Today we are announcing that Microsoft has closed on the purchase of the Teamprise Client Suite from Teamprise (a division of SourceGear). I’m incredibly excited to be taking this step.

From my very first software job (producing an email client in the late 80’s) it has been clear to me that the value of collaboration software grows exponentially with the number of people who can use it. This is why when we built SourceSafe in the early 90’s we produced DOS, Win16, Win32, Mac and Unix (8 different flavors) clients. When we set out to build Team Foundation Server almost 7 years ago, it was equally clear. We began looking for a great partner who could work with us to develop a great heterogeneous development story – providing access from a wide range of platforms and tools. We soon found SourceGear (and subsequently their new Teamprise division) to be a terrific match.

We’ve worked closely with Teamprise for the past several years and have jointly been delivering a great solution. At the same time, we have been talking closely with our customers to understand their commitment to heterogeneous development as well as their difficulty in working with us and a partner together for such a central piece of their ALM picture. As a result, we began discussions with Teamprise to brainstorm ways that we could evolve our relationship to address the consistent feedback we were both getting from our joint customers. Together, we concluded that the right thing was for Microsoft to bring the Teamprise Client Suite in house and develop, deliver, support and sell it in a way that is consistent with how we manage the rest of our Visual Studio ALM offerings.

Heterogeneous development is here for the long term – different operating systems (Window, Unix, Mac, Linux, Mainframe, …), different tools (VS and Eclipse are the big obvious ones but there are plenty more) and different programming models (.NET, C++, Java, HTML/Ajax, …), etc. Modern development, for many companies, means navigating a path that draws value from each of these technologies where it makes sense. However customers really want an ALM solution that is comprehensive and helps them manage their development regardless of which technologies they choose.

This acquisition demonstrates that we are committed to helping people succeed in all of their software development endeavors. Combining the Teamprise product with the existing Visual Studio products will enable us to provide a broad offering that can cover a wide array of your ALM needs.

Let’s talk some details:

Teamprise Client Suite consists of 3 components:

Eclipse plugin - Allows developers to perform all of their source control, bug tracking, build, and reporting operations from within Eclipse and Eclipse-based IDEs, such as Rational Application Developer, JBoss, BEA Workshop, and Adobe Flex Builder. It integrates into the menu system of Eclipse as a standard Team Provider plug-in, but also provides developers with specific views and forms for interacting with the Team Foundation Server. Developers using the Teamprise Plug-in for Eclipse have the ability to take part in the entire software development process in use by their organization without leaving the comforts of their development environment.

Stand-alone Explorer - Combines all of the functionality available to Eclipse developers using the Teamprise Plug-in into a stand-alone, cross-platform GUI application for team members working outside of a development IDE. Perform source control operations, browse the Team Foundation Server repository, edit bug reports, run work item queries, monitor builds, and view project reports all from within an application that has a native look and feel on the operating system you are using.

Command line client - Provides a cross-platform, non-graphical interface to Microsoft's Team Foundation Server, for scripting and build scenarios or for developers who prefer a command-line interface. The command line interface is compatible with the current Microsoft supplied command line interface so scripts are interchangeable.

All of these components work on Windows, Mac, Linux and several flavors of Unix. In addition work is being done to explore providing these capabilities in mainframe environments to enable access to the Visual Studio ALM platform from there as well.

To help you visualize this better, here are a couple of screenshots of the Eclipse plugin.  As you can see, aside from being in Eclipse, it doesn’t look substantially different from the Visual Studio Team Explorer.

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With the transaction complete, we are turning our attention to creating the first “official” Microsoft version of the Teamprise Client Suite (new brand TBD). We expect to release an update this coming spring that will support a large portion of the TFS 2010 feature set while still being compatible with TFS 2005 and 2008 servers. When the Microsoft branded release is available, we will be providing free upgrades for all customers who own a Teamprise client product and an associated TFS CAL and will begin full Microsoft support for the product. Until then, Teamprise will continue to sell and support the Teamprise product. Please stay tuned for further updates as we make progress.

In addition to purchasing the technology, we’ve hired most of the development team.  The most visible of which is Martin Woodward – MVP extraordinaire and beloved member of the Visual Studio ALM community.  Please join me in welcoming them to the team.

I’ll just repeat that I find it hard to express how excited I am. I’ve been working on this for months and not able to say anything to anyone about it. It’s a big step forward for us and I really believe will enable our customers to get to the next level with their ALM capabilities. It’s an exciting time!

Brian