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Microsoft embraces open-source Git for development tools

Microsoft has added Git support to Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server

By Joab Jackson, IDG News Service
January 30, 2013 01:50 PM ET

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TFS can execute a range of functions with a Git repository, such as automated builds, testing and work tracking. Over time, Git will have feature parity with the centralized TFS repository, and will also have tie-ins to Active Directory and other Microsoft enterprise security and auditing tools.

The Team Foundation Service will also offer a hosted version of Git for customers to use, starting Wednesday.

Microsoft is dedicating engineering hours to help further develop libgit2. It'll work with GitHub and other community programmers who devote time to the software.

Some of the work that Microsoft engineers will do will be around making the Windows version more usable. Harry admitted that the Windows version of Git has trailed behind the Mac OS and Unix versions, in terms of ease of use. "We will help rectify that," Harry said.

In addition to including Git with TFS, Microsoft is also linking Git with its Visual Studio IDE. The company has released a plug-in that will allow users to commit finished code directly to any Git repository. The Git Community Technology Preview (CTP) plug-in works with Visual Studio 12, and Microsoft plans to support Git natively in the next version of the IDE .

Visual Studio can communicate with a Git deployment on TFS, to one on the Team Foundation Service, to the GitHub hosted service, or to any other Git deployment, Harry said.

In effect, Visual Studio can become the primary interface for Git, for developers. "I can connect, clone a repository, and open the project in Visual Studio, edit files and commit," Harry said.

Developers will also be able to see the code changes committed to Git, review the changes made to the code, switch to another branch of code and merge code into the project's mainline.

"Git has had an issue of getting pretty darn complicated," Harry said. "We've been trying to codify the most common patterns of using Git, to create a simple workflow in Visual Studio that makes Git approachable."

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