Enable Branch Visualization in Upgraded Team Projects (TFS 2010 Beta1)

As part of the series on “enabling new features in upgraded team projects”; Jamie Cool, our Lead Program Manager on Team Foundation Server team, talks about enabling branch visualization features in upgraded team projects:

In Team Foundation Server 2010, we have significantly enhanced the concept of a branch. We have added functionality to branches such as:

  1. Branches can now be clearly identified in the source control explorer.
  2. You can now visualize your branch hierarchy and visually track your code changes as they move through your branches.
  3. You can assign branch operation security.  Ex. Who can create/delete a branch and who can merge a branch.
  4. Branches now have checks in place to discourage poor branching structures.

In order to take advantage of these new features, you will need to convert your previously branched folders to fully fledged branches. The steps for doing this are as follows:

  1. Identify the branch structure you are currently using. If you would like to change your branch structure, now may be a good time to do so, but it is not necessary.
  2. Identify the folder in your solution explorer mapped to your parent (top level) branch.
  3. Right click on that folder. On the context menu select “Branching and Merging” & then “Convert Folder to Branch”.  This will open a dialog for doing the conversion of a folder to a branch. 
  4. At the bottom of the dialog, check the “Recursively perform this conversion for all branched child folders”.
  5. Next click the “Convert” button. This will upgrade this folder to a branch. It will also walk the branch tree and convert all folders that have been branched from this folder.
  6. Your branches should now be shown with the branch icon in the source control explorer tree. 
  7. If you have any folders that had their relationship established via Baseless Merge, you will need to use the “Reparent Branch” option from the “Branching & Merging” context menu to establish the parent/child relationship in the branch hierarchy.
  8. Repeat these steps for all remaining branch trees in your solution.

Now that you have completed this step, you should be able to take advantage of the powerful new branching features in Team Foundation Server 2010. You can now view your branch structure visually by selecting “Branching and Merging” and then “View Hierarchy” from the branch context menu. You can also choose to “Track Changes” from a work item’s context menu to see how the changeset associated with that work item has moved through your various branches.   

You can check out the MSDN documentation on Branch Visualization to learn more about the capabilities available to you:


Jamie Cool

Comments (5)
  1. After you upgrade your server to Visual Studio Team System 2010 Beta 1, you have a wealth of new features

  2. Matt Mitrik says:

    Introducing the concept of “first class branches” is a significant part of the 2010 release for version

  3. BlueMonkMN says:

    There does not appear to be a "Reparent Branch" command in the branching and merging menu.  I even looked in the Customization dialog for the menu where all possible menu items would appear.  VS 2010 / TFS 2010 does not seem to have this command where indicated.

  4. BlueMonkMN says:

    In response to my previous comment, you have to find it in the "Branching and Merging" menu from the file menu.  It doesn't appear in the context menu.  And if you try to add it to the context menu, you won't find it among the "Team" commands.  It's in the "File" commands.

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