Microsoft strengthens developer collaboration tool

Microsoft Corp. this week upgraded a tool enabling multiple IDEs (integrated drive electronics) to access the company's collaboration server for application lifecycle management, adding branching enhancements.

Team Foundation Server MSSCCI (Microsoft Source Code Control Interface) Provider allows a range of IDEs to access Team Foundation Server, the collaboration component of the Visual Studio 2005 Team System platform. Version 1.2 of the tool was made available this week.

Enhancements include the ability to handle branched solutions in Visual Studio 2003 and support for the Toad for SQL Server 2.0 database administration and SQL development application.

"The biggest improvement is in the area of branched projects," said Brian Harry, product unit manager in the Microsoft Developer Division, in his . "The experience is still not perfect but it is dramatically better than it was."

Branching allows a collection of files to evolve into divergent paths and is frequently used when teams must maintain two or more similar code bases. This can occur when a product is released and work has to start on a next version, according to Microsoft.

With Version 1.2, an issue remains in that the first time a project is opened after branching, users need to use the "Open from Source Control" capability rather than opening it from their local hard drive, Harry writes.