Github vs. Gitlab Which is the most ideal choice for our team?

January 31, 2024 | App Dev |

Github vs. Gitlab Which is the most ideal choice for our team?

Overview

In software development, two names stand out as titans in version control and collaboration: GitHub and GitLab. These platforms have revolutionized how developers manage their code, collaborate with teams, and track changes across projects. As the battle for supremacy rages on, developers find themselves at a crossroads, deciding which platform best suits their needs.  By the end of this blog, you will be able to have better knowledge of both GitLab and GitHub and make an informed decision.

GitHub quickly emerged as a dominant force in the industry, captivating millions with its sleek interface, powerful social features, and seamless integration with popular third-party tools. On the other hand, GitLab has steadily gained traction by offering a comprehensive DevOps platform that combines repository management with built-in CI/CD pipelines, issue-tracking capabilities, and Kubernetes integration.

First, What is Git? And who created it?

Git is an open-source, efficient version control system that controls changes to computer files and handles small to very large software development projects. It enables efficient branching, merging, and rollback, ensuring code integrity and facilitating collaborative and organized development workflows. 

First and foremost, Git is a technology while both GitHub and GitLab are services. Those two platforms use Git, but they are not the only ones that can use this system, other solutions and platforms also use this technology.

It was created by Linus Torvalds in 2005 and has since become the standard version control system for many software development projects.

What is GitHub?

GitHub is a web-based platform and a distributed version control system that plays a pivotal role in modern software development

Projects on GitHub are stored in repositories. These repositories can be public, allowing anyone to view the code, or private, limiting access to authorized collaborators. Each repository includes the entire project history.

It promotes collaboration among developers. Multiple contributors can work on the same project simultaneously. 

A significant feature of GitHub is the pull request. Developers propose changes to the main codebase, and these changes are reviewed by others before being merged. This process ensures code quality and helps manage project contributions. GitHub is renowned for its sleek and user-friendly interface, widely praised for its simplicity.

GitHub provides a built-in continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) system called GitHub Actions. This allows developers to automate workflows, test code changes, and deploy applications directly from the repository.

Who created GitHub?

Using Ruby on Rails, Chris Wanstrath, P. J. Hyett, Tom Preston-Werner, and Scott Chacon developed the GitHub service, which went live in February 2008. GitHub, Inc. is a San Francisco-based startup that was founded in 2007.

What is GitLab?

GitLab is a free, open-source platform that holds a repository of Git systems – the basic unit of these collaboration systems. Because it is based on the Git version control system, developers can collaborate on projects, keep track of changes made to their codebase, and oversee the software development lifecycle. GitLab offers cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) and an on-premises, self-hosted solution. It offers an intuitive web-based interface that encompasses robust tools for effective project management.

Who created Gitlab?

The open-source software project is the creation of Dutch developer Sytse Sijbrandij and Ukrainian developer Dmytro Zaporozhets. In 2018, GitLab Inc. was considered the first unicorn that was mostly Ukrainian.

Similarities between Github and Gitlab

GitHub and GitLab are identical to some extent, despite the apparent differences between them that one could infer from looking at their names and homepages.

To help you understand the background and fundamentals of these two systems, we will look at the similarities between them in this part.

Version Control:

  • Based on Git, both GitHub and GitLab offer strong version control features to monitor code changes over time.

Hosting of Repositories:

  • These systems function as code repository hosting solutions, enabling developers to organize, maintain, and work together on their projects.

Collaboration Features:

  • Collaboration tools like pull requests, code reviews, and issue tracking are provided by GitHub and GitLab to help engineers work together and communicate.

Branching and Merging:

  • Because both platforms allow branching and merging, developers can work on different features or bug fixes at the same time and seamlessly integrate changes.

CI/CD Integration:

  • GitHub Workflows, such as the testing and deployment procedures, can be automated by users using GitHub actions and GitLab’s integrated CI/CD system.

