TFS and Merging Between Branches

I’ve found that when using TFS and merging between branches it can be very difficult especially with there are concurrent changesets that are being merged in. So far it’s been rough using TFS and version control. Five things that I would recommend that will make things easier:

  1. Pull latest on source branch and target branch. About 80% of issues are from not getting latest on both the source and the target branches. Tons of issues can be avoided if you remember to get latest before commencing any merge.
  2. Use Beyond Compare or WinMerge as your merge and compare tools. Beyond Compare is free as a 30 day trial and then you have to purcahse it to use the features with Visual Studio 2017. The default compare and merge tools that comes with Visual Studio 2017 are not very reliable and when merging it may include things by automerge that should not be included with the merge. For steps on how to setup beyond compare with Visual studio: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/4466238/how-to-configure-visual-studio-to-use-beyond-compare
  3. Compare with previous version in Visual Studio to see the changes that have occurred since you last merged. If you choose Compare with workspace or Compare with latest version you may think some things are okay when they may not be.
  4. Once you’re done merging build the solution with the merged changes to make sure everything is working.
  5. Run the merged solution locally to ensure everything is still working fine. Have a checklist of items that need to be tested when doing a smoke test so that you can have a consistent approach to testing everything after each merge.

Nathan Yeung is a mid-level software developer at Xome. He is married to Kris and a dad of 4 amazing kids. He has a deep interest in web development and mobile hybrid application development. When he is not programming, he enjoys reading, cooking and trying out new recipes.

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