My new love: Codebase-HQ

I have discovered a great new project management service called Codebasehq.com, which merges Github and Lighthouse with a pleasant and seamless integration.  It answers a lot of my wishes for the features that are needed when dealing with a “whole-project” lifecycle.  I’ll talk about the basic features and subareas of the site, but first I want to highlight what truly makes Codebase a game-changer:

Project management

When you create a project in Codebase, you are given access to a number of critical features that disjointed services like Github and Lighthouse just can’t offer.  To start with, the unified user management is terrific.  If needed, you can get into some very decent ACLs to custom each user’s interaction.  If that’s not important to you, then the standard user setup is fine and the ACLs won’t get in your way.  Each project can also have several repositories, which is great for for when you have separate repos for Rails, design files, data files, etc.  Having your wiki, repos, tickets, and more aggregated into a single unified structure is awesome and really transforms how everyone understands the state of a project.

The individual featuresets that go into creating such great project management are:

Git hosting

Git hosting on Codebase is nearly identical to Github.  And that’s a very good thing.  Repo browsing, navigation, etc is pretty much the same (if not better) and you get the important extras like deploy keys and whatnot.  You can also set a repo to constantly sync/mirror another.  It is missing some of the more flashy Github features, like the forking integration and network/commit graphs, but overall is quite polished and very capable.

Ticketing

Ticketing is similar to Lighthouse in its simplicity.  In some areas its a little less feature rich:  email integration is not so great right now (should get better) and you can’t customize your statuses for tickets.  In other areas it’s vastly superior, especially in the general gestalt of the interface which is much easier to use and navigate.  It is still missing the one feature that I wish all ticketing systems had: a public support interface where non-users can submit and track tickets.  But since no one else offers it either, I can’t complain much. (Tender is getting close, but they’re taking their sweet time and so far I’m not a fan).

Milestones

Pretty much the same as any other milestone system.  It has one KILLER feature though: milestone/branch integration.  If you start off a git branch for your milestone, you can tie them together so you can track commits specific to that milestone. It’s incredible and stands as a great example to what can be done with true integration.

Wiki

Github offers a wiki, but it’s a pain to edit and I generally don’t bother with it.  Especially because for an ‘enterprise’ project, many of the people who need to read the project’s wiki don’t even have github access (or even know what github is).  Codebase’s wiki is more traditional in its setup and works great.

Time tracking

A very nice addition that is important on many many projects.  You might not always need it, but if you do, you’ll love it.  It is simple, straightforward, and works well.  I’d like to see it integrate even more closely with tickets, but otherwise a small to medium sized team will have little to complain about.

Summary

Although both are very similar and center around git repositories, Codebase and Github do not fill the same role.  For your open-source projects, Ruby gems, and such: stick with Github.  The forking/networking features and wide community acceptance make for an unbeatable setup.  But when it’s time to get a whole dev team together on a project, Codebase definitely has the upper hand.  They have a great set of features (and are coming out with more all the time) and the overall integration and polish makes it a joy to work with.  Their pricing is also incredibly good (even if it is in Euros), so please check them out.

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