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Project Management

BitBucket to GitHub migration: things to consider

As developers, we’re always looking for tools that enhance our coding prowess and smooth out our project workflows. That’s why many are making the leap from Bitbucket to GitHub—arguably the better solution for a more seamless development experience. 

Several years ago, there were relatively few differences between the two platforms. Still, the feature gap between BitBucket and GitHub has quickly widened as GitHub has continued to supercharge its platform with AI capabilities. With more reasons than ever to switch, the question for most teams isn’t as much “why” should we move but “how” should we move.

In this blog, we’ll explore the common reasons we see teams making the transition from BitBucket to GitHub. We’ll also provide some thoughts on what your org should know before making the jump and how to set your teams up for a seamless transition.

Why migrate from BitBucket to GitHub?

Exploring new version control platforms is a common consideration for software teams in the ongoing quest to optimize project management and development processes. The shift from GitHub to Bitbucket could present numerous advantages that align with your team’s goals and workflow efficiency, including: 

Lower friction and cost for on-premise options

Recently, Atlassian has discontinued its server products (Jira server, Bitbucket server, etc.), which were previously a low-friction way to deploy Atlassian solutions on-premise. Now, the only option for teams is to run the data center version, which is more costly and introduces more hosting complexities. By contrast, GitHub still offers multiple options to run its enterprise products on-premise. 

GitHub Copilot

Since its release in 2021, GitHub Copilot has been a game-changer. It has transformed how developers write code by making the process faster and more intuitive, and because of this, many developers are now flocking to GitHub. On the other hand, Bitbucket hasn’t had much innovation in terms of AI, apart from being able to be integrated with Copilot competitors like Codeium.

User-friendliness and community

Many users find GitHub more user-friendly than Bitbucket due to its clean, intuitive interface that simplifies navigation and repository management. GitHub’s extensive documentation and large community also contribute to its user-friendliness, offering abundant resources, guides, and forums that help new users acclimate quickly.

Support for open-source projects

GitHub is widely recognized for its robust support for open-source projects. This may make it easier for companies who work on private and public repositories simultaneously to collaborate. Additionally, its popularity with open-source projects makes it more likely that new team members are familiar with GitHub, reducing onboarding time.

Considerations for performing a BitBucket to GitHub migration

Repository Transfer

Export/Import Tools:

GitHub simplifies the migration process with dedicated tools and thorough documentation. These resources guide users through the steps required to transfer repositories from Bitbucket to GitHub efficiently. By leveraging GitHub’s import feature, you can seamlessly bring your projects over from Bitbucket, ensuring minimal disruption to your workflow.

Bitbucket’s Export Features:

Before initiating the migration, it’s essential to utilize Bitbucket’s export features to back up your repository. This backup ensures that all necessary data is preserved during the transfer process, allowing for a smooth transition to GitHub. Bitbucket provides export functionality that allows you to archive your repository, ensuring that no data is lost during the migration.

CI/CD Pipelines

Bitbucket Pipelines vs. GitHub Actions: What’s the Difference?

In the realm of continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD), Bitbucket and GitHub offer their own integrated solutions: Bitbucket Pipelines and GitHub Actions, respectively. Both tools serve similar purposes but differ in their implementation and feature sets. Bitbucket Pipelines is tightly integrated with Bitbucket repositories, offering seamless setup and configuration for CI/CD workflows. On the other hand, GitHub Actions is GitHub’s native CI/CD solution, providing powerful automation capabilities directly within the GitHub platform.

Converting Pipelines to GitHub Actions:

When migrating from Bitbucket Pipelines to GitHub, you’ll need to convert your existing pipelines to the GitHub Actions format. This process involves translating your pipeline configurations and scripts to adhere to GitHub’s syntax and structure. While the core concepts of CI/CD remain consistent, there may be differences in syntax, supported features, and available integrations between the two platforms.

Reviewing GitHub Actions Features:

Before making the switch, it’s crucial to review the features and capabilities of GitHub Actions thoroughly. While both Bitbucket Pipelines and GitHub Actions facilitate CI/CD workflows, GitHub Actions may offer unique functionalities or integrations that weren’t available in Bitbucket Pipelines. By familiarizing yourself with GitHub Actions’ capabilities, you can leverage its full potential to optimize your CI/CD processes on the GitHub platform.

Issue Tracking and Project Management

Project management in BitBucket

If BitBucket was previously your Git-hosting solution of choice, there’s a very good chance you may use one or various Atlassian products to manage projects, such as Jira and Trello, as they integrate well with Bitbucket. 

Before moving to GitHub, you should know that continuing to use these tools with GitHub won’t be as seamless as with Bitbucket. Because of this, you may wish to reconsider your project management options to coincide with the switch to Bitbucket. 



Migrating Issues from BitBucket to GitHub

When migrating from BitBucket to GitHub, you have two options: Migrate manually or give some third-party tools a try. We recommend doing a mix of both–try the migration tools, but review the results manually to ensure no data is lost. 

Some tools recommended by GitHub users for moving from Bitbucket are: 

  • The Bitbucket Issue Migration Script by Jeff Widman, available here. 
  • The Issues Importer by Siong1987, available here. 

Project management in GitHub

GitHub’s “Projects” feature is the closest thing you may have to Jira, Trello, or other project management tools in GitHub. Unfortunately, Agile organizations using a tool like Jira will find the transition to projects a challenging one, as GitHub Projects lacks the functionality and features found in standard project management tools. 

Note that GitHub Projects does not have: 

  • Visibility for stakeholders–e.g., roadmaps are at the Issue level, and there is no roll-up reporting suite built into the tool. 
  • Support for “Epics” and multi-hierarchy projects. 
  • Non-GitHub users can’t view project work (making it a pain for execs, designers, product managers, etc., not using GitHub).
  • Agile reporting tools like burndown charts, cumulative flow charts, release reports, etc. 
  • Sprint planning
  • Story point estimation 

Enterprise teams and those practicing some form of Agile project management should especially look to migrate to host project management using another tool. 

Zenhub for filling in GitHub’s project management gaps

Zenhub is an Agile project management tool with the most advanced integration with GitHub. This allows teams to leverage a single GitHub Issue across their project management system without needing to duplicate work. With this integration, Zenhub can offer a wide variety of AI-powered and automated Agile experiences (like Automated Sprints and AI Acceptance Criteria).

The best part? Once you’re on GitHub, you can instantly start using GitHub Issues in Zenhub without migrating data. 

How Zenhub Enhances GitHub Projects

Final thoughts

We hope this guide has given you a clearer understanding of the benefits of migrating from Bitbucket to GitHub and what you need to consider and do to make your migration as smooth as possible. 

Need help moving your project management over to Zenhub now that you’re working with GitHub? Our experts are happy to help with your transition. Talk to an expert here. 

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