Phabricator adoption and eventual deprecation

Greg Foster
Greg Foster
Graphite software engineer

Phabricator was adopted by a range of tech companies and open-source projects due to its comprehensive suite of tools for software development, including:

  • Facebook: One of the initial creators and major adopters of Phabricator, utilizing it extensively for code reviews and project management.

  • Dropbox: Used Phabricator for some time before developing their own internal tools.

  • KDE: The open-source community behind the KDE desktop environment embraced Phabricator for its development processes.

  • Uber: Utilized Phabricator as a part of its toolchain for managing code reviews and source code.

  • 2010-2011: Phabricator began as an internal tool at Facebook, with Evan Priestley as a key figure in its development.

  • 2011: Phabricator was open-sourced, allowing other organizations to adopt and contribute to the platform.

  • Mid-2010s: Adoption peaked with several high-profile tech companies and open-source projects making use of Phabricator's tools.

Despite its early popularity, Phabricator started to show its age as newer, more modern tools became available. Factors contributing to its decline included:

  • Interface and User Experience: As web technologies advanced, Phabricator's user interface began to feel outdated compared to newer platforms.

  • Integration with Modern Workflows: Emerging development practices and integration needs outpaced the features offered by Phabricator.

  • Development Pace: Active development and support for Phabricator began to wane, leading to its deprecation.

  • 2020: Phacility, the company behind Phabricator, announced the end of support for the platform.

  • Post-2020: While Phabricator is still available as an open-source tool, it no longer receives official updates or support, placing it into a de facto deprecated status.

Phabricator has left a lasting impact on the industry, with its concepts of stacked diffs, comprehensive code review tools, and developer-centric workflows influencing many modern development practices.

  • Some organizations continue to use Phabricator, often maintaining their own forks or relying on community-driven support.

  • The tool is seen as lagging behind contemporary alternatives, lacking the active development required to keep pace with the latest industry standards.

Phabricator's journey from an essential tool forged within the walls of Facebook to a piece of development history highlights the rapid pace of technological advancement in software development. While it has been succeeded by newer platforms, the methodologies it introduced remain embedded in the workflows of many development teams. The platform's gradual decline and eventual deprecation serve as a reminder of the software industry's relentless drive for innovation, leaving Phabricator as a venerable, if aging, hallmark in the evolution of developer tools.

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