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Use Atlassian Sourcetree to Manage Your Git Version Control

SourceTree is to Git what Windows was to MS-DOS. While using the command line works, it ain't pretty. Why would anyone type commands onto a terminal when there are GUI tools out there to make working with Git easy?

Download Atlassian Sourcetree

You can download Sourcetree here >


Who should be using Sourcetree?

You’ll benefit from using Sourcetree if you are either managing a team of developers who need a version control system, or if you’re a developer who needs version control, but prefers using a desktop application GUI to working on the command line or terminal.

Before we get started, here are the key terms in this article:

  • Atlassian Sourcetree – a desktop application GUI for working with Git.
  • GUI – graphical user interface
  • Git – a version control system
  • Version control system – a way for developers to collaborate and keep track of code changes

Why use version control?

It is important that your development team use Git and version control from an early stage in your project. This will ensure that the project’s entire code revision history is recorded. Any stage of scaling will quickly highlight the importance of version control since it supports collaboration and agile development.

See our overview of version control systems to learn more

Why use a Git GUI (Graphical User Interface)?

Version control using Git is generally done through entering commands into a terminal. This is fun – for about two minutes, as it tends to be a repetitive job. The process of saving changes to version control goes like this:

  1. Check out project
  2. Make changes to a file and save
  3. Add these changes to a staging area using the command git add -a
  4. Commit these changes with a message using the command git commit -a -m “insert commit message here”
  5. Push changes to project

This is the simplest workflow. It gets slightly more complicated with the addition of branches and other advanced functionality.

File changes are tracked and can be viewed using the command git status. Branches are viewed using the command git branch.

If the terminal pictured here looks confusing to you then you might benefit from using a Git desktop GUI such as Sourcetree.

Atlassian Sourcetree is an example of of a Git GUI that can be used to visualize the Git workflow and use version control without touching the command line.

Sourcetree is to Git what Windows was to MS-DOS. While using the command line works, it ain’t pretty. Why would anyone type commands onto a black screen when there are tools out there to make working with Git easy?

Git vs Sourcetree demo

Comparison of the command line (Linux) to Sourcetree GUI commands (Windows).


Clone a project from your Github account

Git command line


Sourcetree

 


Explore project files

Git command line

Sourcetree

 


Create a new file

Git command line

Sourcetree

 


Add to version control

Git commit file

Sourcetree


Using the command line is quick and dirty, while using the GUI is quick and easy. Your preference will determine the best option for you.

For beginners it is generally accepted that the best method is to learn Git using a GUI and then move to the command line when you feel more confident, if you want to.


Download Sourcetree and give it a try yourself

You can download Sourcetree here >

Robert Morel is a Software Engineer with an interest in Java, PHP, Distributed systems and web applications.