What’s new in the TFS Release Candidate?


Since posting about the upcoming TFS Release Candidate, I’ve received numerous requests to describe the changes since Beta3. While I can’t possibly remember or report everything that’s changed, I have been able to pull together a reasonable summary of the biggest changes:


 


Bug fixes: Oh my goodness…we’ve found and fixed a ton of bugs.  This release is substantially more reliable, stable and performant than Beta3.  If for no other reason than this, you should plan to upgrade to the RC.


 


Friendly name support for Work Items: We heard from many customers that using network account names to assign work items was problematic for their company since many IT departments assign people cryptic combinations of numbers and letters making it difficult to assign work items to coworkers (“Who’s GFT546?”).  So, we made a switch to use the Active Directory ‘friendly name’ instead which seems to work much better.


 


Improved SharePoint configuration during install: our #1 issue during installation is ensuring that SharePoint is correctly configured for proper use by TFS.  To improve this situation, we have altered the way we interface with the SharePoint installation and admin tools…instead of calling the command line tools to do the work, we utilize the SharePoint object model which gives us a finer grain level of control and feedback.  We’ve taken the most common reported installation issues around SharePoint and used them as test cases to ensure that the experience installing RC will be much better.


 


Improved error detection within Setup: while I’m talking about install, I should also mention that we’ve kept track of the other issues that customers encounter during setup and have, wherever possible, put checks into our system health checks to detect for the most common pitfalls.  Installing on a Domain Controller is now completely blocked because of the security and configuration challenges that configuration has presented to our early adopters (install in a workgroup configuration instead).


 


Workgroup / Trial editions: We introduced code to allow us, based on the product ID that’s entered during installation, to throttle the capabilities of TFS.  This allows us to provide Workgroup (5 users only) or Trial (180 days only) editions of our product.  The RC will use the Trial edition key so it’ll run for only 180 days. 


 


Move SQL Reporting Services to the Application Tier: Because Reporting Services requires IIS to be present and many companies do not allow IIS and SQL to run on the same server, we moved Reporting Services off the data tier in dual server deployments (no change for single server installs).  


 


Upgrade utility: We’ve done a lot of work on our upgrade scripts to allow migration of data from Beta3 refresh to both the Release Candidate and the final build of TFS.  These scripts will also help migrate your data from the RC to the final bits to allow customers to “go live” with this release.  We have detailed specs on these tools on the Team Foundation blog.


 


Reports: The improvements to the reporting system are too many to summarize here…just know that we’ve done a lot of work in this area and if you’re a consumer of the TFS data warehouse, you’re going to like the changes we’ve made with the release candidate.


 


Admin tools: Same goes for our admin tools.  While I wouldn’t claim that we’ve got state of the art admin tools, we’ve put a lot of work into these recently and as such are now able to provide better user management as well as server migrations (moving between servers, changing from single -> dual server, from workgroup -> domain, etc).  


 


Portal: We’ve reduced the number of reports on the main page and cleaned up the overall look of the default portal.


 


CMMI Methodology: we’ve done a bunch of work to bring the CMMI process template up to shipping quality by fixing bugs in the work item templates and reports.  We think they’re now ready for prime time. 


 


Whew…I’m sure I forgot a few key changes since Beta3 (and I’m equally sure I’ll hear about them from the respective teams) but I think this list gives you an overall impression of the sorts of things we’ve been doing since October when we shipped Beta3.  I’m really excited to get these changes out to you and hear how they work for you.


 


jeff


Comments (36)

  1. KenEubangus says:

    Thank you for the update.

    Still on track for "very early February"?

  2. jeffbe says:

    Ken –

    We have a number of mini-milestones leading up to our RC release. We successfully met last Friday’s milestone. Our next critical event is this coming Friday when we take the last build before entering into our final test pass for this release. Keep your fingers crossed.

    jeff

  3. DuncanS says:

    "Move SQL Reporting Services to the Application Tier" — aren’t there licensing issues here? Doesn’t the Rpt Svcs licence say that you have to install it on the same box as SQL, or else you have to pay for a new SQL license?

  4. jeffbe says:

    Duncan –

    Customers interested in deploying TFS in a dual server installation will need two separate licenses of TFS one for the Application Tier and one for the Data Tier. With each license of TFS comes a restricted use license for SQL Standard so customers will be licensed to install Reporting Services on the Application Tier machine.

    You can read more about the licensing of TFS here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=1fa86e00-f0a3-4290-9da9-6e0378a3a3c5&DisplayLang=en

  5. jeffbe says:

    Lars –

    I’ve followed up with Dan on the "thrusted domains" issue and he’s confirmed it’s been fixed in the upcoming Release Candidate.

  6. JimLamb says:

    Any idea when we’ll have a new VPC image with the RC bits?

  7. KenEubangus says:

    Jeff,

    Not that you should be concerned with my personal tribulations, but I’m tasked with setting a machine with TFS (specifically to evaluate its source control aspect versus Perforce) and I’d delay it if you expect the RC bits to drop by mid/late next week. I figure it would save me having to upgrade it from Beta3 and I’d have the "better setup experience" that has been touted for the RC. Might you have any indication for us in this regard? I won’t hold you to it.

    Good luck on your Friday milestone.

