CodePlex has seen falling demand even as GitHub has grown to become the web’s biggest open source code repository
Microsoft has said it is shutting down CodePlex, its open source code-hosting site, due to shrinking demand and the shift of projects to rivals such as GitHub.
The company launched CodePlex in 2006 as an alternative to SourceForge, which had been in operation since 1999, and continued running the service as others options came and went – including Google’s offering, Google Code, which along with Bitbucket currently ranks as one of the most popular code hosting services.
But GitHub, launched in 2008, is far and away the most popular code repository at the moment, counting more than 15 million users and 38 million projects, including open source Microsoft projects such as Visual Studio Code, TypeScript, .NET, the Cognitive Toolkit.
“At this point, GitHub is the de facto place for open source sharing and most open source projects have migrated there,” said Brian Harry, product unit manager for Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server, in a blog post.
He said the company works with GitHub to promote open source development and has more than 16,000 contributors to its own projects on the site, more than any other organisation.
In the mean time, CodePlex has seen demand drop, with fewer than 350 projects seeing a source code commit in the past 30 days, Harry said.
Microsoft disabled the ability to create new projects on CodePlex on Friday, and in October will disable all changes, although users will still be able to access stored code. The current site is to be shut down entirely on 15 December.
At that time Microsoft plans to make a final back-up of the existing site before pointing the CodePlex.com address to a read-only lightweight archive, Harry said.
The archive, which the company plans to continue serving indefinitely, will allow users to browse the source code, downloads, documentation, licence information and technical support issues for all published projects.
Users will be able to download an archive file containing project contents in transferrable formats.
Where possible Microsoft plans to put redirects in place so that existing web addresses will continue to work, or at least to point to the project’s homepage on the archive. The archive will also continue to notify visitors of the project’s new location elsewhere, if developers have chosen that option.
Microsoft said it will provide an import tool on GitHub for migrating CodePlex source code, licence and documentation files to the site and is also working on a tool for technical issues.
CodePlex now features an option to display a banner directing visitors to other code repositories.
If developers want to migrate only their source code, they can transfer it to Git hosting services such as Visual Studio Team Services or Bitbucket, Harry noted.
He noted that, like CodePlex, Bitbucket offers support and migration tools for Mercurial source control in addition to Git.
GitHub’s growing popularity has also attracted the attention of criminals, with security researchers last week reporting sophisticated targeted attacks seeking to steal information and login credentials from developers using the site.
Last year GitHub acknowledged that passwords stolen from LinkedIn and reused on the site were exploited by hackers to log into “a number” of accounts, while adding that GitHub had not itself been compromised.
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