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.