Home > Uncategorized > First Impressions of TortoiseGit

First Impressions of TortoiseGit


This will be a really short post, I recently installed TortoiseGit and wanted to post my first impressions.

I’ve been a long time SVN user, with a fair amount experience using TortoiseSVN. TortoiseSVN is about as good as it gets when it comes to getting out of the way and letting you get your actual work done. I have a lot of good things to say about TortoiseSVN, but let’s face it – it’s just a GUI front-end for SVN.

I’m going to skip the debate about centralized vs distributed revision control — the ‘net is full and overflowing with opinions, debates, misinformation, and evangelism on both sides. At the end of the day, SVN (darcs, Mercurial, git, bazaar, perforce, etc) are just tools to manage changes to source code. Each has it’s own strengths and weaknesses, so I won’t bore you by repeating these pros/cons here.

What I really wanted to write about was my first impressions with using TortoiseGit, which is a Tortoise clone for git. I’m coming at this from a complete newbie’s perspective – I’ve only cloned one git repository before, and it’s been a while.

First things first: install TortoiseGit. No issues here, the installer runs and within a minute or so I’ve got explorer integration working. An annoying artifact of running Windows is the constant reboots – sure enough, TortoiseGit wants me to reboot before it’s fully working. Argh. I didn’t want to reboot, so I put this on hold or a day or two until my next natural reboot.

Now, let’s clone a repo.

Right click in windows explorer, click on “Git Clone” — oops! Got a dialog box of death, looks like I forgot to install msysgit. A download/install later, and now TortoiseGit pops up the clone dialog.

The SVN checkout and git clone dialog look pretty much the same, nothing really interesting to see but I’ve included a screenshot here.
svn checkout vs git clone

I cloned hg-git.github.com, and the clone worked perfectly without any issues. It’ll be interesting to see how well this works from a corporate network, behind a proxy and all that.

Of course, showing the log files works perfectly and gives me all the changesets from initial import.

One thing I really like about the git log is the graph running along the left side – it looks like a depiction of the branching & merging, but I’d have to check into it more to be sure:

I have yet to try anything actually useful, committing / branching / etc — but at first glance, it looks fully capable and functional and I’m excited to get more into it as time permits.

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