You're making it hard to like you GitHub Desktop

Every few months I revisit the git client landscape. I know enough about the git command-line to be dangerous but sometimes I just want to forget the syntax and click on some buttons.

Atlassian's SourceTree is the best of a lackluster bunch in my experience. It has plenty of features and, when it works, mostly makes sense. Another contender is GitHub's GitHub Desktop. I want to like it. It's by GitHub so has an aura of legitimacy about it. However every time I give it a go I hit the same UX issue.

A new branch is created on the remote repository. You know it exists, hell, you probably created it yourself. But it won't appear in the client. If you're like me you're first thought would be to perform a sync... no luck.

Branches are essential!

So you go to your good friend Google and eventually discover that you can press f5 to refresh the list of branches. If you squint you can maybe convince yourself that this makes sense. However there are two serious problems here.

  • This is not mentioned in the documentation
  • There is no visual feedback when you press f5

I assume I'm missing something obvious here because, as described, there is no way anyone could think this is discoverable.