Getting TFS 2008 functionality in TFS 2005

The latest beta of TFS 2008 has a go-live licence and Brian Harry has blogged about the Final TFS 2008 Feature List. TFS 2008 was always marketed as a minor release, targeted at reducing the adoption blockers which have kept companies from buying the product. Anyone who is considering a move to TFS now, should go with TFS 2008. Even if your development is VS2005 based, VS2005 is compatible with TFS 2008.

What about all those users out there who have adopted TFS 2005 though? Is it worth upgrading? I think for the majority of TFS 2005 users, the answer will be no. There is already a CTP of Rosario out, and that is the release where in major updates to TFS are being made. I wouldn’t be surprised if Rosario ships (in beta with a Go-Live licence) within 12 months of TFS 2008 being launched in February 2008. Skipping TFS 2008 and waiting for Rosario doesn’t mean you can’t get TFS 2008 features now though. Given the Final TFS 2008 Feature List, I’ve listed current alternatives you can use now; more may appear in the near future.

(I’m still gathering some information, so some features are incomplete, but check back soon for an update. If you know of any better or missing alternatives, please let me know.)

Administration, Operations & Setup

  • Share Point 2007 supportGuidance
  • Support for MOSS 2007 — TBC
  • Enable use of SharePoint on any server and any portGuidance
  • Enable support for Reporting Services on any server and any port (new) (RTM) — None / Not Recommended
  • Support for SQL Named Instances – This will allow customers to share a SQL server between multiple TFS instances, or with other applications.  This has been a commonly requested feature by enterprises. — None
  • “Longhorn” server support – TFS will support the next version of the server (and corresponding new version of IIS) that is currently under development. — TBC
  • Sync Large Groups – This is a set of work to improve the performance and robustness of TFS’s handling large groups of users (~30,000 or more) granted permission to a TFS instance.  Today this can result in a support call to recover from it. — Not sure, see where the support call gets you.
  • Non-default ports – We’ve gotten a bunch of feedback from enterprise customers about TFS’s limited support for alternate web sites and ports running afoul of data center policies.  We are going to be improving TFS’s configurability in this respect in Orcas. — Not Recommended. Guidance
  • Simplify installation – In Orcas, we will be doing a variety of things to attempt to make installing TFS easier and quicker than it is now.  Improvements include eliminating the separate data-tier installation, simplifying the requirements around required domain accounts by supporting the built in machine accounts (like Network Service) where we can, etc. — Not really applicable, but if you are installing, make sure you check the online documentation rather than the CHM. And like many things, practice makes perfect.
  • Official testing and support for more configurations – This includes clustering, mirroring, log shipping, Virtual machine deployment, and more. — If it’s official support you are after, then there is no alternative. That said, I’ve done several virtual deployments that work without issue and a standby virtual rig is a great temporary DR solution.
  • Support for client certificates — TBC
  • Upgrade from TFS 2005 — Not Applicable
  • Support for SQL 2008 (aka Katmai) (new) (RTM) — TBC, though I doubt TFS 2005 support will be added.
  • TFSDeleteProject now permanently deletes (destroys) version control content (new) (RTM) — None. But some would be better off without this! Really, buy a bigger disk.
  • New role for many operations activities (new) (RTM) – You don’t have to be server administrator to run many of the admin utilities any longer. — None
  • Enhancements to tfsadminutil (new) (RTM) – New capability to configure accounts, connections, etc on both TFS and the TFS proxy. — TBC


  • Support multi-threaded builds with the new MSBuild. — None
  • Continuous Integration – There are many components to this, including build queuing and queue management, drop management (so that users can set policies for when builds should be automatically deleted), and build triggers that allows configuration of exactly how when CI builds should be triggered, for example – every checkin, rolling build (completion of one build starts the next), etc. — A CI solution is available from Microsoft. Contact your technical account manager and they will be able to arrange it for you. It’s nowhere near as powerful as TFS 2008, but it does provide some CI functionality.
  • Improved ability to specify what source, versions of source, and other build properties. — None
  • Improved extensibility of the build targets – such as ability to easily execute targets before and after each solution/project is built. — None
  • .NET Object model for programming against the build server. — None
  • Improved ability to manage multiple build machines. — None
  • Stop and delete builds from within VS. — Use the command line tool, write your own tool or use TFSBuildManager
  • Simplified ability to specify what tests get run as part of a build. — None
  • The ability to store build definitions anywhere in the version control hierarchy. — None
  • Scheduled builds – You can schedule builds to happen at specified times. — Windows Task Scheduler
  • Improved build agent communication – We replaced .NET binary remoting with WCF web services, simplifying some configuration and security aspects. — None
  • Ability to run GUI tests as part of a build – Automated builds used to run tests in such a way as to prevent access to a GUI desktop. — None
  • New checkin policy for broken CI builds – Preventing checkin while the CI build is broken.Guidance
  • Support for HTTPS communication to the TFS server (new) — None
  • Continuous Integration build checkin policy (new) — TBC
  • Support for incremental gets and builds (new) — TBC

