Team Foundation Server evaluation version available for trial

TORONTO – A month after Microsoft Corp. made parts of its workflow collaboration engine for Visual Studio 2005 available to developers, Microsoft Canada announced the availability of an evaluation version of Team Foundation Server to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers.

The Evaluation Version is valid for 180 days and supports workgroups of five or more. A workgroup version for five users has been available for download since March 17. Microsoft said the Standard Edition of Team Foundation Server will be available to customers on May 1 and costs approximately $7,000, depending on the customer’s volume licensing agreement with Microsoft.

A reporting tool for Bill 198
Team Foundation Server is a development tool that allows IT and business executives to collaborate on application development throughout the entire software lifecycle. The tool also features a reporting and auditing tool called the Software Engineering Institute’s Capability Maturity Model (CMMI) that allows users to collect information for reports required by industry regulations such as Bill 198 in Canada.

Microsoft Canada made the announcement to developers attending its annual Visual Studio Developer Conference in Toronto last month. Jeff Zado, senior product manager of development tools at Microsoft Canada, said businesses want a seamless integrated portfolio of applications. “This puts a burden on developers to integrate applications seamlessly,” said Zado, adding that Microsoft BizTalk server can help them do that by automating manual processes.

David Wu, application design analyst at government research granting body Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), said Team Foundation Server helps improve communications between business executives and IT managers.

“We don’t speak the same language,” said Wu, who has been involved with the implementation of a Web site that allows NSERC to track its grants to universities.

NSERC enlisted the help of Toronto-based consulting firm ObjectSharp three years ago to help it design and implement the site. The site was originally developed using Visual Studio 2003 but was later migrated onto Visual Studio 2005.

Barry Gervin, principal consultant at ObjectSharp, said Team Foundation Server offers customers a more affordable alternative to link the suite of Microsoft applications such as SQL Server Database, SharePoint and Visual Studio.

“Microsoft brings applications together as one package,” said Gervin. “Licensing for a developer could range between $25,000 to $50,000.”

NSERC’s Wu said before using Team Foundation Server, he didn’t know how many lines of code his development team had written.

“I can now tell how much code they are writing out,” said Wu. “I can crank out 50 tasks and know how long it took to write them.”

The software also allows him to test the code and send a report to his manager in PDF format, he said.

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