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31 January 2013, 14:54

Microsoft's Team Foundation Server supports Git

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Git project creation
Zoom TFS highlights the Git project creation options.
Open source technologies play an increasingly important role in Microsoft's product range. This has now been made evident by the announcement of Git support for Microsoft's Team Foundation Server (TFS) ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) platform and for the Visual Studio 2012 development environment. Git is a distributed version control system that was created following an initiative by Linus Torvalds eight years ago. TFS is used as a centralised requirements, project and configuration management platform, as well as a testing and deployment environment, particularly by .NET developers.

Soon – with the next major TFS release – developers will be able to choose either Git for distributed software development or the centralised version control of the Team Foundation Server. The same applies to the users of Microsoft's emerging Team Foundation Service, a hosted variant of the ALM platform that already supports Git.

Instead of repeating previous attempts to develop a new technology from scratch, Microsoft has this time decided to integrate Git, which has become widely established in software development. The operators of GitHub, a hosting platform for Git-controlled projects, recently announced that they have passed the 3 million user mark. GitHub could soon be hosting five million projects, and that service is less than five years old.

Microsoft's Product Unit Manager for Team Foundation, Brian Harry, writes that the integrated software isn't "Microsoft Git"; apparently, the company used the Git developers' C-based libgit2. Since September 2012, Microsoft developers have contributed various code segments to the project that should improve its functionality and stability under Windows. Some of their submissions have since been incorporated into libgit2.

For Visual Studio 2012, Microsoft has released a Team Explorer extension that enables developers to check their code into Git repositories. The Visual Studio Tools for Git are available as a Community Technology Preview (CTP) and are, therefore, in beta state. They also require that the new second CTP of Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 is installed. Microsoft plans to embed a native plugin in one of the next few versions of the development environment. Older versions of Visual Studio won't be updated to offer Git support.

In mid-2012, Microsoft released Git-TF for developers who like to use Git, but must announce code changes to a Team Foundation Server (TFS) within collaborative projects. The command line tool allows users to synchronise local Git repositories with TFS.


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