GitHub Extension Now in Visual Studio Gallery

The extension simplifies the back-and-forth connections from Visual Studio 2015 RC to GitHub. But there's an interesting aside to how the extension was developed that reveals something about "the New Microsoft."

The relationship between Visual Studio and Github is getting much more cozy these days, as the VS team announced a new extension that embeds Github right into Visual Studio 2015 RC.

Github has already been in there, accessible through Team Explorer. The extension means "you get a consistent experience for commits, branching, and conflict resolution no matter what remote repository you set," writes Anthony Cangialosi, a program manager with the Visual Studio IDE team, in a blog post.

The Github extension appears as an optional installation component during the initial VC 2015 install process as well as a number of subcomponents. Once installed, developers will see it as a connection option in Team Explorer, where they can "clone your existing GitHub repositories, create new repositories, and navigate to important GitHub features like Pull Requests, Issues, and Reports from inside VS," Cangialosi explained.

What's interesting about the extension is not the extension itself, but the behind-the-scenes machinations revealed in a blog by Phil Haack, an engineering manager at GitHub. Haack was at one time a developer for Microsoft, up until 2011, when he left the company and soon ended up at GitHub. More recently, he wrote that he and another team member were working on a project to simplify connections between GitHub and VS. The project intrigued the CEO and proposed an idea to the team: "Why don't we ask Microsoft to include it?"

Having been an employee for four years there up until 2011, Haack was intimate with the inner politics of working with Microsoft. "I gave him several rock solid reasons why that would never ever ever happen," he told his CEO. "But later, I had an unrelated conversation with my former Microsoft manager (Scott Hunter) who was regaling me with how much commitment the new CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, has with changing the company."

Four years removed, the company he once knew was slowly becoming nothing at all like he remembered, so the timing was probably right to just ask. In a meeting with Microsoft Vice President S. Somasegar, Haack did just that. Somasegar without hesitation was on board. "This collaboration with Microsoft really highlights the New Microsoft to me," he wrote.

Developers who have been working with VS 15 prior to the availability of that the Github extension can get it through the Visual Studio gallery.

The GitHub extension was featured in Steve Guggenheimer's keynote presentation at BUILD last week. You can replay the keynote here.

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