When comparing SmartGit vs GitExtensions, the Slant community recommends SmartGit for most people. In the question“What are the best Git clients for Windows?” SmartGit is ranked 1st while GitExtensions 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 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 Great UI
GitExtensions has a simple layout, all usual functions being available without navigation menus. The branching and merging are clear and easy to follow.
Pro SSH support
Instead of using HTTPS and authenticating every time they are pushing their code remotely, plenty of developers prefer to use SSH to communicate with the remote server and authenticate using secure key pairs.
Pro Git commands visibility
GitExtensions typically displays all commands that it carries out in a separate window. The user can also open the Gitcommand log (under Tools) and view the git commands as they interact with the program.
Pro Lightweight and fast
GitExtensions is a lightweight and fast application.
Pro Easy to set up
Can either be set up as a shell extension, standalone tool of Visual Studio plugin, allowing developers to choose the way that suits their workflow best and is easier for them to get into.
Pro Easy to use
Can be used as a Visual Studio plugin for developers who use it as their IDE, or as a standalone tool. Both are easy to use even for users not very familiar with git.
Pro Powerful commit screen
Staging/unstaging files and/or lines of code, ammending, overriding commit's author, commit templates.
Pro Open source
It's totally free
And its written and thought by developers who really know what you need as a developer. Open to contributions by everybody.
Pro Plugin API
There are several out-of-the-box plugins installed with standard setup. Additional behavior customization is possible with new plugins (written in C#).
Pro Very good stash support
Easy to save, view & pop stashes.
Pro Useful plugins
Includes Gitflow, also has a delete obsolete branches feature which is very useful to get rid of those old branches that have already been merged. There are also other options to clean overall clutter in repositories.
Pro Allows easy setting up of scripts to enhance productivity
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 Not truly cross-platform
GitExtensions is not truly cross-platform. It can run through mono on UNIX-based systems but this does not work as well as it does on Windows.
Con UI may feel cluttered with too much information
The sheer amount of information that the UI displays by default may feel overwhelming at times, if not outright confusing.