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  • Writer's pictureKamil Zawadzki

What is a code repository for

Updated: May 29

Webchefs Software for humans code repository article

A code repository is essential for managing the code created by programmers. In the past, code was saved locally and shared via floppy disks or FTP servers, requiring manual, line-by-line comparison by an integrator. This process was time-consuming, labor-intensive but also inefficient, and risky, primarily when multiple specialists worked on the same files.

Common problems included difficulties in synchronizing files, compatibility errors, lack of organization, and minimal control over the creative process, leading to chaos.

Today, nearly every developer uses a code repository, whether solo or in a team. This tool is crucial for efficient code management, offering a solution to the previously mentioned challenges by facilitating better organization, control, and collaboration in software development. Here's a look at some of the most popular systems for maintaining code.

Chronological overview of code maintenance systems

In the beginning, there was a CSV

The earliest code repository system was CVS (Concurrent Versions System), a GPL-based system designed for managing files in CVS electronic records within a client-server architecture, developed in 1986. Despite pioneering, the technology faced criticism for several shortcomings due to its early stages. These included the absence of version control for file renaming and deletion, the creation of new branches consuming significant space, and the lack of support for distributed version control systems.

Later, SVN was developed

The Subversion (SVN) system emerged as the successor to the CVS repository, aiming to address its predecessor's issues. SVN was an open and free version control system developed under the Apache license. It brought several enhancements over CVS, including a dedicated server, faster creation of branches and tags, comprehensive tracking of directory and file name changes throughout their history, and other features and improvements to streamline and accelerate the development process.

Then the GIT platform was born

GIT, a distributed version control system under the GNU GPL, was first launched in 2005 by Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel. GIT's key features include the capability to work offline, robust support for branching in software development, compatibility with various network protocols like HTTP(S), FTP, rsync, and SSH, and a smooth experience with large projects. GIT addressed many of the limitations found in the SVN system, offering a more dynamic approach to code repository management. This has led to its growing popularity as a system for code maintenance.

GIT led to the creation of platforms like GitLab, GitHub, and Bitbucket.

  • GitHub, launched in 2008 by Tom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath, and PJ Hyatt, is a hosting platform based on GIT. It's the largest repository server today, hosting over 38 million projects.

  • GitLab, started in 2011 by Valery Sizov and Dimitriy Zaporozhets, stands out as the only open-source project among these platforms.

  • Bitbucket, originating from an Australian startup in 2008, initially supported Mercurial projects. After being acquired by Atlassian in 2010, it shifted to support GIT hosting a year later. Now, Bitbucket focuses solely on GIT and is designed to integrate seamlessly with other Atlassian services, targeting the enterprise market.

Both tools—GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket—provide similar core features. These include code review, issue tracking, Markdown support, two-factor authentication, snippets, external integrations, a functional API, static web page hosting, and sophisticated enhancement management systems.

GitLab logo
GitHub logo
Bitbucket logo

Free pricing plans for GitLab, GitHub, and Bitbucket platforms

Each service provides a free plan with essential features.

GitHub's free plan offers unlimited public repositories, with cloning and forking capabilities. There's no disk space limit, yet projects can't exceed 1 GB, and individual files must be under 100 MB.

Bitbucket's free option supports sharing repositories within a team of up to five members without restricting the number of projects. However, repositories must be at most 1 GB.

GitLab's complimentary hosting plan allows unlimited users to work on an unlimited number of public and private projects, with a repository size limit of 10 GB.

Paid pricing plans for GITlab, GIThub, and Bitbucket platforms

The paid plans of these cloud-hosted services offer unlimited storage for private repositories and email support, with distinct features across different platforms.

GitHub's paid cloud version provides unlimited private repositories, removing the cap on user numbers for personal accounts. Pricing starts at $25 per month for a team of five, with an additional $9 per month for each extra user. The self-hosted GitHub Enterprise plan begins at approximately $2,500 annually for ten users.

Bitbucket's cheapest cloud hosting plan is available for $10 per month for ten users. For $100 a month, you can get service for unlimited team members. The self-hosted Bitbucket plans for Small and Growing Teams come with a one-time fee of just $10. The Bitbucket Enterprise version supports up to 2000 users.

GitLab exclusively offers a paid plan for self-hosting, which is the GitLab Enterprise at $39 per user per year, with no limits on the number of team members.

Main benefits of a code repository

The advantages of code maintenance systems are vast, and it's now hard to imagine any development work without them.

A code repository is crucial for developers, enabling automatic detection of file changes and updates. Each update is accompanied by a descriptive message, with a detailed history of changes and their authors, simplifying identifying issues and reverting code to a prior state if necessary.

Moreover, repositories facilitate the creation of code versions that outline specific functions, streamlining testing. The comprehensive documentation of code also makes integrating these functions into projects more orderly and efficient.

Key benefits of using a unified team collaboration approach through a code repository include having a consistent version of the repository across all environments and eliminating the need for different configuration files for each machine. Repositories are also notable for their efficiency in data volume; a well-set-up repository occupies far less space than the complete project.

Additionally, repositories aid in resolving conflicts and collisions more easily. With a universal workflow, it becomes possible to standardize collaboration rules, which is crucial for teams working internationally. Repositories often come with graphical interfaces, enhancing communication during disputes (known as issues) and supporting the code review process.


Employing a code repository is not just beneficial—it's essential. Not using a version control system in a project is a red flag that predicts future issues, including problems, collisions, and disputes that can severely disrupt collaboration and, in the worst-case scenario, might completely derail the project. To prevent such chaos, utilizing code repositories is crucial for maintaining order and efficiency.

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