When comparing SmartGit vs GitHub Desktop, the Slant community recommends SmartGit for most people. In the question“What are the best Git clients for Windows?” SmartGit is ranked 1st while GitHub Desktop is ranked 8th. 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.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
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 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 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 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 Great view of the timeline of the project (the log)
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 Auto-detects repositories on disk
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 Great filtering options
The file list view can be tweaked and filtered in many ways (e.g. regex can be used).
Pro Simple, streamlined GUI
GitHub Desktop uses an extremely simplistic two-panel view. It's not capable of complex historical visualisations like other GUIs, but it is very easy to use (especially for git novices).
Pro Supports pull requests
In addition to being able to seamlessly and easily integrate with all of GitHub's features, it also supports forking and submitting pull requests on any open source project hosted on GitHub.
Pro Great GitHub integration
This is the official GitHub desktop client built by the GitHub team.
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.
Can't handle complex tasks. The Help Manual advises to use command-line Git instead.
Con Incomplete feature set
For e.g. Cannot do re-base, cherry-pick, commit chunks, stash.
Con Not free/libre
This application is proprietary, and thus cannot be modified or freely distributed.
Con Non-GitHub repositories are not fully supported
Since this is mainly a GitHub client, other repositories are not fully supported and with as many features and setting up a repo hosted anywhere else but GitHub is troublesome.
Poster child for authors' programming ideology (FRP), likely the cause for the odd quirks and bugs it has.
Con No Linux support
There's no Linux version of this client.
Con Does not support multiple Remotes for a repo
Only allowed to assign one URL as remote. To manage/sync/fetch other remotes, use command-line Git instead.