Developing software is a complicated business – a beautiful one, for sure, but also a really demanding one. A major reason for this is the vast amount of tools, frameworks, devices, browsers, etc. that are involved.

And if we’re honest, we must admit that a modern development workflow contains too many moving parts to understand and master all of them. It starts with your editor / IDE, goes on to your programming language and your development framework, all the way to continuous integration, unit testing, version control, and countless other things.

If we want to stay both sane and productive in such a demanding environment, I believe we must realize two things:

  1. We need to pick a few “core” topics that we focus on. This is the mere handful of things we strive to deeply understand and master, in order to do great work.
  2. For anything else, we must rely on tools. To make an example: you could build a nice deployment workflow by hand. But it would be much wiser to rely on a tool like Travis CI (or any of the other tools in that area) that takes this topic off your plate entirely.

Great tools allow you to come as close to mastering a topic as possible – without having to become a world-famous expert. They give you access to the powerful stuff without forcing you to learn and know everything. And they help you achieve more with less time and effort.

Writing all this, I’m reminded of why we started building Tower, our desktop client for Git, back in 2010. Git was still new-ish and we had thousands of other things to worry about apart from mastering version control.

We created Tower for ourselves – to help us master version control with Git in an easy and powerful way.

Undoing Mistakes, Easily

Think about how great it is that you can simply press CMD+Z in a text editor to undo a mistake! Wouldn’t it be awesome to have something like that for Git? In fact, this is exactly what we have recently implemented in Tower: a simple “CMD+Z” saves you from a messed up merge, an inadvertently deleted branch, a discarded local change, a too-soon published branch, or simply a commit that shouldn’t have happened.

(Note: the “Undo” feature is a quite recent addition and first available in the Mac version of Tower. It will soon come to Windows, too).

It took us many months of hard work, but it was absolutely worth it: knowing that you can undo your mistakes in such a simple way is indeed priceless.

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