Microsoft has released the third beta of its Team Foundation Server to subscribers to the Microsoft Developers Network.
The software promises application lifecycle management functions to development teams and is designed to work with Visual Studio 2005 Team System, which is planned for release in early November.
Team Foundation Server supports software development with version control, reporting, work item tracking, process guidance and automated build capabilities. The drive towards application lifecycle management - which aims to address the need of corporate users' to better manage extended and often geographically-dispersed development teams - is welcomed by analysts.
Bola Rotibi, senior analyst with Ovum, said, "This underpins Visual Studio and allows a flexible and collaborative working environment for whole development team, not just the developer. It has long been a complaint that developers work in silos with no regard for what other roles do. Team Foundation negates that and allows developers to work on their own environment but also work together, bringing a context to their work. It means that there are less likely to be errors in code. It has never been the code or technology that has been lacking but communication in the development process."
Team System and Team Foundation Server aim to help developers wrest control over the development process, from determining the needs of the business and writing error-free code to bug fixes, maintenance and upgrades.
The beta functions with the Visual Studio 2005 release candidate software made available to attendees at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference in the US last week.
The general release of Team Foundation Server is expected in the first quarter of 2006.
The beta release includes a 'Go Live' license which allows companies to use the tools to build and deploy applications, but doesn't include support and patch updates from Microsoft. All data in this beta version will migrate to the final version of the server.