SourceTree

Open Source Announcement: phased releases for Sparkle-based macOS apps

By on June 8, 2017

Many macOS apps like SourceTree are distributed outside of the Mac App Store and provide in-app updates via a popular open source framework – Sparkle. Using Sparkle, SourceTree pushes out updates to all users simultaneously whenever the 

Appcast.xml

 file is updated. While suitable for its intended purpose, these days many web services favor rolling out updates to groups of users in an incremental fashion, providing a safety valve for issues not found during testing or that crop up unexpectedly. Smoother releases were something our team wanted to implement in order to minimize impact these issues can have on the entire user base. The team explored options and ultimately decided to build our own utilizing Sparkle and fastlane, and we’re proud to announce the open sourcing of the code that progressively rolls out new updates for SourceTree.

What’s in the box

From the beginning we sought to have a minimal footprint for these changes, delivering the functionality we wanted with minimal disruption. Each component is easily digestible and ready to be tweaked for your needs. While written in Objective-C it works just as well in Swift via bridging – in fact, the demo app and all unit tests are written purely in Swift!

Once the client was aware that multiple feeds were available we needed to make sure the appropriate feeds were actually there. We were already using the equally well-known toolset, fastlane, for distributing our builds (along with several other tasks) so it was natural to take advantage of its richness.

This project includes a distilled version of our distribution logic in the Fastfile. Default lanes such as alpha and beta generate builds tailored to those updates and there’s now one called custom which provides one-off builds for testing that disable updating. The star of the show is the update lane which takes a percentage and builds the appropriate deploy artifacts for uploading to your server. When brought together these lanes make it efficient to manage testing across a range of options and ensures a smooth rollout to your users with minimal fuss.

Airbags aren’t optional

We implemented phased releases in SourceTree because of substantial, potentially disruptive changes that were underway in the 2.4 release. We added OAuth 2 authentication and an SSH Helper to make setup simple and easy, but complicated challenges around topics such as these have the potential to create problems despite good intentions. We released 2.3.2 in late October with the phased release functionality baked in and, in early December, we started rolling out 2.4 to an increasingly large group of users based on the timeline we discussed previously.

Is it working? Absolutely. We’ve had a manageable flow of reports coming in through our various support and bug report channels along with monitoring comments on Twitter and elsewhere to follow up with users encountering problems. These reports have been invaluable in hardening 2.4 for general consumption. Less than 25% of users have been offered the update, and with the telemetry received so far we’ve shipped at least 5 builds with a lot of reliability, usability, and functionality improvements that traditionally would have necessitated one or more rapid dot releases. Rather than cause a large amount of churn for everyone, we’ve now got an additional airbag in place beyond our Trusters Testers beta group that provides a bit more peace of mind for users and breathing room for us.

In the end we hope others will benefit from having these resources at their disposal. If you’re updating your app outside of the Mac App Store you should definitely check it out. There’s a public Git repo available via our Atlassian Labs group on Bitbucket that’s a quick clone away, and it’s the same code used in SourceTree today. We encourage you to file bug reports and feature requests via the repository’s public issue tracker and pull requests are always welcome!

Upgrade your updates today!

Windows 2.0 gets a fresh look

By on May 18, 2017

SourceTree 2.0 brings massive wins not only for performance, but for design. In this release, we’ve continued to address the number one customer feedback theme: UI complexity. To this end, we’ve brought some much needed consistency and simplicity to the interface.

A proper home for tabs



The Windows App always used tabs for navigating between open repositories, but we knew that those tabs weren’t quite right. The toolbar sat above everything else in the UI, but it only really belonged to the open repo (tab). We’ve swapped those panels so that tabs now live at the top of the hierarchy, much like browser experiences that you are no doubt familiar with.

 

 

Here we can see a sort of “topological map” of the various UI panes, charting where we’ve been and where we’re going. As you can see, things were pretty cluttered before. We’re moving toward a more logical and simple layout with more room to review your code.

Familiar paradigms

Through testing and feedback, we learned just how much of a pain the bookmarks pane was.

It became clear that repository lists needed their own dedicated experience. Because we were already using tabs, adding a plus button was a natural fit. If you’re familiar with how to open a new tab in a browser, you’re familiar with SourceTree.

A glimpse at the future

 

SourceTree 2.0

Coming soon

 

So what’s next? Here’s a look at where SourceTree is headed.

As always, we’re listening closely to your feedback. Reach out on our community site and tell us what you think.

