Redmond readies Team Foundation Server service pack

Visual Studio enhancements on the way

Microsoft is working on a service pack for its recently released Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server software, with improvements planned in areas such as authentication and data warehousing, according to Microsoft officials.

Team Foundation Server is the collaboration component of the company’s Visual Studio 2005 Team System ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) platform. A beta release of the service pack is due in the near future, according to Microsoft’s Rob Caron, a content architect for Team System.

The service pack will include fixes and improvements, such as basic authentication support for accessing Team Foundation Server over the internet. It will also have updates for using Team Foundation Server with Windows Vista and Office 2007, Caron says.

Enhanced performance and scaling in the areas of data warehousing, version control, and work item tracking are planned for the service pack, says Brian Harry, a product unit manager for Team Foundation Server at Microsoft. Extranet support in the service pack features an ISAPI (Internet Server API) filter and the ability to deploy Team Foundation Server more easily in environments where people on the internet need to access the server without having a VPN.

Work Item Type (WIT) support, meanwhile, will provide a mechanism for designing work item forms that host custom controls.

“The data behind the controls can either be persisted in WIT fields or elsewhere,” Harry says. “I’m hoping people go crazy with it and build some awesome custom controls.”

Separately from the service pack, Microsoft is planning a new version of the Microsoft Source Code Control Interface (MSCCI) provider. MSCCI connects development tools to version control providers such as Team Foundation Server. The new provider will feature improvements such as the ability to modify work items in the check-in window.

Team Foundation Server began shipping in March. A Microsoft representative says the feature set of the service pack could change based on customer feedback following the beta release.

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