Microsoft releases Team Foundation Service, a project, source, and build management tool for developers

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Microsoft announced general availability of Team Foundations Service today at BUILD 2012. Team Foundations Service (TFS) is a combination of project management, code management, and build management services for developers.

And, it’s free for teams up to five — or those with a MSDN subscription.

Jason Zander, a VP for Windows Azure demoed how developer teams can use TFS as a team portal which provides the ability to do code reviews, view project backloads, and generally manage software development projects. TFS integrates with Microsoft’s suite of developer tools, including Visual Studio Express for Windows 8, Desktop, Phone 8, and Web.

TFS includes a very Windows 8-ish dashboard, with live tiles showing current status and activity:

Above: The Team Foundations Service dashboard, with very Windows 8-ish live tiles

Image Credit: Microsoft

Something that Microsoft has added, Zander said, was “kanban” support — an originally Japanese methodology for enabling just-in-time manufacturing. In TFS, that translates to a very visual way of displaying work in progress, flow of requests, change approvals, and capacity levels.

Zander also demonstrated triggering builds in the cloud, right from Team Foundations Service.

“The build happens in the cloud,” he said. “No more build machines to configure!”

Before triggering a build, developers can re-check source code and review checkins. While “the cloud” is building an executable, it will run any test cases the team has created, ensuring that the new build passes the tests. And, of course, after the build, developers can revert to early versions if problems arise.

The service is free for small teams and MSDN subscribers, as previously mentioned, but also free until 2013, at which point additional terms and plans will be announced.

Image credits: Microsoft

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