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Beginning Visual Studio Team System development

With Visual Studio Team System, Microsoft brings collaboration into the SDLC. This tip will help you get the most out of the product's planning, management and testing features.

One of the biggest additions to Visual Studio 2005 was the introduction of Visual Studio 2005 Team System, or VSTS. This product -- now available in editions for developers, architects, software testers and database programmers -- emphasizes collaboration throughout the software development life cycle. Each development project gets its own server where team members post workflows, check in code and view test results.

This tip aims to offer a quick overview of Visual Studio Team System and point readers to a few key resources. For a more comprehensive list of tips, tutorials and downloads, head over to our Visual Studio 2005 Team System Learning Guide.

The first step, of course, is to determine the scope of your project. This process is actually similar to journalism, as you likely will ask the "W" questions -- who will work on the project, what will they do, when must their work be finished, and so on. To ease this process, Microsoft has created a document called Visual Studio Team System: Planning a Team Project. This document addresses exactly what its name implies, with several flow charts to point the way. 

Once your project has been mapped, the next step is to plan the various processes that are part of each project. In VSTS, these processes are defined in a process template, in which users define process characteristics such as work item types, report types and security settings. The Visual Studio Team System Process Planning Guide, available on Microsoft's VSTS blog, offers an excellent overview of working with process templates.

Amid the planning and templating processes, you (and your team, of course) should consider where to host, manage and administrate everything associated with your VSTS project. While VSTS projects can be hosted in any SCCI-compliant provider, the recommended host is Team Foundation Server.

Two different Microsoft "Quick Start pages" aim to help you get TFS up and running -- Installation and Administration of Team Foundation Server and Configuration and Management of Team Foundation Server. In addition, the company's developers maintain a TFS Migration blog, which has covered migration tools, label synchronization and Visual SourceSafe conversions.


More on Visual Studio Team System

Reference: VSTS Learning Guide

Tip: Hints for testing with VSTS

News: VSTS now addresses database programming

Excerpts from "Professional Visual Studio 2005 Team System" -- Chapter 8: Managing Code Analysis | Chapter 14: Unit Testing

Visual Studio Team System Add-ins: Conchango Scrum for Team System and Scrum Dashboard 

Another important consideration is security, especially if a project is connected to multiple databases. Team Edition for Database Professionals, released in December 2006, offers random data generators, so no real customer data is used at all during the development process. However, numerous other safeguards should be considered. Guidance in this regard can be found in the technical article,  A Security Overview of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Database Professionals.

Finally, as is clear by now, one objective of Visual Studio Team System is to bring all the tools of the SDLC under one large umbrella. One tool many developers are used to using is Visual SourceSafe, for source code management. To accommodate these developers, Microsoft has created a tutorial, Migrating from Visual SourceSafe, which walks developers through the process of migrating source control.

Looking at the big picture

As we have seen, there is much to consider before deploying Visual Studio Team System and Team Foundation Server. (On the plus side, issues such as those discussed above are, or should be, considered for any development project.) For a better sense of how it all comes together, check out the following resources:

Dig Deeper on Team development with Visual Studio Team System

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