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GitHub vs SourceTree: What are the differences?

GitHub and SourceTree are two tools commonly used in software development. Here are the key differences between GitHub and SourceTree:

  1. Functionality and Focus: GitHub is a web-based platform for hosting Git repositories and enabling collaborative software development with features like code hosting, pull requests, and issue tracking. SourceTree is a desktop client that offers a graphical interface for simplifying Git workflows, making it easier for developers to manage repositories and perform common Git operations.

  2. User Interface and User Experience: GitHub offers a web-based interface that is accessible from any browser. It provides a visually appealing and user-friendly interface for browsing code, managing repositories, and collaborating with team members. SourceTree, being a desktop client, provides a graphical interface with a more traditional file explorer-like view. It offers a visual representation of the Git repository, making it easier to understand and work with Git commands and operations.

  3. Integration and Ecosystem: GitHub has a robust ecosystem and integrates seamlessly with various development tools and services. It offers integrations with popular CI/CD tools, code quality analyzers, project management tools, and collaboration platforms. GitHub also supports webhook and API integrations, enabling custom integrations and automation. SourceTree, while it provides some integration options, has a more limited ecosystem compared to GitHub. It primarily focuses on integrating with Git-related tools and services and may not offer the same breadth of integrations as GitHub.

  4. Platform Support: GitHub is a web-based platform and can be accessed from any operating system that supports a web browser. It provides a consistent experience across different platforms and operating systems. SourceTree, on the other hand, is a desktop client that is available for Windows and macOS. It offers a native experience for users of those specific operating systems but may not be available or have the same feature set on other platforms.

  5. Learning Curve and Complexity: GitHub is easy to get started with, especially for developers familiar with Git and web-based workflows. It provides a straightforward user interface and offers extensive documentation and resources. SourceTree, with its graphical interface, aims to simplify the Git workflow for users who prefer a visual representation. It can be helpful for developers who are new to Git or prefer a GUI-based approach to version control.

In summary, GitHub is a web-based platform focused on code hosting, collaboration, and project management, while SourceTree is a desktop client that provides a GUI for working with Git repositories.

Decisions about GitHub and SourceTree
Weverton Timoteo

Do you review your Pull/Merge Request before assigning Reviewers?

If you work in a team opening a Pull Request (or Merge Request) looks appropriate. However, have you ever thought about opening a Pull/Merge Request when working by yourself? Here's a checklist of things you can review in your own:

  • Pick the correct target branch
  • Make Drafts explicit
  • Name things properly
  • Ask help for tools
  • Remove the noise
  • Fetch necessary data
  • Understand Mergeability
  • Pass the message
  • Add screenshots
  • Be found in the future
  • Comment inline in your changes

Read the blog post for more detailed explanation for each item :D

What else do you review before asking for code review?

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Weverton Timoteo

Using an inclusive language is crucial for fostering a diverse culture. Git has changed the naming conventions to be more language-inclusive, and so you should change. Our development tools, like GitHub and GitLab, already supports the change.

SourceLevel deals very nicely with repositories that changed the master branch to a more appropriate word. Besides, you can use the grep linter the look for exclusive terms contained in the source code.

As the inclusive language gap may happen in other aspects of our lives, have you already thought about them?

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Weverton Timoteo

One of the magic tricks git performs is the ability to rewrite log history. You can do it in many ways, but git rebase -i is the one I most use. With this command, It’s possible to switch commits order, remove a commit, squash two or more commits, or edit, for instance.

It’s particularly useful to run it before opening a pull request. It allows developers to “clean up” the mess and organize commits before submitting to review. If you follow the practice 3 and 4, then the list of commits should look very similar to a task list. It should reveal the rationale you had, telling the story of how you end up with that final code.

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Kamaleshwar BN
Senior Software Engineer at Pulley · | 8 upvotes · 671.2K views

Out of most of the VCS solutions out there, we found Gitlab was the most feature complete with a free community edition. Their DevSecops offering is also a very robust solution. Gitlab CI/CD was quite easy to setup and the direct integration with your VCS + CI/CD is also a bonus. Out of the box integration with major cloud providers, alerting through instant messages etc. are all extremely convenient. We push our CI/CD updates to MS Teams.

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Gitlab as A LOT of features that GitHub and Azure DevOps are missing. Even if both GH and Azure are backed by Microsoft, GitLab being open source has a faster upgrade rate and the hosted by solution seems more appealing than anything else! Quick win: the UI is way better and the Pipeline is way easier to setup on GitLab!

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I explored many Git Desktop tools for the Mac and my final decision was to use Fork. What I love about for that it contains three features, I like about a Git Client tool.

It allows * to handle day to day git operations (least important for me as I am cli junkie) * it helps to investigate the history * most important of all, it has a repo manager which many other tools are missing.

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Nazar Atamaniuk
Shared insights

At DeployPlace we use self-hosted GitLab, we have chosen GitLab as most of us are familiar with it. We are happy with all features GitLab provides, I can’t imagine our life without integrated GitLab CI. Another important feature for us is integrated code review tool, we use it every day, we use merge requests, code reviews, branching. To be honest, most of us have GitHub accounts as well, we like to contribute in open source, and we want to be a part of the tech community, but lack of solutions from GitHub in the area of CI doesn’t let us chose it for our projects.

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Pros of GitHub
Pros of SourceTree
  • 1.8K
    Open source friendly
  • 1.5K
    Easy source control
  • 1.3K
    Nice UI
  • 1.1K
    Great for team collaboration
  • 867
    Easy setup
  • 504
    Issue tracker
  • 486
    Great community
  • 482
    Remote team collaboration
  • 451
    Great way to share
  • 442
    Pull request and features planning
  • 147
    Just works
  • 132
    Integrated in many tools
  • 121
    Free Public Repos
  • 116
    Github Gists
  • 112
    Github pages
  • 83
    Easy to find repos
  • 62
    Open source
  • 60
    It's free
  • 60
    Easy to find projects
  • 56
    Network effect
  • 49
    Extensive API
  • 43
  • 42
  • 34
    Developer Profiles
  • 32
    Git Powered Wikis
  • 30
    Great for collaboration
  • 24
    It's fun
  • 23
    Clean interface and good integrations
  • 22
    Community SDK involvement
  • 20
    Learn from others source code
  • 16
    Because: Git
  • 14
    It integrates directly with Azure
  • 10
    Standard in Open Source collab
  • 10
  • 8
    It integrates directly with Hipchat
  • 8
  • 8
    Beautiful user experience
  • 7
    Easy to discover new code libraries
  • 6
    Smooth integration
  • 6
    Cloud SCM
  • 6
    Nice API
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
    It's awesome
  • 5
    Quick Onboarding
  • 5
  • 5
    Remarkable uptime
  • 5
    CI Integration
  • 5
    Hands down best online Git service available
  • 4
    Uses GIT
  • 4
    Version Control
  • 4
    Simple but powerful
  • 4
    Unlimited Public Repos at no cost
  • 4
    Free HTML hosting
  • 4
    Security options
  • 4
    Loved by developers
  • 4
    Easy to use and collaborate with others
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3
    Nice to use
  • 3
    Easy deployment via SSH
  • 2
    Easy to use
  • 2
    Leads the copycats
  • 2
    All in one development service
  • 2
    Free private repos
  • 2
    Free HTML hostings
  • 2
    Easy and efficient maintainance of the projects
  • 2
  • 2
    Easy source control and everything is backed up
  • 2
    IAM integration
  • 2
    Very Easy to Use
  • 2
    Good tools support
  • 2
    Issues tracker
  • 2
    Never dethroned
  • 2
    Self Hosted
  • 1
  • 1
  • 205
    Visual history and branch view
  • 164
    Beautiful UI
  • 134
    Easy repository browsing
  • 87
    Gitflow support
  • 75
    Interactive stage or discard by hunks or lines
  • 22
    Great branch visualization
  • 18
    Ui/ux and user-friendliness
  • 8
    Best Git Client UI/Features
  • 7
    Search commit messages
  • 5
    Available for Windows and macOS
  • 1
    Log only one file
  • 1
    Search file content

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Cons of GitHub
Cons of SourceTree
  • 53
    Owned by micrcosoft
  • 37
    Expensive for lone developers that want private repos
  • 15
    Relatively slow product/feature release cadence
  • 10
    API scoping could be better
  • 8
    Only 3 collaborators for private repos
  • 3
    Limited featureset for issue management
  • 2
    GitHub Packages does not support SNAPSHOT versions
  • 2
    Does not have a graph for showing history like git lens
  • 1
    No multilingual interface
  • 1
    Takes a long time to commit
  • 1
  • 12
    Crashes often
  • 8
    So many bugs
  • 7
    Fetching is slow sometimes
  • 5
    No dark theme (Windows)
  • 5
    Extremely slow
  • 5
    Very unstable
  • 4
    Can't select text in diff (windows)
  • 3
    Freezes quite frequently
  • 3
    Can't scale window from top corners
  • 2
    UI blinking
  • 2
    Windows version worse than mac version
  • 2
    Installs to AppData folder (windows)
  • 2
    Diff makes tab indentation look like spaces
  • 2
    Windows and Mac versions are very different
  • 2
    Diff appears as if space indented even if its tabs
  • 2
    Doesn't have an option for git init
  • 2
    Useless for merge conflict resolution
  • 2
    Doesn't differentiate submodules from parent repos
  • 2
    Requires bitbucket account
  • 1
    Generally hard to like
  • 1
    No reflog support
  • 1
    Bases binary check on filesize
  • 1
    Can't add remotes by right clicking remotes (windows)

Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

What is GitHub?

GitHub is the best place to share code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. Over three million people use GitHub to build amazing things together.

What is SourceTree?

Use the full capability of Git and Mercurial in the SourceTree desktop app. Manage all your repositories, hosted or local, through SourceTree's simple interface.

Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

What companies use GitHub?
What companies use SourceTree?
See which teams inside your own company are using GitHub or SourceTree.
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What tools integrate with GitHub?
What tools integrate with SourceTree?

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Blog Posts

Dec 8 2020 at 5:50PM


Mar 18 2020 at 9:12AM


What are some alternatives to GitHub and SourceTree?
GitLab offers git repository management, code reviews, issue tracking, activity feeds and wikis. Enterprises install GitLab on-premise and connect it with LDAP and Active Directory servers for secure authentication and authorization. A single GitLab server can handle more than 25,000 users but it is also possible to create a high availability setup with multiple active servers.
Bitbucket gives teams one place to plan projects, collaborate on code, test and deploy, all with free private Git repositories. Teams choose Bitbucket because it has a superior Jira integration, built-in CI/CD, & is free for up to 5 users.
AWS CodeCommit
CodeCommit eliminates the need to operate your own source control system or worry about scaling its infrastructure. You can use CodeCommit to securely store anything from source code to binaries, and it works seamlessly with your existing Git tools.
Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
SVN (Subversion)
Subversion exists to be universally recognized and adopted as an open-source, centralized version control system characterized by its reliability as a safe haven for valuable data; the simplicity of its model and usage; and its ability to support the needs of a wide variety of users and projects, from individuals to large-scale enterprise operations.
See all alternatives