Microsoft's extends open source developer love

Microsoft’s ALM Summit conference in Redmond last week featured a presentation given by Brian Harry, a technical fellow in the Team Foundation Server (TFS) squad.

Harry has confirmed that a portion of Microsoft’s suite of developer tools will now support Git, the distributed version control system (DVCS) maintained by the open source community.

Microsoft’s cloud-hosted ALM solution Team Foundation Service now will now support Git.

Developers can use TFService as a full Git server with standard Git implementation, allowing development teams to choose the source control workflow that best suits the way they work.

This announcement comes (logically) from the Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 crew as this is Microsoft’s collaboration platform at the core of its application lifecycle management (ALM) solution.

“TFS supports Agile development practices, multiple IDEs and platforms locally or in the cloud and gives you the tools you need to effectively manage software development projects throughout the IT lifecycle,” said the company.

To bring this division of the firm’s technology into compatibility with the open source Git repository means that now, for the first time, developers can now choose either a distributed version control system or a centralised version control when they use Microsoft’s ALM solutions.

Basically it’s about giving flexibility to work in a manner that suits them best.

As part of the updates, Microsoft worked with the open source community and has actively contributed to the open source library libgit2.

NOTE: libgit2 is a portable, pure C implementation of the Git core methods provided as a re-entrant linkable library with a solid API, intended to allow programmers to write native speed custom Git applications in any language which supports C bindings.

As of now, Microsoft says it has a number of full-time engineers actively working on and contributing to the libgit2 project.

Microsoft’s Harry agreed that this was “kind of an abrupt” announcement, it has been a long time in the making as his team had started talking about having DVCS 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 adding Git support was the right approach. 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 said.