HOWTO: Get the Git Branches in the Team Explorer of Visual Studio from a package

Author: Carlos J. Quintero (Microsoft MVP) Applies to: Microsoft Visual Studio 2013
Date: April 2015   Microsoft Visual Studio 2015

The Team Explorer of Visual Studio 2012 and higher is composed of pages (such as Home, My Work, Pending Changes, Work Items, Builds, etc.) and in turn each page is composed of sections. For example, the Git Branches page is composed of the Private Bracnhes and Published Branches sections. While an extension (such as a package) could interact directly as a client with some TFS server or Git Repository, in some cases your extension may be interested in the information of the different pages and sections of the Team Explorer client, for example to provide new pages, new sections inside an existing page, new menu entries in the context menus of the Team Explorer, etc.

More Information

The following package creates a menu command that, when clicked, shows the information about the Git Branches page. The required assemblies are the following:

  • Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Controls.dll (in folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio <version>\Common7\IDE\ReferenceAssemblies\v4.5\)
  • Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Git.Controls.dll (in folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio <version>\Common7\IDE\ReferenceAssemblies\v4.5\)
Language: C#   Copy Code Copy Code (IE only)
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Runtime.InteropServices;
using System.ComponentModel.Design;
using Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell;

namespace Company.VSPackageTeamExplorer
   [PackageRegistration(UseManagedResourcesOnly = true)]
   [InstalledProductRegistration("#110", "#112", "1.0", IconResourceID = 400)]
   [ProvideMenuResource("Menus.ctmenu", 1)]
   public sealed partial class VSPackageTeamExplorerPackage : Package
      public VSPackageTeamExplorerPackage()

      protected override void Initialize()

         // Add our command handlers for menu (commands must exist in the .vsct file)
         OleMenuCommandService mcs = GetService(typeof(IMenuCommandService)) as OleMenuCommandService;
         if (null != mcs)
            // Create the command for the menu item.
            CommandID menuCommandID = new CommandID(GuidList.guidVSPackageTeamExplorerCmdSet, (int)PkgCmdIDList.cmdidTeamExplorerInfo);
            MenuCommand menuItem = new MenuCommand(MenuItemCallback, menuCommandID);

      private void MenuItemCallback(object sender, EventArgs e)
         Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Controls.ITeamExplorer teamExplorer;

         teamExplorer = base.GetService(typeof(Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Controls.ITeamExplorer))
            as Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Controls.ITeamExplorer;

         ShowGitBranchesPageInformation(teamExplorer, Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Controls.TeamExplorerPageIds.GitBranches);

      private void ShowGitBranchesPageInformation(Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Controls.ITeamExplorer teamExplorer, string pageGuid)
         Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Controls.ITeamExplorerPage teamExplorerPage;
         Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Git.Controls.Extensibility.IBranchesExt branchesExt;

         teamExplorerPage = teamExplorer.NavigateToPage(new Guid(pageGuid), null);

         branchesExt = teamExplorerPage.GetExtensibilityService(
            as Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Git.Controls.Extensibility.IBranchesExt;

         if (branchesExt != null)
            ShowBranch("CurrentBranch", branchesExt.CurrentBranch);

            ShowBranches("Branches", branchesExt.Branches);

            ShowBranches("PrivateBranches", branchesExt.PrivateBranches);

            ShowBranches("PublishedBranches", branchesExt.PublishedBranches);

            ShowBranches("SelectedPrivateBranches", branchesExt.SelectedPrivateBranches);

            ShowBranches("SelectedPublishedBranches", branchesExt.SelectedPublishedBranches);

      private void ShowBranches(string description, IReadOnlyList<string> branches)
         foreach (string branch in branches)
            ShowBranch(description, branch);

      private void ShowBranch(string description, string branch)
         System.Text.StringBuilder stringBuilder = new System.Text.StringBuilder();

         stringBuilder.AppendLine(description + ":");

         stringBuilder.AppendLine("Branch: " + branch);



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