Inside TFS

Year in Review: Visual Studio TFS and ALM

Mickey Gousset looks back at 2010 and some of the many developments around Team Foundation Server and application lifecycle management.

I thought I would take a moment with this column and look back at 2010 through the lens of Visual Studio 2010, Team Foundation Server (TFS) 2010, and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM )in general. There was a lot of movement on all those fronts, with new products and guidance released, as well as a strong uptake in Scrum.

Some of the biggest news for readers of this column was, of course, the shipping of Visual Studio 2010, Team Foundation Server 2010, and the .NET Framework 4. Both Visual Studio 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010 shipped with multiple new features, including the much asked for hierarchical work items. On a sad note, the "Team System" name branding was dropped in an effort to simplify the multiple products in the platform.

One of the new features in TFS that many people were looking forward to, Visual Studio 2010 Lab Management (which I covered here), did NOT ship with the rest of the products. Instead, it was in a "release candidate" stage when TFS 2010 was released. However, later in the year, it was released as a full product, and has started to find wide acceptance.

Distributed version control systems have become very popular, especially with remote teams. Codeplex, the open source project community that runs on Team Foundation Server 2010, announced support for Mercurial, allowing for projects to use it as their distributed version control system. And it was hinted at that distributed version control may be added to TFS sometime in the future.

The Visual Studio ALM Rangers released an incredible amount of guidance in 2010. Some of their hits include:

  • Visual Studio 2010 Quick Reference Guide
  • Visual Studio 2010 Team Foundation Server Upgrade Guide
  • Visual Studio 2010 Team Foundation Server Branching Guide
  • Visual Studio 2010 Team Foundation Server Requirements Management Guide
  • Visual Studio 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010 VM Factory Guide
  • This guidance continued to be updated and added to throughout the year.

Integrating security into the development lifecycle was also important in 2010. The Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) team released process templates for both TFS 2008 and TFS 2010, allowing users to integrate SDL best practices into their Agile development processes.

Microsoft released a new version of Team Explorer named Team Explorer Everywhere. This product, based off the acquired Teamprise product, allows developers to work in non-Microsoft environments, while still taking advantage of all the features in Team Foundation Server 2010, including work item tracking, version control and build automation.

With the big investment Microsoft has made in cloud computing and Windows Azure, it is no surprise that TFS is also being moved into the cloud. Brian Harry teased at this concept during the launch of TFS 2010, and showed off the partially finished product at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference later that year (read PDC keynote coverage here). At this point, it is not a question of if, but when, TFS will be available with Windows Azure.

The Team Foundation Server team was also very active in their Power Tools area, which provides extra functionality for Team Foundation Server users. They released an update shortly after the release of TFS 2010, with a second update in September of 2010. Microsoft also introduced the concept of Visual Studio 2010 Feature Packs. These feature packs extend Visual Studio 2010 with capabilities that enhance and complement the existing tools in Visual Studio 2010. However, these feature packs were only available to users with an MSDN subscription.

Another big area that 2010 will be remembered for is the year that Scrum seemed to hit critical mass. An Agile development process used by many companies over the years, in 2010 Microsoft finally released their official Scrum 1.0 process template for Team Foundation Server 2010, as well as helped develop the Professional Scrum Developer Program, which offers a training course that guides teams on how to use Scrum, Visual Studio 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010. Urban Turtle, a third-party tool, was also released, which interacts with the TFS 2010 Scrum process template, adding some nice additional functionality to Team Web Access. I covered the Scrum 1.0 Process Template back in July.

Finally, Microsoft showed both its commitment and its passion around ALM with its first ALM Summit. The idea behind the summit was to provide a forum for ALM practitioners to gain deeper insight into ALM, best practices to address development challenges, and gain in-depth knowledge of Microsoft's ALM solutions. All the sessions from the summit are available at the ALM Summit Web site.

With all the new releases of products, new process templates, new conferences, and new guidance coming out in 2010, it is easy to see how it was a bumper year for both Team Foundation Server 2010 and ALM practices in general. As far as what looms in 2011, we know that Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010 should be coming out. Other than that, it is anyone's guess. I can't wait to see what 2011 brings.

About the Author

Mickey Gousset spends his days as a principal consultant for Infront Consulting Group. Gousset is lead author of "Professional Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio 2012" (Wrox, 2012) and frequents the speaker circuit singing the praises of ALM and DevOps. He also blogs at ALM Rocks!. Gousset is one of the original Team System/ALM MVPs and has held the award since 2005.

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