 

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SourceTree support moving to Atlassian Community

By on May 9, 2017

Starting Tuesday, May 9th, we will be supporting SourceTree through the new Atlassian Community.

Dedicated support via Atlassian Community

In the past we focused on providing support to SourceTree users with their various setup and configuration issues via support.atlassian.com. Analysing many of these resolutions, we realised that the nature of these support requests didn’t necessitate private contact and the community as a whole could benefit from this knowledge being made public. As a result, we’re dedicating our support staff to focus on offering the same support you know and love via Atlassian Community instead.

Get involved

The additional benefit of this change is the ability for the broader SourceTree community to contribute, learn, and share their knowledge with one another. If you’re keen to learn more from the SourceTree community, take the next step and watch the collection. We’re committed to making sure you get an equivalent quality level of support via Atlassian Community, with the added benefit of your fellow SourceTree users sharing their knowledge and insight of the product as well.

SourceTree 2.0 for Windows – 3x faster than SourceTree 1.9

By on May 5, 2017

Performance was one of the key things we wanted to address while working on SourceTree 2.0 for Windows. It was a cause of frustration for many of you, and we knew we could do much better to improve your experience with SourceTree. Rather than focus on one performance attribute or one git command, we took a holistic approach. We looked at reducing the visual complexity of the UI, as well as the speed of many Git operations you love and use every day.

Visual Complexity

Visual complexity can be described as the number of elements displayed in an application; the more elements you have in your user interface, the more complex it is. SourceTree uses Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) to render its user interface and the elements contained within. With WPF, interface elements are part of a composition tree, with each element in SourceTree’s interface adding one or more composition nodes to said tree. Whenever an element changes in the UI (e.g. an event occurs or an operation is performed in SourceTree) both a layout and redraw pass typically happens, as the tree is walked and rendering instructions executed for each composition node.

For visually complex applications (hello, SourceTree!) these passes look, from a user’s perspective, as stutters in the UI. So the general rule of thumb in light of this, along with the feedback we’ve received around performance, was to reduce the number of elements in SourceTree’s UI. We wanted to reduce the visual complexity of the application without losing the benefits of seeing the most important elements at the same time. We’ve actually been working at reducing this complexity for quite some time. So how do those elements stack up in SourceTree 2.0 for Windows compared to older versions?

Visual Complexity Across Versions – Corefx Repo

SourceTree Version 1.9/10: 1760 visual tree elements


 
How was it done?

SourceTree Version 2: 1414 visual tree elements

How was it done?

Caching File Lists

Another improvement we made was the caching of views between the “File Status” and “Log / History” view. Before 2.0, switching between these views would cause the file lists to refresh each time, something that could take a few seconds depending on how many files you had. In 2.0, these views are no longer recreated when switching, eliminating the stuttering you used to see as the lists were refreshed.

SourceTree Version 1.9/1.10: No Caching


 
SourceTree Version 2.0: Caching


 

Git Performance

The performance of individual Git functions has a tremendous impact on the overall responsiveness of the application. SourceTree frequently runs background tasks, so any improvement typically has a cascading effect on higher-level features. For 2.0 we decided to add a hybrid LibGit2 handler for most Git operations in order to improve performance for most operations.

The results speak for themselves:

And of course you’ll also see improvements in other features you know and love like Git LFS support, bundles, SVN support, and interactive rebasing.

Try SourceTree 2.0 for Windows today

SourceTree 2.0 for Windows is a sign of things to come and we’re excited to see our hard work bear fruit in the hands of all of our users. We’re not done yet and will continue to work harder on further performance improvements, and if you have any feedback we’d love to hear from you.
 
Happy Coding!

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SourceTree for Windows 2.0: New UI, faster performance, and Microsoft Git Virtual File System support

By on April 27, 2017

It’s an exciting time to be a Windows developer using SourceTree. We’ve seen steady adoption of SourceTree for Windows and today more than half our users come from Windows – impressive for a tool that used to be Mac only! Since launching the 2.0 beta in January and acting on the feedback we’ve received since, we’re excited to announce that SourceTree for Windows 2.0 is now generally available.

Alongside refreshing the UI with a new and improved design, we’ve also listened to all the feedback you’ve provided and focused on making SourceTree for Windows 2.0 the fastest version yet. And that’s not all, as we’re proud to announce support for Microsoft’s Git Virtual File System, making the process of working with unusually large repositories easier than ever before.

