Microsoft has decided to shut down CodePlex, its open source project hosting web site and has published the shutdown timetable and a walkthrough on how to migrate projects to GitHub.
My first reaction to this announcement was "Hadn't Microsoft already announced closure plans for Codeplex after migrating so many projects to GitHub?" However, looking back to our report in January 2015, Microsoft Mass Migration To GitHub, the throwaway line:
"So it's all over for CodePlex? Seems so."
was pure speculation and not based in any statement from Microsoft. The fact that we ran the news Google Code Shuts only a few weeks later simply consolidated the erroneous idea that CodePlex was also on the brink of closure.
Now, two years down the line Microsoft is finally taking that step.
The news came on Brian Harry's blog who opened his post with:
Almost 11 years after we created CodePlex, it’s time to say goodbye. We launched CodePlex in 2006 because we, like others in the industry, saw a need for a great place to share software. Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of amazing options come and go but at this point, GitHub is the de facto place for open source sharing and most open source projects have migrated there.
Harry notes that many of Microsoft key open source projects have already migrated to GitHub, listing Visual Studio Code, TypeScript, .NET, the Cognitive Toolkit as examples. He also refers to the fact that in 2016 Microsoft was the organization with the most open source contributors on GitHub - 16,419 according to GitHub's own report, see GitHub Octoverse Reveals The State Of Open Source.
With so many projects and contributors having moved to GitHub CodePlex usage has declined so that fewer than 350 projects had had a code commit during March 2017. Another contributory reason for shutting CodePlex was the spam epidemic that affected it in 2015.
The shutdown process has already begun in that the ability to create new CodePlex projects has now been disable. In six months' time (October) CodePlex will be set to read only and will shut completely on December 15th, 2017 when the CodPlex site and servers will be decommissioned.
This is not as draconian as it sounds. A complete backup of the site will be made and:
CodePlex.com will start serving a read-only lightweight archive that will allow you to browse through all published projects – their source code, downloads, documentation, license, and issues – as they looked when CodePlex went read-only. You’ll also be able to download an archive file with your project contents, all in common, transferrable formats like Markdown and JSON. Where possible, we’ll put in place redirects so that existing URLs work, or at least redirect you to the project’s new homepage on the archive. And, the archive will respect your “I’ve moved” setting, if you used it, to direct users to the current home of your project.
In order to encourage CodePlex users to migrate their data to GitHub you'll find information on how to do it on the CodePlex Wiki and a migration tool for issues is also going to be made available.
GitHub isn't the only option, of course, and SourceForge, which you may remember was acquired, along with Slashdot, by web publisher BIZX in February 2016. Logan Abbott, the new President of SourceForge was quick to issue a blog post, CodePlex Shuts Down. SourceForge is Here, in the hope of attracting some of CodePlex displaced projects.
An early comment on the MSDN blog lists Fosshub andf BitBucket as other alternatives and GitLab is also suggested fro those not wanting to more to GitHub. If you want to know more about GitLab see what Nikos Vagglis had to say about it in January 2016.
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