Microsoft adding support for Git open-source version control to its developer tools

Microsoft is backing Git rather than attempting to recreate the distributed version-control wheel. Here's the roadmap detailing how Git support is coming to Visual Studio and TFS.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft announced on January 30 its roadmap for adding support for Git to its Visual Studio development-tool suite and Team Foundation app-lifecycle-management technologies.


Cue flying pigs -- or maybe not. Slowly, but surely, a growing number of projects at Microsoft have been making use of GitHub, the open-source code repository many use to host/manage their Git projects.

Microsoft Technical Fellow and TFS chief Brian Harry made the Git-support announcement today at the ALM Summit.

Today's announcement doesn't mean Microsoft is throwing in the version-control towel, Harry and other Microsoft officials stressed. Instead, Microsoft will be backing Git as its distributed source-code-control platform, and will continue to push TFS as its centralized source-control solution.

"Although this comes as kind of an abrupt announcement, it’s been a long time in the making," said Harry in a new blog post. "We started talking about having DVCS (distributed version control systems) support for TFS a year or more ago.... After a few months of investigation (in the middle of working on TFS 2012), we concluded that adopting Git was the right approach."

Harry acknowledged the reaction on his own team when this was first proposed was "quite mixed."

"There were certainly plenty of people who wanted to “build a better DVCS system” or integrate DVCS workflows into the existing implementation. There were others who were concerned about open source and lack of “control” issues. But, the more we looked at it, the more it looked like the right thing to do," he blogged.

Harry noted that Microsoft seriously considered building its own solution, given that "Git hasn’t been as friendly for Windows developers as on other platforms." Instead, the team decided to build on Git rather than playing catch up.

Microsoft has been actively contributing to the open source library libgit2. The company has a number of full-time engineers working on and contributing to this, Harry said.

Beyond that, here's the Git-integration roadmap, as outlined by Harry:

Team Foundation Service – As of today devlopers can host Git repos in TFService projects. It is “shipping” now and ready for use. We still have lots more capabilities to add but it’s ready to use for real.
Team Foundation Server – The plan is to include Git support in the next major release of TFS. No date has yet been announced.
Visual Studio 2012 support – Microsoft provided a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of its Visual Studio extension (VSIX) today. Note: This is a CTP of the VSIX on top of a CTP of Visual Studio 2012 Update 2. No word on when this will be designated RTM (released to manufacturing) or officially under a "Go Live" license.
Visual Studio V.Next – The Git plugin will be integrated into all editions of Visual Studio V.Next (including Express) and will appear in the various pre-releases and RTM. There's no date as to when Microsoft will begin delivering test builds of Visual Studio V.Next
Older versions of Visual Studio and TFS – At this time, there is no plan to include Git integration in older versions of VS or TFS.

Microsoft has posted a tutorial and a video about its TFS/Visual Studio GitHub work. 


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