Microsoft has acquired a tiny firm that developed a web front-end for Visual Studio Team Foundation Server. The company, called devBiz Business Solutions, has less than 10 employees, who will all be relocated from Istanbul, Turkey to Redmond.
TFS is the server used for the Visual Studio Team, System (VSTS) application lifecycle management framework. Until now, you could access the reports and (depending on function) through other Microsoft products like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, or Project.
This product met the general needs of our customers without forcing them to learn a new interface, said Michael Leworthy, Visual Studio product manager. It looked very much like Team Explorer.
More precisely, it probably looks almost like Team Explorer, because for now, it is just a thin web client and lack s the Ajax-style functionality that would make it behave more like Windows. But, said Leworthy, a rich web client upgrade will be more likely after Microsoft has integrated it into the core VSTS product.
Leworthy added that the product also supported all the core functions that a VSTS user would rely on from day to day. They include code check-in/check-out access to the source code repository, the ability to view and lightly edit reports, plus access to process and methodology documentation.
By contrast, the devBiz web client does not provide access to more involved tasks like drastic edits of reports or other documents. Neither does it support modifying core process methodologies and workflows, or the branching of source code control processes.
Since the product was designed as a standalone offering that could operate at arms length form TFS, Microsoft has been able to make it available now through the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN). On MSDN, it will be available as a power tool, but with one important distinction. Unlike most Power tools, which are not supported, this one will be.
Microsoft plans to embed the devBiz web client into VSTS for the next release of Visual Studio, which is code-named Orcas. The first beta of Orcas should be out by the time of Microsoft’s TechEd conference, this June.