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Team Foundation Server Express Announced

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In conjunction with the upcoming Visual Studio 11 beta release date, Microsoft announced the creation of Team Foundation Server Express. Designed for small developer teams of composed of 1-5 users, TFS Express will be provided free of charge.

The main features of Team Foundation Server will be provided in the Express version, including source code control, work item tracking, build automation, and an agile taskboard. TFS Express will allow its users to use their own single server to host their development environment. Given the price point, there will be some restrictions on this release including a single-server limit, a requirement to use SQL Server Express (which will be provided in the install), and the exclusion of support for the TFS Proxy. Sharepoint integration will also be disabled.

The Express version of Visual Studio 11 will support TFS which will allow smaller developer groups to utilize the full Microsoft tool chain to develop applications at no charge if they are comfortable with the restrictions of the Express editions. Mid-size groups or those in transition can begin with the Express edition of the tools and then upgrade to the full-featured editions as Microsoft will be providing an upgrade path. There will be an option to purchase additional Client Access Licenses (CALs) for TFS Express should more than 5 developers need access.

This introduction of an Express edition is should allow Microsoft to boost developer familiarity with their environment at no charge, eliminating cost as a barrier to entry. Given the historical price advantages of Linux (free) and Apple OS X (Xcode available as a download) Microsoft seems to be recognizing the importance of providing aspiring Windows developers a legal and affordable introduction to their platform.

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