Google Code Hg Hosting

A few months back I wrote a short comparison of Hg Hosting Providers, followed by a post about CodePlex Hg Hosting. In the mean time I’ve also tested creating a Bitbucket project, but I’ve neglected writing a post about the experience. I may get back on that some time, but first I would like to share my more recent experience with Google Code.

Note that I’m not ready (read: “proud enough”) to share the actual project I’m hosting, as it’s still in (and may never leave) prototype status. Once it’s worth viewing, I’ll probably be doing a short blog post about the project itself.

Without further ado, let’s jump in!

Sign Up and Project Creation

In this case I’m not writing much about sign up. You need a Google account, which most folks will probably already have. If, like me, you are already signed in to your account, nothing more is needed here.

On to project creation, which was surprisingly simple. The process is one step total:

Creating a Google Code Project
Creating a Google Code Project

Very similar to the CodePlex project creation. To note the differences:

  • It’s not entirely clear in Google Code how the project name would become part of the project URL.
  • Source control at Google Code (understandably) excludes TFS.
  • Google Code asks you to label (tag?) your project at creation time.
  • Most importantly: Google Code requires you to pick a license at project creation time.

That last one is really the only difference from CodePlex, but a big one at that! With CodePlex you get a one-month “Setup Mode“, which means your project is private and you can still work out the details (including picking an appropriate license). This is a big plus for CodePlex, especially if (like me at the time) you’re creating your first open source project.

Importing the Existing Repository

Where I had some cautionary steps importing my existing repository the previous time around, this time I had only one, making a total of four steps to get my existing repo pushed to Google Code:

  1. Create a temporary “copy-paste-backup” of my (existing) repo folder.
  2. Clone the Google Code (empty) repo locally.
  3. Copy the existing repo into the empty repo.
  4. Push the repo.

Step one turned out to be superfluous. So, this is in fact easy as pie.

Google Code Features Overview

Here’s my first impression of the various features of a Google Code project:

  • Project home is what you see when you land on the URL of your project (which is in the format:
  • Downloads is where you can host releases you’ve built and packaged. Haven’t tried this feature yet, but it looks very straightforward.
  • Wiki feels a little odd, because you start at a table-based listing of all pages. Beyond that it’s just a basic wiki (with yet another syntax), that’ll do the job.
  • Issues are for tracking bugs and tasks. Haven’t tried this yet, but it looks both straightforward and barebones.
  • Source provides a way to browse the files, view a history of the changes, and check on any clones there may be. Not as fancy as -say- GitHub, but gets the job done.
  • Administer allows you to change just about everything you see in your project, and works quite okay.

The theme should be clear: everything in Google Code is no-nonsense. All important features for code hosting are there though.


This hosting provider is pushing the KISS principle to the max. Google Code gets the job done, but it is very barebones, at times even downright ugly. Great hosting, but it doesn’t leave me “WOWed”. With the same functionality but a more pleasant experience, I think I would prefer CodePlex.