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InfoQ Homepage News GitKraken Founder Hamid Shojaee Shares Experiences on Building a Git GUI

GitKraken Founder Hamid Shojaee Shares Experiences on Building a Git GUI

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InfoQ recently had the opportunity to interview GitKraken founder Hamid Shojaee to learn more about the development of their GUI for working with Git.

InfoQ: Git is historically a tool limited to those with a strong love of the command-line. What led you and your team to originally create GitKraken?

Hamid Shojaee: That’s precisely it! Git has traditionally been a tool used on the command line because nobody had spent the time creating a great graphical client for git. Not all developers love the command line, and even if they do, ultimately they prefer to be more productive whenever they can.

We realized using the git CLI, it takes longer to bring new developers up to speed; it’s far more likely that someone makes a catastrophic mistake and developers are more likely to avoid looking at a repo’s history to see what’s happening in their projects. These are serious problems that we wanted to solve.

InfoQ: What are some of the biggest surprises you've learned along the way in building GitKraken?

Shojaee: The biggest surprise shouldn’t have been a surprise at all. Some developers have a strong resistance to change. If a developer is very comfortable in the CLI, they are far more likely to dismiss any tool as something “real developers” don’t need, sight unseen. A very macho-like attitude.

Of course, the majority of developers are pragmatic. Their view is “show me a tool that makes me more productive, and I’m all over it.” We get 100% of those developers!

InfoQ: GitKraken now has over 1 million users which is quite an accomplishment in a very fragmented developer community. What were some of the key tipping points in gaining traction for GitKraken?

Shojaee: I don’t think there has been a single event or trigger that helped open the floodgates. As GitKraken keeps getting better with every release (and on average, we have one or more releases every month!) more and more people are blown away by it. Then their teammates get a sense that they are missing out, and it spreads. It’s been on a steady and somewhat exponential growth curve, which has been great to see.

By the way, we already passed 1.4 Million users!

InfoQ: What are some of the key pain points with Git that you feel GitKraken simplifies?

Shojaee: When you first open GitKraken and point it to your repo, the thing that everyone notices instantly is the beautiful commit graph. This is something people never see on the command line. Every branch, every merge, every commit is beautifully laid out. Click on a commit and see the details of what files were changed. Click on a file, and you’re instantly looking at the diff of before and after. It’s truly a game changer.

Besides that, virtually every git command is simply easier to do in GitKraken. Whether you are making a commit, opening a pull request, branching, merging, having merge conflicts and on and on, it’s easier to take these actions inside of GitKraken than on the CLI.

GitKraken Git Graph

InfoQ. Are there any upcoming features that you're particularly excited about bringing to GitKraken?

Shojaee: Yes! Last year, we introduced GitKraken Glo, which puts an incredibly powerful Kanban issue/task board right at developer fingertips. Glo can also sync issues in realtime with GitHub Issues. It’s brilliantly simple, yet extremely powerful and a perfect example of what we are doing to help increase developer productivity.

You can expect a lot more developer productivity improvements coming in the future!

GitKraken Glo

Thank you, Hamid, for sharing your GitKraken story with InfoQ. GitKraken is free for use with open source software, or is available for commercial projects starting at $4/month/user with a 7-day free trial.

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