Tag: visual studio

How to create a branch in Visual Studio – 088

It seems that I have to write these tips in triplicate: 1. command line, 2. Visual Studio, 3. git visualization tool. But that’s been the only way to prove to myself I’m grasping the concepts.

Command line

A college French professor once gave me the advice to never use contractions in class unless I was prepared to never ask him to slow down. I had just learned the equivalent of “I do not know” vs “I don’t know” (something like that).

Applying that advice to software, I don’t want to start using git shortcuts by combining commands until it is clear what the two commands are independently doing. (Yep, I’ll show the shortcut in a second… )

First, you’ll want to create a branch:

> git branch my-branch

Next, you’ll want to switch to that branch:

> git checkout my-branch

git branch addColor; git checkout addColor

Git Visualization

Okay that’s pretty straight forward, but what’s happening conceptually?

git visualization of creating and switching a branch

We are on master when we created a branch called addColor while on master and then switched to addColor.

The take home message is that addColor has everything that master has because we created the branch addColor while on Master.

Git Command Line Shortcut

Before we jump into the IDE, let’s take a sneak peek at that shortcut.

Note: in case anyone is following along at home, I first switch back to master to delete the addColor and then recreate using the shortcut.

The shortcut is

> git checkout -b addColor

deleting branch and then recreating using the shortcut

This shortcut says to checkout to addColor and if it doesn’t exist, create it.

Visual Studio

When you’re in Team Explorer, you can go to Branches, right click on the branch you want your new branch to be based on, right-click, and select New Local Branch From…

New Local Branch From... command in Team Explorer - Branches

Then give your new branch a name (and verify in the drop down you picked the correct branch) and leave the checkbox checked…

checkout branch option in Team Explorer

If you have the Checkout branch checkbox, you’re telling VS to create the branch and do the checkout so you’re now on the addColor branch instead of master.

If you uncheck it, it is the equivalent of creating the branch on the command line, but staying on master.

To confirm you’ve created and switched to the addColor branch, you’ll see that addColor is now in bold.

branches showing addColor now checked out

And the branch is also shown in the Visual Studio status bar.

addColor from status bar

How to revert changes in Visual Studio – 085

Yesterday’s tip talked about how to use `git revert` from the command line. Today’s tip describes the functional equivalent in Visual Studio.

TBH I clicked the wrong command in VS initially when I started writing this post. I clicked “reset ” then the “–hard” option, which should have been a hint. Revert doesn’t have the soft, mixed, or hard options. But, I was able to fix my git history (by going to the command line) to write this tip without deleting my .git folder and starting over, which is a first for me. So perhaps all this work writing out these tips is working!

Let’s say you have a console application that shows a blue background. And you’re like “no.”

console app with blue background

You want to remove this commit altogether. If you’ve been committing in small, atomic chunks of code, you should be able to revert this background color change. But don’t take my word for it. I wouldn’t know because I’m still trying to train myself to do small commits.

Going to the history shows where this change was introduced, i.e. “added ChangeColors()”. You can revert this commit by right-click and selecting “Revert.”

History - Revert on selected commit

Click Yes on the confirmation prompt.

If you refresh History, you’ll see the new commit.

Revert "added ChangeColors()"

You can double-click to open that commit’s details. If you edit the commit message, the Amend Message option will become available.

reverted commits details

Double-clicking on the Program.cs file listed under Changes for the Commit Details pane shows what’s been removed or “reverted” from the codebase.

Changes for Program.cs showing the ChangeColors method removed

And to verify we are back to our familiar console application background, let’s run the project.

default black background for console app

How to use the VS status bar buttons as a shortcut to Team Explorer panes – 083

Something new in Visual Studio 2015 and still there in Visual Studio 2017 is the ability to click buttons(!!!) in the status bar O_O.

You can switch branches without having to touch the Team Explorer pane.

branches button shown in status bar w list of branches to checkout

You can jump to the Connect pane, which will save you time when you’re debating “is it the Home icon or the green Plug icon?”

repo button in status bar showing Connect pane

Yeah, I guess I need to get around to deleting deletemetoday one of these days…

You can jump to the Changes pane, regardless whether you have uncommitted changes (or staged changes as shown in my screenshot – yeah SDET skills die hard).

This button won’t automatically commit your changes, but only takes you to the pane.

pen or pencil icon button for Changes pane

And last but not least, you can jump to the Sync pane. Again, it doesn’t perform any commands other than just navigating to the pane.

up arrow button for Sync pane

Looks like you can click the Line, Column, and Character status bar “buttons” and new UI appears for Visual Studio 2017!! (provided you have a file opened).

