Atlassian SourceTree: Free Mercurial/Git client - Win & Mac

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JWPlatt
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Atlassian SourceTree: Free Mercurial/Git client - Win & Mac

Post by JWPlatt » Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:45 pm

Hi folks,

Work has forced me to (finally) use Git. I was trying to avoid it because I've been told, like making critical mistakes while hang gliding, it's powerful but unforgiving. Adam and others have said they had similar concerns, but were convinced once they got to know it. I won't go that far in estimating my own experience, but I'm open to using it of course. I was going to use TortoiseGit because I've used TortoiseSvn and TortoiseHg. I understand TortoiseGit is a direct port from TortoiseSvn, so it should do well.

I am a known fanatical advocate of the Graphical User Interface (GUI) and deeply critical of systems that rely solely on the command line interface (CLI). CLIs do have their uses such as scripting for automation (I use scripts for daily backups of this site) and some things that are currently not available through a GUI, but I think they're generally for the elite who unconsciously or consciously wish to keep regular people from easily using and learning their arcane craft and the secret handshake. Why be forced to repeatedly learn a large amount of CLI arcanery when you can do it intuitively in a GUI. CLIs are a step backward, like nostalgia for the 1950s. They make technology inaccessible to the growing crowd and market of newcomers and casual developers. But I digress. SOME people will tell you I am deeply misguided about CLIs, but those people are part of the elite and have a conflict of interest. :lol:

Anyway, all this is to say that Atlassian recently released SourceTree for Windows, a GUI Git and Mercurial interface. It was available only for Macs, but it is now available for Windows too. This is great news because SourceTree was very popular as a Mac repo GUI solution. I'll probably try it along with Tortoise, but if anyone has experience with SourceTree, I'd like to hear about it. Being yet another quality Atlassian tool, so much the better.

http://www.atlassian.com/software/sourcetree/overview
http://blog.sourcetreeapp.com/2013/03/1 ... t-for-git/
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Christian Walther
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Re: Atlassian SourceTree: Free Mercurial/Git client - Win &

Post by Christian Walther » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:43 pm

Good to know that it now exists for Windows too, I hadn’t heard of that. I’ve been using SourceTree since I first heard of it when it became free (which I think was when it was acquired by Atlassian) and I’m very happy with it. It has become my main Git GUI (with only occasional side trips to gitk) and occasional Mercurial GUI (it hasn’t fully pried me away from MacHg yet).

I don’t recommend using Git without a GUI for that matter, because its command-line interface is horrible. Combine GUI and CLI to make use of the strenghts of either. (GUI-only doesn’t work for me either, as there are things that are either more awkward in a GUI than on a command line, or are simply not exposed by the GUIs I use – but opinions and requirements may differ here.)

There are two essential GUI parts to any DVCS in my opinion, a diff viewer and a revision tree viewer, but it goes further with Git. For instance, the staging area (index) is a novel concept for Git newbies, and the natural instinct is to ignore it or make it go away, because using it via the command line is awkward. Only using it in SourceTree made me aware of its real value.

Don’t let the horrible command-line interface, on the other hand, discourage you from trying Git at all – I made that mistake too at first. Git is an extremely capable and (apart from the command-line user interface) very well designed tool. It has a learning curve – unlike other VCSes, you are expected to understand the basics of how Git works internally in order to be able to use it efficiently – but also unlike other VCSes, these inner workings are very clean and simple. I found the Pro Git book a big help.

It seems important to me to use a GUI that embraces the way Git works rather than trying to gloss it over. SourceTree seems to be doing pretty well in that regard, although I don’t have much experience with others to compare. GitHub for Mac and GitBox on the other hand seemed too simplified for me.

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Hoikas
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Re: Atlassian SourceTree: Free Mercurial/Git client - Win &

Post by Hoikas » Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:37 am

On the other hand, I feel that the CLI is the only way to use git. It's really not hard(TM), and if you make a mistake, git reflog is there to bail you out. Git is a powerful tool, and I found that just playing with a repository for a little while was enough to get me comfortable with it. I do not totally understand the git internals (nor do I desire to do so), but I can infer a lot about how it works based on how I use it.
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Re: Atlassian SourceTree: Free Mercurial/Git client - Win &

Post by JWPlatt » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:53 pm

Hi folks,

SourceTree is out of beta at version 1.0.2, now supporting Mercurial in addition to Git.

I've been using it every day and it's far superior to any of the Tortoise products I've used. It makes repository use accessible to everyone through a Graphical User Interface. That's a good thing because it lowers the barrier against casual developers who are otherwise discouraged by arcane command lines, allowing them to join the software development community in a larger capacity. The command line is still available for those who prefer it or have an occasional use for it.
Perfect speed is being there.

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Re: Atlassian SourceTree: Free Mercurial/Git client - Win &

Post by JWPlatt » Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:36 pm

In my continuing (subjective) zeal to promote intuitive and productive GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) over arcane and laborious CLIs (Command Line Interfaces), there are a few cool things to note in the Windows SourceTree update today with version 1.4.0. In some misguided sympathy for CLI fans, It even includes some more functionality there:

Here are the new features I think are most interesting, most notable git-svn and patches, but the full list is here:
http://www.sourcetreeapp.com/update/Win ... Notes.html
  • git-svn support - you can now clone from Subversion repositories to local git repos and interoperate with them via push / pull.
  • Command line interface - you can now call SourceTree.exe on the command line to open SourceTree for your current repo (or a specified one). You can also pass additional commands to it (use --help) to do specific things.
  • Translations - several languages are now supported and you can help refine this via the SourceTree translation project
  • Patches - you can now create and apply patch files in SourceTree, see the Actions menu.
Perfect speed is being there.

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