Bitbucket, an online code management and issue tracking system, used for the Store Locator Plus projects, is currently offline due to what is classified as a “Major Outage”. Development and patches for the Store Locator Plus products is limited as I wait for the service to come back online. While development can continue, the longer the service is out the higher the risk of losing local code edits should the development system encounter problems. The remote code management system not only provides controlled and documented software change control but also serves as a type of “immediate off-site backup” should anything go wrong. While I do run routine backups of all systems here at CSA, those backups are not very granular, meaning I may have a snapshot from 4 hours ago but not from 4 minutes ago. 4 hours can be a LOT of lines of code written.
Site content, documentation, and non-code related projects will be underway as I await the return of the Bitbucket service. With two major outages in a month it may warrant considering a change of service providers which is time consuming and disruptive. Github, while somewhat more stable is not without its problems and gets costly in a hurry for larger projects like Store Locator Plus. Repository Hosting gets decent reviews. May be time to investigate, but I am not looking forward to moving hundreds of logged issues and enhancements.
This is one of the downsides to using third party services. If you are not fully self-sufficient, and few online service are these days, you are vulnerable to the whims and follies of your vendors. Sadly many online vendors these days have limited, if any, transparency into their operations.
That is one of the advantages to buy-and-own-it open source projects like Store Locator Plus. If I go away you still have fully functional code that is readily accessible to your and your development team which limits your potential down time and exposure. As the Store Locator Plus community builds more developers are getting involved which bolsters the potential longevity of the plugin. While some people are apprehensive about open source projects I find it is typically from businesses that write applications and are looking to protect their profitability. For the consumer I have yet to hear a compelling argument as to why well-written open source software is a detriment.