Pocket Git – Mobile, Material Version Control

When I first saw Pocket Git on the Play Store, oh, a couple of months ago, I was enthralled. All the other clients of the time – and even now, still – are Holo themed or has traces of *gasps* Gingerbread. This is the time of MATERIAL, of pushing boundaries of design, of bringing paper to a higher standard. Now is the time of meaningful, beautiful animations on familiar things. Holo (and God forbid, Gingerbread) is a thing of the past, and new products should take on all the progress that makes “modern.” Pocket Git is just that – modern. It’s beautiful. It’s quick. It’s new and shiny. Pocket Git, I think, is something that brings us to another level.

Pocket Git, on the surface, is similar to any other git client on the store now. It has all the same functions. What makes it better, then, is how these functions are PRESENTED – function must meet form. It has colors that automatically make sense, and intuitive iconography. My only wish is that it could send pull-requests when it comes to Github projects.

After purchasing and installing the app, set up your account username and email. I recommend using the same ones used when you signed up with your host (Github, Bitbucket, etc). I had used Github, so processes might differ. Open a project in your browser, and then share the page to Pocket Git. This automatically fills necessary values – git paths, etc. Select a place to store the files (I recommend using something like /Git/{projectname}, as this will place all your projects in one place).

You have the option to authenticate yourself, via HTTPS or SSH, or not at all. If you have 2 factor authentication enabled, you’ll need to select SSH. Otherwise, pushing commits will fail. If you have 2 factor authentication, create a new key pair for your device (or use an existing key, but I’m not sure if there are any security issues with this). Github has a nice tutorial here about SSH keys and passphrases, if you’re unsure about this process. Follow it word for word. Then, place the private key (the one without the file extension, the one with is the public key and not what you want) on your mobile device. In Pocket Git, hold the name of the project requiring authentication, select the pencil/edit icon, and enter the file path to the private key. Attempt pushing and pulling to test it out.

Pocket Git has a nice manual that explains its iconography and colors, which was something extremely useful to have. A blue circle with a dot inside means edits were made but staged, a half blue and half green circle represents changes were staged but file was edited again, and a red circle with an X inside is marked for deletion. When a file (or files) are staged, a pink FAB is available to commit those changes. Commit a change, and then push the changes by tapping the cloud and then “Push.” Pull the most recent changes with the same steps – cloud icon > “Pull.”

Add a file/folder, view stashed files, project history, your information, and the manual form the three stacked dot overflow menu. The project history page is one of the most polished parts of this app. The information provided is done in an extremely visually pleasing way. The tree down the left side is a graphical representation of every pushed commit made, and also includes forks and merges. The execution of this portion is stunning – each branch has its own distinctive color, making following branches an easy task. Each point on a branch is associated with a pushed commit, and the author, time, SHA checksum, and comment of said push are detailed to the side of the tree. Selecting a push displays more details – more information is shown, and you are given the option of checking out the project at this point. The more detail page, however, is not as visually stunning as the rest of the app. You may also view differences between files directly in the app, without needing to view the changes in another application.

All in all, this is a visually stunning, polished, well-featured application for its price. Developers using git systems will find this to be a wonderful tool for their workflow. Beginners will find it to be a nice way to get their feet wet. Designers will find it to be a pretty piece of work. Whoever you are, if you use version control for your projects (and you really should), Pocket Git is probably the app for you.

STANDARD DISCLAIMER: A happy customer’s review. No payment for praise. This is a good app. Highly recommend.

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