Book Review of Team Foundation Server 2008 in Action

Grant Holliday’s blog

Senior Service Engineer, Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Service

Book Review of Team Foundation Server 2008 in Action

  • Comments 3

Earlier in the year I was contacted by Manning Publications to participate in the Manning Early Access Program (MEAP). They provided me with an unedited draft of a new book "Team Foundation Server 2008 in Action" (ISBN 1933988592) by Jamil Azher and asked me as a TFS subject matter expert to post a review to my blog and Amazon.

azher_cover150

Contents:

  • Chapter 1: TFS and the practice of software development (free download)
  • Chapter 2: Exploring the Changes in TFS 2008
  • Chapter 3: Introducing VSTS 2008 Database Edition
  • Chapter 4: Understanding branching in Version Control
  • Chapter 5: Understanding Branch Policies
  • Chapter 6: Understanding Merging in Version Control
  • Chapter 7: Understanding Team Build
  • Chapter 8: Versioning Assemblies using Team Build
  • Chapter 9: Configuring and Extending TFS
  • Chapter 10: Using workflow with TFS

After reading through the 10 chapters (~500 pages) of the draft I can recommend the book to these groups of people:

  • You're using TFS on a day-to-day basis but you want to know "more" without having to spend hours scouring MSDN and learning it yourself.
  • You've been using TFS 2005 and you're about to (or already have) upgraded to TFS2008. This book has a focus on the changes and new features introduced in TFS2008.
  • There is a strong focus on Team Foundation Build. One of the biggest investments in TFS2008 was Team Build, so it's understandable that Jamil has 3-4 chapters that are build related.
  • Extensibility. The book explains all the different extensibility points in TFS and provides original and practical code samples for building your own extensions.

One of the challenges for all technical books is that sometimes the information is out of date by the time your book goes to print. From the screenshots I can see that Jamil started writing when TFS 2008 was in it's "Beta 2" release. Since then, the product and a Service Pack have shipped to address some of the most common issues. There has also been work by the community and product team to improve guidance and documentation.

The real value in the book for me was the practical examples. Even as somebody who has been deeply involved in the TFS community and now the product team there are plenty of examples in the book that I haven't seen before:

  • Building code from multiple team projects
  • Patterns for centralized / distributed team build systems
  • Code submissions system (gated checkin)
  • Custom controls to show the build status in a work item
  • Integrating with SharePoint KPI dashboards
  • Using Windows Workflow with Team Build

With everything considered this is a book worth reading if you want to further leverage your existing investment in Team Foundation Server 2008 and learn more about Team Foundation Build 2008. Great work Manning and Jamil!

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