Some decent looking project hosting candidates at last

As you may recall from a previous post, I am looking for some decent project hosting both for my open source software and for some business ideas. I want a single point of contact which offers as a minimum: version control, wiki, bug/ticket tracking, calendar and tasks/todo. Nice to haves include time-tracking, collaborative planning and continuous integration.

Eventually I have found two likely candidates: unfuddle and assembla. Both offer most of what I want, but with a few differences.

Unfuddle is probably the simpler of the two. It offers subversion and git hosting, a kind of wiki called “Notebook”, a kind of low-rent bulletin board called “Messages” for discussions, deadline management using simple text milestones, and bugs/tickets using Trac. It also provides RSS and iCal feeds of workspace events and upcoming milestones. With increased monthly payment you can also get time tracking and file attachment storage for messages.

Assembla offers subversion, mercurial and git hosting (and can integrate with remote subversion and github repositories), a wiki with extensions to directly reference tickets, bugs, software versions etc., similar “messages” to unfuddle but with file attachment storage included, bugs/tickets using trac or a proprietary alternative, similar milestones to unfuddle (but I can’t find any iCal feeds which is a shame), time recording, scrum-style progress reporting, and a few other options such as a “chat” facility and a specialist repository for storing and annotating images. It can provide updates of events using twitter or by HTTP call-outs, which seems pretty flexible.

Neither one seems to have a very sophisticated calendar, so no arranging meetings etc. Neither one has any significant collaborative planning in the vein of Mingle or Silver Catalyst. Neither supports recording of anything other than time (money spent on each task would be very useful, for example.) And neither supports continuous integration as such (although it could probably be hacked together using Assembla’s HTTP call-outs.)

Pricing seems roughly similar, although calculated differently.

Unfuddle offers five price bands (free for open source, $9, $24, $49, and $99 per month). Each band offers larger quantities of storage, numbers of participants and projects etc. The $9/month plan offers 512MB of storage for 10 people on 4 projects, so for an example small private team of three developers the cost would be $9/month

Assembla determines pricing per user per “space” (a space seems roughly to equate to a single project). Free for public spaces. For private ones, each user/space is $2/month, and $3 per gigabyte of storage per month. So for the same small private team of three developers the cost would also be $9/month but for more features and more storage. The down side is that adding any new team member, even one who only needs occasional access, costs extra.

I have registered for free accounts on both systems and have started to try out everything I can. I’ll report back soon on my findings.

In the meanwhile I’d love to hear from anyone with any other suggestions for project hosting services along the lines of these two.

7 Comments

  1. I got the same finalist in my search for project hosting. Thou we start with in-house hosting: phpCollab and XPlanner, we finally decide to go oursource: Assembla and now Unfuddle.

    Assembla have added new functionality later, that allows project manager to graphically view the project progress, some very nice features. Another good feature is the custom properties you can add to tickets, that can be use later for reporting.

    We still use Assemble for some project, (we have ticket history there), but we move to Unfuddle because is cheaper (for our configuration) and have better time control.

    Both services give their own API to extend the functionality of the platform. The integration between each functionality is better in Unfuddle, we are extensibly use the commit-ticket integration. We would like to see time add functionality also.

    The independent space metaphor used by Assembla, allow work in projects with clients that can take control of the space later. This work well for custom software development company.

    This is my sand grain contribution to your post 😉
    Regards.

    AG

  2. Thanks very much for the response. Since writing that post I have been experimenting more with assembla and found that the one project per repository model, although suitable for most svn work, does not work well with git. Git seems to play best with multiple repositories which feed into each other, but with assembla each extra repository is extra cost. Similarly, the assembla method of cross-referencing tickets and checkins does not work well with multiple repositorie sper project. I find this all a bit odd, as the head of Assembla is publicly keen on git.

    My next step is to try the same level of complexity with unfuddle and see how I get on.

  3. For the moment I have decided to go with unfuddle (as I mention in this recent post.) This is for several reasons.

    The first reason is the way that Assembla charges per person, per repository, assuming that a project (‘space’) has one and only one repository. While this may make sense in the traditional world of CVS and subversion, it is a crazy way to deal with distributed version control.

    The second reason is the way that Assembla have changed their pricing model since I wrote this article. The user/space charge has risen from $2 to $3, and there is now no maximum charge, so growing a team or working on several projects can rapidly become expensive.

    Finally, Unfuddle support private development on their free plan, rather than requiring all free use to be open source. This means that it is much easier to evaluate the service on real work using the free plan, then upgrade to a paid plan on adding more team members.

    Unfuddle does have its drawbacks, though. The pace of development seems much slower than Assembla, and the individual components often seem slightly weaker. The Unfuddle ticket system is pretty inflexible, for example, and there is no option to use an alternative.

    My recommendation would probably be that if you are working with git, on a closed-source project, then Unfuddle seems the best option. If you are working with Subversion, either on an open source project or with a team which exactly matches one of Assembla’s packages then Assembla may be a better choice.

    If Unfuddle would work as hard to improve their components as Assembla, or if Assembla would re-consider their pricing model and how they work with git, there would be a clear winner, but so far neither stands out.

    I hope some of that helps.

  4. do you know kvchosting they had a great point;

    1. Trusted and reliable.
    2. Server is always on the manage / maintenance
    3. Server stable & 99.99% server uptime
    4. Feature complete
    5. Support 24 / 7 ready
    6. Quality to compete with other
    7. Price competition with other
    8. Warranty
    9. Adword credit
    10.Had own Tecknologi Feature

Comments are closed.