When comparing Magit vs SmartGit, the Slant community recommends SmartGit for most people. In the question“What are the best Git clients for Windows?” SmartGit is ranked 2nd while Magit 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 Uninterrupted workflow for common tasks
Simple tasks, such as commits, can quickly be made without leaving the editor.
Pro Easy to remember mnemonics
You can easily learn the mnemonics for the most common tasks and use them to your advantage to speed up your workflow.
Pro Better visualization and interactive workflow
Pro Diffs are easy
Since it's integrated with Emacs, diffs are very easy to fix. You can jump right to any file you want to fix as soon as it comes up in the logs or in the status view.
Pro Multiple buffers are used to show contextual information
Pro Stage hunks or even just parts of a hunk using a single key press
In Magit staging a hunk or even just part of a hunk is very easy.
Magit also implements several other "apply variants" in addition to staging and unstaging. For example: you can also discard or reverse a change, or apply it to the working tree.
Pro Blame information can be viewed inline with the file
Pro Powerful rebasing
Pro Available in Homebrew
brew install magit
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 Mercurial & SVN
Apart from Git, SmartGit supports both Mercurial and SVN via a git bridge.
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 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 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 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 GPG support
GPG in SmartGit makes for added security.
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 Auto stash
Greatly improve the user experience when rebasing etc
Pro Can rearrange Repository window and Log window views/panels
This allows great layouts as desired.
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 detect issue numbers and links to the issue tracker
Support GitBugTraq file : https://github.com/mstrap/bugtraq
Pro Has the most features and most logical layout
Compared to gitk, git gui, SourceTree, GitKraken.
Pro Syntax coloring for many languages
The built-in compare and conflict solver has syntax coloring with customizable colors.
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 Evolution submission program
Pro Every git command is available through the GUI
Not every, but nearly all.
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 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 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 Supports selecting open issues from JIRA
Allows you to select the desired issue, instead of having to do it manually.
Pro Excellent dark theme
And support for own themes.
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 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.
Con Useful only for people who use Emacs
Magit is only useful if your text editor of choice is Emacs. It wouldn't really make any sense to open up emacs just to run Magit if you use another editor.
Con Proprietary license
Not an open source license.
Con External log window
A "Journal" view is available in the main window, though, and focuses on the current branch (incl. remote branch) and one additional ("auxiliary") branch.
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 Written in Java
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.