When comparing GitLab vs Heroku, the Slant community recommends GitLab for most people. In the question“What are the best cloud storage services for developers?” GitLab is ranked 1st while Heroku is ranked 6th. The most important reason people chose GitLab is:
GitLab is a free and open source project licensed under MIT. Source code for Enterprise Edition can be found [here](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ee) and Community Edition [here](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce).
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Good web UI
GitLab's UI is clean and intuitive. Each view is designed to not fill the screen with useless information.
It displays the activity in a feed-type way in the most prominent part of the view. On top of that, there's a toolbar with buttons which can filter this feed by pushes, merge events or comments.
On the left, there's a menu that displays all the links that take you to the different views. For example, a file directory which displays all the files in that repo, a commit view which displays all the commits in cronological order, a network and a graph view that display important information graphically etc...
All these details make GitLab's UI extremely intuitive and easy to use, no view is overflown with information and every view displays only the most useful and crucial information needed at that time.
Pro Supports pull requests
Has pull request (AKA, merge request) support.
Pro Regular updates
GitLab is being constantly worked on and has a new release every month on the 22nd. Updating is also very easy through a single apt-get command.
Pro Easy to install with the packages
With the packages available here, GitLab can be installed in two minutes.
Pro Support for protected branches
A protected master branch means that no code can be merged to master without passing a code review by an authorised developer. With GitLab this comes out of the box.
Pro Has wikis and pages
Wiki and pages support out of the box.
Pro Issue tracking support
Has issue tracking out of the box. Creating tickets, commenting on issues, closing issues etc... It's all there out of the box.
Pro Permissions and roles are supported
It has private/public repositories, roles for users (master, developer, reporter, guest). All of these can be set from the user interface. Same permissions set for the UI work for the SSH as well.
Pro Integrates fully with LDAP
The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol is an application protocol for accessing and maintaining distributed directory information services over an Internet Protocol (IP) network.
GitLab EE adds additional functionality over CE such as support for multiple LDAP servers and group sync.
Pro Supports Approvers/Reviewers of Pull/Merge requests
Since 7.12 you can define a minimum number of approvers for merge requests.
Pro Comes with integrated CI/CD solution
GitLab CI makes it easy to set up CI and deployment for projects in GitLab. It supports parallel testing, multiple platforms, Docker containers and streaming build logs.
Pro "Snippets" support
Snippets are similar to (well-known) GitHub "gists". They are a way to share code or have conversations about anything without needing a full git repo. The implementation here reminds more of a sort of pastebin.
A single instance can handle up to 40,000 users (requires a server with 64 core CPU and 64 GB of RAM) and it can run on multiple application servers to grow beyond that.
Pro Integrates with other systems by webhooks
Integrates out of the box with services like Bugzilla, Pushbullet, Microsoft Team Notification and many more - one can also add own webhooks to integrate with own services.
Pro Most GitLab EE features become part of GitLab CE after time
EE is the commercial Enterprise Edition, CE is the free and OpenScource Community Edition. Features such as Cycle Analytics were first a part of the EE and are now also available in CE.
Pro Manages large files and binaries with integrated Git Annex
Git Annex enables Git to manage large files (esp binaries) without checking them into Git.
Pro Can provide a Docker registry
The default docker.io registry is the docker hub but you can also login to other docker registries. And GitLab provides one for all Repos that make use of this feature.
Pro Allows Timetracking with Cycle-Analytics
Very useful project management feature that allows you to know how long it takes to go from the idea to production.
Pro Very feature rich RESTful-API
GitLab exposes a REST API that allows automation possible, like PR bots.
Pro Integration with third party applications
GitLab integrates with multiple third-party services to allow external issue trackers and external authentication.
GitLab can integrate with many third-party apps to allow external issue tracking and authentication. It can also be integrated with several services, such as:
- Pivotal Tracker
Pro Easy to start with
Getting started with Heroku is very easy. It's a very straightforward procedure and a beginner can set up their first app in two minutes. Often it's just a matter of a couple of
git commands and it's all set up and running. The official Heroku docmentation also helps a lot.
Pro Excellent error logs
When your deploy fails you see a legitimate error log. Many of the other PaaS give you nondescript messages and debugging is a pain. Debugging Heroku wins by comparison.
Pro Add-ons let you easily add features and technologies
Heroku has a vast list of plugins and services that can be added to an instance. These plugins cover things from databases to email systems. This remove the task of having to install services and setting them up manually. Heroku does it all for you.
Pro Simple scaling
Heroku instances can easily be scaled up or down by increasing or decreasing the number of available dynos for that instance. This can be done through the CLI or through Heroku's web UI.
Pro Dedicated build servers
Heroku has dedicated servers for building app dependencies, to ensure that you won't have issues like "out of memory" errors when deploying your app.
Heroku is one of the oldest PaaS providers. The fact that it's been around for such a long time means that it had a lot of time to mature over the years. There's also a massive number of articles, guides and tutorials on Heroku out there for beginners and advanced users.
Pro Free option
Heroku offers a free tier which contains a single dyno instance. It offers 512MB of memory and 100MB swap space.
Con Not all features are free
GitLab's Service Desk features and some more are only available in GitLab EE.
Con No Windows support
There is no support for Windows. The use of a virtual machine will be required.
Con Bad code review possibilities
No precommit reviews.
Con Requires at least 1GB of RAM
The default installation is meant for already many users and recommends 2GB of RAM. 1GB is possible but results in some HTTP 500 errors. On a Raspberry Pi 2 it runs fine most of the time, though it eats 75% of the RAM.
Another option is to reduce
unicorn['worker_processes'] in gitlab.rb.
Con The upgrade process fails more often than not
Even for minor versions such as 9.2.0 to 9.3.0. Sometimes the upgrade failure is silent and only seen when logging in first time after update and an http 502 error is given.
Con Not lightweight
GitLab is demanding, Gitea is a much more lightweight solution which uses less CPU and memory.
Con Constrained by addons
If you want to fully customize your production environment, then Heroku can be seriously constraining. Installing libraries or services can not be done unless there is already a Heroku plugin for it.
Con Further deployments are slow
While starting with Heroku is fast and easy, and the first few deployments are actually very fast, larger applications tend to have slower deployments. It takes some time for the dynos to restart and while they are restarting the application is completely offline. Which means that you can lose precious seconds of application time.
Con Really expensive
Heroku starts getting really expensive once you leave that free tier. It's not just the bare Heroku service that is costly, the addons as well are very pricey.