How Does Mozdev Compare With Google Code?

There have been some discussions recently about how mozdev‘s hosting service compares to Google Code. The feedback we’ve received so far has been very useful, so I wanted to talk about this topic with a wider group to get more comments and suggestions.

I think that one of the biggest advantages that mozdev has is that it is dedicated exclusively to people who are using Mozilla to build extensions and applications. This means that we can focus on providing features (such as creating a way to serve downloads that will work with Firefox 3’s secure installation requirements) that a general purpose hosting site, like Google Code, wouldn’t offer. I think there is a lot of potential in providing more of these features that apply only to Mozilla developers (for instance, one person mentioned that they had to use 4 different sites to manage their extension, so maybe we could sync information between AMO and mozdev to make developers’ lives a little easier).

Another thing that became clear from the discussion threads is that we haven’t done a good enough job talking about all of the new functionality we’ve added to the site recently or that we are planning to add soon. For example, someone mentioned that it was a negative that they couldn’t get admin access to their project’s Bugzilla account on mozdev. This had been true for a long time, but a few months ago we enabled this option when we upgraded to Bugzilla 3.0. There have also been many complaints about how limiting CVS can be, but the next item on our roadmap (after finishing the secure installation work) is to add at least one more version control option to the site.

Google Code certainly does have an advantage in some areas, but I think it misses the point a bit to compare mozdev with any general purpose hosting site just by looking at the different features available. Over the last eight years, a community of Mozilla extension and application developers has grown up on mozdev and it is these people and their collective experience that is the site’s most useful feature. No matter how great Google Code may be, it can’t offer that.

4 thoughts on “How Does Mozdev Compare With Google Code?

  1. “Over the last eight years, a community of Mozilla extension and application developers has grown up on mozdev and it is these people and their collective experience that is the site’s most useful feature. No matter how great Google Code may be, it can’t offer that.”

    Unless, of course, they were all to move over to Google Code.

    Comparisons of what general-purpose features Google Code does better or what Mozilla-specific features mozdev does better seem useful and relevant to me, but a community of developers isn’t a plus for any particular hosting environment, unless you claim that switching environments would (a) splinter that community and (b) fundamentally hinder its reforming/regeneration.

  2. I (a Mercurial developer) would be interested in helping to set up Mercurial and hgweb hosting on mozdev. Since some of the larger Mozilla projects are also moving to Mercurial and Mercurial is nicer in many ways than CVS or SVN (not sure what there is now), this could be an interesting project. Hey, maybe we could even get a SoC project going, or something? Let me know if you think this is an interesting idea.

  3. It’s the defaults that matter, not what functionality is available if you spend time to configure it. No amount of talking about what functionality is available is going to help if it’s not there straight away in a new project.

    That’s why Google Code is so attractive a hosting option. It’s default settings for a new project have everything you could need (wiki, issues tracker, source browser), as well as a clean interface.

    It’s the lack of choices that need to be made to get the project up and running.

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