GitKraken vs Git Cola

Previously, we have compared the GitKraken Git GUI to some worthy Git client competitors, including Sourcetree, SmartGit, and Git Tower, just to name a few. While each tool has its merits, GitKraken has always come out on top. 

But what’s this? A new challenger approaches: Git Cola, “The highly caffeinated Git GUI”. Let’s take a look at how these tools compare head to head.

Compare Git Cola vs GitKraken

Features GitKraken Git Cola
Basic Git productivity features
1 license for Windows, Mac, & Linux installation
Connect to any Git repo including GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket & Azure DevOps
Git LFS
Visual commit graph
1-click undo/redo
Command palette
Drag-and-drop to push and pull changes
Predictive merge conflict alerts
Merge conflict tool
In-app pull request management
Built-in text editor
Interactive rebase
Git hooks support
Git flow integration
Connect repos to Jira, Trello, GitKraken Boards, GitHub Issues & GitLab Issues
Team collaboration features
Flexible license management
Multiple profile support
Guaranteed support for paid customers

“@GitKraken is a life saver.” 🚁 – @itsmeandresito

What is Git Cola?

Git Cola is an open-source project created in 2007. It was written and is maintained by David Aguilar, and was originally built for Linux, but has since been ported to BSD, macOS, and Windows. Written in python, Git Cola is a powerful tool and has all of the basic functionality to do good work. In fact, if there were some unlikely circumstances that a dev found themselves where they couldn’t run Electron (what GitKraken is built on), this would be a solid Git client choice. 

However, GitKraken can do the same things Git Cola can and more. GitKraken’s powerful functionality combined with excellent visual presentation, evident in Git processes from branch checkout to in-app file management, makes GitKraken a tough competitor to beat. And let’s be honest, our mascot Keif the Kraken is kind of the best. 

GitKraken vs Git Cola: Download and Install Process

GitKraken 👍 | Git Cola 👎

Downloading and installing GitKraken is simple and intuitive. The entire download process takes about 2 minutes. All the user has to do is: 

  1. Select “Download” from GitKraken’s website
  2. Move the file from Downloads to Applications

Git Cola, on the other hand, takes somewhere closer to 6-8 minutes to download. To complete the multi-step download process, the user must do the following:

Select “Download” from Git Cola’s website, open the README.md file, then download “Homebrew” a third party service that describes itself as “The Missing Package Manager for macOS (or Linux)”, clone git-cola by copying and pasting from the READ.me, build the git-cola.app application bundle again using code in the README.md, and finally, copy it to /Applications. 😰 Are you tired yet? 

GitKraken has the upper hand in both convenience and speed. We recognize that developers don’t have the time and honestly don’t want to navigate between multiple windows copying and pasting code back and forth for each download step.

GitKraken vs Git Cola: Access Multiple Repos with Tabs

GitKraken ✅ | Git Cola ❌

We’ve briefly mentioned it before, but it’s worth calling out that Git Cola requires users to open an entirely new window for almost every action. There are new windows required to view the graph, file browser, and access the branch diff view.

GitKraken demonstrates yet another optimized user experience by cleanly sorting its different pages as tabs that can easily be navigated. You can add new tabs, drag & drop to rearrange, and remove tabs from the top bar. You can also use the corresponding shortcut keys cmd+1-9 on Windows/Linux and cmd+1-9 on Mac to quickly switch between repositories.

git-cola-gitkraken-tabs

GitKraken vs Git Cola: Checking Out Git Branches

GitKraken 👍 | Git Cola 👎

Trying to check out a Git branch? GitKraken makes checking out branches super fast. Simply double-click the branch name and the system automatically checks it out for you.

git-cola-checkout-branch-gitkraken

Git Cola, although similar, requires the user to right-click and select Checkout. While we recognize that this isn’t a huge inconvenience to right-click then select, it does take more time and it’s evidence that the GitKraken Git GUI is an optimized tool down to the finite details.

git-cola-checkout-branch

GitKraken’s easy-to-read commit graph will help you visualize your project history, and perform daily actions, like checking out branches, faster than ever before. Get a better workflow. ⬇️

GitKraken vs Git Cola: Git Diff Controls

GitKraken 👍 | Git Cola 👎

GitKraken’s built-in Diff Tool is one of our users’ favorite features, giving you the ability to quickly see what has been added to or removed from a file. GitKraken’s Diff Tool allows users to easily toggle between Hunk, Inline, and Split views each with just a click.

git-cola-git-diff-gitkraken

Viewing the Git Diff on Git Cola is a different experience. Git Cola users can change the sizing of their Diff view with the Git Cola window customization functionality, but are limited to a Hunk view format.

