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5.0 out of 5 stars The TFS 2010 book you will glue to your desk, March 28, 2011
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This review is from: Professional Team Foundation Server 2010 (Paperback)
With TFS 2010 (and VS 2010), Microsoft have gotten much closer to providing the ultimate package that contains all the tools that an enterprise needs in order to work effectively, efficiently, and productively. But it is certainly the best package currently out there. It is amazing to see the level of integration that is present between the different components constituting TFS 2010 to make it a real ALM toolset when combined with VS 2010. This is something that IBM Rational has tried before and, in my opinion, failed to deliver (the tools did not play well together, and required a significant amount of effort to make them integrate well) leaving a major gap in that field which prior to TFS 2010 has been filled only by specialized integrators who had to deal with all sorts of difficulties in order to make disparate systems work together. And the good news is that this will only get way better in the next version of TFS and VS.

This book can be considered both an introductory book to TFS 2010 as well as an intermediate level coverage of TFS 2010. In fact, some chapters present an advanced coverage of some topics (the administration chapters are an example). It is an excellent guide for anyone new to TFS. It presents a clear way of getting started with TFS as well as how to move to TFS if you've already been using some other source control repository. For folks already familiar with TFS 2008 or TFS 2005 and upgrading to TFS 2010, the book does a great job of presenting all the options you have and what to do to get there. Even if you are a TFS veteran and think you are experienced and well versed in TFS, I am sure you will still find something to learn.

One of the greatest sections in the book and one that I was pleasantly surprised to see was the section on Administration (Part V of the book). This is an important topic that has not been given enough attention so far in books covering TFS, and having one book provide such detail on this topic is refreshing. And what is more cool about it is that much of the information presented in the Administration chapters is based on the internal usage of TFS within DevDiv and other teams within Microsoft. In particular, Grant has been working with the DevDiv dogfood server for as far as I can remember. And I remember during the early stages of Dev10 when I wanted to perform activity logging queries and TFS data warehouse-based analysis on the DevDiv dogfood TFS instance, Grant was gracious enough to provide me with access as well as with the necessary queries to get me started. Grant's expertise in such highly scalable installations both in terms of management and troubleshooting is very evident is those chapters, and I am positive that it will be extremely valuable for anyone managing a large TFS installation. The discussion of how to utilize TFS with geographically distributed teams is a useful one indeed and works well towards the ultimate goal of presenting TFS 2010 as an enterprise-level source control system. To me, this section alone makes it worth buying the book.

I also found it strange that the Test and Lab Management chapter was in the Administration section. This is also another section that I thought would need more love from the authors (unless they were counting on Jeff Levinson's Software Testing with VS 2010 book to provide the more complete coverage of the topic). Nevertheless, the chapter makes up for that by providing very good guidance as well as pointers to external links that provide more information. I also liked the mention of the Test Attachments Cleanup tool as this tool will come in very handy when you start utilizing test plans heavily and collecting a ton of test results data.

I have to admit though that I was a bit worried about the TF Build chapters as they can overlap with the already encyclopedic coverage of the topic in Inside the Microsoft Build Engine: Using MSBuild and Team Foundation Build, Second Edition. However, it was evident that the presentation focused on how to get started with it if you were someone new to the product or someone that has used Team Build 2008, and then how to get really productive and customize your implementation. Another thing that was very cool in the Build chapters that I find rare in Microsoft books is that discussion and fair comparison to competing products. I thought the mention of other tools and systems like Maven, CC.NET, and Hudson was a good addition to the book (perhaps the advantage of having someone like Martin being part of this book?). Overall, I thought that the TF Build chapters only slightly overlapped with the content from Inside the Microsoft Build Engine book, but they also presented content that is unique to this book (for example, the discussion of building Ant and Maven projects with TFS). I found the coverage very informative and useful.

I also found the Reporting and Sharepoint chapter quite informative. However, I was hoping to see more in the Project Management section. In particular, I though the discussion of Project Server integration was very brief (about half a page). I think this is an important topic that deserves probably a whole chapter dedicated to it.

Overall, the book delivers great value and does very well in terms of presenting concise and useful information without rehashing any MSDN documentation but instead including tinyurl pointers to more detailed content. This is definitely one of those books that you will be keeping constantly on your desk and will probably have a bunch of bookmarks or post-its sticking out of it.
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