Friday, August 30, 2013

Impression on using Team Foundation Service Online with AX2012

I am a slow adapter to version control. In my current position, I need to work with teammates who are in a different region and we had to come up with a setup of version control that works for everyone. Then I came across Team Foundation Service Online (http://tfs.visualstudio.com/).

TFS Online is free for up to 5 users. And it is accessible from anywhere, which is what I needed. Also, there is no hardware/network investment involved so the managers are happy!

It was quite easy to setup and get started. Just register an account and create a project online. Connect AX to it, add a model to the project and start adding objects to the repository. During our use, there are minor issues here and there (e.g. Synchronizing labels sometime crashes the client; managing workspaces) but in general it is very responsive. Check-out, check-in, labels handling, code merge, etc all works as expected.

It is possible to look at the online repository from the web UI. It's easy to view change set, check object history and compare different versions of an object. It is also recommended to have visual studio 2012 (Express version is Ok.) install on the computer. Some action (e.g. Delete a project, applying labels) cannot be done through the web interface and needed a command issue from remote computer.

So if you are in similar situation (In a small team where members resides indifferent geographic regions) and don't have any existing version control setup, I'd recommend give TFS Online a try.

Here's some pros/cons of using TFS Online...
Pros: 
- Free, for up to 5 users.
- No hardware/network investment needed.
- Easy to setup and use.
- All data is stored in triplicate on three physically-distinct servers. Full backups are taken every day with incremental backups every hour.

Cons: 
- Not officially supported, have to work around minor issues.
- Your source code is on the cloud.
 - No Active Directory support.
- Features are limited at the moment. (If you looking for more than simple code versioning)

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.