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GitHub Announces Electron 1.0, Devtron and Unlimited Private Repositories

| by Abel Avram Follow 4 Followers on May 11, 2016. Estimated reading time: 3 minutes |

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GitHub has announced the Electron 1.0 milestone and a new pricing model including unlimited private repositories for paid plans.

After two years in closed development and another two years as open source, GitHub has now released Electron 1.0. This version of the framework does not come with new enhancements, the focus of the development for the last months being on API stability and usability improvements.

Electron started as the shell of the Atom IDE, but it has seen much development from companies and users interested in using it for various cross-platform desktop applications. Among some of the most popular we note Atom, Visual Studio Code , Slack and WordPress.com. GitHub has counted “1.2 million downloads and a growing community of hundreds of developers, open source maintainers, and companies” using Electron for applications such as “email, chat, Git apps, SQL analytics tools, torrent clients, and robots.”

What is new is the addition of Devtron, an open source tool integrated with Chrome DevTools and to used inspect, monitor, and debug Electron applications. Devtron comes with the following features:

  • Require Graph – a tool for visualizing the internal and external library dependencies of an application
  • Event – an inspector listing the existing registered events and listeners
  • IPC – a monitor tracking and displaying messages sent/received
  • Linter 

With this occasion, GitHub has released Spectron 3.0, an integration testing framework for Electron applications. Spectron is built on top of ChromeDriver and WebDriverIO and has access to all Electron APIs.

GitHub has improved the Electron’s documentation and has written several API Demos for Mac, Windows and Linux. The Community page has been rewritten including tools, boilerplate code, components and videos to help developers start using Electron.

GitHub has also announced today the introduction of a new pricing plan, offering unlimited private repositories for all paid plans. Until now, the public and open source accounts could have as many repositories as they needed, but for private repositories one needed to pay more to get more of them. They simplified the pricing plans, asking $7/month for personal accounts, $9/month/user for organizations, and $21/user/month for enterprises. All personal paid accounts, from Micro to Large, will be converted to this new unique plan over the following days, according to GitHub. Organizations can choose to stay on their current plan or switch to the new plan.

Having the possibility to create an unlimited number of repositories will influence the way people organize their code, as Tim Clem, GitHub Director of Product Management, told VentureBeat in an interview: “My take on that is we really shouldn’t be in the business of influencing people’s software architecture, and a lot of modern software development is becoming very modular. That means multiple services and breaking stuff up into various pieces. The current price structure is pretty prohibitive to that.”

[Updated]

GitHub's new pricing plan has triggered a number of comments arount the internet, including a post by Sid Sijbrandij, CEO at GitLab, another provider of Git services. He noted the impact of using microservices on the need for more private repositories, a service they already offer:

As more and more developers, teams, and organizations seek out the advantages of microservices, they’ll need more repositories to support this new code structure. Basically, the more microservices you have the more repositories you’ll need. That is why it is not surprising that GitHub has announced free private repositories. With their announcement today, now GitHub.com, Bitbucket.org, and GitLab.com all offer unlimited private repositories.

Thomas Fuchs, a Ruby on Rails core alumnus, commented in a tweet the impact of the new pricing scheme on his team: "Old GitHub pricing: $100/mo. New GitHub pricing: $1296/mo." The new plan charges per developer, and while his team has only 3 developers, it has accumulated some 130 collaborators over the years, many of them not being active. The solution would be to eliminate inactive users from the account, Fuchs complaining about the time spent for that: "So I have to waste hours of my life tediously administrating instead of, you know, developing software :)."

Daniel Morrison, another GitHub user, encountered the same problem: "This morning, GitHub announced a significant pricing change that would take our cost from $200/month to $916 month!" He dealt with it by deleting some inactive users and converting some to outside collaborators. He managed to trim the costs down to $360/month.

What seems to be missing in these comments is that GitHub does not force organizations to move to the new plan. They can remain on the old pricing plan if they want to, but the unlimited repositories offer seems hard to be refused.

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