Info on the upcoming July CTP


We’re still ironing out a few more wrinkles in preparation for the dogfood upgrade, but I wanted to go let folks know that it’s going to require two server machines to install.  With beta 2 we had a setup that would allow you to install it all on a single machine, which was great for getting a system set up for evaluation.  Unfortunately, I was told that the July CTP won’t be able to do that.  You’ll need separate machines for the application tier and data tier.  You can still install a client (VS 2005) on the application tier box.  You could also run the application tier in a virtual PC that runs on the machine with SQL server to reduce the physical machine requirements to one (if you use Virtual PC, make sure you give it enough memory).

The July CTP has a lot of good changes in it.  We’ve cleaned up the names across most everything.  The assembly names have been changed and no longer contain code names.  Likewise, the namespaces have been cleaned up.  Some of the executables, such h.exe, still need to be renamed.  Overall, you’ll find there’s been a lot of clean up.

Also in the July CTP we’ve tried to get in all of the protocol changes.  Some of those changes were name changes.  Others were significant overhauls of particular web methods.  Going forward, we want to minimize the protocol changes, partly because we’ll be using the live development client binaries with the dogfood server.  The code developers build on their machines will be what’s used to get work done, such as check out files and change work items.

Other changes are a little less noticeable.  We’ve cleaned up the database names and cleaned up the schemas.  We’ve updated the names of the web services.  Active Directory Application Mode (AD/AM) is gone, so backing up the server is little more than backing up the SQL Server databases.

As you might imagine, there have also been a lot of bugs fixed in the product over the four months or so since the code was frozen for beta 2.  Some of the bugs fixed have been reported in the Visual Studio Team Foundation MSDN forum.

After the cut for beta 2, there were a number of design change requests (DCR) that were approved and implemented.  These are effectively features that either needed to be added or improved significantly based on either customer feedback or our own use of the product.  For source control, these DCR’s included re-working the conflict resolution experience (resolve dialog), improved administration features, support for files larger than 4 GB, support for uncompressed files (e.g., files, such as JPEG files, that grow rather than shrink with GZip won’t be stored compressed), and a caching proxy server.

The caching proxy server was the biggest source control DCR and provides support for geographically distributed teams by caching the files that are downloaded from the server.  After the first request for a version of a file, all subsequent requests can be fulfilled locally using the local caching server.  The caching proxy stores each version of each file that is requested, and its ability to cache files is limited only by the amount of disk space that it is given.  This DCR was driven by customer feedback (when something comes up often enough, it gets addressed).  It also is something we’re looking forward to using with the new dogfood upgrade because we (the source control team) are in North Carolina.

Speaking of making things faster, the most important changes in the July CTP are the overall performance improvements.  We’ve made a lot of significant performance improvements across all of Team Foundation Server when compared to beta 2.  Work item tracking bulk updates are faster, as well as integration with Excel and Project.  The analysis and reporting services use less memory and run faster.  The warehouse code is more efficient (you hopefully shouldn’t need to change the warehouse interval any more).

One area that has improved greatly is the performance of the TFS source control integration in VS 2005.  We spent quite a bit of time making it faster by changing how and how often it calls the server, as well as tuning the server for some of the calls that it uses most often.  While we’re not completely done with performance improvements, I think you’ll find the difference to be significant and worth the time to upgrade if you are using beta 2.

On separate note, be sure to check out the slides from Doug Neumann’s presentation on TFS source control from TechEd 2005: DEV 466 Enterprise-Class Source Control.  Doug includes topics like promotion modeling and the aforementioned caching proxy server in his presentation.  He’s no longer the only source control PM, as Mario Rodriguez joined the team recently (he used to work on the XBOX team).

Comments (16)

  1. II's Musings says:

    Personally, i’m very excited about VSTS and all the new exciting things that will be a part of that….

  2. David says:

    Could you explain a bit why you droped AD/AM? It seems that it was designed precisely for a soluation like yours, so if it didn’t fit this might be a problem with the overall AD/AM architecture, right?

  3. Just started lunch and had a browse of blogs.msdn.com. Buck Hodges has posted interesting details of…

  4. Any news on when the first CTP or Beta will come out that has the recently-announced VS2003 compatibility layer in it?

    I desperately want to start testing this for our company because we are going to move to TF for source control as soon as we possibly can, but migrating our product to VS2005 will take a long time because of the (IMHO stupid) web project changes that are going to make us have to jump through hoops to do things that we rely heavily on today.

  5. Eric Jarvi – VSTS Tip: Assigned to @Me

    Eric discusses a special identifier called @me for use in your…

  6. Bruce Lee says:

    Sounds great!

  7. I was just reading with some interest some of the changes we are going to see in the July CTP release…

  8. Visual Studio Team System

    There’s a new Team System community site – TeamSystemRocks.com! ⊕

    Well,…

  9. buckh says:

    Stuart, I do not have information on when the VS2003 TF source control plugin will be available.

  10. cs says:

    Are we sill going to need a 2003 domain? It would be nice to be able to run it in 2000 mode.

  11. buckh says:

    Regarding domains, here’s the current story.

    At RTM Team Foundation will support W2K3 & W2K domains. In fact we are in the process of testing with W2K right now.

    So, while it might work for July CTP (some have said it does) we are looking to have this nailed down shortly.

  12. Buck Hodges says:

    Rob Caron just posted that the July CTP is making its way through MSDN now.  As Rob points…

  13. Buck Hodges says:

    Rob Caron just posted that the July CTP is making its way through MSDN now.  As Rob points…

  14. The July CTP is coming out soon and I got news of some of what will be included, as well as things that…

  15. The VSTS teams are dogfooding a new drop of Team Foundation to use on a daily basis. I’ve been writing…

  16. buckh says:

    Dave, we stopped using AD/AM in the product for two reasons. First is that backing up AD/AM is different than backing up SQL Server databases. Since all of the rest of our data lives in SQL Server, that meant our customers had to manage backup and restore for yet something else. Second is that it also gave users something else that needed to be managed. Again, using SQL for everything means less new stuff to manage.