Deep Thoughts on Team Foundation


I’ve never been one to hang posters of synchronized dolphins jumping over inspirational quotes or deep thoughts on my wall but the assertion that “a whole can be greater than the sum of its parts” really does make me do a double-take every time I hear it. And more and more the second take finds me staring at a Team System splashscreen.

Visual Studio 2005 Team System is more than an IDE, issue tracking tool, or versioning solution. It is a force magnifier, a whole-greater-than-sum-of-parts system for professional developers. Using Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server together is like having a fast, grown up, LAN-based version of gotdotnet (workspaces, bug tracking, ...) built into Visual Studio. Every day that I have the privilege to play with and write about source control for Team Foundation, I find more and more to love. This thing is different, folks. Stay tuned or subscribe to my RSS feed for a post about Team Foundation security and version control permissions next week.

For more down to earth information about Team Foundation than you’ll find in this hyperbole-littered, Saturday evening blog post ;-), check out: video, blog, newsgroup, or whitepaper. Also take a look at my Team Foundation category.

Note    My editor, who does not blog, wants the world to know that she eschews “enlightening” email signatures and asks that you keep your deep thoughts and profound quotes to yourself. Me? I like *some* fluffy email signatures but that's a post for another day.

Comments (13)

  1. Don says:

    Any chance you are sufficiently excited to write a "step-by-step guide to installing and using VSTS with the Beta 1 Refresh"?

    I downloaded the bits but couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get the Team Foundation server running.

    I’m just a programmer, working at home. I’m not a database guy. There is no IT department. I’ve never configured Active Directory (I don’t really even know what it is). I just want to use VSTS.

    Walk me through installing VSTS, configuring the server, and checking in a Hello World project, and I will be FOREVER in your debt.

    thanks,

    -Don

    ps. I know I’m not alone in this feeling. I found quite a few blogs out there discussing how confusing (and/or unsuccesful) people found the process of installing VSTS-TFS.

  2. Hi Don,

    I’m thinking about creating a WikiTopic called something like VSTSBetaOneRefreshInstallationGuide on the "Burton Wiki", which is devoted to Team System. However, the burton wiki appears to be down right now. Upon creation, we (you, me, whoever) needs to seed the Wiki page with links to existing installation doc resources including helpful newsgroup posts, blog rants, MSFT whitepapers, the readme, and FAQs, as well as a brief description of any known issues that are not documented elsewhere.

    For future releases, like the November Community Technology Preview that’s due to be released by the end of the month, somebody can create a mirror WikiTopic.

    Existing resources include:

    1. The readme: http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/vs2005/teamsystem/readme.aspx (which excludes a recently discovered source control issue: for some odd reason, you must have installed VSS 2005, which ships on the VS2005 CDs, to be able to add items to source control).

    2. Installation walkthroughs on GotDotNet: http://workspaces.gotdotnet.com/vstsdocs.

    3. AskBurton Blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/askburton/category/5509.aspx

    4. Team Foundation Newsgroup: http://communities.microsoft.com/newsgroups/messageList.asp?ICP=whidbey&sLCID=US&NewsGroup=microsoft.private.whidbey.teamsystem.teamfoundation

    5. Me, directly. Just click "Contact" at the top left of my blog page.

    Honestly, I have NOT installed or configured VSTS in the absence of Active Directory (AD), which is what you need to do. And as far as I know, the documentation describing how to do so is thin. The reasons for this are probably twofold: 1. We’re doing other things (lame but true) and 2. AD on the Microsoft Corpnet is almost as hard to escape as air and rain in Redmond. The testers on my team have to go out of their way to avoid it, I’m pretty sure. IOW, If you want to install VSTS TODAY, it’s going to be easiest to install it on a network where AD exists. If you’re willing to wait for tomorrow (metaphorically speaking) and contribute to a resource that’ll help other users avoid the issues you have encountered, you’ll probably get a lot of personal attention.

  3. Jake says:

    http://www.despair.com/demotivators/teamwork.html

    This is more my type of "posters of synchronized dolphins jumping over inspirational quotes"

  4. Don says:

    Hi Korby (et al),

    I just threw together a quick placeholder for installation walkthroughs on the Burton Wiki ( accessible via http://www.3leaf.com/wiki/default.aspx/Burton.VSTSWalkthrough )

    -Don

  5. Don says:

    After spending a few more hours making zero progress on my quest to install Team Foundation Server, I thought I’d put in another request for an installation walkthrough.

    Like many folks, I lease a rackmounted server that is running Windows Server 2003. I’d REALLY like to use it as a Team Foundation Server, but it’s utterly beyond me how to get VSTFS to install.

    I’ve spent a few hours reading up on Active Directory, and spent more time trying to turn my server into an Active Directory server with accounts for VSTFS (since it appears to require an Active Directory server… your comments above seem to imply that it doesn’t, but I can’t figure out how to get past the first install screen without entering the name of an Active Directory domain).

    I’m sure this all seems trivial to those who know what they’re doing (ha ha! what a dope, he can’t even configure Active Directory), but I can assure you that a PhD and ten year’s experience as a professional coder do not neccesarily give you any familiarity with configuring domain forests or domain policy editors.

