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Top 10 Git GUI clients

alexgeorgiev17 profile image Alex Georgiev Originally published at devdojo.com on ・5 min read

Introduction

A lot of people prefer to use the command line when it comes to Git, but using a GUI can bring up some advantages and perhaps makes your work easier along the way. I personally use both the command line and GUI as I can see that both have some pros. My personal choice for a GUI is simply using Visual Studio Code with GitLens and Git Graph where I can have a better view of the changes I've made.

I've personally used some of the listed GUI clients and the following list is not based on how good these clients are.

Most commonly used Git GUI Clients

1 . Visual Studio Code
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Visual Studio Code has integrated source control management (SCM) and includes Git support in-the-box. Many other source control providers are available through extensions on the VS Code Marketplace. It also has support for handling multiple Source Control providers simultaneously so you can open all of your projects at the same time and make changes whenever this is needed. I personally find this really handy.

I've also had a separate blog post on using VS Studio Code for version control which you can check here:

Version control with Visual Studio Code

Site: Visual Studio Code

2 . Fork
fork-logo2.png

Fork is a friendly git client for both Mac and Windows. It can list repository, branches, origins, tags and stashes. The client can help you to resolve your merge-conflicts easily using the merge-conflict helper and built-in merge-conflict resolver. You can manage your repositories without leaving the application and organize the repositories into categories. With the blame view, you can find the last commit which changed a particular file line.

Site: Fork

3 . Sourcetree
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Sourcetree is a free Git client for Windows and Mac.
It simplifies how you interact with your Git repositories so you can focus on coding. Visualize and manage your repositories through Sourcetree's simple Git GUI.

Site: Sourcetree

4 . GitKraken
gitkraken-logo-dark-hz.png
GitKraken is a Git GUI client for Windows, Mac & Linux. It's one of the best Git GUI clients and the UI comes with themes support, the built-in code editor and the general interaction with the client is simply amazing. It comes with Free, Pro and Enterprise versions that have different features enabled. I will definitely recommend you to check it out and give it a try!

Site: GitKraken

5 . SmartGit
smart-git.png
SmartGit is a graphical Git client with support for GitHub, Bitbucket and GitLab. SmartGit runs on Windows, macOS and Linux. SmartGit includes:

  • command-line Git client (Windows, macOS)
  • Graphical Merge and Commit History
  • Git-Flow
  • SSH-client
  • File Compare
  • File Merge ("Conflict Solver")

SmartGit is free to download but it also has paid version which gives you premium features. You can check more in their website.
Site: SmartGit

6 . GitHub Desktop
git-desktop.png
Whether you're new to Git or a seasoned user, GitHub Desktop simplifies your development workflow. GitHub Desktop supports syntax highlighting when viewing diffs for a variety of different languages. You can easily compare changed images. See the before and after, swipe or fade between the two, or look at just the changed parts. You can also open your favourite editor or shell from the app, or jump back to GitHub Desktop from your shell. GitHub Desktop is your springboard for work.

Site: GitHub Desktop

7 . Tortoise Git
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TortoiseGit is a Windows Shell Interface to Git and based on TortoiseSVN. It's open-source and can fully build with freely available software. Since it's not an integration for a specific IDE like Visual Studio or others, you can use it with whatever development tools you like, and with any type of file.

Site: Tortoise Git

8 . Aurees
aurees.png
Aurees is a Git client for Windows, Mac and Linux. It is free to download and use, but you will need to log in to your GitHub account to use it. The commit changes are displayed in side by side windows like mot GUI clients, but its interface is really simple and you have a clear view of what changes have been made. You can also view who made a change and you can easily compare other documents and navigate through the repo pretty easily.

Site: Aurees

9 . GitUp
gitup-logo_reflective.png
GitUp is a Git GUI client for the Mac users. The software is open sorce which you can check in GitHub - GitUp and it's free to download.
With GitUp, you get a truly efficient Git client for Mac:

  • A live and interactive repo graph (edit, reorder, fixup, merge commits…),
  • Unlimited undo / redo of almost all operations (even rebases and merges),
  • Time Machine like snapshots for 1-click rollbacks to previous repo states,
  • Features that don’t even exist natively in Git like a visual commit splitter or a unified reflog browser,
  • Instant search across the entire repo including diff contents,
  • A ridiculously fast UI, often faster than the command line.

Site: GitUp

10 . Git Cola
git-cola.png
Git Cola is a powerful Git GUI with a slick and intuitive user interface. It also has support for Windows, Mac and Linux. It is open source and you can check the project on GitHub here - Git Cola . The git-dag feature is a powerful Git history visualizer which can help you better review commits and branches.

Site: Git Cola

Conclusion

When it comes to collaborative work using Git is a must. However not everyone can be that comfy using the command line and here's why the Git GUI clients come in place to make things easier to review, update and maintain. You can also use the features of certain GUI to structure and model how a commit and a PR should be made to your group project so everyone can contribute in the same way.

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Thank you!

