Delta Engine Blog

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Installing TFS 2008 .. or not!

I just tried to install TFS (Visual Studio Team Foundation Server) 2008, but as usual I had to read tons of documentation and after installing all perquisites, I finally launched the TFS 2008 Setup, which told me the following:

The Team Foundation Server is not supported on the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows Server 2003.

Well, the server is Windows 2008, not Windows 2003 and it has to be 64bit for all the memory and hard discs we got in there. It seems it will not be that easy to install TFS 2008 after all. I just wanted to evaluate it a bit, it has been more than 2 years since I used TFS (TFS 2005 back then) and I guess I still had a 32bit server in 2006, but it still was very much a pain to setup the whole thing (as you can read on my blog post from 2005: New Fancy Guide for Installing Visual Studio Team Foundation 2005 Beta2).

I remember that using a virtual server for TFS was horribly slow and I want to test TFS with some people for a new project since we were very much unhappy about Subversion in the later part of our last project. It got way too huge, we very often had merge conflicts, IMO it is not very good for big projects with lots of code since no one knows who is working on what. For content it worked out kinda ok, we used locks to prevent people overwriting data of each other, but it was still a pain for everyone in the team to constantly update, get lock, do changes, commit, etc. I guess for artists it would make sense to check out AlienBrain oder just use 3DS Max Vault content system.

Since I'm not really in the mood to reinstall one of the other servers to 32bit right now, I will test TFS 2010 Beta 1 first. I tested VS 2010 Beta 1 in May, but I did not use the Team Suite edition and have not used TFS for quite a while now. It would be great if VS2010 Beta2 would come out soon, my guess it sometime October or November 2009, probably around the PDC09 in November. I very much like many of the ideas of TFS, but many of the ideas can be handled with external tools too. We use OnTime for most work, feature and bug tracking, plus the great wiki system. Then there are many useful plugins for CodeRush for similar code guideline assurance. I never liked the Test Framework of VSTF, but the tools are just amazing and the integration is top notch, but I still disliked the whole system and much rather use xUnit together with TestDriven.NET instead!

The most important and really exciting thing about TFS is the source controlling, which just works great. And then many things can be integrated, like using work logs, apply code rules and especially using an agile approach and making the best out of SCRUM, which seems to be easier for new team members to get used to with TFS rather than without it. But just the source controlling alone does not justify TFS and the crazy cost per user for it (in the past I only used it alone). The question is: Is it worth it to evaluate TFS with all the setup pain if we might just abandon it in a week or two anyway. Well, I will try to use TFS 2010 (download almost done) and see if I can get used to it or if I rather should stick with OnTime+xUnit+TestDriven.Net+Some nice active source controlling system+CodeRush+Other tools. BTW: OnTime 9.13 looks great, many cool new features (even an iPhone app for it), just tested it yesterday. At work we still use a 2 year old version since we were so busy on our project we did not upgrade it (works also great, but there are some issues here and there).

Will report back on TFS 2010 soon and what kind of source control system we gonna use if we ditch TFS all-together (not sure yet, many systems are nice, but did not found a perfect fit yet).