I’ve been in the software tools industry for the majority of my career. It has been utterly amazing to me to see the rise of the importance of software development tools. In fact, when people ask me what I do, I say “software tools for software developers”. Typically this stops the conversation right there.
The interesting thing is that in all those years, the capabilities offered by the tools have been only marginally improving. Take SCCS to RCS to CVS. These are great examples of freeware version control advances, but not break-through innovation. Most software applications today require several if not hundreds of individuals to pull off. We are also seeing increases in geographically distributed teams, from broadband access at Starbucks to major outsourcing initiatives with a global reach. All of these things have greatly increased the importance of tools to help software teams collaborate and be more productive.
There are only a few advanced software lifecycle tool sets on the market today, yet none have been architected and built from the ground up. I feel incredibly lucky to have become deeply involved in what is now publicly called the Visual Studio Team System. In particular, my focus is on the Visual Studio Team Foundation. The Team Foundation is a server product with client-side functionality that is designed to support all roles on a software development team. The Team Foundation includes source code control, work item tracking, metrics and reporting, MS project and Excel integrations, and a rich integration infrastructure that delivers such services as artifact linking, events and notification, authorization, and tool configuration.
It is rare when you have the chance to do something that has a positive impact on millions of individuals on software teams. As Brian Harry said in his first ever blog post, we won't get everything done in V1. However, we are committed to improving and innovating as we move forward. I’m looking forward to those of you who would be so bold as to help me and our team shape the direction of the Visual Studio Team Foundation through this new medium of the blog.