SmartGit is very handy at viewing diffs, logs, history and deleting/staging working copy files.
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Pro Free for non-commercial use (with some restrictions)
SmartGit can be used free of charge by Open Source developers, teachers and their students, or for hobby, non-paid usage. However, some features are only available with paid versions, like JIRA/GitHub Entreprise/Bitbucket integration, distributed review, DeepGit.
Pro Uncluttered UI
SmartGit has a rather clean and uncluttered user interface. All the most useful tools and information are displayed at all times or are otherwise just a couple of clicks away.
All repositories are displayed in the sidebar and through a tabbed interface you can view various info about a specific repository (files, branches, branch graph, etc). The most used git commands like
merge are always available on top.
Pro Easy to use
The clean and intuitive UI makes SmartGit very easy even for people with no prior experience with Git, even after reading just a bit on how Git works and what the main commands are.
Pro Great overview of the project/repository's log
SmartGit's log viewer displays the full commit history in a clean UI. This can be filtered to only show commits matching a certain criterion (e.g. branch).
Pro Supports GitFlow
GitFlow provides a consistent development process by defining a strict branching model that is great for managing large projects. SmartGit allows for setting up and integrating into repos that follow this model.
Pro Smart embedded difference viewer
When the changes affect only a few characters in a line of code, the embedded difference viewers in the majority of competitors (such as SourceTree) show the whole line as removed and re-added. SmartGit highlights the characters that have been removed / added, so they are easier to read.
Pro Can be integrated with Github, GitLab, Bitbucket, and Atlassian Stash
Using OAuth, you can connect SmartGit with your accounts in Github, GitLab, Bitbucket, or Stash and access the remote repositories there. You can then clone, fork, commit or push to your remote repositories from inside SmartGit. You can also view and manage pull requests for your open source projects from SmartGit.
Pro Has the most features and most logical layout
Compared to gitk, git gui, SourceTree, GitKraken.
Pro Can edit file in workspace or index directly from the compare view
This is very useful when reviewing files before committing and finding a needed quick tweak.
Pro Syntax coloring for many languages
The built-in compare and conflict solver has syntax coloring with customizable colors.
Pro Auto stash
If normal Git commands would abort because of local modifications, SmartGit can stash them and apply later after the command ran successfully, e.g. a rebase.
Pro Supports Mercurial & SVN
Apart from Git, SmartGit supports both Mercurial and SVN via a git bridge.
Pro Log with fine-grained display of branches
There is no option of just showing the current branch or all branches, but you can select very fine-grained what branches/forks should be displayed.
Pro Auto-detects repositories on disk
You don't have to search all the repositories when trying out SmartGit the 1st time, but it finds all of them magically.
Pro Excellent dark theme
And support for own themes.
Pro Allows rearranging views
If screen space is limited, one can stack some views onto another. 2 layouts are available - "Main" and "Review" - with independent view positions.
Pro Great support
Support responds quickly and they genuinely try to help you! If it's a bug, it will often be fixed within days.
Pro Log: ability to see dangling commits and stash commits
Rebased, but not yet garbage-collected commits can be easily made accessible again, e.g. after a reset hard.
Pro Extendable with external tools
External tools (which have a command line support) can be integrated to be used to open/view files, for diff or as conflict solvers. E.g. editors like Notepad++ or VS Code, p4merge to diff images or kdiff3 as diff view/conflict solver.
Pro Great conflict resolver
Pro Portable version for Windows is available
SmartGit also has a portable bundle that can be downloaded and can be run from external devices (such as a flash drive for example) or to test-drive without leaving traces on the machine after removing.
Pro Best submodule workflow on the market
You can easily update submodules from the containing repo, unlike other GUIs that require you to open each repo separately. Saves a lot of time when working on a monorepo managed using submodules.
Pro Great filtering options
The file list view can be tweaked and filtered in many ways (e.g. regex can be used).
Pro The best multi-repository support
Can make a repo group containing multiple repos; it acts as a meta repo.
Can submit selected files from multiple repos in a repo group in one commit action; uses the same commit message in all the repo commits.
Pro Journal dedicated for current branch history
Showing commits from the current branch, its remote branch and one auxiliary branch. Independent of the that, there is a log window available that allows to view all (other) commits.
Pro Easy recover from mistakes
Across all those years, every mistake I did I was able to recover.
Pro Every git command is available through the GUI
Not every, but nearly all.
Pro Can rearrange Repository window and Log window views/panels
This allows great layouts as desired.
Pro Offers life-time updates
One payment, get updates for all future versions.
Pro GPG support
GPG in SmartGit makes for added security.
Pro Ability to follow only first parent in the Log window
This is extremely useful in histories with a lot of merges. You can focus on the changes on the main branch and expand into a merged branch with a single click when you need to.
Pro Evolution submission program
Pro Can detect issue numbers and links to the issue tracker
Supports GitBugTraq file.
Pro Supports selecting open issues from JIRA
Allows you to select the desired issue, instead of having to do it manually.
Pro Can handle big repositories with long history
4GB, 10 years. Most other graphical clients either slow down to a crawl or even crash, or don't support some of the needed features.
Pro UX design is synergy with how a developer actually works
It may look confusing at first, but once you know each part, you love how useful they are.
Pro Git squash
Git squash is a pain on CLI, and most Git clients allow some kind of squash during Rebase only. Ctrl+J shortcut helps for simple squash commits.
Pro Hotkeys for everything
Or nearly everything.
Con Very expensive and no multi-user licences
91 EUR per year per person for the base version is more expensive than top development IDEs, and is exaggerated.
No multi-user and no site licence either, which makes the licence management a pain.
Con Proprietary license
Not an open source license.
Con There is no lite version
A lite version would allow the user to do all the basic tasks quickly. If you need more complex tasks, you can also install the regular version beside it. A lite version would also be less memory hungry and would work on systems using low memory.
Con Free version doesn't support Gitlab Community Edition
It requires paid commercial version.
Con It is slower than the older versions
As more and more features are adding, the more slow the application becomes.
Con Diff display doesn't show long lines well
If changes are made in very long lines, the diff display is hard to navigate.
Con Absolute git beginners will find it very complicated
If you're just starting out with git, SmartGit might feel overwhelming as it does not dumb-down the complexities of git but exposes everything.
Con Font size too small and cannot be changed
Con Unintuitive UI
At first glance, the sub windows are poorly organized. For example, there isn't an easy way to navigate the files in the repository. It's drastically differently designed than other popular source control clients.
Con Currently lacks support for git subtree
It's a useful feature when developing several independent project modules in parallel.
Con Requires non-beginner level of GIT to appreciate fully
Con Handling of git repository security tokens & credentials
The handling of git repository security tokens & credentials is bad: one usually has to ask google, read discussions and then start to use try & error to get working access.
You would expect much more from software that calls itself smart.
Con Uses Atlassian JIRA for Support
Con The top 5-10 git Use Cases are not intuitive without knowing git
SmartGit fails to abstract git in a way that makes it easy / intuitive to use. For software that calls itself smart, you would expect someone who has worked with any version of control software for years to get up to speed quickly with SmartGit - without studying the Git Manual.
Con Doesn' t support remote coding or WSL
To work alongside tools like VSCode it really needs to be able to work with remote code by ssh and on Windows support for running git within WSL where the code is being developed.
Con Some git functionality has been renamed
In order to preserve the same interface across Git and Mercurial, some naming compromises have been made so that the various VCS it supports are all consistent with each other.
Con It can be slow and resource hungry
It was written in Java, which is known for being a resource hog, and it can be slow on some machines, as well as prone to errors if developers are not very experienced.