Specifically, why would you want to use Kiln, rather than just use a DVCS like Mercurial or Git on its own? Here’s why!

Kiln and your DVCS don’t compete; they’re complementary. You wouldn’t get Kiln instead of using a DVCS. You would use Kiln with your DVCS.

Mercurial or Git are the actual tools that you use to version your software. They’re free and well-supported. We don’t even really make custom versions of the DVCSs; while we do distribute something called the Kiln Client and Tools with Kiln, they really are just a simplified installer for TortoiseHg, Git, and some custom extensions of ours.

Kiln adds value to your DVCS in three main ways:

  • Kiln provides hosting. While Mercurial and Git work just fine even if you never store your source code anywhere but your computer, most people ultimately need to host their repository somewhere so that they can collaborate with other programmers. Kiln provides a really great way to host your repositories, providing easy-to-use ways to access, organize, and keep track of your repository data. If you opt to use Kiln On Demand, we’ll even take care of backing up your repositories for you so you don’t have to worry about that. (And that frees you from having a server to host your source code, too.)
  • Kiln provides really good code review support. Kiln provides a very easy-to-use interface that integrates nicely with most shops’ existing workflow. Mercurial and Git proper lack code review systems. Further, we really believe that our review system is best-in-class; no other tool provides such tight integration between your general repository data and your code reviews. We really think this makes it much, much easier to ship high-quality software.
  • Kiln provides really tight integration with FogBugz. Having a single tool manage your code, your wiki, your code reviews, and your bugs, makes for a really seamless experience. Fix a bug? Mention it in your commit message, and the changeset and the bug will be bidirectionally linked. Need a review to be approved before you can fix a bug? Make it a subcase of the bug. Want to figure out what you have to do before something can ship? Use your existing FogBugz filters and RSS feeds. While you don’t have to use FogBugz with Kiln, we think there’s a tremendous amount of value to be gained by doing so.