    Midway through the VSTFS install, the installer threw a few unhandled exceptions, but I couldn’t tell if that was a result of an incorrectly configured Active Directory service, a problem with my database server, a flaw in the VSTFS installer, or micro changes in air density.

    Could someone from the Burton team PLEASE take the time to explain how to install VSTFS on a fresh Windows Server 2003 box? If no one on the team has enough time to do this, then maybe you need to look very closely at the installation process. If it’s too much work for you to write it up, that’s a VERY strong hint that the installation process is much longer and more complicated than it should be.

    I know I’m not the only person having this problem, because I’ve found quite a few blogs that discuss how hard it is to install VSTFS. There’s absolutely no point in releasing CTP’s if the community can’t install the software.

    Could someone from the Burton team please please please post some notes on how to install VSTFS to a new installation of Windows Server 2003?

    Please?

    Please?

    thanks,

    -Don

  6. Don says:

    Thanks, Team Burton. My webserver is now completely dead because none of you could be bothered to write up how to install Team Foundation Server.

    It turns out that if you uninstall Active Directory (as I did after failing to install Team Foundation Server), it wipes all of the user accounts on your machine, INCLUDING those needed to run ASP.NET 2.0 Web Services, etc. And when you do try to recreate your old accounts, windows detects the old accounts and assigns new directory locations to all of the recreated users so all the paths are broken.

    I’m going to have to spend an entire day wiping this machine and reinstalling the OS and all the software from scratch.

    You have COMPLETELY FAILED if someone who has been developing software professionally for ten years can’t install an SCM package without destroying the OS of the machine in question.

    You need to pull together your team and ask "Why couldn’t we write a page of instructions on how to install our software? Why was it so important that we release a CTP if we couldn’t justify the man-day it would take to tell people how to install it? And if it really takes more than a man-day to write up the installation procedures, is that a sign that there is something very, very wrong with the installation procedures?"

    I was at the original Channel-9 late-night demo of Team System with Dana Epp and Randy Holloway and a couple of others. You can hear me in the background of the video, going on and on about how fantastic VSTS looks and how excited I was to get my hands on it. I have never in my life been as excited about a piece of software as I was over VSTS. That is not exageration. It is fact.

    All that excitement is over. You cut too many corners and couldn’t be bothered to take any time to help your users, and you destroyed my web server and burned many hours of my time as a result.

    And Korby, it was very kind of you to make the comment "If you’re willing to wait for tomorrow (metaphorically speaking) and contribute to a resource that’ll help other users avoid the issues you have encountered, you’ll probably get a lot of personal attention," but the offer of personal attention rings very hollow when I’m sitting here with a broken machine and the knowledge that you never bothered to respond to quick email that I sent you back on 11/7 (or 11/8?) when I started setting up a Wiki page on the TFS installation process.

    I sure hope Team Burton isn’t burning anyone else’s goodwill as fast or as deeply as it burned mine, because you have what looks like a great product and if everyone feels about it the way I now do it will have been a complete waste of your time to develop it.

    -Don

  7. Don says:

    Thanks, Team Burton. My webserver is now completely dead because none of you could be bothered to write up how to install Team Foundation Server.

    It turns out that if you uninstall Active Directory (as I did after failing to install Team Foundation Server), it wipes all of the user accounts on your machine, INCLUDING those needed to run ASP.NET 2.0 Web Services, etc. And when you do try to recreate your old accounts, windows detects the old accounts and assigns new directory locations to all of the recreated users so all the paths are broken.

    I’m going to have to spend an entire day wiping this machine and reinstalling the OS and all the software from scratch.

    You have COMPLETELY FAILED if someone who has been developing software professionally for ten years can’t install an SCM package without destroying the OS of the machine in question.

    You need to pull together your team and ask "Why couldn’t we write a page of instructions on how to install our software? Why was it so important that we release a CTP if we couldn’t justify the man-day it would take to tell people how to install it? And if it really takes more than a man-day to write up the installation procedures, is that a sign that there is something very, very wrong with the installation procedures?"

    I was at the original Channel-9 late-night demo of Team System with Dana Epp and Randy Holloway and a couple of others. You can hear me in the background of the video, going on and on about how fantastic VSTS looks and how excited I was to get my hands on it. I have never in my life been as excited about a piece of software as I was over VSTS. That is not exageration. It is fact.

    All that excitement is over. You cut too many corners and couldn’t be bothered to take any time to help your users, and you destroyed my web server and burned many hours of my time as a result.

    And Korby, it was very kind of you to make the comment "If you’re willing to wait for tomorrow (metaphorically speaking) and contribute to a resource that’ll help other users avoid the issues you have encountered, you’ll probably get a lot of personal attention," but the offer of personal attention rings very hollow when I’m sitting here with a broken machine and the knowledge that you never bothered to respond to quick email that I sent you back on 11/7 (or 11/8?) when I started setting up a Wiki page on the TFS installation process.

    I sure hope Team Burton isn’t burning anyone else’s goodwill as fast or as deeply as it burned mine, because you have what looks like a great product and if everyone feels about it the way I now do it will have been a complete waste of your time to develop it.

    -Don

  8. Thank you says:

    Your blog is really very interesting.

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