Microsoft is launching Team Foundation Server in mid-March while asking users what they want in the next version of the overall toolset.
As the company has already indicated, Microsoft will be releasing the TFS (Team Foundation Server) module of its VSTS (Visual Studio 2005 Team System) later this month, but it is already looking ahead to the next version of Microsofts ALM (application lifecycle management) toolset.
Rob Caron, an architect for Visual Studio 2005 Team System, said Microsoft will launch TFS at SD West (Software Development Conference & Expo West) 2006.
In a blog post dated March 1, Caron said: "Hooray for March! It feels great to finally say, Team Foundation Server is shipping this month. In a couple of weeks at SD West in Santa Clara, were launching Team Foundation Server with a keynote from Rick LaPlante, general manager of Visual Studio 2005 Team System at Microsoft, and a series of technical sessions from Microsoft employees Kevin Kelly, Dennis Minium, Sam Guckenheimer, and Randy Miller."
LaPlantes keynote is scheduled for March 16. Yet, although Microsoft will launch TFS on the 16th, it will not necessarily ship on that date, Microsoft officials said.
The description in the SD West online brochure said: "Together with Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite, it [TFS] offers software development organizations of all sizes the best in collaboration, modeling, testing and development capabilities."
Meanwhile, Brian Harry, another member of the Microsoft development team, said the team is looking for input on what should be in the next version of VSTS.
"What are your dreams for Team System?" Harry asked in a blog post. "In V1 our core value proposition was integration," Harry said. "We set out to build, from the ground up, a set of lifecycle tools that are well integratedthus enabling people from many different roles to work together and have access to a broad array of information that is indexed and correlated to allow better communication among the team and management and more predictability for the schedule."
In addition, Caron said that Microsoft is pushing TFS to help customers improve enterprise project management. Customers who are comfortable with tracking all of their project data in Microsoft Project can still do so, he said.
However, VSTS, specifically, Team Foundation Server, gives customers the additional choice to synchronize the following with a Microsoft Project plan: Work item fields, areas and milestones, and users and groups.
A typical scenario would start with project managers using Microsoft Project to create their project plans," Caron said. "The project manager then publishes their entire project plan, or just aspects of it, into Team Foundation Server. Development team members see this data as work items, which they can view and edit inside of Visual Studio."
Microsoft is more tightly integrating its Project Server and Visual Studio Team System to deliver even greater benefits of central planning, Caron said.
"This integration leverages two key areas of strength for Microsoft to deliver a better solution for customers in software development.
Microsoft releases new Visual Studio 2005 SDK preview. Click here to read more.
Later this year, well update the [Visual Studio Team System] Connector to work with the RTM [release to manufacturing] release of Team Foundation Server," he said.
"Looking further into the future, we plan to formalize and increase the level of integration between Project Server and Team Foundation Server to maximize their potential."
Meanwhile, the TFS group has been using the Visual Studio Team System load testing suite, codenamed Ocracoke. The process of using the companys own technology is known as eating ones own dog food or dogfooding.
Ed Glas, group manager for the load testing features in Team System, said in a blog post: "Inside Microsoft, our product is known as Ocracoke. Ocracoke includes Web tests, unit tests (when used in a load test) and load tests, as well as the rig functionality (controller and agents)."
According to Glas, the following is a partial list of the Microsoft teams that are dogfooding Ocracoke: SharePoint Team Server, Groove/Open Office, MS CRM, Axapta, VSTS Team Foundation Server, SQL Reporting Server, MSN Fox Fantasy Football, MSN Hot Mail Front Door, MSN Virtual Earth, MSTV, Microsoft.com, Windows Update, Dr. Watson and the Microsoft IT organization.
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Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.