GitHub vs. GitLab | Difference Between GitHub and GitLab

Version control repositories are a critical aspect of software development. 

GitHub and GitLab have emerged as valuable tools for developers over the last decade, mainly working in large teams.

The current version of GitLab 10.0 marks a significant step forward for GitLab from code management to deployments and monitoring. 

Complete DevOps is what GitLab calls this. Their goal is to capture the entire market for software development, deployment, and DevOps.

Considering GitHub vs. GitLab requires looking beyond code repositories and taking into consideration the entire process.

GitHub vs. GitLab

GitLab and GitHub are web-based project repository management systems used to facilitate file sharing and code management across local and remote projects. 

Due to the constant updating of files on the internet, all data is deposited in a repository and accessed later. 

Both GitHub and GitLab are required to track changes to a repository using Git.

Software development life cycles (SDLCs) typically involve amending existing source code and, occasionally, creating new source code. 

GitHub vs. GitLab

The majority of developers work on different sections of the code simultaneously, so sometimes alterations to the code conflict. 

There is a high likelihood of this introducing undesired bugs into the software. It may not affect software development immediately, but it may result in future errors that are more difficult to pinpoint.

Repository management systems such as GitHub and GitLab come in handy here. Their job is to protect the source code from flaws and incompatibilities. 

It is easy to keep track of code modifications by running them through the two systems.

GitLab and GitHub are both version control systems (VCSs), so choosing between them can be tricky.

GitHub is a collaborative platform that enables remote review and management of code, while GitLab is heavily focused on DevOps and continuous integration and delivery. 

Due to its millions of repositories, GitHub is more popular with developers. Still, GitLab has gained popularity recently due to its continuous addition of new features to make it more competitive and user-friendly.

What is GitHub?

Software developers use GitHub to store their projects, so the name is associated with the word “hub.” 

GitHub web hosting offers bug tracking, feature requests, task management, and wikis, among others.

GitHub has social networking features such as feeds, followers, and wikis. 

GitHub vs. GitLab

Programmers most commonly use GitHub since it allows them to review and improve their code quickly.

The GitHub software development lifecycle management tool is an open-source, free service that facilitates remote access to Git repositories, code hosting, and remote access to code repositories. 

Additionally, it offers features like multiple-user code sharing, bug tracking, a wiki space, and other social coding tools.

Pros of GitHub:

  • A tremendous open-source codebase management system
  • It allows easy sharing of files
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Comments and pull requests
  • It has a large community
  • Setup is easy
  • Collaboration via remote access
  • Controls can be easily controlled

Cons of GitHub:

  • Provides a poor API development experience
  • Costly for those who want a private repository
  • It is not very feature-rich

What is GitLab, the kid brother of Git?

What is GitLab?

GitLab is a service similar to GitHub that enables web-based repository management by internal DevOps teams. 

GitLab is available as a free community edition and as a commercial enterprise edition. 

Several features within GitLab are crucial for handling the software development process, including wikis, Jira integration, continuous integration (CI) runner, and release management.

GitHub vs. GitLab

GitLab is written in the Ruby programming language, one of its distinguishing features. In addition, it is a free and open-source solution that uses an open-core development architecture. 

GitLab has a sizable community of users and contributors who have helped shape it into the dependable version that developers have come to love.

GitLab grew to become the fourth fastest-growing private software company in 2018, with over 100,000 companies and users. 

The popularity of GitLab partly results from the fact that Continuous Integration tools are easily integrated with it. 

Gitlab Integration allows developers to focus more on testing, deployments, and code cross-referencing across multiple phases of development and providing developers with complete context and allowing them to iterate quickly.

According to the Axosoft list of the top 20 developers tools of 2018, GitLab surpassed GitHub as the most popular developer tool for the first time. 

Pros of GitLab:

  • Consistently adds new features
  • Pull requests and code reviews are available
  • User experience with CLI
  • Package management service
  • Provides continuous integration and continuous deployment support
  • Codes are easy to maintain

Cons of GitLab:

  • Problematic upgrading process
  • Several enterprise-level features are missing
  • The software is quite buggy
  • Community of limited size

Let’s see where Gitlab and GitHub overlap and where they diverge.

Similarities between GitHub and GitLab

Below are some key characteristics that make GitHub and GitLab similar:

Tracking

GitLab and GitHub both have excellent issue tracking tools, including the ability to change the status of issues and assign owners. You can also submit bug reports immediately to GitLab or GitHub.

Integrations

There are a variety of third-party integrations in GitLab and GitHub that help streamline workflows and improve productivity. In addition, GitHub offers integrations with other tools and applications that are specialized. GitLab is integrated with many DevOps and development tools.

Issues

GitHub and GitLab allow you to quickly set up the status, assignees, or milestones for several issues simultaneously, allowing you to filter them based on any type of property.

Support community

While GitHub’s community of developers is somewhat larger, both platforms have a robust community of developers that contribute to both platforms’ contents, updates, and upkeep.

Enterprise solutions

Development teams and businesses can take advantage of GitLab and GitHub’s enterprise-level features. Of course, GitLab is better suited to enterprise environments, but both technologies perform admirably.

Labels

The addition of labels to GitLab and GitHub allows for categorizing problems, merge requests, or epics by descriptive titles, such as “bug” and “documentation,” which can be extremely useful for tracking.

Wiki-based project documentation

GitLab and GitHub maintain a separate documentation system called Wikis, integrated into each project as Git repositories.

