Microsoft Buy Adds Client Savvy to TFS

.NET tools acquisition adds Web-client savvy to Team Foundation Server.

Microsoft in late March purchased .NET tools company devBiz Business Solutions, a move made to fill an important gap in the company's access options for Team Foundation Server (TFS).

DevBiz makes TeamPlain Web Access, a Web interface for TFS that allows managing work items, documents, reports and source-control repositories.

"With this acquisition, we can now offer both Windows and Web clients for TFS, making it that much easier for users to participate in the development lifecycle," TFS Product Manager Brian Harry said in a statement at the time of the announcement.

Harry says a TFS Web client will help address the need for secondary players to gain access to dev-related items: "VSTS [or Visual Studio Team System] ... brings the power of Visual Studio to the entire development team ... However, there are countless other individuals who have indirect roles in the development cycle that don't necessarily require the full functionality of Visual Studio -- they just need access to one piece of it: Team Foundation Server."

Forrester Research Inc. analyst Carey Schwaber tells Redmond Developer News that buying devBiz was "a great move by Microsoft," noting that until now the company has left it up to third-party vendors to create additional clients. "It's done a great job encouraging and enabling these third parties, too. But there are some types of clients that are absolutely necessary, and a Web client ranks first and foremost among them," she notes. "I hope that this is just the first of several acquisitions Microsoft makes in this space. Next they should acquire a vendor that offers an Eclipse plug-in for Team Foundation Server."

TeamPlain Web Access is now available as a free download to all TFS customers. In making its announcement, Microsoft provided a partial roadmap of its intent for the acquisition.

TeamPlain Web Access will be re-released as Team System Web Access as part of Microsoft's Team Foundation Server Power Tools, the company said in a statement. The product will be integrated into a future version of Visual Studio Team System.
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