git-cola-git-diff

GitKraken vs Git Cola: Commit Graph

GitKraken 👍 | Git Cola 👎

Viewing the commit graph in Git Cola requires the user to open up an entirely new window. Git Cola uses DAG (Directed Acyclic Graph) to view branches in graph form. Branch names and information on the diff are viewed separately from the graph. Essentially, Git Cola requires the user to piece information together from separate fields in order to fully interpret their graph. 

git-cola-commit-graph

GitKraken’s graph is smack in the center of the interface, making it easy to visualize branches, commits, and your project as a whole. GitKraken’s graph also displays the commit messages in line making both collaborating with teams and individually navigating through the project seamless and easy.

git-cola-commit-graph-gitkraken

GitKraken vs Git Cola: Real Time Updates

GitKraken ✅ | Git Cola ❌

Are you thinking about breathing right now? Of course not. You’re not thinking about breathing because it’s such a natural part of your body’s processes that it’s just something that happens in the background.

Now consider this: when you’re using a Git GUI, how often do you want to be thinking about refreshing it? Not often. It’s the 21st century, things should be updating in real-time. GitKraken’s interface is constantly updating the changes and commits you make. Git Cola, on the other hand, requires either the keyboard shortcut ⌘ + R or select File -> Refresh to refresh your Git data.

GitKraken vs Git Cola: Undo/Redo Button

GitKraken ✅ | Git Cola ❌

Git Cola has added options to “Amend or Undo Last Commit”. The ability to undo commits is a super convenient feature, and they deserve major props for having it as an option. 

However, Git Cola’s undo feature is limited to commits whereas the GitKraken undo button allows users to undo all of the following:

git-cola-gitkraken-undo

Undo something you wish you hadn’t? Never fear, GitKraken can redo actions if you undo them by mistake. The ability to undo/redo all the above actions has set GitKraken apart from other Git GUIs for years. When comparing Git Cola and GitKraken’s functionality on this front, it’s clear GitKraken has the upper hand. You are not able to redo anything you’ve undone in Git Cola. 

GitKraken vs Git Cola: Issue Tracking

GitKraken ✅ | Git Cola ❌

The GitKraken Git GUI integrates with the following issue trackers:

  • Jira Cloud and Server Issues
  • GitKraken Boards
  • Trello
  • GitLab Issues and GitLab Self-Managed Issues
  • GitHub Issues and GitHub Enterprise Issues

Not only can GitKraken users view, filter, and edit issues/cards, create branches tied to issues/cards, and create new issues/cards with these integrations, but they can accomplish all this right from the Git GUI itself without having to navigate to their issue tracking tool.

Git Cola, by comparison, does not integrate with these popular issue tracking tools.

GitKraken vs Git Cola: Drag and Drop

GitKraken 👍 | Git Cola 👎

GitKraken users can use the drag and drop feature to perform a Git merge, Git interactive rebase, and even pushing specific branches to your choice of remote repositories, all by just moving the branch where you want it on the central graph. 

git-cola-drag-and-drop-gitkraken

Git Cola’s drag and drop functionality starts and stops with its ability to only drag a staged file’s local path into a Git commit message. That’s it.

git-cola-drag-and-drop

GitKraken vs Git Cola: Sign In with Google or GitHub

GitKraken ✅ | Git Cola ❌

Git Cola is executing Git installed on your local machine. Since it is just executing the Git commands against the CLI it is relying on your Git configuration locally. While it is easy to set a global configuration for your username and password, managing multiple personas is a brittle and tricky process, especially in a world where developers manage personal, business, and other personas to manage cross-organizational projects. This puts the onus on the individual developer to manage all the logistical overhead themselves, and Git Cola does not help with this at all.


GitKraken’s Pro version has OAuth, or open authorization, for GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, Azure DevOps, and Google, allowing you to sign into multiple repositories quickly and seamlessly.

GitKraken vs Git Cola: Enterprise Features

GitKraken ✅ | Git Cola ❌

Like many open source projects, Git Cola is free to use and has the benefit of the strong open source community. It also means that Git Cola doesn’t have the same built-in Enterprise support that GitKraken offers. This can make it difficult to find a single source of truth for resolving issues, and that can be crippling for larger teams and projects. 

While GitKraken can be used completely free on public repositories, many customers choose GitKraken because we offer Enterprise licensing with direct access to our professional support. Having those resources means you’re able to add users, assign roles and create teams within an organization, not to mention that you will have a direct line to the very development team building GitKraken behind the scenes. Plus, you’ll have access to the GitKraken Learn Git education library stocked with training resources that make learning Git easy for new developers.

Git Cola vs GitKraken

Git Cola may be just as “highly caffeinated” as it claims to be but, as we have shown, the GitKraken Git GUI is superior in its commit and branch visualization, undoing Git mistakes, issue tracking and other integrations, team functionality, and ongoing support resources. And if we’re laying it all out there, water is better for you anyway. 😉

git-cola-water-is-better

Try GitKraken for yourself and craft your own opinion! The process to download, install, and connect your repo will take less than 5 minutes! Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself.