The bucket list

Five reasons to move to Bitbucket

Elliot Bentley

With its fresh redesign, Bitbucket is finally a worthy contender to GitHub’s throne. Here’s why you should give it a chance.

In four short years, GitHub has become the de-facto place to host code, with recent investments of $100m and a reputation for being the “coder’s social network”. Yet, so far, few other code repositories have truly stepped up to the plate – until now.

Yesterday saw the release of a dramatic redesign of Bitbucket, with a slick new UI and a ton of new features, bringing it in line with the level of polish and features as its rival. So if they’re both now equally good, why should you switch? Here’s five reasons why you should consider trying Bitbucket out.

1. Free private repositories

The most obvious advantage of switching to Bitbucket is the ability to host unlimited private repositories, with up to five contributors, for free. GitHub, in comparison, charges $7/month for just five private repositories. In fact, Bitbucket’s pricing is currently far more competitive than GitHub, even providing unlimited private repositories (for $200/month). Hopefully this competition will push GitHub’s own prices down, too.

2. Support for Mercurial

Mercurial vs. Git has become one of the tech world’s great debates, with internet forums boiling over with passion for each. Thankfully, with Bitbucket there’s no need to choose, since as of last year it now supports both version control systems.

And if even if you’re a hardened Git user, it might be worth having a go with Mercurial. While it may not be as cool or as popular as Git, Mercurial is still a solid and reliable alternative used by Mozilla, OpenJDK, Chromium, Adium and the W3C (we’ll leave it to the forums to discuss the individual pros and cons).

3. JIRA integration

Since Atlassian also produce JIRA, Bitbucket comes with built-in integration between the two systems, allowing each commit to be linked to a bug or task. If your team uses Atlassian’s JIRA for bug tracking, it’s a no-brainer.

4. It’s worth having a backup

Obviously, the beauty of a distributed version control system is that, should GitHub go down, your repository is still accessible. If they experience some serious downtime, you’ll need to find a quick alternative web presence for your project – and Bitbucket is a perfect choice.

Besides, do we, as an industry, really want to put all of our eggs in one basket? What if GitHub lives long enough to see itself become the villain? We should embrace and encourage competitors to ensure that GitHub never lets itself become slack.

5. That damn cat

Sure, the Octocat was funny at first, and the pseudo-3D Star Wars-referencing 404 page is pretty cool, but recently it’s been trying a bit too hard to be quirky. Thankfully, Bitbucket has a far saner mascot, a humble bucket that knows its place, one that doesn’t feel the need to dress up to fulfil our every fetish. Though… on second thoughts, Octocat is far too cute to abandon.

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