Best Self-Hosted Software Development Tools

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While software developers many rely on the distributed version control and source code management functionality of cloud-based services such as GitHub, there’s also a growing number of software developers who want to have total control over their projects. Such developers prefer self-hosted software development tools, and we introduce five such tools in this article.


A good source code editor is every programmer’s best friend. Some prefer the simplicity of Notepad++, while others prefer the rich code assistance and integrated debugging experience of Visual Studio or Eclipse. Somewhere right between simple code editors and fully-fledged integrated development environments is Codiad, a web-based IDE framework with a small footprint and minimal requirements.

Codiad runs on any server with Apache 2 and PHP 5+ and works in Chrome, Firefox, IE9+, and all other modern web browsers. When it comes to its design, Codiad resembles Sublime Text, and it also has similar features. Codiad supports multiple users and real-time collaborative editing, it has over 20 syntax color themes, comes with advanced search tools and smart auto-complete functionality, and it’s available in over 40 languages.

The installation of Codiad is remarkably easy, and even less experienced software developers and web administrators should be able to complete it in just a few minutes. To learn how to install Codiad on your web server, skip to the last section of this article.

Let’s face it: many project management platforms are ugly, unintuitive, and cumbersome. That’s why it’s such a relief to see a project management platform that makes work truly enjoyable. Taiga was first released in 2014 as a free and open source project management platform for startups, Agile developers, and designers. Just a year later, Taiga won the 2015 Most Valued Agile Tool awarded by the Agile Portal, and the rest is history.

Taiga developers truly believe in open source software, and they are die-hard practitioners of the Agile software development approach. They have designed their project management solution to handle both simple and complex projects using either Kanban or Scrum template, or both. Taiga plays well with web-based version control repositories like GitHub and Bitbucket, and it also provides several importers to facilitate migration from proprietary software platforms.


Many software development teams today communicate using Slack, a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and services, founded by Stewart Butterfield. But even for small teams, Slack can get very expensive, not to mention the issues that may arise from its proprietary nature. That’s why all developers should consider Mattermost as an open source, self-hosted alternative to Slack.

Just like Slack, Mattermost helps developers communicate seamlessly and reach anyone, anywhere, on any device. It integrates with many existing applications and features a powerful plugin framework. Mattermost can be customized to eliminate shadow IT and ensure compliance with unique regional, industry-specific and company-specific requirements, and it’s used by companies such as Samsung, Virgin, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and many others.

Small teams don’t have to pay a single dollar to use Mattermost, and the basic enterprise version costs only $39 per user per year and comes with Active Directory / LDAP single-sign-on, encrypted push notifications via HPNS, multi-factor authentication, tools for custom branding, advanced access control policy, and next business day support, among other things.

Read the Docs

All successful software developers are well aware of the importance of proper documentation. With Read the Docs, you can create, host, and browse software documentation with ease and thus dedicate more time to software development itself.

Read the Docs simplifies software documentation by automating building, versioning, and hosting of your docs for you, and the platform is open source and freely available for download. Documentation hosted on Read the Docs is accessible from the web and also viewable as PDFs or single-page HTML documents.

Read the Docs supports documentation versioning, allowing you to host and build multiple versions of your documentation, which is guaranteed to be appreciated by the users of older versions of your software.


Accent is the first developer-oriented translation tool. It features powerful search functionality that makes finding the right string an easy task, and it centralizes your discussions around the strings for enhanced collaboration.

Accent supports multiple formats, so it’s entirely possible to import an iOS strings file and export an Android XML file, for example. You can easily integrate Accent with Slack and many other tools, and installing Accent on a web server could hardly be any easier. To get started, read the official quickstart guide.

How to Install and Configure Codiad

Codiad requires PHP 5.3 or above, Apache 2, and Git. If you’re using Ubuntu, you can install all three with the following commands:

  • sudo apt-get install apache2
  • sudo apt-get install php
  • sudo apt-get install git

Next, download the latest stable release of Codiad from GitHub, and copy the content of the downloaded archive to your web server.

Make sure the following folders and files have write capabilities:

  • /config.php
  • /data
  • /workspace
  • /plugins
  • /themes

Navigate your web browser to the folder where you extracted the content of the archive. An installation screen should appear and alert you in case there are any dependencies you don’t meet.

Enter the requested information to create a user account and start a new project. You can then visit the official page with plugins for Codiad and install any of them by simply placing the plugin in the /plugins directory on your server.


Regardless of whether you’re an independent software developer or a large studio, today’s self-hosted software development tools make it possible to move away from centralized cloud-based services without sacrificing the ability to collaborate with others and manage complex projects from anywhere in the world. In this article, we’ve introduced five popular self-hosted software development tools, wanting to show what the world of self-hosted software has to offer.

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