When comparing Trello vs Phabricator, the Slant community recommends Trello for most people. In the question“What are the best bug/issue tracking tools for small development teams?” Trello is ranked 1st while Phabricator is ranked 5th. The most important reason people chose Trello is:
There are two primary columns: the board is shown on the left and all the other controls on the right. The main means of interaction is dragging and dropping to-do cards into the various lists. The board structure is very customizable, and includes a variety of features that help along the way: color-coding, due dates, card images, checklists with a graphics bar that allows following progress easily, and card aging for cards that haven’t been touched in a long time.
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Pro Simple and easy to use interface
There are two primary columns: the board is shown on the left and all the other controls on the right. The main means of interaction is dragging and dropping to-do cards into the various lists.
The board structure is very customizable, and includes a variety of features that help along the way: color-coding, due dates, card images, checklists with a graphics bar that allows following progress easily, and card aging for cards that haven’t been touched in a long time.
Pro Highly flexible workflow
Trello calls items used in the workflow “cards.” Cards are double-sided and can contain subtasks as well as notes and other details.
Card columns can be used to simulate a workflow by moving cards from left to right as they are completed, or as a way of indicating task priority.
The workflow is highly flexible as the columns are completely customizable to suit the task flow. For example, tasks can be put through a workflow "idea > approved > in-progress > pending review > released" or simply "ideas > released" depending on the granularity level needed.
This makes Trello a great solution to feature management as it's possible to set up boards to handle everything from agile sprints to a more generic to-do list, all with status management.
Pro Free for unlimited users
Trello offers a very generous free version that has no ads, no restrictions on the number of users, and very little restriction on how the program can be used. The paid features are generally cosmetic, such as the ability to change the background, add stickers or integration with other tools.
Pro Great real-time team collaboration features
Trello has permissions at the board level as well as the ability to assign multiple people to each card. There are a lot of sharing options available and boards can be made visible for the public. It's also possible to subscribe to a card to be notified of its progress. The simplicity of the UI makes collaboration easy because it’s very simple to see the progress of each card and who is responsible for it. It also updates constantly to reflect real-time changes in progress.
The simplicity of the UI makes collaboration easy as it’s very simple to see the progress of each card and who is responsible for it. It also reflect changes on boards in real-time.
Pro Markdown support with well-rendered images
Trello supports Markdown, meaning that HTML input is represented appropriately. Cards with attachments are also rendered well. For example, images are shown correctly on the card, bug links are detected etc.
Pro Excellent for groups using agile software development
The responsiveness and layers of customization make it easy for team members of various disciplines to collaborate on the same task board.
Pro Works well for visual thinkers
The UI is based around Kanban, so you can see all your tasks and their status clearly.
Pro Functionality can be extended via plug-ins
Voting, view, and calendar plug-ins further increase the functionality.
Each card can have one or even multiple task lists.
Pro Lots of API integrations
Pro Cross-platform and cross-sync
Trello works on all modern devices through the web application and has native apps for iOS, Android and Windows 8/10 devices.
Pro Good performance
Pro Attach files to cards
Keep all of your files (images, documents, etc.) organized on their relevant cards.
Pro Great native app for Android and iOS
Pro Smooth media integration
Works like a charm.
Pro Action history log allows you to rapidly follow changes
There is a global history system which allows to rapidly follow changes. There is also a notification system if another user updates the board while you're watching it.
Pro Features to add voting on cards
Trello offers support for features to add voting on cards, often referred to as 'power-ups'.
Pro Free and open source
Phabricator is completely free and open source. It's source code is hosted on GitHub.
Pro Actively updated
Phabricator is quickly improving, with bug fixes and new features added often. There is an update to the changelog every couple of weeks.
Pro Bug tracker is included
Includes a bug tracker out of the box. Allows for managing bugs, creating issues, commenting on them and closing them.
Pro Built-in Q&A platform - Ponder
Instead of having to have separate Q&A tool, there's Ponder which takes out the hassle.
Pro Supports the three major version control systems
Support for Git, SVN and Mercurial is available.
Pro Super flexible bussiness rules (Herald)
Pro Able to review graphical asset changes as well as code.
Pro Built-in Wiki and pages support
Pro Code ownership
Users can subscribe to files or even repositories and notifications will be sent when code you are subscribed to is changed.
Pro Command Line Access (via arc)
Pro Able to track design mockups
You can track not only code bud also design mockups.
Pro Built-in voting
You can create voting in an instant and need not to rely on external tools.
Pro Built-in blogging platform
There's a great platform which you can use to post stuff, or use as an internal blog, dev blog, release anouncement place and many others.
Pro Fine grained access control
With using Spaces and Project and custom policies you can have any combination of access to any object inside of your own Phabricator instance.
Pro Built-in Chatrooms
Pro Able to manage legal agreements for open source projects
Pro Designed by software engineers for software engineers
The engineering workflow is far superior to Github style branching and merging. Phabricator separates local representations of the repository from remote, which enables a variety of workflow optimisations, like stacked diffs on a single branch.
Pro Fully customizeable workboard
You can configure your workspace to deal with tasks, bugs, todo's, etc.
Con Subtasks lack features
Every task can have a list of subtasks which more closely resembles a standard to-do list.
These lack the functions that cards offer you. You cannot comment on a sub-list, give the sub-tasks due dates, or provide additional information. You are limited to only checking them off once completed.
Con Not really a to do list
Trello is much more a workflow and project management program than a typical to-do app, which makes it overwhelmingly robust for those looking to jot down their shopping list.
Con Managing large projects may be difficult
Trello works best with medium to small projects and with very high-level overviews. It is less effective for projects that require very granular management due to the fact that it becomes considerably more difficult to keep track of various cards and priorities as they are pushed off the screen.
Con Can't create dependencies between cards
Con Can't get one view of cards across all boards
However, you can view all cards assigned to you.
Con No quick deadline assignment
You have to open a Calendar every time to set a date without any quick options like today, tomorrow etc.
Con You can't add more than 1 Power Up without paying for it
Con No multi-board aggregation
If you have multiple boards with tasks on them there is no way to get all the tasks on one board in a way that changes on one board will update the other.
Con Impossible to use Pomodoro timer connected to Trello on iOS
Con No desktop client
There is no Windows or Mac client now but you can still access all of the features through your web browser.
Con Light on features
Trello is focused on simplicity and as such forgoes certain common features that may or may not be important to you.
Con Difficult to configure
Compared to a solution like Bitbucket Server (granted Phabricator offers more options), it is difficult to configure. Settings are scattered everywhere and you must drill down through several screens to find some of them. Documentation is very complete but also not always in parity with the application itself.