When comparing SmartGit vs SourceTree, the Slant community recommends SmartGit for most people. In the question“What are the best Git clients for macOS?” SmartGit is ranked 2nd while SourceTree 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 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 Supports Git, Mercurial, and SVN
SmartGit supports Git and Mercurial, as well as SVN via git bridge.
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 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 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 GPG support
GPG in SmartGit makes for added security.
Pro Auto-detects repositories on disk
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 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 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 Informative branch visualization
In addition to color-coded branches and icons that tell if a file has been added, removed or modified, SourceTree also displays the number of commits that are ahead and behind the remote branch.
Pro Simple yet powerful
SourceTree allows you to do advanced Git operations while making them straight-forward for those who are still adjusting to Git.
Pro Comprehensive layout
SourceTree has three main repository views: file status, history, and search.
File status view shows status of currently selected repo. It's split into two areas - file list and diff-view.
History view tracks changes made to the currently selected repository. It's divided into three sections. The top section has a graph with progression of commits, branches, and merges. The bottom section shows commit details, files changed, and differences committed.
Search view allows looking up commit messages, users, files changes, branches, and commit SHA.
There's also a toolbar at the top that allows switching between the three views, as well as giving access to git commands (such as commit, checkout, reset, stash, add, remove, fetch, pull, push, branch, merge, and tag).
Pro Built-in integration with Stash and Bitbucket
Sourcetree integrates with repositories hosted on Bitbucket, Stash, GitHub, and Kiln.
Pro Quick setup
Once installed, SourceTree will automatically try to look for and set up repos that are worked on. SourceTree will also detect if git-flow is used and what is the current development state as long as default git-flow branch names are used.
The software tracks all relevant repositories in the bookmark's window. Repositories can be added to the list by creating new ones, adding a local folder, supplying a clone URL or integrating with remote services such as Bitbucket or GitHub.
Pro Supports Git, Mercurial, and Subversion
Allows managing Git & Mercurial repos side by side. It even allows Subversion interoperability via git-svn or hgsubversion plugins which set up a bridge between either Git and SVN or Mercurial and SVN respectively.
Pro Allows chunks and lines selection during commit
SourceTree automatically splits the changes to be committed into chunks allowing committing (or discarding) each chunk separately. Furthermore, the user can even select specific lines. This greatly increases the flexibility of the user in that matter.
Pro Built-in Git-flow and Hg-flow support
Git-flow and Hg-flow provide a consistent development process by defining a strict branching model that is great for managing large projects.
SourceTree allows setting up and integrating into repos that follow this model. Clicking the Git-flow / Hg-flow toolbar button will give you access to actions for starting or finishing features, releases or hotfixes depending on the current state of repository.
Pro git terminal
Comes with own built-in git termnal independant from other git installations and updated regulary. It's especialy good for git beginners who would like to use advanced git functions, but are not ready yet.
Pro Supports Git LFS
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.
Con Requires an account to install and use
Need an Atlassian account to install.
Con Can sometimes be slow
Some operations can be slow. If you know what you want (e.g you want to touch a file, add it, commit it, and push it) you can do it much faster on the command line. However you're often not going to know what you want, so the visual diffs (for example) help massively.
Con Does not allow offline installation
Upon installation, the splash screen prompts you to login. There used to be a workaround for you to manually deploy this application in an offline environment, but they've patched it as of 188.8.131.52. It now does a dial-home on each start-up. Since it cannot reach the server, it throws an error to the user, and raises alerts to compliance.
Atlassian's final decision was that they are not going to support this feature at all. Quoted from their staff:
"We’ve never officially supported any form of pre-installation on device management capabilities. [...] As you know, last year, we removed the notion licensing and asked our developers to register the product by creating an Atlassian account. That said, SourceTree has always been a tool for the individual (emphasis mine) developer."
Con Not even possible to change the password
There are tickets about this issue sitting there for years and marked as medium priority. I experienced this since version 1.8. Up until now, there has been no fix. If your company's policy is going to enforce you to change your password, it means you need to remove all the repos and clone them again everytime you change the password. This is the worst ever experience.
Con Unstable and terrible UX
The Windows version of SourceTree is riddled with bugs, causing some users to find it unusable.
These include failing to refresh, frequent freezing, and slow performance. The recent redesign (February 2016) has made the UI difficult to navigate.
Con "Always-Online" Requirement
As of 184.108.40.206, it needs to dial home on every start-up, else it raises alerts to compliance.
Con Information density can be a bit much
It's possible to become overwhelmed with the information density presented in SourceTree. This is especially the case in history view, as it includes a lot of data presented in various ways.
Though this is great for getting a comprehensive overview of everything that's happening in one place, it can take some getting used to.
Con No dark theme
Con Chews CPU
Con Varied speeds across different versions
For example, the Windows version is quite slow is comparison to the Mac version.
Con The UI of version 2.0+ is so terrible
Tab looks good if you have no more than five repos. If you have a lot, you will know my pain. The source tree will not remember the order of the tab you drag. Everytime you restart the app, it will go back to whatever it likes.
Con Blame MS Office's word correction dictionary to be the source of the slowness while it's not.
It's so obvious that ever since 2.0, it will try refreshing each of the repo a few minutes. If you have a lot then it will drive you crazy. When you try to expand a branch node, it refreshes. Try again, OOPS, it refreshed again. Sometimes, it will take you five minutes to select the node you want.
Con Always slow
Con Not always recognizes changed files
Seems to not always recognize changed files, which means that they will not be pushed to remote origin either. This means if you switch branches, the files will be overwritten and you lose your progress. Very annoying.
Con Browsing folders is troublesome
Choosing files of specific folders for check-in is troublesome.
Con Has trouble with Github's Yubikey integration
When your 2FA is a hardware key, it is difficult to find a way to bring up the ability to use anything but a pre-programmed password function on the Yubikey, which doesn't add much to security all things considered what a hardware key is supposed to do.