Take Your Git In-House

gitlab logo

If you're wary of the Microsoft takeover of GitHub, or if you've been looking for a way to ween yourself off free public repositories, or if you want to ramp up your DevOps efforts, now's a good time to look at installing and running GitLab yourself. It's not as difficult as you might think, and the free, open-source GitLab CE version provides a lot of flexibility to start from scratch, migrate or graduate to more full-fledged versions.

In today's software business, getting solid code out the door fast is a must, and practices to make that easier are part of any organization's DevOps toolset. Git has risen to the top of the heap of version control tools, because it's simple, fast and makes collaboration easy.

For developers, tools like Git ensure that their code isn't just backed up and made available to others, but nearly guarantees that it can be incorporated into a wide variety of third-party development tools—from Jenkins to Visual Studio—that make continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) possible. Orchestration, automation and deployment tools easily integrate with Git as well, which means code developed on any laptop or workstation anywhere can be merged, branched and integrated into deployed software. That's why version control repositories are the future of software development and DevOps, no matter how big or small you are, and no matter whether you're building monolithic apps or containerized ones.

Getting Started with Git

Git works by taking snapshots of code on every commit, so every version of contributed code is always available. That means it's easy to roll back changes or look over different contributors' work.

If you're working in an environment that uses Git, you can do your work even when you're offline. Everything is saved in a project structure on your workstation, just as it is in the remote Git repository, and when you're next online, your commits and pushes update the master (or other) code branch quickly and easily.

Most Git users (even newbies) use the Git command-line tools to clone, commit and push changes, because it's easy, and for nearly 28-million developers, GitHub has become the de facto remote Git-based repository for their work. In fact, GitHub has moved beyond being just a code repository to become a multifaceted code community featuring 85-million projects. That's a lot of code.

GitLab is gaining popularity as a remote code repository too, but it's smaller and bills itself as more DevOps-focused, with CI/CD tool included for free. Both repositories offer free hosted accounts that allow users to create a namespace, and start contributing and collaborating right away. The graphical browser interfaces offered by the GitHub- and GitLab-hosted services make it easy to manage projects and project code, and also to add SSH keys, so you easily can connect from your remote terminal on Linux, Windows or Mac.