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Two practical opinions of Microsoft Team System

Some practical opinions from an early adopter and a potential customer.

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EDS has been testing Team System since its early betas, and now has three live projects on the system. What does it like? “The integration aspect, the fact that there’s less context-switching between applications is very important. The extensibility is very important, either through third-parties or by doing our own stuff. Customizability of the process is important – nobody’s actually using MSF out of the box. The invisible metrics gathering is huge. Unbeknownst to the developer, metrics are gathered, and then reports magically appear,” says Chief Technologist Aaron Kowall. “We believe that it will improve our productivity when developing .NET applications,” adds lead technologist Etienne Tremblay.

EDS has also run into limitations. It has to use other tools for UML modelling and requirements analysis, addressed by a licensing deal with Borland for its tools, which Borland promises will, in future, integrate well with Team System. Other frustrations include policy management and the inability to move projects between multiple Team Foundation Servers. These last problems are likely to be resolved in future updates.

Independent contractor Sean Hederman has a contrasting view. “I'm an independent contractor, who would dearly love to have Team System, but simply cannot afford it. What I do note is that many of the "features" such as reliable source control that Visual Studio developers have been begging for since VB5 days are only available in this system.

“There are many components in it that I feel are very useful indeed, even for non-Enterprise projects. The built-in testing and profiling are big advantages, as is the whole SDM [System Definition Model] concept. Throw in software development lifecycle control and issue tracking and integration and you have a really nice product. Unfortunately most of that is stuff that should have been in VS Pro 5 years ago. My attitude so far is that I'll just use things like NUnit, SubVersion, and Red Ant Profiler to close up the gaps.” [Comment first posted here].

This article is linked to Tim Anderson's Microsoft Team System review. Return to Page 1 of the main article here - otherwise use "back" button.

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