  8. jeffbe says:

    Ken –

    We’re working like crazy at the moment to put the finishing touches on our RC build but if you need bits by the middle of next week, you’ll need to go with the Beta3 refresh build of TFS.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  9. jeffbe says:

    Jim –

    Sorry for the delay in responding about the VPC images. I’ve followed up with the person responsible for these releases and she informed me that we should have a TFS RC VPC available by mid to late February.

  10. Bernd says:

    Jeff,

    From what I understood by the part about installation, is it true that TFS will no longer be able to be installed on a domain controller? While the instructions were a little fuzzy on this in the Beta 3, it does work.

  11. Jamie says:

    Jeff-

    I am wondering if your team will be providing a Reporting Services report model (to be used by the Report Builder)? Using the Beta 3 Refresh databasees, I’ve been able to create a few basic models. But it would be nice to have a report model provided to us by people who actually understand the entire data model.

    One of my main selling points for TFS to management is reportability. I would like to demo the Report Builder with some useful information.

    Thanks for your time,

    jamie

  12. jeffbe says:

    Bernd –

    As I mention above, we now block users from installing TFS on a domain controller. It’s not recommended to install SQL on a DC and numerous problems (security and configuration related) that prompted us to disallow this topology altogether. We recommend using a workgroup configuration instead.

  13. jeffbe says:

    Jamie –

    I’ve spoken to one of the people responsible for TFS reporting and he confirmed that he’ll be blogging (most likely on the TFS blog) with information about the RS report model soon after the RC is released. Watch for that post and let us know if you find the report model useful.

  14. Simen says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Currently you are only allowed to export work items to Excel from one team project. Is this changed in the RC ?

    We’re using TFS and has splitted the implementation åproject into 3 different Team projects, and have a need for export workitems from different team projects at once.

    1. Is a ‘Project’ project which contains all documents and workitems related to the project we’re running. e.g. everything that has a timeline and dies together with the project

    2. A ‘Source’ project. The actual codebase together with ‘Bug’ workitems

    3. ‘SysDoc’ project. All documents and requirement workitems related to the system and that will live together with the system after the project is finished.

    Regards,

    Simen

  15. ThomasI says:

    Jeff,

    I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed since your post on January 23rd, so: Can you give a brief update on the status of the RC? Are you still on track for very early February?

    We need to start doing a bunch of tests very soon, so I need to decide whether to use Beta3 refresh or wait for the RC.

    Regards,

    Thomas

  16. jeffbe says:

    Thomas –

    Watch this space…I should have some news for you in a few hours.

  17. Según Jeff Beehler’s en este post este próximo martes 7 de febrero ya tendremos disponible en el sitio…

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    The Team Foundation RC should be available for download sometime today, and Jeff Beehler provided a high-level…

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  25. Rykie says:

    Any idea when we will have the RTM available?

  26. jeffbe says:

    Soma announced a couple weeks back (http://blogs.msdn.com/somasegar/archive/2006/01/30/518987.aspx) that the final build of TFS would be available in March.  We’re still tracking to that schedule.

  27. Christohper Conner says:

    While I am GLAD that the reporting services component is moved to the application tier, the way the MS licensing reads for SQL SERVER is that to install reporting services on a separate server than SQL Server requires ANOTHER SQL SERVER license. It is not clear from reading the licensing documentation in SQL Server that I can run reporting services component on a separate server without buying another SQL SERVER license. Can you clarify this for us? Thanks!

  28. Jamie says:

    I’m not sure if this is the appropriate forum for my question, but I was wondering if it is possible to somehow merge two different installations of TFS into one?

    We currently have two different TFS systems (call them A and B), and I would like to move the Team Projects from A into system B, while maintaining all of the Team Projects in B.

    I could accept having to (re)upload Work Item Types, Work Item Queries, documents, reports, etc. But what I would need for the system or some tool to do is migrate all of the work items and source code. That way I can keep all the work item and source code history, along with work item links and attachments.

    I suppose I could muck with the SQL data and figure something out, but that approach usually ends badly in my experience.

    Maybe an approach would be to restore the databases from A onto the SQL Server under B (using different database names, of course), and then run a bunch of Microsoft sanctioned cross-database insert statements or something.

    I’d also be open to opening a support incident if need be.

    Any help or advice would be GREATLY appreciated,

    Jamie

  29. Toypaper says:

    Finally installed VST2005. These is what I learned.

    1. Don’t waste time trying to run on a box that already is configured with SharePoint or IIS other than Default Website.

    Just start from scratch. I even tried to configure an empty website

    and called it Default Website and it did not like it.

    2. Single install has issues after installation since Reporting Services came up with identity setting error. Got thru it.

    3. VST2005 setup needs everything to be in default configuration for it to work. Follow installation to doc to the T and even still had small problems but workable. Test / Verify all installs every step.

    4. Did it done it and running it.

    5. I still am missing Build server setup.

  30. Simon says:

    HAs any one had any luck in getting TFS the release version installed on a server with sharepoint portal server 2003 on it… if so can any one point me to the instructions as i’m running out of ideas

  31. Jeff Beehler says:

    Running with Sharepoint Portal Server is an unsupported configuration for Team Foundation.  We suppose Windows Sharepoint Services instead.  

  32. Clark Sell says:

    Check out this post from Jeff Beehler for all the details.

  33. Dans quelques jours, nous allons rendre disponible une nouvelle version importante de Team Foundation

  34. ... says:

    Grand emplacement! La conception est merveilleuse!