilities, although limited, that are present in premium repository and hosting services. If you’re working with a small team, for example, managing a simple software development project, then a free repository and hosting service should be capable and sufficient enough to facilitate most of your development processes.
A good free software solution in this category should provide basic version control system support, software release management and scheduling, sufficient data storage capacity, sufficient number of users, access control, basic security and customer support, as well as simple integration with third-party systems and external applications.