Discussion (34)

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brandelune profile image
Jean-Christophe Helary

Magit is pretty good too.

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Elsa Gonsiorowski

Yes! magit really reimagines what a git client should be

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Alex Georgiev Author

I can probably make a series two with git clients that were not included in this list and expand more on their capabilities!

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brandelune profile image
Jean-Christophe Helary

I think it would be useful to actually have your input on the workflow itself. Each git UI has strong points that reflect design choices. But the user can't really know that before hand.

In the case of Magit, the design choice is to be able to do everything git allows, and more, directly from the text editor interface that Emacs is. Which means that you have direct access to a very well conceived interface to git right from the place where you type the code. That is a quite powerful way to handle git.

Some people use Emacs as a "platform" for the Org application. Some other use Emacs just because Magit is here.

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alexgeorgiev17 profile image
Alex Georgiev Author

This sounds like a better plan. My initial plan was to create a simple and short list so everyone can spend few minutes checking out every client in the article without getting bored.

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Alex Georgiev Author

I will definitely check it out! Thanks for sharing it!

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Sebastian • Edited

Fork is my absolute favorite. Not just because of its interactive rebase feature, its support for multiple ssh-keys and multiple workspaces, its neat merge tools, great performance, or visualizations. Everything just fits. Made for devs by devs.

Above all, the two developers are really delivering incredible value and listening to their users. I also like that it is not subscription-based. I am more than happy to spend some $$ for such awesome tools.

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Alex Georgiev Author

Thanks for sharing this!

I haven't used Fork, but it looks really cool! It sounds really exciting that the developers behind the projects read and implement the changes that the users and the community are requesting!

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Adam Parkin • Edited

Neat, a few of these I'd never heard of, thanks for sharing!

And yeah, GitLens in VS Code is sweetness. Had never seen Git Graph though, and that's a nice addition. After that I'm almost at the point where I could uninstall SourceTree (the one feature in ST that I'd miss is the ability to click two commits and see a diff between the two).

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Alex Georgiev Author

Yes, GitLens and Git Graph makes everything really good! Sounds nice to see a diff between two commits, wondering if there is a wat in VS Code to do that.

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Nitesh Sawant

Sublime merge is also a good cross platform option

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alexgeorgiev17 profile image
Alex Georgiev Author

A lot of people mentioned it, I'll definitely check it out!

Thanks for sharing this!

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James Sinkala

You really should, I've used some of these above and lastly decided to settle with sublime merge, it's light on memory just as sublime text is and full of features.

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Alex Georgiev Author

I will check it just because I really enjoy using Sublime Text! <3

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Bobby Iliev

Thank you for the great list Alex!

I've been a CLI user for so long but this list makes me want to try out some of those too!

You should contribute this as a chapter to the opensource introduction to Git eBook 🙌

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Alex Georgiev Author

Thanks, Bobby! I will be more than happy to contribute!

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Rosey-Song

I usually use GitKraken because that's what the people in tutorials were using besides Command Line. But the git features built into jetbrains' products shouldn't be overlooked either. They run smooth and are integrated quite well!

Thanks for the list though, I have a few new ones to check out

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Alex Georgiev Author

Thanks for reaching out!

I also think that the Jetbrains products are pretty cool, I've used PyCharm and PHP Storm so far, but you can share the git features and in which exact products you've tested them!

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Tim Fisher

Sublime Merge definitely deserves a top 10 ranking.

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alexgeorgiev17 profile image
Alex Georgiev Author

A lot of people mentioned it, I'll definitely check it out!

Thanks for sharing this!

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Elian Van Cutsem

In my opinion, gitkraken in is really the best. Tower is also a very good one! Check it out!

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Alex Georgiev Author

Thanks for sharing this. I will check Tower right away!

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Alex Georgiev Author

Thanks, Elian!

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Andrew Baisden

Visual Studio Code the one to rule them all 🙂 Many great options here.

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Alex Georgiev Author

Hey there! I also tend to use VS Code for version control and switch to the command line when I'm doing many other things via it as well.

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Andrei Dascalu

Vscode stand-alone without mentioning GitLens?
:(

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Alex Georgiev Author

Hello, @andreidascalu

I did mention GitLens with the VS Studio Code setup alongside Git Graph!

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Antonio Radovcic

Sublime Merge should be strongly considered, especially when using Sublime Text for coding. They work well in combination.

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Alex Georgiev Author

Yes, I will include it in series two of this article. Thanks, Antonio!

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Jordi Cabot

If the visualization of the repository history is a key feature, then this list of options may help as well: livablesoftware.com/tools-to-visua...

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Alex Georgiev Author

Thanks for sharing this!

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GhostBasenji

At first I looked at Github Desktop but then I switched to git bash (command line)... And so far so happy with it... ))
But sometimes I look at Git for VS Code

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Alex Georgiev Author

I think VS Code comes really handy if you're making code changes via it then you just push it to the master. If you're making changes via command line it is more reasonable to use the git-cli