 

Improved user experience and modern look and feel

The first major change you’ll see in SourceTree is the new design. We gathered a lot of feedback around the user experience so not only have we updated SourceTree with a modern look and feel, we’ve also overhauled tabs to improve your repository browsing experience, with a specific focus on finding and cloning your remote repositories. We’ve added more vibrant colors, improved workflow for common operations, and we’ve increased performance by refactoring the bookmarks sidebar. Look out for a separate blog that explains the design in more detail.

 

Blazing fast performance

Many of you have voiced your concerns about the performance of SourceTree on Windows and we heard you loud and clear. By adding a hybrid LibGit2 handler under the hood for most git operations we were able to improve performance in some cases by almost 2x. Here are the performance tests we ran comparing 2.0 to 1.10 – the results speak for themselves:

And by all means don’t take our word for it, give 2.0 a try and see for yourself just how much faster performance is in this new release!

 

Support for Git Virtual File System

For all the great things about Git, a common complaint is how difficult it can be to work with large repositories. Git Large File Storage (LFS) helps alleviate these issues when your repository contains large files, but doesn’t help when you have lots of files or content in your repository. To help with this Microsoft announced Git Virtual File System (GVFS) at Git Merge this year, which “virtualizes the file system beneath your repo and makes it appear as though all the files in your repo are present, but in reality only downloads a file the first time it is opened.” So for those working on large repositories that typically deal with a small section of the codebase, using GVFS means you only download what you need rather than the entire repository. This in turn results in faster performance for common operations like checkout and status and improves the experience of using Git as a whole.

With GVFS support in 2.0 you can now utilize SourceTree with Git repositories that have GVFS enabled (e.g. Visual Studio Team Services), enabling you to combine a beautifully simple UI alongside a great technology that makes handling large repositories easier than ever. We’re excited to support GVFS in 2.0, and the same sentiment is shared by Microsoft:

“We’re excited that GVFS is supported in a widely used git client like SourceTree, and we love the new look and feel in 2.0.”

Jeremy Epling, Principal Program Manager on Microsoft TFS & Visual Studio Team Services

 

Get started today

We’re proud to continue supporting all of the Windows developers out there using SourceTree, and we hope you’re as excited as we are about all the great new features and improvements in SourceTree for Windows 2.0. Upgrade or download it today and tell us what you think!

Using SourceTree 1.9 or earlier?
We implemented a change in the way we roll out updates (announced here) late last year, so if you’re using SourceTree for Windows 1.9 or earlier you will not see auto updates for 2.0. Please download 2.0 directly from our website instead.

 

 

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OAuth Support and SSH Key Generation

By on February 10, 2017

Connect to your Bitbucket or GitHub accounts securely and with ease in the latest versions of SourceTree for Windows and Mac. These versions of SourceTree fully support OAuth 2.0. Users with Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) enabled can connect to both services via OAuth and be guided through the standard two-factor login flow. Navigate to the Account Management screen to update your already connected accounts from Basic to OAuth today!

Windows

 

Mac

 

Also, gone are the days of manually creating and storing SSH keys via command line. Released in version 2.4 for Mac, SourceTree automates the whole process with a single click of a button. Whenever you edit an existing account or add a new one you’ll notice a new “Generate Key” button on the Account Details screen. Click that button and we’ll take care of the rest.

 

Download the latest versions of SourceTree for Mac and Windows and take advantage of these new features (and various bug fixes/enhancements) today!

 

 

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SourceTree for Windows 2.0 is now in beta

By on January 27, 2017

win_2_header

We’ve added a ton of new features and improvements in this release:

Tabs and Header

We implemented a new tab-centric design to increase vertical space and to give readability to the the repository you’re currently working in. The new header design gives you an additional 20px vertically, while the removal of the bookmarks sidebar gives you 250px horizontally.

header_comparison

Before (left) and after

The New Tab….Tab

The repository browser now lives in the New Tab. The old sidebar crammed repository names and had a confusing relationship to your remote repositories. Now you have a dedicated experience for both in a full window. This approach also frees up more space to focus on code once you’re in a repository.

win_2-0_new_tab

Performance

SourceTree for Windows 2.0 is screaming fast. We improved performance by adding a hybrid LibGit2 handler for most git operations. In many cases, performance for most operations increased by almost 2x. Look how fast reading stashes are with LibGit2!

detail_libgit

Workflow

Many primary feature workflows have been rethought and improved. Compare the steps needed for creating a remote repo in the current version of SourceTree, vs the new workflow. In 2.0, creating a remote repository and managing your remote accounts is front-and-center rather than living 2-3 menus or pop-up dialogs deep.

