RhodeCode 3 Enterprise – Self-Hosted Source Code Repository Review

Written by William Roush on April 13, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Review from long-term end-user and administrator of multiple RhodeCode installs since version 1.x.

Disclaimer: I’ve been a long time fan of RhodeCode and have talked with Marcin Kuzminski (main developer) multiple times.

RhodeCode 3 Enterprise

Installation

First problem I ran into was not getting the validation e-mail, seemed to hard bounce off my anti-spam, ouch, a password reset link made it through though and I got my download. You’ll have to have Python installed first, additionally do NOT rename the file, the installer will get crabby (which wget gladly renames it due to redirects all over by the RhodeCode site):

Whoops

Whoops

After that you just follow the quick start docs.

Installer enforces that you run it as a non-privileged user (good) doesn’t check for dependencies (bad), so on a clean net install of Debian 8 will crash if it’s missing: sudo and lbzip2, only way you can tell this is if you read the error logs, you’ll also get a totally unhelpful “file not found” when the service user’s home directory is missing/or not writable (Marcin says they’re fixing this though).

After that you’ll install your RhodeCode VCSServer and Enterprise components, these went pretty painlessly with additional packages downloaded from RhodeCode’s servers.

Licensing

RhodeCode has free licensing for up to 25 users (prior this was 20), after that you need to pay up. Currently the price for <100 users seems to fluctuate around $5/seat/person, which isn’t too bad (better than Github, worse than Bitbucket).

I’ve been keeping an eye on their pricing model for awhile, they’ve had anything from $13/user/platform (svg, hg, git) which was pretty rough, to the ability to not pay for support (only updates) which was like $2/user/mo, but they dropped that option sadly. I think the ~$5/user/mo is a good compromise even if it’s more expensive than some cloud providers.

For less than 25 users they also offer support for pretty low per seat pricing currently, a cool option, though I’m kind of always of the opinion if you need lots of support and can’t be self-sufficient outside of reporting bugs: go cloud.

 

Features

RhodeCode pretty much covers all the bases and includes the following:

  • External authentication (LDAP, Crowd, etc.)
  • Repository groups
  • Gists (public, private, expiration, all the good parts)
  • Code review (via pull requests)
  • Forking
  • Server-managed merging (like GitHub’s auto-merge)
  • Repository statistics

User Experience

A clean look for 3.0

A clean look for 3.0

The whole user interface has been cleaned up with a much sharper look, though a lot of the options are still in the same place they’ve always been (good for old RhodeCode users/admins, though some workflows had pain points).

Everybody gets lots of white space

Everybody gets lots of white space

A lot of white space seems to have been added though, feels like a lot of screen real estate is wasted. This is really obvious between various sections of the site.

The old statistics we're used to

The old statistics we’re used to

Nothing really new from the statistics features from the older versions, they’re nice to have but nothing much that is useful.

A bunch of commits

A bunch of commits

Commits are easy to read.

A terribly formatted readme file

A terribly formatted readme file

White space issues plague the ReadMe file, taking most of the screen with text much smaller than how it looks on GitHub.

RhodeCode - Unified Diff

RhodeCode - Side by Side

RhodeCode has support for inline and side-by-side diffs when reviewing code, pretty slick layouts that I enjoy.

This... is a journal page.

This… is a journal page.

Journal layout leaves a lot to be desired — but at least they have RSS feeds.

RhodeCode - Review Comment

RhodeCode still kind of suffers (in my opinion) from code reviews being nothing more than pull requests, which without and workflow management leaves a lot for anyone that needs more than the absolute basics for code review.

Performance

Everything is much faster than it was, however I’m only able to test it at a somewhat smaller scale than the deployments I’m having trouble scaling on.

As I understand it one of the largest changes for 3.0 was to break everything out and improve the speed of everything, that seems to have done the trick.

However things like statistics still seemed to take an awfully long time to run, not sure if it’s low-effort or

Repository Management

The tools for managing repositories haven’t changed really outside of just somewhat cleaner layouts. You still struggle from the fact that forks will likely clutter up your system, though the addition of “personal groups” somewhat helps, with this you can attempt to mimic a GitHub-like structure.

Overall

The system runs better and is visually more appealing than it was before, and I’m glad licensing has seemed to mellow out at a much more reasonable rate than it was earlier in the RhodeCode 3.0 releases. As much as I loved Gogs, I really need Mercurial support and RhodeCode really hits that sweet spot well.

The only downside is that it’s really hard to compete with the likes of super-cheap cloud providers like BitBucket, though it beats the pants off of Github’s Enterprise pricing (and under some conditions, their cloud… if you can’t fit everything under a smaller organization setup).

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About William Roush

William Roush is currently employed as a Senior Software Developer and independent contractor in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He has more than 12 years of experience in the IT field, with a wide range of exposure including software development, deploying and maintaining virtual infrastructure, storage administration and Windows administration.

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