2

This is a more philosophical question, but such questions are allowed here.

As we all know, there are various free project hosts. The common feature for probably all of them is the ability to link or even manage an external website.

My question is do you think there's actually a need for an external website?

A place such a GitHub lets the project's owners create a wiki with screenshots, etc. Nevertheless, places like Wikipedia's software infobox treat GitHub like a repository while expecting the official link to lead somewhere else.

Why? Maybe big projects don't want to rely on a third party like GitHub, but what about small projects?

Why having 2 identical websites, both with exactly the same information, manual, etc. (except one of them is called a repository)?

What should be better for marketing?

And should you choose an external website, should you not use the repository's wiki in order to avoid the aforementioned duplication?

5

For many projects, a README is all that is needed in terms of a website. Since repository hosts like GitHub or Gitlab will display that README rendered nicely, a website wouldn't add much. This is a common approach for probably the vast majority of open-ish software.

A separate website (possibly on your own domain) makes more sense when you want the project to have an identity that is less dependent on the source hosting service, or if you want to show content that goes beyond what can be reasonably put into a README. So essentially, marketing or docs. Even though the source code for the website might be part of the source code repository, those are not the same. Even in rendered form, those source files aren't quite human-friendly, for example links might be wrong, or GitHub might not fully understand the syntax.

However, I'd suggest that you stay away from GitHub's Wiki feature. On the plus side, the wiki pages are easy to edit. But compared to an actual website they are hard to find, and are very limited in navigation or theming options. Most good uses of GH wikis seem to be as a project's knowledge base or as a kind of scratch pad. This wiki will never serve as a landing page for users, so you need to link the wiki from elsewhere (README and/or website).

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  • So basically if you have any info to add besides a README, like screenshots, sounds like you prefer an external website. I assume many projects (even if not most) have something like screenshots. – LWC Aug 16 at 21:51
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    @LWC Nah, images are still easy to include in a README. You're just fairly limited in web design options. – amon Aug 16 at 22:13

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