Jeff Jacobson-Swartfager

Joint Hosting Git Repos on Team Foundation Server and Github

Sometimes it is useful to host your code repositories in two different places. This is most likely to happen when you are working on a project that mixes Microsoft and open-source technology. Luckily, Microsoft’s cloud code hosting platform Team Foundation Server (aka, Visual Studio Online) has finally implimented git integration!

The steps are easy, but there are a lot of them.

Connect TFS to Your Microsoft Account

If you don’t already have a Visual Studio Online account, you’ll have to create one. In order to do that, you’ll need to have a Microsoft live account.

Create a New Project Repository on TFS

Once you are signed into your Visual Studio Online account, create a new project. Give it whatever Project name, Description, and Process template you want, but make sure you set the Version control to Git.

Clone the TFS Repo

In order to actually start coding, you’ll have to clone the (currently empty) code repository.

You can clone the repo by either connecting with Team Explorer (via the Visual Studio desktop application) or by command line.

Connecting with Team Explorer

Assuming you have access to a Windows machine with some flavor of Visual Studio 2013 installed, hit the big Open with Visual Studio to connect button on the new project confirmation page.

If you’d prefer your connection to initate from Visual Studio, open the TEAM menu in Visual Studio and select Connect to Team Foundation Server….

Either way, the connection will be the same.

After you’ve connected, you can select your code repository (called a “Project” in Visual Studio) and clone it. This will allow you to start coding in Visual Studio.

The big advantage to doing your development work in Visual Studio when hosting your repository on Visual Studio Online is that you get access to the issues list that your team creates via the web-based Team Explorer or through Project Server. Additionally, the auto-complete feature in IDEs like Visual Studio can be useful when trying to write code in a language you are unfamiliar with.

Connect via Command Line

To connect via command line, just clone your repo. In order to do that though, you’ll need to enable basic authentication.

Enable Basic Authentication

Head back to Visual Studio Online and click on your account user name in order to access your user profile. You’ll be presented with the information on the General tab by default.

Switch over to the Credentials tab.

Once on the Credentials tab, click Enable alternate credentials and create a password for alternate authentication credential access.

It is also a good idea to set up a secondary user name. Git uses https to acccess the TFS repository, so you’ll be saving yourself a lot of headache if your secondary user name doesn’t include spaces or the @ symbol.

Once you’ve enabled alternate credentials, you can clone your repo:

# Clone the repo.
# Replace USERNAME with your Visual Studio Online user name.
# Replace REPOSITORY with the name of your new Visual Studio Online repo.
# Replace DESTINATIONPATH with the location on your local machine for your local repo.

# Name the remote "microsoft", just to keep things straight.
git remote rename origin microsoft

If you’ve already started your project, you can push upstream:

git remote add microsoft
git push -u microsoft --all

Now you can use the usual git push and git pull process with the microsoft remote to manage your changes on the Visual Studio Online repository.

Create a New Repository on Github

To connect your local repository to github, do the same thing you always do:

  1. Create a new repository
  2. Create a new remote: git remote add github
  3. Push upstream git push -u github master

And you’re done!

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