Must focus on Git and GitHub tips
Must focus on Git and GitHub tips
Must focus on Git and GitHub tips
Must focus on Git and GitHub tips
Must focus on Git and GitHub tips
Must focus on Git and GitHub tips
Must focus on Git and GitHub tips
Must focus on Git and GitHub tips

Okay, it looks like if you double-click on any of those status bar buttons, you’ll get a new Go To Line dialog, which seems to be part of a global search window…

new Go to Line window in VIsual Studio 2017

but it doesn’t seem to let you specify columns or character positions.

Yeah, old habits die hard, even when trying to focus.

How to find when a line was last changed in Visual Studio – 080

Previously, I mentioned how to use Blame on GitHub.com to find the commit that changed a specific line. Today we’re going to rinse and repeat this scenario within Visual Studio.

I told think anyone ever realized how scared I was of the world (if not plain neurotic) as a small child. I remember once in first grade (6 years old) being asked by the teacher for the answer to a multiple choice question. I thought it was ‘D’ but the answer was ‘C’. When the teacher said no that was wrong, I broke down sobbing from fear and embarrassment. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me for getting it wrong. I thought perhaps I’d get into serious trouble when I got home or lose my recess or something. Unfortunately, the teacher completely misread why I was crying (she thought I was acting out for attention) and scolded me, etc., which was my first foray into the self-fulfilling prophecy*.

I share this story because the first time I saw “Blame” on GitHub, I felt the same emotion as I did as a little kid. Why would I ever want to put myself into a position of having people call me out publicly via my code and blame me? But as I said in my previous post, Blame doesn’t mean “to imply blame” but rather “look up the commit that changed this line of code.”

I was happy to see this command referred to as Annotate in Visual Studio 2015, but a bit saddened to see now called Blame (Annotate) in Visual Studio 2017. I get it. I get it. When in Rome… but I often muse what would be the equivalent of commercial airline pilots who have to reskill like we do in the software industry. Would they start lowering the landing gear prior to take off? Would they refer to Air Traffic Controller as Air Traffic View or Air Traffic Model? (see what I did there? #PointsMe!)

In today’s scenario, I want to know two things:

  1. When was a specific line of code changed? as in, which commit changed a given line of code?
  2. What changed in that line?

1.  open the file that contains the line in question (either via Double-Click in Solution Explorer or File – Open – File provided you are connected to the repo in Team Explorer)

2. anywhere in the file, right-click and select Source Control – Blame (Annotate)

Source Control - Blame (Annotate) in context menu for file

The Blame / Annotate window will appear on the left hand side. This window shows for each line what was the last commit that modified it.

Annotated window shown for a given file

In the above example, lines 1-2 were last modified by commit ID 44af5057 (most likely my initial commit). But line 3, the one I’m interested in, was last modified in commit fd80ad89.

As any long time Visual Studio user will do… let’s click the fd80ad89 and see what happens!

Commit details for the last commit that modified line 3

Seeing the Commit Details appear in Team Explorer answers the part one of my scenario – the when. Now it is time to figure out the what – what was changed in the line…

TE - Commit Details - Changes - main.js - Compare with Previous

By clicking on the Compare with Previous… command in the context menu for the main.js file listed in the Changes list for that commit, you’ll see the file diff view appear.

"Tray" shown added to list of const

And now we  have “the what” for what has changed in the file. The “Tray” const was added to the list, giving it a type of Electron.Tray, so I could put the app in the Taskbar tray (or Mac tray thingy at top of screen).

*Sometimes I wonder if I’m the reincarnation of Rod Serling (technically, he died before I was born) or a zen master looking for a challenge. But then again, I’ve always hated smoking, so I’m not the former. And during the Visual Studio 2017 Launch Event when they were showing my Happy Birthday Visual Studio video, I was at home yelling at the Yoga DVD Instructor over the “share  your breath with the community” breathing stuff, so it can’t be the later either.

How to open a GitHub repo that does not contain a solution in Visual Studio 2017 – 079

In recent years, I started dabbling in ruby, node.js, electron, etc. As time passed, I (somehow) forgot the notion of a “solution” file. I know that sounds exaggerated or cra-cra coming from me, but hold on. I’ll explain. To open an electron application (e.g. your moment of GitHub Zen app) in a non-VS editor like Atom, you’d simply `cd` into the root folder of where you cloned your repo and type in `atom .` The dot in the `atom .` means open all the files listed here.

