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z0al
z0al

Posted on

Is GitHub killing the competition?

Gemnasium.com is going to shutdown on May 15th, VersioEye already did and I wouldn't be surprised if project management tools like waffle.io shutdown their business later.

From Gemnasium's post:

GitHub had done something like this before. In 2016 they created new tools and features that competed with ZenHub and Waffle. More recently, GitHub announced static code analysis coming as a feature. They will compete directly with their partners Codacy, CodeClimate, and others. A couple of weeks ago they announced updates to their project boards that again compete directly with Waffle.

As a GitHub user what do you think? And how this may affect you?

My opinion is, no doubt, adding more good features to GitHub is what they suppose to do. But, on the other hand, I think this might discourage integration builders to make new things as they now know their work would probably be added to GitHub natively of it's that good.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts :)

Discussion (15)

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

This is a pretty typical pattern for platforms. The book The Everything Store goes into detail about how Amazon has consistently pulled the rug out from under the feet of some of their important partners.

Early on they had a deal with Toys R Us that they were so bad at keeping up their end of the bargain with that Toys ended up suing them. I forget how it worked out, but as soon as it was advantageous for them to stop respecting the contract, they did so.

They also have a history of misleading publishers, especially when they were getting into Kindle hard.

They now use their troves of data to basically clone the best sellers of consumer products and offer them under the Amazon Basics.

The platform giveth and the platform taketh away.

Facebook and Google are also tenuous partners to their platform partners.

I run a platform of sorts: dev.to. We are partners with all our users (you all). We try to make it clear that you own your content and our relationship is usually a great one, but there are certainly complicated hypotheticals I can think of. The best thing we can do is foster an expectation of honesty and openness about our relationship on an ongoing basis. GitHub is already neck-deep in these non-hypothetical complications.

In my opinion, the ethical thing for GitHub to do is to continue to invest in the integration points that make it possible to build on top of them. If they want to compete, they should be trying hard to do so on an even playing field. It would be pretty short-sited for them to alienate their platform partners. GitHub has been a good force but has shown signs of evil-empire behavior as they grow and seek profits.

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rommik profile image
Roman Mikhailov • Edited on

Another good book is Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You a.co/dFcMbVj. It argues that for a platform to survive and block competition from entering its market, it must absorb the best innovations of their partners into its core. This is done out of fear that partners will become their own platforms or will also offer their services on rival platforms.

Of course, the fair way of doing this absorption is by buying out partners or their products. However, it is not necessary. GitHub does send a negative message for now, but lucky for them the attention span of the online user is short and the memory is even shorter. If the integration goes well, the majority of users will thank them and still continue developing for the platform. If it fails, the 3rd party tools won't go away since they still are used by the community. This is the magic of platforms :)

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I read this a couple years ago and I forget most of the details, sounds like it's time for another go!

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z0al profile image
z0al Author

Totally agree.

I think I should read those books ;)

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neo profile image
Neo Ighodaro

I think they cannot do this for too long. The advantage smaller companies have is they can change very fast and implement features even faster. Someday someone might come along who will just sweep them away but not today

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Jason C. McDonald • Edited on

People are always afraid to compete with The Big Boys On The Playground, and it is undeniably hard to make money doing so. However, GitHub's popularity isn't infinite. Someday it, like everything, will become passé.

In the meantime, businesses should still try to compete with GitHub, as one of them will undoubtedly supplant it someday in the future. Is it hard? Yes, simply because GitHub is so darn good at everything they do, but GitHub isn't perfect.

For my company, we use Phacility's Phabricator instead of GitHub for our workflow, simply because it fits our needs better. Phacility, like Atlassian and GitLab, are definite competitors to GitHub, and that keeps all parties striving towards better products and services.

In short, when everyone is trying to beat GitHub at their own game (and the other way around), everybody wins.

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z0al profile image
z0al Author

Oh, first time to hear about "Phabricator". Thanks for sharing your thoughts

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Evan Oman

From what I understand Github is killing the competition ... by offering solid tools with tight integration. As a business, this is their prerogative and obligation. I understand Gemnasium's disappointment but if they can't compete then they will have to pivot or get out.

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Jake Varness

I almost feel like Github is trying to follow suit with what Gitlab is doing. Gitlab has a lot of features, including built-in CI.

I don't feel like Github is trying to destroy their partners, I feel like they're trying to remain competitive with their competitors.

It won't keep me from using Codacy for static code analysis or Travis for continuous integration.

Going into the future, I don't think that Github's strengths and niche within the industry will change all that much. They are still excellent for collaboration and source control, and I think they always will be. For CI and static analysis, there will always be some great vendors that integrate well with Github.

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edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

There are lots of features that GitHub are missing that they never seem to get around to implementing. It wouldn't take much for a new platform to gather feedback and provide a core set of features attracting away a key set of users.

They look like a lot of other bigger services. As a user I just don't what value they've been adding anymore. A lot of fringe stuff that doesn't interest me, or isn't improving my workflow anymore. It's the same that Google does, offer a bunch of fringe stuff instead of working on their core search service.

Learning a service like GitHub isn't difficult either, nor do they have a kind of lock-in effect. It's easy to jump to a competing offering.

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z0al profile image
z0al Author • Edited on

There are lots of features that GitHub are missing

And there will always be more.

A lot of fringe stuff that doesn't interest me, or isn't improving my workflow anymore

Me neither (sometimes), but I think they usually - recently - get inspired by the most popular integrations on the marketplace, so sure a lot of people would have interest

Learning a service like GitHub isn't difficult either, nor do they have a kind of lock-in effect. It's easy to jump to a competing offering.

The platform might not be that difficult (not easy though), but I'm not sure if it's actually "easy" to compete them, I think it would take a lot of effort, at least for now.

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mortoray profile image
edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

What makes GitHub easy to compete with is that you don't require users to be an effective service. A new service can be of value to your company even if you're the only user. This is a stark contrast to all social sites, games, resume services, code competition sites, etc.

Sure, you still need to sell the product, but you don't have to worry about having too few users to just be usable.

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Paul Lefebvre

GitHub is really nice and I use it exclusively for all my open-source stuff. For private stuff, I'm sticking with Atlassian BitBucket right now.

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Andrew Lucker

I use Amazon hosted git. Otherwise I would host my own endpoint. Github is a social network, not for work.

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z0al profile image
z0al Author

Why do you think it's a social network?

I feel it's still the best git hosting service, at least for open source. I mean, yes, it has to provide some sort of "social" thing to enable people working together to communicate. After all, it's not just about code, right?