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January 18, 2006

Who will *really* support Team System?

Posted 3449 days ago on January 18, 2006

I've been working with Microsoft's Team System and on the whole enjoying it, despite installation hassles. I've also been scouting around for third parties with interesting Team System add-ons or products that integrate with it nicely. So far, I'm surprised by how little I've found. Even vendors like Serena and Seapine, who have announced their support for Team System here and here, seem to be keeping very quiet about their plans. One user who asked Serena about support for its ChangeMan Dimension 9.1 in Visual Studio 2005 was told that "even though this is scheduled for Dimensions 10, it is not guaranteed that it will make it into the initial release". Note that even this is not really Team System support, but simply compatibility with the Visual Studio 2005 IDE.

The problem for the vendors is that implementing true Team System integration is far from trivial. In order to work properly with the system, application lifecycle products need at least to integrate with Team System work items, the basic unit of activity in Microsoft's design. Established products like ChangeMan have their own infrastructure and it may not be practical or affordable to re-work them for a new and as yet unproven environment.

Should Team System fail, vendors will be glad that they held back. However I doubt it will fail. I suspect it will grab considerable market share among Enterprise developers using Microsoft's platform, the very same sector which forms the market for application lifecycle tools. With many of the traditional vendors seemingly reluctant to get on board, that implies a good opportunity for the few that do come out with compelling extensions.

Re: Who will *really* support Team System?

Posted 3449 days ago by DuncanS • • • Reply

We're going to stick with Subversion for the forseeable future. Team System just seems so bloated and inelegantly implemented in comparison. Sure it does have a few more features and nice integration with VS, but having poor "disconnected" support is one key showstopper.

Re: Who will *really* support Team System?

Posted 3449 days ago by Clyde Davies • • • Reply

Where I work we use StarTeam. It meets about 90% of the requirements of a configuration management system: it's easy to use, robust, reliable, has built in change management and task handling functionality and performs well across a WAN.

I get the impression that Team System is this grotesque chimera of a number of other Microsoft technologies, such as SharePoint, SQL Server, etc. It sounds like it will take a LOT of application deployment skill to get a server up and running reliably. StarTeam runs out of the box almost immediately. It's a fairly safe bet that most people will buy such a product for two purposes: centralised source code control and change management. If Microsoft were to focus on these areas it would have a sure fire winner on its hands. As for TS, it reminds me of another misguided MS repackaging initiative: remember DNA, anybody?

Re: Who will *really* support Team System?

Posted 3005 days ago by Jeff • • • Reply

Yeah, I've been messing around with VSTS, and I definitely think it's extremely nice for medium - large teams. It allows integration of all aspects of software development amongst all of the people involved, not just developers. It's definitely a piece of work. I have a copy of it installed, and it is very easy to get up and running. The only thing that isn't nice is the price, but I can understand MSFT wanting some $ for a great product. It's definitely overkill for a small shop.
I also really hope to see a lot of integration add-ons for Team Foundation Server. The server is really the meat and potatoes of the product, and the fact that project managers integrate with it via MS Project is very nice. I'm personally hoping that a Dreamweaver add-on will be made because we do both .NET and ColdFusion development, and I want to be able to use Team Foundation Server for non-MSFT projects as well otherwise it's moot.

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