View solution-less repo in Atom

And there in atom, you’ll see a similar experience to Solution Explorer, but instead of a solution file at the top, you see the root folder.

atom with an electron app opened

View solution-less repo in Visual Studio 2015

Now let’s say you connect to the your-moment-of-GitHub-zen repo via Team Explorer in Visual Studio 2015. But oh-no! Your solution explorer will be empty. After spending a year using Atom, it’s really odd feeling when none of your files appear available in your editor. (See! I told ya’ll I could justify forgetting about a solution file!)

Solution Explorer just looks at you

You might hope that Team Explorer will have some sort of solution available… (boom! did you see what I did there with that play on words re having a solution for not having a solution? thank you! I’m here all week…)

No solutions available

The workaround is to manually File – Open – File your files and use Team Explorer to manage your changes (or command line – I guess you can’t have too many options).

View solution-less repo in Visual Studio 2017

Hello Visual Studio 2017! What do we have here??

Show Folder View

Let’s see what this Show Folder View button does…


And there we go! You can now open a project in Visual Studio without requiring a solution. I’ve spent all of 2 minutes playing with this new feature, so I’ll have to learn where to go from here!

How to use the arrows in the View History graphs in Visual Studio – 078

There was a saying back in Mountaineering Search and Rescue* in Seattle about why you should *never* pack cotton-based clothes in your cold-weather gear. It went like, “No matter how far down you pack cotton in your bag, water will find it.”  I feel the same about Visual Studio. “If there is a clickable pixel somewhere in Visual Studio, no matter how small or obscure you place it, I will find it.”

As I was prep’ing yesterday’s tip, I noticed that the View History graph showed these arrows pointing in various directions. TBH I had to ask someone to explain what the arrows meant.

Graph with arrows pointing down

If you click on this downward-facing arrow, a connector line will appear!

graph connecting line shown going offscreen

The connector line will go all the way down off screen until it reaches its commit.

connecting line reaching its commit

The idea behind these arrows is to show you that they connect to a commit that’s not currently visible on the screen.

BTW, the arrows can also point upwards as well, reaching back up to its counterpart in the graph.

arrows pointing in either direction

*So yeah, about search and rescue, well over 10 years ago, genius here wanted to volunteer to learn more about hiking and volunteer my time and whatever skills to helping out, since I love the outdoors so much. Only one small problem… I hate the cold! And I had never camped in the cold before, and at that time anything below 70 was considered cold to my NOLA standards. Anyways, it was 27 degrees one particular weekend of training. I made it the first night, but was never able to get to sleep. The second night I dropped out so my partner (who was kicking butt and taking names) could find other same skill-level people so she could pass. But yeah I still laugh at the thought of me thinking I could go find people lost in the woods when I get lost driving down the street!

How to use `git log –first-parent` to only view commits that happened on a given branch – 077

First Parent Only via Visual Studio – View History

By default the View History option in Visual Studio (from Changes – Action – View History or from the Status bar  – <branch name> – View History) shows all commits, regardless whether the commit occurred in a separate branch or on the current branch. Let’s assume master is the current branch for simplicity. I’m using Open Live Writer as an example.

Shout out to http://marcgg.com/blog/2015/08/04/git-first-parent-log/ who has a great write-up on when you’d use –first-parent.

Right now on Twitter, developers are sharing how much they have to look up things. “Hi, my name is Sara. When I look at the Git history graph, I see a praying mantis.”

local history for master branch showing crazy graph

If you only want to see the changes that occurred on master (or whatever branch you are currently viewing the history for), you can click the Show First Parent Only button.

Show First Parent Only

Now you’ll only see commits that occurred directly on the branch itself (and not on another branch that got merged into the current branch).

Local History now a flat graph

Command Line git log –first-parent

Rinse and repeat for command line.

From yesterday’s tip, if you run git log –graph –pretty=oneline –graph –abbrev-commit

git log --graph --pretty=oneline --graph --abbrev-commit

You’ll see all of the commits from different branches.

Now add the –first-parent option at the end: git log –graph –pretty=oneline –graph –abbrev-commit –first-parent

git log --graph --pretty=oneline --graph --abbrev-commit --first-parent

Thanks again to http://marcgg.com/blog/2015/08/04/git-first-parent-log/ for the great description! As I said above, I just see a praying mantis. 🙂