April 14 Repo Blitz: Free unlimited SVN and GIT, and much more

Posted by Andy Singleton on April 14, 2010 07:00:00 AM

This is a huge day for Assembla repository users. We are now offering free, privately permissioned, encryption enabled, unlimited user, full gigabyte, commercial quality subversion and git repositories, and that is just the beginning.

Our free private repository spaces have only the Source/svn or Source/git tool. If you want more tools, like tickets, collaboration, ftp, etc you'll have to add your space to a paid subscription plan.  

To grab your free private repository select the free svn or git entries from the catalog, or by forking an existing repository. You can get the free repository without a subscription, or add an unlimited number to your existing subscription.

Why did we do it?

  1. Because we love you and we want you to give you free unlimited commercial-quality repositories, and it's the right thing to do.  Now there is no excuse for not using a professional quality repository to handle any software work.

  2. Because repositories have become so inexpensive on some other sites, that the next logical step is free, even for a best-of-breed provider like Assembla.

  3. Because most users start with repositories, and we want more commercial quality users.

  4. Because we have more and better features to sell. We make our money by selling our advanced ticketing, collaboration, publishing, and management features. We have been adding and improving those features.

  5. Because we have help from our sponsors. Owners of free repositories will see special offers for hosting services that we negotiated with leading cloud hosting vendors.  If they accept these offers, they will get a great deal, AND Assembla will get a referral fee that helps pay for the free services. We hope to expand this advertising and referral program to pay for even more free services.

You can see from points four and five above that we have been working hard to build a solid business model around free repositories. We call it "code in the cloud". You bring your code out to our cloud, and we wrap all sorts of great stuff around it:  Tools- our premium tools; Talent- your own global teams plus new candidates; Compute power- on-demand hosting, preconfigured servers, etc.

If you bring your code to Assembla and then use the other tools, we help you manage a project in one place, where you can capture all of the information that you will need for delivery to colleagues, clients, and future maintainers.  It's a best practice if you have to deliver software to clients, because only Assembla give you a way to reassign the entire project to a new owner.

We removed the "Metered" plan from our list of subscription plans for new users. If you already have a metered plan, you can keep it as long as you like. Although metered was our most popular option, it was also our cheapest, with most subscribers only paying for a few users. And, about half of those use only the repositories. They get free services now.

But wait... There's more!

You can now add multiple Subversion and Git tools to one workspace. This was the top request on with over 300 votes. These voters want a project where they can keep one ticket list, and one team list, but maintain code in multiple repositories. Now they can just go to the Admin/tools page, add a new Source/svn or Source/git tool, and get another tab.

Effortlessly publish any repository as a Web site!

You can now select a directory out of any repository and show it on the Web at, or even your own domain! This will change lives here at Assembla.

Before, when we wanted to make a new site like, or even just publish some landing pages, we had to configure a Web server, and configure the ftp publisher.

Now, it's so easy that you can use it just to publish documentation.  Two clicks and you have a site.  It leaves us feeling sort of cheated out of all that extra hassle.  A lot of our users are Web design and marketing firms that save client Web sites in Assembla spaces, and I am sure they will put this feature to good use.

Visit the "sites" link from any GIT or Subversion source tab in your Space to check it out. 

We raised the limit on Enterprise packages from 100 spaces to 200 spaces.  We were getting calls from Web design firms that maintain more than 100 sites.  Amazing.  We will do what we can to make life easy for them. 

Assign Billing for a space to another Assembla user

We also made it easier for project managers to create new workspaces, and assign them to the company subscription.  This should make life a lot easier for those of you who have multiple project managers. 


When you go to create a space, if you do not have your own plan, you will see a field with the prompt "If another subscriber will pay for this space please, provide his email or login".  Enter the information for the subscriber.  We will assign the new space to the subscriber, and that person will get a note with the option to decline.

The Wiki Gets a Makeover

Our Wiki tool has a new layout that makes it easier to understand the controls. The page layout has tabs across the top, like in Mediawiki. We broke from our tradition and moved the page menu to the left side, because we found that wide wiki pages overrun the right side menu, and some elements show through. The left-menu layout will work better when you paste in wide pages.


Upgrades to Repository Architecture and Security

We made another round of improvements to our repository architecture, including putting subversion servers behind a proxy that helps us scale and failover. We rebuilt the git authentication with custom SSH and git agents to authenticate users directly from our central database.  I would like to thank guest developer Luciano Bello for a clever modification to OpenSSH that makes this possible.  We added multiple public keys to the profile, another top user request. You won't see most of these improvements, but they will make you feel good.

What's Next?  

Now that we have finished a lot of repo upgrades and packaging changes, we will turn our attention to management features - ticket / issue management, portfolios, and branded portals.


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About the author

Andy SingletonWorking on Continuous Agile and Accelerating Innovation, Assembla CEO and startup founder

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