Web-based Interface:

  • Developers may easily access repositories, review code, and manage project-related tasks with the help of the user-friendly web interfaces provided by both GitHub and GitLab.

Issue Tracking:

  • With the integrated issue-tracking tools on both platforms, teams can organize the way they handle tasks, bugs, and feature requests.

Pull Requests:

  • Similar in function, pull requests on GitHub and merge requests on GitLab allow developers to suggest changes to the main codebase and streamline the review process before merging.

Difference Between GitLab and GitHub

GitLab:

  • Ownership: GitLab is an open-core platform.
  • Licensing: Core features are free in the self-hosted version; paid plans are available for additional features. A SaaS version is also available.
  • Deployment: Offers both cloud-based SaaS solutions and a self-hosted option.
  • CI/CD: Has a built-in CI/CD system with configuration in a .gitlab-ci.yml file.
  • Community: Growing community; open-core nature allows direct contributions.
  • The programming language used to develop the platform: Ruby, Go, Vue.js
  • Popular among: Java developers (over 35% prefer GitLab).
  • Storage limit: 5GB

GitHub:

  • Ownership: Owned by Microsoft.
  • Licensing: Follows a freemium model; free public repositories, paid plans for private repositories.
  • Deployment: Primarily cloud-based, with GitHub Enterprise for on-premises solutions.
  • CI/CD: GitHub Actions is its integrated CI/CD platform.
  • Community: Established and large community, an extensive ecosystem of third-party integrations.
  • Popular among: Widely used across various industries and projects.
  • Storage limit: 500MB
  • The programming language used to develop the platform: Ruby

Security Difference Between GitLab and GitHub

GitLab:

  • Advanced security features: Built-in vulnerability scanning, static code analysis, container scanning, and compliance tools for PCI DSS, HIPAA, and SOC 2.
  • Deeper integration with security tools: Supports seamless integration with third-party security solutions.
  • Granular access controls: Granular control with advanced roles, protected environments, and stricter merge approvals, is ideal for complex projects and high-security needs.

GitHub:

  • Basic security features: Two-factor authentication, IP whitelisting, audit logs, and vulnerability scanning for critical issues.
  • Compliance tools: Limited, relies on third-party integrations for GDPR and SOC 2.
  • Granular access controls: Streamlined access with basic roles and branch protection which can be suitable for simple projects and collaboration.

Pricing Difference Between GitLab and GitHub

GitLab:

  • Free self-hosted version with limited features.
  • Paid SaaS plans start at $19 per user/month, offering more features and cloud hosting.
  • Enterprise plans with advanced features and customization options for larger organizations.
  • Offers more flexibility in pricing, but can be pricier for smaller teams compared to GitHub’s basic plan.

GitHub:

  • Freemium model: Free public repositories, paid plans for private repositories starting at $4 per user/month.
  • Additional costs: Enterprise plans for advanced features and on-premises deployment.
  • Focuses on affordability and value for individual developers and small teams.

Conclusion

In summary, the selection between GitLab and GitHub relies on the unique needs and preferences of a development team. GitHub stands out for its user-friendly interface, social features, and seamless integration, making it popular for its simplicity and extensive community support. Meanwhile, GitLab appeals to users with its comprehensive DevOps platform, incorporating CI/CD pipelines, issue-tracking, and robust security features. GitHub is known for its simplicity and large user base, whereas GitLab’s open-core model and flexible pricing accommodate various organizational needs. Choosing between the two should involve a thoughtful evaluation of factors like project complexity, security requirements, and budget constraints, ensuring alignment with the team’s specific development workflows and overall objectives.

Author

Harsimran Singh Bedi

Varun

Cloud engineer
Professional cloud architect with experience in creating and implementing into practice scalable Google Cloud Platform solutions. Demonstrate competency with additional open-source tools, such as Terraform, Kubernetes, and others. He is exceptional at researching many areas of cloud infrastructures, including security measures, while always looking to improve his abilities.

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