 

image2017-1-25_13-29-19

Before (left) and after

Design

Animations, more vibrant colors, improved contrast, and per-monitor DPI support are just a few of the improvements we’ve made. Note the removal of the Windows 2000 era pinstripes, vivid colors, and branch label readability improvements. We’ve improved contrast in many areas by tweaking our use of gray colors, and added accents to window dialogs and notifications.

log_beforeafter

 Before (left) and after

Per-monitor DPI support

On systems that support per-monitor DPI settings (Windows 10 Anniversary), SourceTree will automatically adjust icons and text to be crisp and pixel perfect when the window is moved between monitors. SourceTree will still use high-DPI icons and scale properly even if your OS doesn’t support per-monitor DPI and you still have a high-DPI monitor or laptop.

dpi_beforeafter

 Before (left) and after

 

Sidebar

Readability has been improved on the sidebar, with more spacing between text and increased vertical spacing.

sidebar_beforeafter1

Before (left) and after

Additionally, the ahead/behind indicator will now float on the right-side of the sidebar, and will be visible even if there’s a scroll-bar in either direction.

sidebar_beforeafter2

Before (left) and after

 

Download the beta and check out all the new improvements today!

 

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Fixing a tricky SourceTree memory leak

By on December 13, 2016

There have been a few reports of memory leaks in recent versions of SourceTree for Windows. We understand these kinds of issues can adversely affect the SourceTree experience and are important to identify and address. Memory leaks can be tough to handle, and is compounded with applications written using a managed language (like SourceTree) as lifetime tracking of objects tend to be fairly complex. Here’s one such memory leak that we fixed in 1.9.9 for Windows that we released last week.

Identifying the leaky object

How does a memory leak appear? Most of the time it’s a fairly simple case of “I created some objects, and when I was done using those objects something was still referencing them”. In this case, identifying what was leaking in SourceTree was an easy task:

perf_memory_0

Hint: the sidebar isn’t showing more than 100 items and there’s only a single SidebarNode for each item…

Determining the cause

Most of the time the cause of a leak is easy to spot:

However, the real difficulty isn’t figuring out if you have a leak – the challenge lies in figuring out what’s causing it to happen. In this case, I suspected that our UI library that quickly draws the sidebar was doing something wrong, and that it might be holding onto objects that it shouldn’t. After looking at the memory dump it was clear that assumption was correct:

image2016-10-21-10-58-27

That’s more than 4x the correct number of nodes. Okay, so now we know that it involves the SidebarNode and the TreeNode objects. The TreeNode holds a reference to the object it’s showing to the user, so something must be keeping a reference of it around, which is keeping our massive count of SidebarNodes around too.

image2016-11-30-14-39-17

After taking a peek into the the TreeNode class, there were a few issues (oops):

To make sure these two things were actually causing the leak, we created a simple demo app was created that added and removed items in the tree thousands of times. Creating a small test app made it much easier to track where the nodes were created, and why they didn’t get cleaned up properly. It also ensures we can test this again in the future to prevent regressions. After running the tests, it appeared that the leak was fixed. As mentioned earlier this fix has been rolled out in 1.9.9 for Windows, and should address the memory issues we were seeing. Check it out for yourself!

 

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SourceTree for Windows 1.9.9 released

By on December 5, 2016

We’ve been hard at work squashing bugs, fixing crashes, patching and upgrading parts of SourceTree for Windows in version 1.9.9. Remember that annoying memory leak in the TreeView? Patched. Want support for Git LFS 1.5.2? We’ve added that. Feel free to check that Spell Checker checkbox too – we’ve provided safeguards to protect against Windows’ own spellchecker performance issues. Performance when switching tabs have been improved too. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

We want to give a big shout out to members of our Beta community. Your participation helps us identify and fix the biggest pain points; thank you! And if you’re interested in joining the beta program you can do so here.

Download 1.9.9.20 today to get these improvements.

 

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Adding staged updates to SourceTree

By on November 16, 2016

When it comes to rolling out new software updates, the SourceTree team is always looking to deliver a better experience to users with minimal disruption. In the past we announced a beta program for SourceTree, detailed how we deliver releases, and now we’re modifying how we roll updates out to users. By progressively rolling out updates we aim to deliver new features and functionality to users in a more robust fashion.

