Should YOURLS be on GitHub instead?

I’m regularly asked if there’s a chance that YOURLS be hosted on GitHub instead of Google Code as it is now.

Sure, GitHub is sexier, the web interface is much slicker, trendy and all. On the other hand, Google Code is here to stay forever or so, I know SVN, the YOURLS project has all its ticket and source history there and, despite being a bit raw sometimes, the interface and the service get the job done.

One argument I’ve been given a couple of times is “you’d get more contribution on GitHub”, but I’m not convinced: why would it be easier on GitHub (just because you just click “Pull Request” and save the minor step of generating a diff file?). The counter argument that easily comes to my mind is: spending hours on learning new tools and migrating the project and its history (issues and commits).

But maybe I’m not seeing the big picture and there are factual reasons why hosting on GitHub would be more beneficial to the YOURLS project. If you believe that’s the case, please do comment and convince me :)

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15 thoughts on “Should YOURLS be on GitHub instead?

  1. There is some truth to the “getting more contributions” argument, in that existing github users will be more likely to contribute, but don’t expect miracles. :)

    Another argument is more visibility: people can star repositories, which show up on their follower’s stream, forks will also show up on user’s profiles etc.

  2. I think it would be great if you transitioned to using GitHub. There is definitely truth to getting more contributions through GitHub, as you would be able to gather interest much easier through the platform.

    Personally, at the moment if I wanted to contribute – I wouldn’t really be able to. I have never used SVN or Google Code, so I would have to figure both those out. However, I use git and GitHub every day – so it would be as easier as forking it, adding my changes and doing a pull request back.

    Git is really easy to get the hang of, so it wouldn’t take long. And I am sure there are tools or scripts out there that others have already made for transitioning from SVN to git to keep history in check.

    • For the record, I believe you can generate a .diff file no matter what solution you’re using. Feel free to contribute even if YOURLS doesn’t move eventually.

      • Yeah, you certainly can and if I ever need to use YOURLS again – I will definitely contribute my code. Unfortunately it’s been a year or longer since I have used YOURLS, so I am sure it has changed plenty.

        I’m more just touching on the fact that I have used SVN Or Google Code myself, so I’m not even sure what I would need to do to contribute.

  3. Git is definitely more popular, easier to use and GitHub has a nicer interface. For history, you can always leave the old stuff on Google Code if you can’t transfer it to GitHub.

  4. Yes, I think that would be great. There’s also a number of great tools on github like github Pages, Wiki, Issue Tracker and a few more . It appears to me that GIT is becoming increasingly popular and with great GUIs like github’s own software or SourceTree on OS X command-line knowledge becomes obsolete for most.

  5. I’m a Git and Github advocate, and often preach that people should be using Github. But in your case, I’d said don’t do it. If you are comfortable with svn/google, and if your history and issues live there, then why “fix” what ain’t broke – especially if it means losing version and issue history?

    I agree with scribu’s note about stars, etc. Github has social features (starring, following, forking) that are likely to make people more aware of the project, which is likely to convert more contributors. But you could get at least some of this benefit by hosting a project mirror on Github. Do all of your dev on Google Code, and then use a script that mirrors latest commits, tags, branches, etc to Github. People can fork your project there, and send pull requests if they want. You get the pull request email from Github, go to the changeset on, add .diff to the end of the URL, and you’ll get a unified diff that you can use to patch your svn version.

    Mark Jaquith has been kind enough to share the script he uses for mirroring WP to Github: You’d probably only need small mods to make this work for YOURLS. It’d give you the best of both worlds.

  6. Github hosting aside, on a personal level, it’s worth investing the time to learn Git.

    Once you master the beast, especially its branching and patch mode, you’ll wish you had learned it sooner.

    Your workflow will be faster. Collaboration will be easier. You will be more attractive sexually.

  7. I honestly believe the way Github works in terms of code hosting, issue tracking, wiki hosting and the way it facilitates forking and contributing to be far superior over Google Code. Period.

    Having to make the switch from SVN to Git may seem like it would complicate stuff at first, but trust me, you get over that real soon. And if you dead set on not wanting to work with a versioning system that the cool kids use nowadays, than by all means, use something like what Boone recommends.

    I know for a fact that having the code on Github will make the project and it’s code a lot more visible and will be more attractive for people to contribute.

  8. Okay. I honestly don’t know which is easier. Why? Because I don’t know SVN/Google Code or GitHub very well.

    What I do know, is how to to download the files I need to install YOURLS and the plugin’s I want to use from Google Code. I don’t know if it is the same with Github, so at the moment, I don’t know how to download the files off of Github.

    What I think you should do, is get a better design for the YOURLS website and blog. (Make it all WordPress with the same theme) have multiple places where people can download it. Maybe Google Code and Github. And, I think you should bring back the Forums, but this time with some “human” verification so that you don’t get the spam you did last time.

    You said “Google Code is here to stay” well, I don’t really know how big Google Code is of a product, but I know they do close some of their services. Google Answers is a good example. So, in the future, Google Code could be shut down.

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