GitHub is the largest code host on the planet, hosting over 21.4 million repositories. It is unarguably the most widely used tool by developers worldwide.
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Pro Integrated issue tracking
GitHub has integrated issue tracking that makes hunting and solving bugs easy. Each project's issues page can be filtered by closed issues, assignees, labels and milestones. Issues are also sortable by age, number of comments and update time.
Pro Provides free hosting for static websites
GitHub Pages is a feature that allows developers to create websites for their projects or anything they need a static website for, for free.
Pro Nice and usable UI
GitHub's UI is clean and intuitive. Each view is designed to not fill the screen with useless information.
For example, the repository view displays only the most crucial data about that repo - on the top it displays the number of commits, branches, releases and contributors. When clicked, each of them will take the user to a page that displays more detailed information.
Pro Anyone can fork
Any user can fork a project and submit a pull request. If accepted by the owner, the fork will be merged with the master branch.
Pro GitHub makes it easy to find open source projects
GitHub is the largest host in the world for open source projects. Developers from all over the world fork and work on countless projects hosted on it.
GitHub's search box is a powerful tool that allows developers to find open source projects in areas they are interested in and where they can immediately start to contribute.
GitHub also has a page dedicated solely at exploring and finding open source projects, grouping them by each topic they cover. In the same view, GitHub displays trending repositories and sorting them by day, week or month.
Pro Large community
GitHub is the largest code host on the planet with over 21.4 million hosted repositories and many users. It's unarguably the largest VCS used by developers worldwide and as such, it has a vibrant community that follows it resulting in many guides and tutorials for new users. Even experienced developers can always find an answer to any question they may have.
Pro Simplified team management tools
GitHub has easy and useful features to control teams, large and small alike. Team members can be given different powers on different projects, ranging from the ability to create them, to only being able to have read-only access.
Pro Gist (Snippets)
Gists is GitHub's way to easily share code, text snippets or any kind of information with the world. They are an easy way to share text and they work as Git repos, which means that they are forkable and versioned. They are also fully compatible with Git.
Pro Convenient continuous integration with Travis CI
GitHub can be integrated with Travis CI for code testing and deployment, furthermore it is free of charge for free open-source projects.
Pro Supports Two-Factor authentication
GitHub has added another layer of security to their user accounts. This layer comes in the form of Two-Factor authentication. After it's enabled, GitHub delivers an authentication code by SMS, or by a free application for smartphones. After two-factor authentication is enabled, the authentication code is sent to the account owner's phone any time someone attempts to sign into their GitHub account. This means that only someone who has both the password and authentication code can sign into the account.
Pro Code search functionality
GitHub supports searching code. Whether it's from a specific project or from the whole website. What's more, GitHub has excellent SEO and you can easily find any line of code hosted on public repos on GitHub even from Google.
Pro Easy integration with cloud hosting services
Many widely used cloud hosting services are easily integrated with GitHub. Any project hosted on GitHub can be set up on these services in seconds. Some companies that offer this feature are:
- Amazon Web Services
- Google Cloud
- Windows Azure
Pro Additional features for academics
For those with a valid .edu email or valid school ID there are additional benefits such as free private hosting. While it may take time for the account to be verified, it can easily be worth it.
Pro Support for mandatory code reviews
GitHub allows maintainers to make code reviews mandatory for any repository they choose.
Pro Project management tools available
GitHub has a tool called (quite intuitively) "Projects". It helps teams to organize and prioritize the work they are doing by creating roadmaps and release checklists.
Con Only public repositories are free
Unfortunately, GitHub offers closed repositories only for premium users, and the price is not cheap at all.
Con Rule of thumb: 1GB per repository, 100MB per file
For most repositories this is acceptable, but for already large repositories with a long history, this may be a limiting factor.
Con Using it encourages other tools to integrate only with GitHub, leading to a monopoly
Con No OAuth2 support
In order to sign in to GitHub, users have to sign up first with unique credentials for GitHub only, so no option to sign in with Google+ or Facebook.
Con Very inconvenient UI
Very hard to switch between projects.