Best Git GUI for Windows and Mac

Git, perhaps the best and commonly used version control system (VCS) is a free and open-source distributed VCSW that is designed to execute all sorts of projects with great speed and efficiency. It’s an easy to learn application that has a small footprint combined with a lightning performance. Today, there’s a massive deployment of Git GUI in various OSs such as iOS, Mac, Android, Windows, and Linux. This facilitates the easy integration of different features to assist users to work along with their team when they cooperate to implement projects. Git repositories are widely used in projects to manage and store code, irrespective of the size of the enterprise or project. With this application, you can easily code and provide thrilling integration features that enable you to easily work with any kind of project or alongside your teammates.

Now, developers must possess Git skills. For newbies, they usually begin with Git commands that enable them to grasp the fundamentals of Git. Whilst it’s important to learn these commands, sometimes it feels a bit boring and tedious returning to the terminal to handle primitive and fairly simple tasks such as “committing” or “pushing”. Luckily, in this article, some of the best Git tools/extensions that make these tasks simpler are discussed, thereby making your workflow easier and increasing your efficiency. Also, in the post, the fundamentals of these tools are covered. We start with Bit, a tool that tracks all the components of an application (React, Angular, Vue et al.) as individual code pieces and then makes them published on Bit.dev, which is a component of the cloud hub designed to create the availability of reusable components making them discoverable for yourself and the team. Bit is a powerful method of maximizing code reuse, speeding up the growth, and building a much more tenable codebase. All the components available on Bit.dev are cloned into various types of projects where they are easily manipulated and re-published to Bit.dev, in a different version.

Pros and cons

The Git applications provide an exemplary method of completing Git executions fast and efficiently. These tools provide the importance of visual exhibition of diffs as well as the history of the project which is actually changeling when demonstrating on Git terminal. They seamlessly and easily integrate into a workflow without the need to make a switch between the editor (text page) and terminal. While these tools and extensions offer countless advantages, there are some issues that should be known by the users. The first one is that they can only provide a specific number of features – sophisticated capabilities such as cherry-pick are executed solely on the command terminal implying that it’s paramount to learn the terminal commands. Secondly, the process of learning becomes easier when the user is well endowed with how the Git operates and the use of terminal commands –commands are easy and fast to execute as no lag occurs between the implementation and presentation of results. Lastly, the biggest disincentive to depending primarily on the applications is that their user interface (UI) is a bit inconsistent across various platforms/versions. Consequently, users are advised to only use Git applications once they have grown their competence of terminal commands. Below are some of the top Git GUI Tools and Extensions available in the market.

GitHub Desktop

An extension of GitHub and probably one of the best tools ever created by GitHub and meant for Windows. It’s a tool that enables users to interact with GitHub from their desktop computers. The application allows desktop users to work easily without relying on browsers. As a matter of fact, pundits recommend the use of GitHub Desktop as a priority when it comes to hosting projects. designed and created by GitHub, it comes with plentiful of features, particularly for Version control systems (VCS) such as:

  • User-friendly interface – allowing the user to easily manage their code without typing too many commands on the command window
  • Easy to track changes 
  • Facilitates easier creation of new repositories
  • Allows addition of local repositories
  • The majority of Git actions are executed from the user interface 
  • Allows viewing of CI statutes
  • Enables syntax highlighted diffs
  • Supports shell integration

GitHub Desktop is an open-source application that is compatible with Windows and Mac OS, although the Linux version hasn’t been unveiled yet it’s in progress.

SmartGit

SmartGit is a powerful, multi-platform application that comes with an equal intuitive UI on Mac OS, Windows, and Linux. The tool is widely available for free across non-profit making organizations. Users using SmartGit for commercial reasons are required to acquire a license. Unfortunately, unlike GitHub Desktop, Gitkraken, and other tools that are user-friendly, SmartGit requires you to acquire substantive knowledge/skills of Git commands. Besides, it’s a bit difficult for beginners as it comes with an overwhelming number of functionalities/buttons in its interface. Moreover, SmartGit offers a wide variety of collaboration capabilities.

