When comparing Tower 2 vs SmartGit, the Slant community recommends SmartGit for most people. In the question“What are the best Git clients for macOS?” SmartGit is ranked 3rd while Tower 2 is ranked 5th. The most important reason people chose SmartGit is:
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 `pull`, `push`, `sync`, `commit` and `merge` are always available on top.
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Pro Pretty, modern-looking user interface
T2 has a good-looking interface and consists of 3 main views - services, repositories and repository.
Services view for managing integrations with hosting services like GitHub, Bitbucket and Beanstalk.
Repositories view for organizing local and remote repositories into folders and getting general overview about them.
Repo view that consists of two main subviews:
Working copy view shows modified files and their diff and allows wrapping up changes in a commit.
History shows commits alongside metadata and projects file structure.
Additionally, it allows performing various tasks such as merging branches via drag & drop, search allows searching by message, commit hash, author, committer and file and there's a quick open that allows fuzzy-searching for folder names.
Pro Offers a visual way to solve conflicts
T2 shows conflicting files, their authors and the commit that made changes. It then allows selecting which files should be used in the final result.
Pro Git-flow integration
Git-flow provide a consistent development process by defining a strict branching model that is great for managing large projects. T2 allows setting up and integrating into repos that follow this model.
Pro Fetches remotes at regular intervals
See what colleages or other contributors are doing in order to perform merges.
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 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 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 Supports Git, Mercurial, and SVN
SmartGit supports Git and Mercurial, as well as SVN via git bridge.
Pro Git-flow support
Git-flow 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 Great view of the timeline of the project (the log)
Pro Auto-detects repositories on disk
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).
Pro GPG support
GPG in SmartGit makes for added security.
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 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 Can be integrated with Github, Bitbucket, and Atlassian Stash
Using OAuth, you can connect SmartGit with your accounts in Github, 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 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 Can rearrange Repository window and Log window views/panels
This allows great layouts as desired.
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 Syntax coloring for many languages
The built-in compare and conflict solver has syntax coloring with customizable colors.
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 Can detect issue numbers and links to the issue tracker
Pro Great filtering options
The file list view can be tweaked and filtered in many ways (e.g. regex can be used).
Pro Every git command is available through the GUI
All that you know in Git, you see in SmartGit. Even the commands, that GUI uses for itself.
Pro Has the most features of the clients and most logical layout
Use gitk, git gui, SourceTree, GitKraken.
Pro Supports selecting open issues from JIRA
So you just can select the issue instead of having to copy-paste the issue number and subject from a browser having JIRA open.
Costs $59 USD.
Con It requires separate licenses for MacOS and Windows
Usually a lot of products that are on MacOS and Windows let you use the same license for both platforms. Tower forces you to pay two licences if you are in this case (the unique benefit is a 20% of discount on the second platform).
Con Inefficient UI
In order to not overwhelm the users with information, much of the information is either hidden by default or requires navigating to a different section to access.
Con Doesn't support subtrees
Con Unable to add custom parameters for git commands
The inability to add default custom parameters for git commands is a read deal breaker. Imagine that you want to add --no-force-with-lease to push command but this is impossible with Tower because it does not allow you to configure extra parameters for git commands.
Con Proprietary license
Not an open source license.
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 Perspective views can be limiting
Being able to see everything at a glance is important. Some updates, however, change the perspective views which are rather fixed. It lacks a more open way to add and remove windows to create your own perspectives as these changes between versions can disrupt a nice workflow.