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BitBucket review

28 Dec 2011

min read

BitBucket is a source code repository hosting solution by Atlassian. Besides repository hosting, it also offers issue tracking and wikis. We are currently considering BitBucket as a Gitorious replacement." ---

Hierarchical structure

The main hierarchical unit in BitBucket is a repository. That’s also the only level: there’s no grouping of repositories or the notion of a project. That means if you have 50 repositories, you’ll have to scroll through the list to find the one you need, which means you’ll be wanting a strict naming convention. The issue tracker and wiki are per-repository.


BitBucket supports git and Mercurial source-code repositories. Repositories belong to a single user, who can give access permissions to that repository (see below). Users with access to a repository can fork and/or watch it. Forking allows users to create pull requests for the original repository.

Access control

Access to the repositories is configured per-repository, by the owning user (i.e. the ‘Lunatech’ user). Users can be grouped, and access can be granted to an individual, or to an entire group. There are three levels of access: read, read/write, and admin.

BitBucket accounts do not belong to an organisation or other account. In other words, it’s not possible for us to create or delete users, we can only give existing BitBucket users access to our repositories. It’s also not possible to revoke access from all repositories for a single user, so you would normally grant access to a group instead.


Bitbucket repositories can have a wiki attached. Wiki pages are written in Creole syntax. Pages can be edited by checking out the wiki as a git repository, or through an editor built into Bitbucket. There’s a pretty decent Creole editor and preview functionality.

Issue tracker

A BitBucket repo can have issue tracker. On creation, tickets have (non-customisable) types and priority, and can be assigned to a user. Once created, the ticket gets the status ‘new’, which can be changed to one of open, resolved, invalid, duplicate or wontfix. Milestones, versions and components can be configured per repository, in which case they become available as properties on tickets.


BitBucket is an obvious migration path from JIRA/Confluence to hosted DVCS with integrated lightweight issue tracker and wiki. Our specific conclusions are as follows.

  • There’s a simple git-based wiki, and Creole is an acceptable syntax (although Markdown support would be nice).

  • There’s a simple issue tracker.

  • Not being able to group repositories is a minor inconvenience (solved by a naming prefix convention).

  • There is no way to archive/hide unused repositories, which would be nice.

  • We would have to restrict the admin group to people who are allowed to access all the contents of all wikis, which would be the very small group who has access to the most sensitive wiki.

  • You would have to log in to a central account to create a private repo.

  • BitBucket’s pricing model is a better fit for our situation (few users, many repos) than GitHub’s.

  • GitHub is more mature, seems to generally do more and have more development effort behind it.

Our conclusion is therefore that we want to use GitHub, even though it’s going to cost more and we’ll be limited in the number of repositories.