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Using Git with Visual Studio (11)

As a long-time Visual SourceSafe user (and hater) I was discussing switching to SVN with a colleague; he suggested using Git instead. Since, apparently, it can be used as peer-to-peer without a central server (we just have a 3-developer team).

I have not been able to find anything about tools that integrate Git with Visual Studio, though - does such a thing exist?

What technologies are available for using Git with Visual Studio? And what do I need to know about how they differ before I begin?

TortoiseGit has matured and I recommend it especially if you have used TortoiseSVN.

As mantioned by Jon Rimmer, you can use GitExtensions. GitExtensions does work in Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008, it also does work in Visual Studio 2010 if you manually copy and config the .Addin file.

I find that Git, working on whole trees as it does, benefits less from IDE integration than source control tools that are either file based or follow a checkout-edit-commit pattern. Of course there are instances when it can be nice to click on a button to do some history examination, but I don't miss that very much.

The real must-do is to get your .gitignore file full of the things that shouldn't be in a shared repository. Mine generally contain (amongst other stuff) the following:


but this is heavily C++ biased with little or no use of any class wizard style functionality.

My usage pattern is something like the following.

  1. Code, code, code in Visual Studio.

  2. When happy (sensible intermediate point to commit code, switch to Git, stage changes and review diffs. If anything's obviously wrong switch back to Visual Studio and fix, otherwise commit.

Any merge, branch, rebase or other fancy SCM stuff is easy to do in Git from the command prompt. Visual Studio is normally fairly happy with things changing under it, although it can sometimes need to reload some projects if you've altered the project files significantly.

I find that the usefulness of Git outweighs any minor inconvenience of not having full IDE integration but it is, to some extent, a matter of taste.

I use Git with Visual Studio for my port of Protocol Buffers to C#. I don't use the GUI - I just keep a command line open as well as Visual Studio.

For the most part it's fine - the only problem is when you want to rename a file. Both Git and Visual Studio would rather that they were the one to rename it. I think that renaming it in Visual Studio is the way to go though - just be careful what you do at the Git side afterwards. Although this has been a bit of a pain in the past, I've heard that it actually should be pretty seamless on the Git side, because it can notice that the contents will be mostly the same. (Not entirely the same, usually - you tend to rename a file when you're renaming the class, IME.)

But basically - yes, it works fine. I'm a Git newbie, but I can get it to do everything I need it to. Make sure you have a git ignore file for bin and obj, and *.user.

In Jan 2013, Microsoft announced that they are adding full Git support into all their ALM products. They have published a plugin for Visual Studio 2012 that adds Git source control integration.

Alternatively, there is a project called Git Extensions that includes add-ins for Visual Studio 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012, as well as Windows Explorer integration. It's regularly updated and having used it on a couple of projects, I've found it very useful.

Another option is Git Source Control Provider.