Everything you want to know about Visual Studio ALM and Farming
Brian Harry is a Microsoft Technical Fellow working as the Product Unit Manager for Team Foundation Server. Learn more about Brian.
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The October release of the Team Foundation Power Tools includes a new feature called "Team Members" that allows you to collaborate with your team even better. One of the features is integration with instant messaging that allows you to see presence, IM, video, audio, etc from inside Team Explorer. You can read more about the feature here: http://blogs.msdn.com/bharry/archive/2008/10/01/preview-of-the-next-tfs-power-tools-release.aspx.
One of the key design points of this new IM integration is extensibility. The Power Tools included providers for Office Communicator and Live Messenger. However, there are a ton of other IM systems/clients out there and we wanted to make sure no one would be left out in the cold. As a proof point, one of our MVP's has just announced a new provider for Skype. You can read about it here: http://msmvps.com/blogs/vstsblog/archive/2008/11/13/skype-collaboration-provider-for-tfs.aspx. Further, we've created a CodePlex project for people who want to write and share TFS collaboration providers (and the Skype provider will be uploaded shortly). You'll find the CodePlex project here: http://www.codeplex.com/tfscollab
If you are interested in building a provider, you can look at the Skype example. I've also included here some basic information on getting started. I've attached in a zip file that contains the source code for all of the provider interfaces and support code. You will find 3 files in the zip:
All of this is in the Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Collaboration.dll that comes with the Power Tool download - you can see them with intellisense, but having some of the comments might be useful.
You start building a provider by creating a class that implements ICollaborationProvider (or inherits from CollaborationProviderBase). Implementing it will require to you implement a few more classes:
Once you've built all of the classes you can copy your dll into the PublicAssemblies\CollaborationProviders folder under your Team Explorer installation and TFS will provide it as a choice in the list of available providers.
A few random comments that may help you getting started.
There's probably more I should tell you. Feel free to ask questions about anything you run into and I'll update the post as I see more things people are going to want to know.