Migrating a TFVC solution to git on Azure DevOps

Whenever I’m working on any project nowadays, I always emphasize the need to automate whatever can be automated from start to end. Keeping up with the latest processes is equally important. However, when it comes to my own site, which I only have time to update occasionally, I never thought about applying these practices. I just change the code and publish from Visual Studio.

However now with all the easily accessible functionality that is Azure DevOps I have decided that it is time to start that journey to run this website as it deserves.

The first thing I will do is that I will migrate the solution from TFVC to a git repository. This will bring its own advantages, which mainly revolve around being able to deliver stuff faster with greater quality and less risk. I will use the Azure DevOps migrate functionality, but before that, I will just delete the old MVC5 project which was excluded from the solution but still in source control.

To start the import process itself, from the repos section click on the name of the current repo and then choose Import repository.

Importing from a different repo

Then I need to specify where the source code is and choose a name for my new git repo:

Setting the Import repo options

There is a friendly warning that switching can be disruptive. Although both are source control solutions, TFVC and git are quite different and getting used to one if you exclusively worked on the other takes some getting used to. If you are planning to switch a big team, make sure that all the developers are able to use git with confidence. Start with a smaller non-critical project if need be.

I also decided not to migrate the history because Microsoft doesn't recommend it, and since it only goes back to the last 180 days it means that I will lose most of the history anyway. Once satisfied, I clicked on the Import button and 11 seconds later I was looking at the new repo.

Repo migration in progress

One small issue was that when I opened the solution in Visual Studio, there were a bunch of compiled files marked as changes:

Unwanted pending changes

This is because I needed to add the .gitignore file manually. Since the solution was migrated from TFVC there was only a .tfignore file, so I deleted it and added .gitignore (and .gitattributes) instead. These files are used to let our tooling know which files are not required to go into source control. We only need the source code in source control. Build files and packages will be automatically generated on the build server at build time so we don’t need to litter the git repo with them. So the result is that we only have two pending changes now:

These are the files we actually want to push

If you need to, the .gitignore file is available directly from github.

And I also copied the .gitattributes file from one which I had earlier:

###############################################################################
# Set default behavior to automatically normalize line endings.
###############################################################################
* text=auto

That’s how easy it was in my case. Next time I will talk about deployment. In the meantime, if you need help to understand git I recommend to take a look at the Learn Git Branching site.

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