When comparing The Command Line vs SmartGit, the Slant community recommends The Command Line for most people. In the question“What are the best Git clients for macOS?” The Command Line is ranked 1st while SmartGit is ranked 2nd. The most important reason people chose The Command Line is:
Using CLI gives access to every single git function available.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro The most powerful way to use git
Using CLI gives access to every single git function available.
Pro Gives a better understanding of how git functions
By using the git from the command line, it's possible to learn how it functions and how to get the desired result.
Pro Fast and straightforward
There's no additional layer of abstraction.
Pro Available in Homebrew
brew install git
Pro Best community support
Since most devs invoke git via CLI there's a higher chance of getting an answer to a CLI based git problem than a GUI-based.
Pro Even a visual representation of various branches and how they're merged is possible
To visualize history:
git log --graph
Pro It's the same across all the platforms
You can customize it and/or integrate it into automated workflows. It has support for plugins, additional subcommands, and event hooks to perform automated tasks such as updating a bug database or kicking off tests.
Additionally, because it is a simple command line program, it is easy to create shell aliases, write scripts that invoke it, or integrate it into a text editor.
Pro Gives you full control over what is happening
Any GUI would just use command-line in the background, so by using command-line you are in control.
Pro Free for non-commercial use
SmartGit can be used free of charge by Open Source developers, teachers and their students, or for hobby, non-paid usage.
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 Supports Mercurial & SVN
Apart from Git, SmartGit supports both Mercurial and SVN via a git bridge.
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 Has the most features and most logical layout
Compared to gitk, git gui, SourceTree, GitKraken.
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 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 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 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 Syntax coloring for many languages
The built-in compare and conflict solver has syntax coloring with customizable colors.
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 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 Can rearrange Repository window and Log window views/panels
This allows great layouts as desired.
Pro Every git command is available through the GUI
Not every, but nearly all.
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 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 GPG support
GPG in SmartGit makes for added security.
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 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 Excellent dark theme
And support for own themes.
Pro Evolution submission program
Pro Can detect issue numbers and links to the issue tracker
Support GitBugTraq file : https://github.com/mstrap/bugtraq
Pro Supports selecting open issues from JIRA
Allows you to select the desired issue, instead of having to do it manually.
Pro Offers life-time updates
One payment, get updates for all future versions.
Con Difficult to overview complex project histories
Con Recalling is more difficult than recognizing
Although there's autocompletion for commands, it still requires recalling at least the beginning of a command while all that's required using a GUI is recognizing the desired outcome.
Con Hard to solve complex conflicts
Con Steeper barrier to entry as compared to a GUI solution
Since you have to learn all the different commands and you don't have the visual help that a GUI app gives you, it has a rather steep learning curve.
Con Hardest part of the learning curve is the ambiguity of some terms (us/them)
When merging (e.g. git checkout master && git merge my-branch), us refers to master, them is the branch you're merging in. When rebasing (eg git checkout my-branch && git rebase master), us refers to master, them refers to your current working branch. This seems counter-intuitive at first, making it harder to use the CLI to some, but after a while you kind of understand why the terminology is used in this way, and you get used to it.
Con Is a badly designed API
Git has awesome architecture but a bad CLI. The meanings of many commands overlap and contradict each other depending on the arguments passed. e.g. Just some: When
checkout is used with file path arguments it is a mutative action, changing the working tree but without those arguments it is for passive navigation.
reset is just like the mutative behaviour of
checkout except it does it for all files.
branch requires a flag to create a new branch but
tag doesn't to do the same with a tag.
Con Proprietary license
Not an open source license.
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 Currently lacks support for git subtree
It's a useful feature when developing several independent project modules in parallel.
Con Absolute git beginners will find it very complicated
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 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.