Features:

  • Preferences for rebasing and merging
  • Support keyboard shortcuts
  • Syntax colouring
  • Support light and dark themes
  • Allows layout of different views

SourceTree

SourceTree is a free extension designed and created by Atlassian. It’s all about simplifying user interaction with Git repositories to give them ample time to focus on coding. For beginners, SourceTree is the real thing as it allows them to simplify the distributed VCS and quickly bring everything to automatic speed. Besides, it’s a powerful tool for experts as it improves their productivity. With this tool, you can easily review changesets and cherry-pick between branches. Available for Mac OS and Windows, SourceTree is more advanced than GitHub Desktop as it features more powerful attributes than the latter. 

Features include:

  • Large file support (LFS): offers Git LFS enabling teams to keep track of large assets in a single place
  • Supports submodules: makes it easier to manage projects, project groupings, and project dependencies.
  • Enables interactive rebasing
  • Enables local commit search
  • Supports remote repository manager

Magit

An absolute Git porcelain, Magit is an interface to VCS Git, and often executed as a GNU Emacs package. Although Magit may not be as powerful as the other GIT tools, it enables developers to execute version control actions very well. Despite its plugin nature, the tool comes with some exemplary features like rebasing, visualization, and smooth workflow. This tool is designed for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux operating systems.

Giggle

Launched in 2017 as part of the Hackathon initiative, Giggle is a free-cost and user-friendly Git GUI client. Characterized by an easy to use interface – suitable for small startups and beginners, it’s easy to get accustomed to Giggle. The tool was initially designed to work on Linux OS and different renowned platforms. The front-end application enables developers to surf and view repos within its UI. This tool employs basic features found in the majority of Git GUI extensions such as commit, stag, and browse.

GitForce

Written in .NET 3.5, GitForce is a renowned source revision control tool and cross-platform and front-end application that’s often applied as a command-line tool operating on Linux, Ubuntu, and Windows OSs. It’s a simple, user-friendly, and intuitive and yet powerful application. The graphical front-end capability makes it easy-to-use and simple to understand, especially for newbie developers, to execute some basic actions and other software development operations.

Features

  • Supports numerous remote repositories
  • Enables easy scan for local repositories
  • Comes with drag and drop functionalities
  • Supports multiple workspaces with multiple sets of repositories
  • Enables easy management of SSH keys and remotes

GitKraken

GitKraken is a leading tool that allows developers to increase their productivity with powerful and intuitive GUI. Compared with other Git tools, GitKraken features beautiful UI, themes, and features. Its compatibility with VCS enables it to work with different companies like GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket. GitKraken is regarded as one of the most preferred among Git tools and extensions.

Features include:

  • Available in different packages: free (best suited for beginners and small-sized enterprises, and small teams) – can be upgraded, premium and enterprise variants ideal for experts, large companies, and large teams.
  • Built-in code editor: that enables the user to kick start their project and incorporates the drag and drop functionality.
  • Supports the commit-graph functionality: gives the user an instinctive experience when using GitKraken.
  • Available for Mac OS, Windows, and Linux

Git Cola

Written in python, Git Cola is a powerful tool that is designed for Linux and Ubuntu operating systems. It’s a free Git client that is actually regarded as one of the most intuitive and fast VCS widely available for software development. The application features a wide range of capabilities like pull, push, clone, and merge. The cross-platform version supports applications for Mac OS and Windows, increasing its versatility across different operating systems. Git Cola is easily customizable into various setting specifications to suit the needs of the user – enhance the work experience and make it hassle-free.

Gitg

Designed for GNOME, Gitg is a front-end tool meant for Git command line. It’s a small, quick, and convenient Git GUI client that visualizes the Git history and operations benefiting from graphical representations. This tool comes with a wide variety of features like open, commit, and clone repository; stage; et al. It can enable GNOME shell integration. As the GNOME employs a simple and easy to use design, it does not restrict Gitg from offering an exclusive set of functionalities for the OS.

Conclusion

Whether you’re using Windows, Linux, Mac OS, or Ubuntu operating system, there is always that Git GUI tool or extension which works best with your system. You can explore the GIT clients discussed above and pick one that suits your needs. If it’s for commercial purposes, pick the right one, if it’s a startup business, there is the right one also.

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