One to Watch

Git repository manager Gitblit goes 1.0 - what makes it different to the others?

Git repository managers appear to be in vogue at the moment, as enterprises look for the ideal way to tame the wild beast  while moving across to using the version control system.

Now we get to welcome another - as the open source, pure Java stack Gitblit releases its first generally available version. But what separates it from other repository managers that have emerged recently? What separates it from the likes of Atlassian Stash and Gitolite

Gitblit has an interesting backstory - it was created by James Moger after he found Git as the solution to his team’s SVN/CVS woes. Working on it in his spare time, and without company backing, the project was made free and open sourced under an Apache license to encourage others to contribute. Awareness grew of the project and more started using it in their working environment. And now we arrive at the first full version, still keeping those open vibes close to the project’s heart.

Hosted on RedHat’s platform-as-a-service, OpenShift Gitblit claims to be able to manage, view and serve multiple Git repositories and is initially recommended as a tool for smaller workgroups using centralised repositories. This seems like a sound notion when releasing your first version - get the groundwork right and build from there.

There’s varying entry levels for the project, with four versions. Gitblit GO is an integrated single-stack solution based on Jetty and seems to be the ideal choice for those who like Moger. GitBlit WAR is for your servlet container, and works best in Jetty, Tomcat. Gitblit Express, the OpenShift distro of the project, is currently in beta; and there’s Gitblit Manager, which does what it says on the tin.

This flexibility in how you use Gitblit really adds to the project’s charm - it’s entirely up to you if you want it just lurking in the background or to be fully involved in the intricate Git methods of cloning, pushing and so on.

Integrating into your infrastructure is made simple. There’s Groovy push hook scripts for fans of that language, a JSON-based RPC mechanism and a JSON API library for heavier customisation.

Gitblit appears to be the perfect answer for smaller enterprises looking to make the trek from Subversion to Git, but don’t want to use Github because they’re using private repositories. The biggest draw for it appears to be its simplicity to get working, neatly sidestepping the lengthy transfer time needed for any other tool.

The 1.0 version has LDAP integration (another plus point) so why not give it a test ride? Check out the website for more information. We think this grassroots project has huge potential, as well as looking good aesthetically.

Chris Mayer

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