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GitHub has adopted Microsoft’s tool for managing large-scale source code repositories, according to a joint announcement made as part of the latter’s Connect conference in New York today.

Over the course of the coming months, GitHub will add support for the Git Virtual File System (GVFS) project to its product, making it easier for developers to work with source code repositories that contain hundreds of thousands or millions of files.

GVFS came out of Microsoft’s move to put all of the Windows source code in a single centralized location using Git, an open source control system. The problem with using Git for such a large codebase is that it’s designed for smaller projects that developers can reasonably download in their totality, not for massive code bases like Windows.

What’s more, while the source code behind projects like Windows will contain millions of files, individual developers don’t need to have access to all of them. Typically, users will only need a subset of those total files, but maintaining a single Git repository provides advantages for overall workflow when it comes to dealing with a piece of software.


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GVFS is designed to fix that problem by letting developers pull down just the code that they need from a repository when they need it, without requiring them to download an entire code base with millions of files. GitHub’s support means that the project will have additional traction going forward and will also benefit the developer tool company, since it will be able to provide services for more enterprises with large source code bases.

GitHub isn’t the first developer tool company outside Microsoft to support GVFS. Atlassian added experimental support for the system to its BitBucket source control software earlier this year. Clients including Tower, SourceTree, and gmaster also support GVFS.

This news is part of a raft of features Microsoft announced today, such as tools aimed at making it easier to create AI systems, improvements to the developer workflow, and to the company’s Cosmos DB managed database service.

Update 10:15 Pacific: This story has been updated to include mention of other companies supporting GVFS.

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