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January 18, 2006

Who will *really* support Team System?

Posted 4345 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 4345 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?

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