How to install GitHub Desktop to simplify your development workflow

Git is one of the best or “the” best version control tool available on the planet today. Although there are many more alternative tools available in the market, nothing seems competitive enough to challenge Git capabilities.

Table of Contents

Let’s have a quick look at some alternative tools before we proceed with the installation guide. If you wish to start reading the installation straight away, click here.

Best version control tools

These are a few popular alternative platforms out of many. Surprisingly, most of the best source control tools are Open Source and free, including Git. Here are a few useful alternatives if you would like to give it a try.

  • CVS
  • SVN (from apache)
  • Mercurial and
  • Monotone

Git vs GitHub

What’s the difference? if we simply put, Git is a version control system that lets you manage and keep track of your source code history; while GitHub is a cloud-based hosting service that lets you manage your Git repositories. In short, GIT is the tool and GITHUB is the service to access it.

Features of GitHub Desktop

  • Distributed repository model.
  • Capable of efficiently handling small to large-sized projects.
  • Git provides strong support for non-linear development.
  • Compatible with existing systems and protocols like SSH, HTTP, FTP.
  • Toolkit-based design.
  • Cryptographic authentication of history.
  • Garbage accumulates until collected.
  • Pluggable merge strategies.
  • Periodic explicit object packing.

Git vs GitHub Desktop

We explored the difference between Git and the GitHub. Then what’s the GitHub Desktop? As the name implies Github desktop is a more streamlined GUI that made for both experts and novice users keeping simplicity in mind.

The GitHub Desktop is formerly known as GitHub for Windows. Also, this is the official GitHub desktop client by the GitHub team.

Git for Windows and Github Desktop?

Git for Windows includes the following

  • command-line interface in the form of Git BASH,
  • a graphical interface in the form of Git GUI and a
  • context menu interface.

Further, Git BASH provides complete power of Git offering access to every single Git function, and the Git GUI, on the other hand, aims to cover all Git functionalities by using a graphical approach.

GitHub Desktop uses an extremely simplistic two-panel view and its approach is to keep everything simple while accessing the power of Git. It supports both macOS and Windows platforms.

How to install GitHub Desktop

Go to the GitHub Desktop site.

Click on the desired version to download.

Click on Save file when prompted.

Download Github Desktop
Download Github Desktop

The following will be displayed while installing.

Github Splash Screen
Github Splash Screen

The following screen will be displayed with options to select.

Let's Get Started Screen
Let's Get Started Screen

If you need to log in as a new user go to File – Option, under Accounts tab click on the “Sign-out” button and “Sign-in” again using your credentials.

Let's Get Started Screen - Sign-in
Let's Get Started Screen - Sign-in

Let’s select an existing Repository and click on the Clone button

Add an existing Repository
Add an existing Repository

You will be prompted to confirm the path on your local machine.

Clone a Report - Set Path
Clone a Report - Set Path

You have the option to directly select repositories from github.com instead of using the url.

Clone a repository - select an existing repository
Clone a repository - select an existing repository

The following screen will be displaying while cloning in progress.

Cloing in Progress
Cloing in Progress

When done the screen will look like below.

Current Repository
Current Repository

Congratulations!!! you have successfully installed GitHub Desktop.

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