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Friday, October 16, 2009

TFS Ain’t So Expensive Anymore

Those of you who scoffed at the enormous price tag on previous releases of Team Foundation Server will be happy to hear about “TFS Basic” - the new offering of TFS 2010 (or as Brian calls it, “TFS for SourceSafe users”  **shudder**).  Presumably, this new offering includes all of the functionality that small development shops will need to thrive on TFS, while still offering a sane upgrade path.

I haven’t been able to find exactly how much this new SKU is going to run you, but from what I’ve seen it will not be $0.00 (AKA: free).  As my very last post may tell you, I am a huge fan of the free & open source offerings out there, but – as my last post shows – making these disparate projects integration together can quite often mean a whole lot of time and energy.  Even with the astronomical price tag of previous versions, the out-of-the-box integration of Source Control, Continuous Integration, and Change Tracking has always been incredibly alluring to me.  And, for those who really desired it, it was probably worth the cost.  The exciting part of this announcement is that you can now get this powerful integration – sans advanced features – for a fraction of what the full TFS system used to cost…  and that is pretty damn cool if you ask me.

Will I make the switch from Subversion+CruiseControl+[whatever change tracking and planning tool I’m using]?  Will I solicit my employer to switch?  No.  It’s nice to know that if one of the components isn’t working out for us or we find something better, we can replace just that one component and leave the others in place.  Additionally - while the initial pain in getting these open source solutions wired together can be substantial - once the initial price of time and effort is paid, it rarely gets in the way again.  However, those are existing installations I’m referring to;  for new projects, I will most definitely be evaluating TFS Basic along with the others and I expect that the savings we’d realize in integration alone will be enough to make it a leading contender.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of using Team Foundation Server, I strongly suggest you go grab these bits and try it out.  Sure, it’s got its downsides (as anyone who follows me on Twitter knows), but it is also one hell of a nice product and certainly worth checking out.  What’s more – with TFS Basic, you no longer need to be in a server environment – you can feel free to install it on your local development environment!  Go download and install the bits and come back here and let me know what you think!