Google Code hosting: More than meets the eye

Google Code hosting: More than meets the eye

Summary: This week, Google announced a new open source hosting service that could finally provide a real choice. I decided to take a closer look and create my own project on the site (see image gallery). SourceForge isn't going away, but now it faces some serious competition. It's about time.

TOPICS: Google

Everybody likes to pick on SourceForge. It's slow, CVS is unavailable for days at a time, it took years to add Subversion support, it has an issue tracker not much more advanced than a stone tablet, etc.... A handful of alternatives exist but none have gained much traction. This week, Google announced a new open source hosting service that could finally provide a real choice. I decided to take a closer look by creating my own project (gwtpowered) on the site.

Image Gallery: Google Code hosting close up

Summary: the Google Code project hosting interface is dirt simple and lacks many of the bells and whistles of other source management sites. However it has several things going for it.

  • The company's innovative use of search, tags, and labels makes it very flexible and adaptable.
  • It works easily with IDEs like Eclipse and NetBeans.
  • Google Code leverages other Google properties such as GMail and Google Groups.
  • Perhaps most importantly, SourceForge boasts over 100,000 projects and a million users. If anybody has the infrastructure to support that kind of scale, it's Google.

Time will tell, but I predict Google Code hosting will be a big hit. SourceForge isn't going away, but now it faces some serious competition. It's about time.

Update 7/28: Several people have reported problems moving their SourceForge projects to Google Code. Apparently Google reserved all SourceForge project names to prevent name squatting, but the mechanism by which you (as the SF project admin) can give yourself (as the GC project admin) permission to use the name is broken right now. Hopefully it will be cleared up soon. See this thread for more info.

More resources:

Topic: Google

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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  • google code hosting

    hi there,

    I'm thinking that the reason that google entered this area is (apart from the fact that they will benefit from Open source and want to give somthing back to keep it thriving, etc)

    1) MS has entered the field -- although for now, MS is currently having MS related technolgoy, soon, anyone can host their project with MS.

    2) This will give more coverage to Google Groups and Gmail.

    3) Soon, it might give more coverage to Google Calendar and other google properties.

    4) It is important that there be a way to add some kind of Project Summary, tutorials, etc -- a link to GooglePages ??

    5) How about server build farms ? Not sure what MS has in this area but will be nice to see if Sun, HP and IBM can pitch in and add some of its GRID capabilities(SPARC, x86) for the Google Projects to leverage for building and testing.

    • Project summary yes, build farms no

      You can add a short summary, and arbitrary links to anywhere (including googlepages) on your project.

      Regarding build farms, Google's FAQ says: "Rather than try to offer every possible feature, we have focused on doing the most important things really well. More features will be added over time, but only when they are ready. However, we will not offer the following any time soon: shell accounts, build farm, private projects, nested projects, or multiple alternatives for each type of hosted tool." (
      Ed Burnette
  • Stand still

    get run over. Bye, bye Sourceforge.
    Roger Ramjet
  • You have got to be kidding

    It has possible the most childish of interfaces it uses google search layout with not much additional information on the project. No Relevacy the project has to my search. No information that will cause me not to waist time looking for files that don't existe. It basically sucks so much that my flat screen is now u shaped. On a scale of 1 to 10 it is like -10 big waist of time. Source forge is not very good but it is so much better than google, it was hardly worth the effort to program.
    • It's not finished, but

      the idea is simplicity. It's a little too simple in a few places (e.g., there's no way to download a release yet) but it seems like a good start and a clean break from other services. Submit your ideas to the code hosting forum.
      Ed Burnette