Merge Approvals

Developers can use both platforms to verify one or more individuals have approved that merge requests. The approvals give developers the ability to pre-assign approvers to each merge request within a project to improve coding quality.

Revert commits

GitHub and GitLab allow users to revert commits or merge requests using their respective UI.

Edits

Upstream maintainers can use both platforms to collaborate and integrate changes into forks. In this approach, maintainers can rebase branches before merging, potentially reducing community contribution iterations.

Description templates

Both GitLab and GitHub enable developers to add effective description templates to issues and merge requests.

Comparison Between GitHub and GitLab Features

Let’s compare GitHub vs. GitLab. Developers use both systems – GitLab and GitHub – to manage the source code and track changes to the files locally. 

A remote repository is also available for developers to share their changes. However, there are many essential differences between GitLab and GitHub:

Pricing

Open source projects on GitHub are free and public, with their source code available to anyone. However, GitLab is a repository that only authorized web developers can use for collaborating on code.

Issue Tracking

When you merge an issue into another repository, it is automatically closed in the GitHub issue tracker through pull requests. However, GitLab’s issue tracker allows users to correlate issues with pull requests (PRs) that are immediately closed.

Integration

GitHub doesn’t provide any inbuilt integration but relies on third-party integration vendors. However, GitLab provides complete integrations, and their integrations are 100% in-house developed.

Community

GitHub is home to a sizable developer community. It has millions of very active people with whom to discuss issues. In addition, GitLab organizes community events that bring together contributors and open-source technologies.

Inner-sourcing

Devs may advocate the use of internally sourced repositories. However, sources within GitLab are not permitted.

Location

GitHub’s free plan does not allow you to locate a repository within an organization. GitLab’s free plan allows users to locate a repository within an organization.

Documentation

The documentation of GitHub is divided into a series of guides, each of which focuses on a different platform. In addition, GitLab documentation provides search functionality and a list of all file requirements for installing.

Authentication

Access to the repository can be controlled based on a user’s role in GitHub. Developers have the authority to restrict access to a repository in GitLab.

Platform

GitHub is a project-based development platform. It has task management and bug tracking capabilities. However, GitLab enables web-based DevOps internal repository management.

Confidential Issues

The GitHub module generates private issues that are only visible to project members. GitLab lacks this feature.

Difference between GitHub and GitLab

Built-in Continuous Integration/Delivery

GitLab is well known for its integrated Continuous Integration/Delivery, something that GitHub does not support. The GitHub service consists of third-party APIs that facilitate Continuous Integration/Delivery.

Authentication

GitHub developers can grant read and write access to repository repositories based on their roles, but GitLab permissions are based on people’s roles.

Deployment platform

GitHub does not include an integrated deployment platform, so we must rely on an external platform to enable application deployment. GitLab, on the other hand, provides frictionless deployment through Kubernetes.

Comment tracking

GitLab is unable to provide the complete history of comment updates – GitHub can.

CSV file export

The GitLab issue tracker can export CSV files as attachments to default notification email addresses.

Issue weights and milestones

GitLab allows developers to assign weight to issues to manage them according to Agile principles, which is impossible with GitHub. In addition, GitLab allows developers to record and manage milestones for projects and groups at the group and project level, reflecting Agile sprint and release planning.

Application performance monitoring

GitLab provides performance metrics to monitor production systems and determine the impact of mergers which GitHub lacks.

Monthly new features

Each month, GitLab updates its program with new features and improvements. They are made religiously on the 22nd of the month.

Data import/export

Compared to GitHub, GitLab’s documentation on how to import/export data from other vendors is significantly more comprehensive. Additionally, the import abilities of GitLab are more extensive than those of GitHub. 

GitHub provides a tool called the GitHub Importer that allows users to import data. GitLab provides a complete exporting solution for wikis, project repositories, project uploads, webhooks, and services. GitHub’s export capabilities, however, are somewhat limited.

Private repositories

Open source projects can have free access to GitLab private repositories, but not to GitHub.

Issue transport

GitLab’s issue migration feature allows developers to quickly move issues from one project to another since links, histories, and comments are duplicated.

Confidential issues

The Confidential Issues module in GitLab creates confidential issues visible only to Report access level project members.

Burndown charts

While GitHub does not offer Burndown Charts, GitLab offers them as part of milestones so developers can track progress when working on sprints or new software releases.

Cycle analytics

GitLab offers a dashboard that provides analytics about time, planning, and monitoring activities.

Bare metal servers

GitLab runs on bare metal servers so users can control everything from disk I/O and CPU to the amount of RAM and more.

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Final Word on GitHub vs. GitLab

GitLab may be a better fit if your requirements are more flexible and you want to save money. GitHub, however, would be your best choice if you place your trust in 40 million+ developers. 

Since GitHub is user-configurable and has a large community, its use is more prevalent and higher among developers. 

GitLab has also been growing and now offers robust services and programs for entrepreneurs.

A major advantage of GitLab over GitHub is creating unlimited private repositories, which may be utilized as a part of a continuous integration system within the platform.

GitHub and GitLab differ primarily in their platform philosophy. GitLab offers a robust, feature-rich platform with a centralized, integrated Web Development Platform, while GitHub provides greater availability and emphasizes infrastructure performance.

If you’re working on a complicated project with a large number of developers, GitHub may be the best choice. Alternatively, you can use GitLab if the project requires continuous integration. I hope you enjoyed our comparison of GitHub vs. GitLab.

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