Data Warehouse

  • Add support for checkin policy overrides to the warehouse – an oversight from V1. — TBC


  • Migration toolkit – A toolkit for building conversion and mirroring solutions between TFS and other systems.  In addition, we will release one or more new tools to integrate with popular alternative systems. — TBC

Version Control

  • Merge improvements (new) – Improved the logic that detects merge conflicts to generate fewer false positives and handle more scenarios. — None
  • Annotate – This is based on the TFS Annotate Power Tool but includes numerous improvements.TFS PowerTools
  • Folder Diff – Also based on the TFS Tree Diff Power Tool with numerous improvements.TFS PowerTools
  • Destroy – The ability to permanently delete version control files/folders from TFS.  It can also be used to destroy the file contents while preserving the change set history. — None. But some would be better off without this!
  • Get Latest On Checkout – There have been many requests for this feature (which was a change in behavior from SourceSafe).  There is now an option that allows you to specify that you want TFS to download the latest version of files when you check them out.Add in
  • Workspace improvements – Workspaces will now support mapping a folder or file under a cloaked folder and wildcard mappings so that you can map all files in a folder without mapping sub folders.  Based on experience with large projects, this will simplify workspace definitions for many people. — None
  • Performance improvements – A variety of Version Control performance enhancements that will improve virtually all aspects of version control performance.  The gains for smaller servers/projects (< 10,000 files) will be modest.  The gains for larger projects (particularly where the file count approaches 100,000’s) will be substantial. — Buy a faster server.
  • Scale improvements – Fixed out of memory problems on the server when operating on more than a few hundred thousand files at a time. — None
  • Offline improvements – We’ve significantly improved the experience going offline and integrated the tfpt online capability into the IDE for going back online. — None
  • Extranet support for the TFS Proxy – allowing you to access a local TFS proxy with a different set of credentials than the TFS server. — None
  • Command line help – You can now type “tf command /help” and get a console dump of the usage of that command.  This is much more convenient than always being launched into the richer GUI hypertext help when you just want to remember what the options for a command are.  You can still launch the GUI help by running “tf msdn”.  You can get a console dump of available commands by just typing “tf help”. — None
  • Source Control Explorer refresh improvements – This includes less redrawing and reloading but even more important it enables updates based on changes made in other instances of TeamExploror or the command line.  That’s right, if you checkout a file from the command line, any instances of TeamExplorer you have running on the same machine will automatically refresh. — None
  • Async loading of the Source Control Explorer (new) — None
  • The SCE local path can now be selected and copied (new) — None

Work Item Tracking

  • Performance & Scale improvements – A variety of improvements that will make both the work item server and client faster and able to handle larger servers. — None
  • Query builder usability improvements – Drop down filtering based on current project, better MRU lists, column drag & drop, shift-click mouse based multi-column sorting, etc. — None
  • Attachments improvements – Save button, drag & drop for adding an attachment, multi-select for attaching files. — None
  • Tooltips on field names contain the field name used for querying — None
  • Server side support for deleting work items & work item types – We didn’t have time to do client UI support for it but we plan to release a Power Tool that will take advantage of the new server side feature. — None
  • Support for security on the iteration hierarchy (new) — None

Web Access

  • Adding Web Access UI to TFS – As you’ve seen many places, we acquired devBiz and their TeamPlain Web Access product.  We are releasing it as a Power Tool in the next few months and plan to release it as an official product in the Orcas timeframe.  We have not figured out how the release date will line up with the Orcas date but it will be in the same general timeframe.Power Tool

Bug fixes

  • In addition to all of the feature work, we’ve spent months testing the product and fixing any bugs we’ve found.  We expect Orcas will have even better stability and robustness than TFS 2005. — There are various hot fixes available, and if you have a support contract, then chances are you will get a patch if required.

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