Other articles Fortressa on Twitter

Alternatives

Top Five Open-Source Trello Alternatives

It’s not easy to find viable open-source alternatives to Trello. Here are some kanban alternatives that we suggest you try.

Mon 11 July 2022

Why use a kanban system? Err, yes, I mean a Trello-board clone

“A kanban? But I’m looking for a Trello clone!”

Yes, and you are in the right place. Don’t worry, here you willl find precisely what you are looking for.

If you are looking for a task management system with columns indicating the phase that tasks are in, the name of this system is the Japanese word “kanban”, a method born in 1940s Japan.

Kanban (Japanese: 看板, meaning signboard or billboard) is a lean method to manage and improve work across human systems.

Wikipedia (Kanban (development)

The Options

While there are a lot of open-source kanban systems, let’s start by saying that there aren’t very many good options. That’s one of the reasons why Trello has been (and is) so successful: there is little competition.

It can actually be quite hard to find a general-purpose tool with a pleasant user interface that is simple to use, and that is even more true when it comes to open source.

Any of the following options might work for you, but when it comes to general-purpose kanban systems, only the first two below seemed like viable options to us. In our evaluation, the others fell short in some way or another.

Planka

The real-time kanban board for workgroups, built with React and Redux.

Let’s start with what seems to us to be the most promising. If you want a Trello clone, this is probably what you are looking for. It may not have many stars on GitHub, but it seems to be solid and simple to use. Usability is made easier by the fact that it doesn’t try to re-invent anything; it really is a clone of one of the most popular SaaS tools in the world.

Focalboard

Focalboard is an open-source, self-hosted alternative to Trello, Notion, and Asana.

The Mattermost team has done a decent job at providing an alternative to the many kanban tools that look a bit like Trello. The style is spartan, simple, and clean. They seem to have borrowed ideas from a variety of different products. We didn’t like the user interface as much as Planka, and Mattermost seems to be transitioning Focalboard’s server from a standalone component into a plugin for Mattermost’s chat system, which if true would be an unfortunate and misguided change. Putting ads for the “cloud” version inside the self-hosted Personal Server is a regretful annoyance.

Taiga

Your Agile, Free, and Open Source Project Management Tool

While Taiga can be a little more complicated, it’s a great choice if you value its “scrum” and software development features such as epics and user stories. It’s not quite as suitable as a general kanban system but can indeed be used as such by ignoring some of its more advanced features. The team working on the project is about to release a new re-imagined version that should be a clear step forward for this long-running project.

Wekan

Open-Source kanban.

Judged purely by its user interface, it may not seem as if Wekan has kept up with the times, but this project still has some merit. The MIT license is very permissive, and the project is quite active with a high number of GitHub stars. Unfortunately, interface problems are not just an aesthetic issue, and if the tool is not easy to understand, it could hamper productivity. Finally, the persistence layer has a highly restrictive license, making this project unsuitable for many use cases.

The strange one: Jira Clone

A simplified Jira clone built with React/Babel (Client) and Node/TypeScript (API).

This is not a real option but is instead a showcase project that a professional did to demonstrate their React skills. Since the project does not accept external modifications to the code, the only way to see it developed further would be to copy the code and start developing it yourself. It seems like a good example of how to create a high-quality, open-source alternative to Trello. The high number of stars on GitHub indicates that there is a lot of interest, so perhaps it could be a good opportunity for someone to pick this up and run with it.

Well, that is our list of the best open-source Trello alternatives. If you know of other projects that be serious contenders, please let us know. It is odd that this kind of product, which is simple but highly useful, is also among the hardest to find good alternatives for!

To access the app store for open-source

Provide your email address to get early access and updates about our progress.