Visual Studio Team System

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Visual Studio Team System is a set of software development, collaboration, metrics, and reporting tools from Microsoft.



Visual Studio Team System consists of 5 products, which can be categorized into server-side and client-side applications. Microsoft encourages companies using Team System to make use of the Microsoft Solutions Framework, a metamodel which describes business and software engineering processes to help implement an effective software development process. Team System supports two conceptual frameworks for software development, Agile and Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI). Other frameworks can be added as well to support other methodologies.

Team Foundation Server

Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) uses Team Foundation Server (TFS) as the data storage and collaboration backend. TFS provides a source control repository, work item tracking and reporting services. TFS works on "work items", which are a single unit of work which needs to be completed. Items themselves can be of several different types, such as a Bug, a Task, a Quality of Service Requirement, a Scenario, and so forth. The framework chosen for any given project in a TFS defines what types of work items are available and what attributes each type of work item contains.

File:Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite with a bug rate report.png
Screen shot demonstrating a bug count report in Visual Studio 2005.

TFS source control system stores all code, as well as a record of all changes and current check-outs in a SQL Server database. It supports features such as multiple simultaneous check-outs, conflict resolution, branching and merging, and the ability to set security levels on any level of a source tree. TFS uses SQL Server Reporting Services to create reports including the rate of code change over time, lists of bugs that don't have test cases, regressions on previously passing tests, and so on. The reports can be in various formats including XML and PDF.

TFS also includes a build server which can be used by developers to do a complete build of the most recent bits contained in source control. All build events are tracked by TFS as well. Visual Studio's Code Analysis, Test Tools and Code Coverage can be enabled to validate a build before it is deemed to be "good".

VSTS integrates with TFS using the TFS Client API, to expose the capabilities of TFS from within the IDE. It includes the Team Explorer to browse and manage the items in a team project. The version control capabilities, including browsing individual revisions, labeling revisions, check in/out and shelving in/out are available from the main IDE itself, via the Source Control Explorer. VSTS can use the TFS Team Build system, instead of the integrated build system. The VSTS IDE can also be used to view and create analysis reports in TFS as well. The Source Control Explorer can also be used to create and merge branches of the software. It also includes a diff engine for viewing the differences between different files and revisions.

Team Test Load Agent

In addition to Team Foundation Server, Microsoft also offers a server component called Team Test Load Agent. This tool, which is licensed separately from Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio, is intended for use by testers to perform automated load testing on a web or Windows application. Microsoft advertises that a "typical PC" can support simulating 1,000 simultaneous users. The results of load tests are stored in the Team Foundation Server warehouse, and can be linked to specific builds so that performance testing can be tracked over the lifetime of a project.

Visual Studio Integration

The client-side applications are specialized versions of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005; collectively they are called the Visual Studio Team Editions. When Visual Studio 2005 was launched in November 2005, this consisted of editions for three distinct roles in application development: Developers, Architects, and Testers. A fourth edition, targeted at Database Developers, was subsequently developed and released towards the end of 2006. A "Team Suite" edition of Visual Studio 2005 is also available, which combines the tools in each of these four roles.

Team Explorer is a component included with Team Foundation Server that provides the client-side tools and integration. More specifically, this adds Team Foundation Server as a source control provider, and adds a "Team Explorer" window alongside the standard "Solution Explorer" window. Team Explorer includes a license for Visual Studio 2005 Premier Partner Edition for those without Visual Studio 2005 for the exclusive use of Team Explorer's functionality.

Microsoft Office Integration

In addition to integration support with the Visual Studio developer products, Team Foundation Server also supports integration with Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project, part of the Microsoft Office line of products. Microsoft has suggested that these tools are intended for use by non-developers who have no skill or interest in Visual Studio, and would prefer to interact with the development team with more familiar tools. With the integration support installed into Office, a user with access to the Team Foundation Server can view, modify, and add new work items. In Excel, for instance, the list of work items and columns, once selected, becomes an interactive worksheet with drop-down boxes, range validation, and so forth.



  • Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server - available as a separate product for an MSRP of US$2799. CALs for non-Team Edition versions of Visual Studio are available for an MSRP of US$499. Visual Studio Team Editions include a CAL for accessing Team Foundation Server.
  • Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server Workgroup Edition provides access for up to 5 named users and is available for no additional charge with Team Editions accompanied by an MSDN Premium subscription.

Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (including Workgroup Edition) requires Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition. The Workgroup Edition includes a restricted SQL Server license.


  • Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Architects - provides visual designers for software architects, systems operations managers, and developers
  • Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Developers - additional development tools for building applications and service-oriented products, including unit testing, profiling tools, and code analysis tools
  • Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Testers - provides Web testing, load testing, unit testing, code coverage, and other testing tools
  • Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals - provides database development and testing tools. Released in December 2006.
  • Visual Studio Team Suite - includes Team Edition for Software Architects, Team Edition for Software Developers, Team Edition for Software Testers and Team Edition for Database Professionals. Owners of Team Suite that purchased it before the release of Team Edition for Database professionals get a license for it at no additional cost.


Typically, customers purchase an MSDN Premium subscription when licensing the Team Editions and Team Suite, which provides Software Assurance that entitles users to product updates over the life of the subscription. This includes Team Foundation Server Workgroup Edition, development licenses of many Microsoft Windows versions, Visual Foxpro 9, Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Microsoft Office, development licenses of many server-side offerings, SDKs and DDKs, a large amount of documentation, and more. The Team Edition and Team Suite products can not be purchased without an MSDN Premium subscription.

Future Development

Visual Studio Team System 2010

The next major release of Visual Studio Team System 2010 (formerly codenamed 'Rosario') will be released following the Visual Studio 2008 release.

In this release, Microsoft plans to deliver new features to build on their existing Application Life-cycle Management (ALM) solution. Some of the major scenarios and features in Visual Studio Team System 2010 may include:

  • Joint prioritization and management of IT projects through integration with Microsoft Office Project Server
  • Project management across multiple projects for proactively load balancing resources according to business priorities
  • Full traceability (inc. hierarchical work items) to track project deliverables against business requirements and the ability to conduct rapid impact analysis of proposed changes
  • Comprehensive metrics and dashboards for shared visibility into project status and progress against deliverables
  • Powerful new features to enable developers and testers to quickly identify, communicate, prioritize, diagnose and resolve bugs
  • Integrated test case management to create, organize and manage test cases across both the development and test teams
  • Testing automation and guidance to help developers and testers focus on business-level testing rather than repetitive, manual tasks
  • Quality metrics for a ‘go/no-go’ release decision on whether an application is ready for production and has been fully tested against business requirements
  • Rapid integration of remote, distributed, disconnected and outsourced teams into the development process
  • Easy customization of process and guidance from Microsoft and partners to match the way your team works
  • Improvements to multi-server administration, build and source control
  • Test Impact Analysis helps developers quickly check-in code with confidence by running only the necessary tests.

A Community Technology Preview of Rosario was released on November 28, 2007.[1]

See also


External links

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