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Gitlab Vs. Github | Difference Between GitHub and GitLab

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November 24th, 2023

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GitLab and GitHub are two of the most popular tools software development teams use for version control management. These platforms manage and track changes made to the source code, enabling teams to collaborate and work efficiently. 

Managing code changes has become essential to software development, allowing developers to develop, test, and deploy their software much more quickly. 

Your requirements and priorities should influence your decision between GitLab vs. GitHub. GitHub may be the better option if you value ease of use, a cloud-hosted solution, and a wide community of developers. 

However, if you prefer more control over your infrastructure, need robust CI/CD capabilities, and want comprehensive project management features, GitLab might be the right choice.

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GitLab vs. GitHub: A Quick Overview:

Here is a quick comparison of GitLab vs. GitHub:

1-Background:

GitHub:

  • Launched in 2008, and has grown to be the world’s largest host of source code.
  • Acquired by Microsoft in 2018.
  • Focused heavily on open-source projects.

GitLab

  • Launched in 2011 as an alternative to GitHub.
  • Emphasizes a more integrated experience for software development and includes both version control and CI/CD, monitoring, and more.
  • Offers both self-hosted and cloud-hosted options.

2-Features:

GitHub

  • Known for its robust functionality in Pull Requests and Forking.
  • Offers GitHub Actions, an API for automating workflows (CI/CD functionality).
  • Hosts GitHub Pages, allowing users to host static websites.
  • Integrated project management features through GitHub Projects.
  • Strong community features include sponsoring developers, discovering projects, and engaging with the community via discussions.

GitLab:

  • Offers a more comprehensive suite of tools “in a single application,” including project planning, source code management, CI/CD, monitoring, and more.
  • Includes built-in CI/CD, often considered more advanced and integrated than GitHub’s.
  • Provides Kubernetes integration, making it convenient for cloud-native development.
  • Offers deeper customization for workflow management and project planning.

3-User Interface:

GitHub:

  • Familiar and widely accepted UI, often considered the standard for Git repository interfaces.
  • More straightforward for beginners to interact with due to its popularity and extensive documentation.

GitLab:

  • Has a more complex UI, given the comprehensive set of features.
  • Offers a dashboard that users can customize to best suit their workflow.

 Community and Popularity:GitHub:

  • It has a larger community of developers and more public repositories.
  • It is often the go-to for open-source projects.

GitLab:

  • Although it has a smaller community, it’s growing steadily.
  • Some users prefer it for private repositories because of its pricing structure and feature set.

5- Pricing:

GitHub:

  • Offers free repositories (with certain restrictions on private repos) and scalable paid plans for individuals and businesses.
  • The number of collaborators limits free private repositories.

GitLab:

  • Gives a more flexible pricing model, with free repositories and more features in its free tier compared to GitHub.
  • Provides a detailed set of features in its various paid tiers, making it potentially more cost-effective for teams needing integrated CI/CD, security

6-Security Features:

GitHub:

  • Offers various features like Dependabot for dependency scanning, code scanning for detecting vulnerabilities, and secret scanning.
  • Provides security advisories, allowing repository maintainers to discuss, fix, and publish information about security vulnerabilities privately.

GitLab:

  • Comes with a more extensive set of integrated security features, including SAST (Static Application Security Testing), DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing), dependency scanning, container scanning, and more within the CI/CD pipeline.
  • Security Dashboards to get a project’s or group’s security status at a glance.

7- Integration and Extensibility:

GitHub:

  • Offers a Marketplace with a wide range of pre-built apps and actions to extend the platform’s functionality.
  • The robust API that allows for seamless integration with existing tools and workflows?

GitLab:

  • Though it might not have as extensive a marketplace as GitHub, its built-in functionality reduces the need for many external tools.
  • Provides a powerful API for custom integrations and a variety of webhooks for external event notifications.

8-Deployment and Runtime Environments:

GitHub:

  • GitHub Codespaces provides a complete, configurable dev environment within GitHub that includes a browser-based version of the full VS Code editor.
  • It allows deployment workflows, but the user or third-party services must manage the environments.

GitLab:

  • Provides Review Apps to view the changes live with each merge request.
  • Offers Auto DevOps, which automatically configures software development lifecycles by default. This feature simplifies the complexities of getting started with a sophisticated CI/CD pipeline.

9- Import and Export Capabilities:

GitHub

  • Allows users to import repositories from several sources, but export options are primarily limited to the standard Git project checkout options.

GitLab:

  • Offers more comprehensive project import/export capabilities, making it easier to move entire projects (including issues, MRs, etc.) to and from the platform.

10- Enterprise Offerings:

GitHub

  • GitHub Enterprise is a self-hosted solution with advanced auditing, unified search and contribution, and increased scalability.
  • Offers GitHub Advanced Security, an add-on for Enterprise accounts that includes code scanning, secret scanning, and more.

GitLab:

  • GitLab’s self-managed options include features like Geo for distributed teams, allowing for read-only mirrors of the GitLab instance, and advanced auditing capabilities.
  • Provides compliance management and reporting features, making it suitable for organizations with stringent regulatory requirements.

Which is Better: GitLab vs. GitHub

GitHub and GitLab are The App Founders suggested platforms for organizing code and working on software projects. Here is why:

When Should You Choose Github Over Gitlab?

  • If you are working on an open-source project or wish to contribute to open-source projects, GitHub may be a preferable option. It has a larger community of open-source developers and is widely recognized.
  • GitLab may be a better option if cost is a concern, as it offers limitless free private repositories.
  • GitLab offers more out-of-the-box capabilities, including continuous integration and deployment, project administration, and issue tracking. Therefore, if you require sophisticated features, GitLab is the best option.
  • It has more comprehensive security features, such as mandatory code reviews and granular access controls, than other platforms. GitLab may be the superior choice to implement sophisticated security measures.

