Monday, April 27, 2015

Let's ask together for better Visual Studio support for Git

Ugh, three times already! I'm using Visual Studio with Git and for the third time I've pushed some changes at work, only to pull those at home and find out that a few files are missing from the repo. What is that?

When Microsoft announced that Visual Studio would support Git and, what's more, Visual Studio Online (their "cloud" TFS, not Visual Studio) would have Git as well as the old, SourceSafe engine, I was thrilled. What a wonder: the magic tooling that only Microsoft is ever able to give us, and a modern repository, and a distributed one at that.

About two years later and I finally did a deep dive on that support and I must say, I'm pretty disappointed. I always thought the interface clumsy and, in the past, I reverted to using SourceTree, which is still my favorite Git client. But right now I'm working on a client environment and I have no choice but to use their machine. And this also means not being able to install anything, which means - you guessed! - using only Visual Studio support for this.

Now, besides the clumsy interface, I've realized that the support is incomplete, missing a number of features from Git, and even worse, the bad support can lead to mistakes as the one on the first paragraph:
  • Visual Studio allows committing with untracked files. This is my major peeve, as you all can see in the first paragraph. SourceTree simply enforces that either we ignore or push the file. I think it makes a lot of sense, and avoid problems such as the one I suffered.
  • Better history view. Checking a file history through Visual Studio is doable, but not fine. I know that this isn't something easy to do through Git's command line as well, but VS can do better.
  • Better Navigation. Oh my god! Clicking a dropdown to choose whether I want to see changes, branches or  whatever... I think this can be much improved. Why do we have to have a small screen with the complex navigation, when we can have a full screen like a real tool? Yeah, that would break VS look 'n feel, but what of it? What is more important?
I'll keep myself to those three points. There are other places where it could be better, of course, but those three would make me very happy.