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