When Is It Better to Use GitLab Instead of Github?

To clear your confusion between GitLab vs. GitHub, more detailed features are discussed below:

GitLab is a superior match for private projects, as it provides more comprehensive tools for private repositories and greater control over user access.

  • It can be hosted on your infrastructure, whereas GitHub is a cloud service. GitLab may be more advantageous if you prefer more control over your repositories and data.
  • GitLab has numerous features, including integrated CI/CD, code review, and issue management. If you prefer a comprehensive between GitLab vs. GitHub for this feature, GitLab may be a superior option.
  • It is extremely customizable and can be tailored to your requirements, whereas GitHub’s customization options are more limited. If you have specific version control platform requirements, GitLab may be preferable.
  • GitLab has become famous among developers and is now used by many businesses, from small startups to large corporations.

5 Companies using GitLab:

The following well-known companies use GitLab to keep track of versions and work together:

NVIDIA: 

The biggest company that makes graphics processing units (GPUs) uses GitLab to build software and keep track of different versions.

Sony: 

Sony uses GitLab to keep track of its code files and improve its software development.

NASA: 

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) uses GitLab for version control, so teams working on different projects can collaborate more easily.

IBM: 

IBM, one of the biggest tech companies in the world, uses GitLab to help its foreign development teams handle code and work together.

Siemens: 

The international company Siemens uses GitLab to keep an eye on its software development projects and ensure all its developers can work together easily.

5 Companies using GitHub:

Many people analyze GitLab vs. GitHub, including solo workers, open-source projects, and many well-known businesses. These well-known companies use GitHub to keep track of versions and work together on code:

Microsoft: 

GitHub’s parent company, Microsoft, uses GitHub for its software development projects and backs several open-source projects.

Google: 

A huge tech company, Google is involved in the open-source community and runs many open-source projects on GitHub.

Facebook: 

Facebook manages its development files with GitHub and works with others on many open-source projects.

Twitter: 

Twitter, the biggest social media site in the world, uses GitHub to keep track of different versions of its open-source projects, work together on them, and share its successes.

Netflix: 

The popular streaming service uses GitHub to update its software and connect with the open-source community.

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Fundamental Features Explored

 

Version Control Platforms: GitLab vs. GitHub Features and Comparison The App Founders Recommendation
Background – GitHub: Launched in 2008, world’s largest code host. Acquired by Microsoft in 2018. Focus on open-source projects.
– GitLab: Launched in 2011 as GitHub alternative. Integrated experience for development. Offers self-hosted and cloud-hosted options.
Features – GitHub: Pull Requests, GitHub Actions, GitHub Pages, project management.
– GitLab: Comprehensive suite, CI/CD, Kubernetes integration, project planning.
– GitHub: Robust functionality, strong community.
– GitLab: Integrated tools, advanced CI/CD.
User Interface – GitHub: Familiar, accepted UI.
– GitLab: Complex UI, customizable dashboard.
– GitHub: User-friendly for beginners.
– GitLab: Customizable for workflow optimization.
Community and Popularity – GitHub: Larger community, more public repositories.
– GitLab: Growing community, preferred for private repositories.
– GitHub: Go-to for open-source projects.
– GitLab: Growing, advantageous for private repositories.
Pricing – GitHub: Free repositories, scalable paid plans.
– GitLab: Flexible pricing, free repositories, feature-rich free tier.
– GitHub: Collaborator limits on free private repos.
– GitLab: Cost-effective for integrated features.
Security Features – GitHub: Dependabot, code scanning, secret scanning.
– GitLab: SAST, DAST, dependency scanning, container scanning.
– GitHub: Security advisories, vulnerability discussions.
– GitLab: Extensive integrated security features.
Integration and Extensibility – GitHub: Marketplace, robust API.
– GitLab: Built-in functionality, powerful API.
– GitHub: Extensive Marketplace.
– GitLab: Reduced need for external tools, customizable API.
Deployment and Runtime Environments – GitHub: GitHub Codespaces, deployment workflows.
– GitLab: Review Apps, Auto DevOps.
– GitHub: Full VS Code editor in browser.
– GitLab: Live changes view, simplified CI/CD pipeline.
Import and Export Capabilities – GitHub: Limited export options.
– GitLab: Comprehensive project import/export.
– GitHub: Standard Git checkout options.
– GitLab: Enhanced project transfer capabilities.
Enterprise Offerings – GitHub: GitHub Enterprise, GitHub Advanced Security. – GitLab: Self-managed options, Geo for distributed teams, advanced auditing.
When to Choose GitHub – Open-source projects.
– Larger community preference.
– Limitless free private repositories.
– GitHub: Open-source contributions, recognized platform.
– GitLab: Cost-effective private repositories.
When to Choose GitLab – Comprehensive tools for private projects.
– Preference for self-hosting.
– Need for sophisticated features.
– GitHub: Recognized for open-source.
– GitLab: Private projects, self-hosting, feature-rich tools.
Companies Using GitHub – Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix. – GitHub: Widely adopted by tech giants and open-source contributors.
Companies Using GitLab – NVIDIA, Sony, NASA, IBM, Siemens. – GitLab: Gaining popularity, used by diverse businesses and organizations.

 

Conclusion:

GitLab and GitHub offer comparable functionalities, including Git repository administration, issue monitoring, and code review. 

However, notable distinctions between them may impact your decision regarding which platform to use for your project.

As a developer or organization, your choice between GitLab vs. GitHub will ultimately depend on your specific requirements and preferences.

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