November 2016 by Julian Rothkamp

The best Git Client has Finally Arrived on Windows

A little less than 7 years ago, we were a small team of software developers doing client work. Life was mostly sunny, but we regularly banged our heads against a brick wall named "Git", a quite new and promising version control system at that time. We could clearly see the benefits that Git was offering, but we also felt the pain of a system with a lot of power and a steep learning curve. We needed something to tame Git, to make it more easily usable. And we set out to create this something ourselves.

Fast-forward to late 2016, where Tower is a hugely popular Git client on the Mac. In fact, it's the tool of choice for over 80,000 customers around the world like Google, IBM, eBay, Amazon, and Salesforce. We delivered our promise to help thousands of people be more productive with Git and version control.

Over the years, while we were busy serving our customers on the Mac, we received countless requests to bring the same high-quality tool to Windows - with the same tried & tested workflows, the same beautiful design, the same powerful feature set, and the same stability and performance.

From afar, it might have seemed like we were ignoring these requests. But they were too numerous to be ignored. And why should we limit our mission to help people succeed with Git to just one operating system?

So, a couple of years ago, we laid the founding commit for a Windows version of Tower. And today, more than 3,000 commits later, the curtain drops for Tower for Windows!


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Why it Took us so Long

As a Windows user, you might have an obvious question for us: "Why (the hell) did you let us suffer for so long?" Our answer is rather simple, though: "We wanted to get it right."

Having written Tower for Mac with only native technologies (Objective-C for that matter), we were long arguing over how to approach a Windows version. Frameworks like Electron might have produced a result faster - but this wasn't what we wanted. We wanted a 100% native experience with Tower for Windows, from the app's performance to its user interface and feature set.
That's why we ended up with 216,724 lines of C# code and a 100% native WPF application.

Also, we didn't want to just "clone" Tower for Mac. We thought that Windows users deserved better. Therefore, although we a had a wonderfully working user interface and design with our Mac app, we decided to step back and find out what a great Windows app should look and feel like.

Needless to say that this is a very demanding and time-consuming endeavour. But as already said: we want to go the full way and deliver an application that people are able to love.

An Unusual Version 1

In almost all cases, a version 1 is a shy baby step into the world: most likely, it lacks a lot of features and still has to find out what users really want. Not so with this first version of Tower for Windows! Since we've already had many years and literally thousands of conversations with our customers on the Mac, we already knew what a great Git client should look like.

And if you have a look at the long feature list of this new Windows versions, you will find that all the good stuff is already here:

Services Manager

Manage your accounts for GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab, Visual Studio, Perforce & Beanstalk right from within Tower. Cloning repositories from these accounts becomes a matter of a single click and relieves you from constantly wrestling with usernames, passwords, and authentication tokens!

Undo & Conflict Wizard

A large part of Tower is about confidence: knowing that you can always and easily undo just about everything should help you sleep easy at night. Roll back to previous versions, discard local changes, revert an old revision... or use Tower's unique "Conflict Wizard" to resolve merge conflicts in a visual way.

Auto-Fetch, Auto-Stash, Auto-Everything

Tower contains many features to make your life easier. For example, automatic fetching in the background keeps you updated on important changes from your coworkers. And automatic stashing asks you at the right time if you want to save those lingering local changes on a Stash.

Features for Pros

Discard single lines of code. Cherry-pick commits. Work with Submodules and git-flow. See unsynced commits at a glance. Tower for Windows lets you access all of Git's power, but in an accessible and easy-to-use interface.

We Have Just Begun

Despite all that, we still have a lot of work to do. On the one hand, even though thousands of beta testers have helped us ship a version 1 that is really awesome, we won't have squashed all the minor bugs and little annoyances. There's still a lot to improve.

On the other hand, we already have an ambitious roadmap of new features and improvements on our desks. Our journey to making the best Git client will probably never end!

Today, we'd like to invite you to join us on this journey: take Tower for a spin and let us know what you think.

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