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Microsoft's Team Foundation Server due in March

Team Foundation Server will see one more beta before its general release at the end of March, Soma Somasegar said at the first day of VSLive in San Francisco. The server is the core of Visual Studio 2005 Team System and will address the needs of the extended software development team, Somasegar said.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Microsoft Visual Studio development team is expected by the end of this week to sign-off on the long-awaited Team Foundation Server, which will then see another beta before its anticipated formal release at the end of March, according to Soma Somasegar, corporate vice president for the company's Developer Division. Somasegar, speaking at the VSLive 2006 developer conference in San Francisco, said Visual Studio 2005 Team System, with Team Foundation Server at its core, will address the needs of the extended software development team.

The Microsoft offering, which will compete with IBM Rational and other software development life cycle products already in the market, will bring a more light-weight development process to market, according to Somasegar.

Historically, we focused on the independent developer. We wanted to make such developers highly productive Visual Studio 2005 is no different.
S. "Soma" Somesegar
corporate vice president, developer divisionMicrosoft
Such a process, he suggested, will prove more acceptable to developers who have often felt constrained by corporate software process mandates in the past.

"To me, there are a couple of unique things we bring to the table," Somasegar told SearchVB.com. "If you think about process, it's a dirty word for developers. But the development team manager says, 'We need to have a process'."

"But the processes out there, I think, are too heavy weight," said Somasegar. Processes to be effective should be more light weight, he indicated.

"The developer should not even know such processes exist," said Somasegar. "They should be baked into the tools."

Out of the box, Visual Studio 2005 Team System supports Agile and CMM (Capability Maturity Model) methods. Providing development managers with better visibility into project status is one of the goals of the Team System package.

This product marks a new strategy for Microsoft, and the fact that the Visual Studio server offering did not ship with the larger Visual Studio package last November has been an area of concern, at least among third-party vendors looking to hook into the Team System. Among software vendors now prepared to release "Team System-ready" products is Compuware, which yesterday disclosed its DevPartner SecurityChecker 2.0 offering.

"Historically, we focused on the independent developer. We wanted to make such developers highly productive," said Microsoft's Somasegar. "Visual Studio 2005 is no different."

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"But, we said with [Team System] we'd expand the focus from the individual developer to the broad development team -- including the architect, the tester and the project manager -- integrated in a way that they can collaborate together and be highly productive," said Somasegar.

The soon-to-be-available Team Foundation Server is important to this, because it provides a single integrated store on the back end, generating reports on any part of a project at any time. Also within this server is a Microsoft-brewed source control system, issue tracing system and project management system.

Overall, Somasegar described last year as a foundational year for Microsoft tools. As a result, despite emphasis on the roll out of the full new Visual Studio suite, there is no lack of new tools in the pipeline for this year and next. He pointed to Cider, Atlas, Microsoft Expression and new application customization technology with VSTA as point tools that will be tried by the developer community over the course of this year.

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