What’s the plan?

Where we used to roll a new update to all users on day one, we’re now progressively rolling out updates to users. This staged approach offers the SourceTree team granularity during a release, allowing us to scrutinize each update for bugs and showstoppers before it hits critical mass.

The general flow of a build through our release pipeline is common across both Windows and Mac platforms. The below diagram – using our upcoming 2.4 macOS release as an example – outlines our process and describes the granularity of our new staged rollout in more detail.

flow-chart

Once a release leaves beta it’s progressively rolled out to groups of users over a period of a few weeks, with time in-between for fixes to be implemented where necessary.

Group Percentage available Available exclusively for
1 5% 2 days
2 15% 2 days
3 25% 3 days
4 50% 3 days
5 75% 1 day
6 100% 1 day

 

How did we implement it?

The implementation is slightly different for Windows and macOS platforms, but aim to achieve the same goals:

Windows

Having implemented Squirrel.Windows for SourceTree’s beta program, we’ve decided to move GA releases from AdvancedInstaller to Squirrel as well. Why Squirrel? We were attracted by its focus on simplicity and felt it aligned well with our goal of improving the installation process for users:

Windows apps should be as fast and as easy to install and update as apps like Google Chrome. From an app developer’s side, it should be really straightforward to create an installer for my app, and publish updates to it, without having to jump through insane hoops.

We’ve found it very easy to integrate Squirrel with our FAKE-based build process and CI. The resulting installer is much smaller, quicker to run, has a cleaner footprint, and comes with the added bonus of removing the requirement for Admin rights to install. Overall we felt the user install experience is much improved.

For progressive rollouts, Squirrel comes with built-in staged rollout functionality. SourceTree generates a release percentage for this local install; this defines which part of the release schedule the instance falls into. SourceTree will check at start up for any new updates, or the check can be manually triggered via the Tools/Options/Update tab. After each update, SourceTree will regenerate a new release percentage, ensuring a random distribution of updates.

Important information for Windows users
The switch from AdvancedInstaller to Squirrel will involve a number of changes you should be aware of:

  • 1.9.x.x will be the last AdvancedInstaller update and will install as normal
  • 1.9.x.x+1 will be the first progressive rollout release AND the first Squirrel release
  • 1.9.x.x will detect 1.9.x.x+1 using the new Squirrel progressive rollout process
  • 1.9.x.x+1 will be installed as a pure Squirrel install, i.e.
    • installation location will move from ‘c:\program files x(86)\Atlassian\SourceTree’ to ‘c:\users\USERNAME\Appdata\Local\SourceTree’
    • the new location means installation will no longer require Admin rights
    • the new installation will for now still use the same configuration files held under ‘c:\users\USERNAME\Appdata\Local\Atlassia\SourceTree’ so all existing settings will be respected
  • The Squirrel Update process does NOT include visible Release Notes before running.
  • To uninstall you simply delete the folder
  • It is possible to downgrade without uninstalling first, but data integrity of configuration and settings is not guaranteed.

 

macOS

For macOS we weren’t able to find any existing options that met our needs. But Sparkle, the update framework we’re already using, does include a number of hooks for customizing the experience, so we decided to build our own from that. In order to utilize staged updates we only need to take advantage of a single method:

-(NSString*)feedURLStringForUpdater:

Inside this method we use some randomization to choose groups; that logic is encapsulated in a thoroughly unit tested class (which we’re considering open sourcing if there’s interest). On launch, a user’s group is assigned and cached, clearing when it’s a new app version (2.3.2 → 2.4, not 75 → 76).

On the Server

What happens on the server end is largely unchanged from what we have today. We’ve added new copies of feeds and tweaked release notes so they work in concert with randomization to make staged updates possible.

Build release process

Unsurprisingly, we continue automating via Fastlane:

fastlane update percentage:50

This former “early access” lane runs a relatively similar process as before: it takes the current version + build info and makes sure the appcast and release notes have been updated properly. If it’s already present no build is produced but the appcasts and release notes are prepared.

Iterating On Our Process

It’s been great revisiting the initial CI and deployment processes we put in place for the beta program and expanding upon them. Figuring out the path of least resistance and what options might work presented a fun challenge and our Fastlane suite is better than ever. Now that we’ve landed this important bit of infrastructure we look forward to the many successful deployments and exciting changes in SourceTree’s future!