March 19, 2013, 1:35 PM — Developer tools provider Atlassian has released a free client that will allow programmers to access Git distributed revision control systems (DVCS) from Windows computers.
"There is a big emergence of Git, but it is still a new technology people have to learn. We want to make Git as approachable as possible," said Giancarlo Lionetti, group manager of development products at Atlassian. The software "puts the most common Git commands in a simple interface."
SourceTree for Windows is a port from the company's SourceTree client for Apple Macintosh computers. Atlassian had found that approximately 70 percent of its users work on Microsoft Windows clients, so the port could help broaden Git's appeal even further, Lionetti said.
SourceTree also works with the Mercurial and Subversion DVCSes, though the current Windows release is labelled as beta until full Mercurial support is added within the next few months.
First developed by Linux creator Linus Torvalds, Git has increasingly found favor over the past few years, thanks to how effectively it manages large code bases that are worked on by geographically dispersed teams. Git uses a distributed model, where a canonical copy of working code base, called the mainline, is kept on a hub, and individual developers can make copies of the code base on their own machines.
Git itself offers only a command line interface, which can slow developers not used to working in such an environment. Most IDEs (integrated developer environments) -- including NetBeans, Microsoft Visual Studio, EMacs -- now provide a way for developers to interact with Git directly from within the IDE itself, usually through a plug-in or module.
SourceTree offers more Git commands and functionality than the typical IDE module, Lionetti said. Not only can developers use the client to commit, push, pull and merge their own changes to the mainline code base, but the software also offers the ability to bookmark parts of a repository. It can detect and resolve conflicts. Users can search commit histories, detect and resolve conflicts, and add in their own commands.
With SourceTree for Windows, developers can access hosted services such as GitHub and Atlassian's BitBucket. And the client will work with on-premise deployments as well, such as Atlassian's Stash Git software distribution, as well as with generic Git repositories.
Atlassian's products and services have been used to manage software projects by more than 24,000 organizations, including Citigroup, eBay, Tesla Motors, NASA, Netflix and Nike. Other Atlassian products include the Jira bug tracker and the Confluence team collaboration software.