Since launching the new GitHub Desktop in 2017, we’ve focused on improving collaboration in the app, laying the foundation how you can work with Desktop today.

  • Earlier this year, we launched Desktop 1.2 and 1.3, providing you with the ability to compare branches and get notified when the default branch has updates to pull into your branch.
  • Last month, we released 1.4, providing information about whether or not you’ll encounter conflicts before merging.

Today, we’re releasing GitHub Desktop 1.5, representing a culmination of the work we’ve been doing this past year. This release completes the merge collaboration cycle by providing a way to initiate a merge in the branch dropdown, guiding you through resolving merge conflicts, and informing you when a merge is complete. It also includes our first step toward improving onboarding onto GitHub Desktop with the option to clone and add new repositories in the repository dropdown.

Merge conflict resolution

With today’s GitHub Desktop release, you can merge with confidence knowing that even if conflicts occur, we’ll help you through it so you can keep shipping. Merge conflicts can be intimidating for new developers, especially those working in teams. In our usability tests, the audible “NOOOOO” when encountering a conflict became predictable.

In our previous release, we reduced some of that anxiety by informing you whether or not you would encounter merge conflicts before merging, but you still needed to actually resolve the conflicts on your own. With more than 10 percent of all merges in the app resulting in merge conflicts, we knew we could do better. And with GitHub Desktop 1.5, you’re no longer on your own. The app will now inform you which files have conflicts, route you to your preferred editor to resolve them, list the conflicts that you still need to address, and show you when everything is resolved and ready to merge.

Merge conflict resolution in action

Listening to our users

As we’ve released features related to merging over the past several months, we’ve also had an opportunity to listen to lots of users. We care about your feedback, and this release incorporates several changes based on what we’ve learned from you. With GitHub Desktop 1.5, you can now initiate a merge from the branch dropdown, and you’ll receive feedback in the app to let you know when a merge is completed successfully.

We’ve also seen that the core function of adding a repository to Desktop has been difficult to find and use. We solved this by adding a simple way to create, add, or clone a repository right from the repository dropdown.

These changes are subtle, but together they represent our commitment to listen and learn from people using Desktop every day. We conduct user interviews and usability testing on a regular basis—if you’d like to participate and help make Desktop even more useful, please sign up.

Celebrating our open source contributors

Finally, we want to call out that this release is the first time we’ve shipped a feature iteration built almost entirely by community contributors outside of GitHub. The improved merge flow was a combined effort from @JQuinnie and @bruncun, and there were more than 30 merged pull requests from the community since our last release.

We continue to be blown away by the community that has grown around GitHub Desktop as an open source product. There were more community pull requests merged in September and October than in any previous months, and there’s no sign of slowing down. We’re grateful for the community’s participation in improving GitHub Desktop, and if you feel inspired to build something awesome together, we’d love to see you in our open source repository.