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3/26/2007
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Microsoft Spurs Visual Studio Team System Use With devBiz Acquisition

The devBiz acquisition will bring simple Web collaborative features to Microsoft Visual Studio Team System, its advanced toolset for geographically dispersed development teams.

On the 10th anniversary of its launch of its Visual Studio development tools, Microsoft announced that it's acquiring devBiz Business Solutions as a signal that the popular toolset is being targeted at a broader range of potential users.

The devBiz acquisition will bring simple Web collaborative features to Microsoft Visual Studio Team System, its advanced toolset for geographically dispersed development teams.

DevBiz produces TeamPlain Web Access, a Web interface for the server part of Visual Studio Team System, called Team Foundation Server. TeamPlain allows users involved in a development project to use a browser window to view and comment on a project's requirements, source code changes, and progress reports.

TeamPlain provides Web access to Team Foundation Server's shared repository of code and code change management, project work items, requirements documents, and reports.

Microsoft supplies such facilities without TeamPlain to developers already using Visual Studio Team System. They can be accessed over a local area network, or Microsoft makes them available on the Web through a second product, a Windows SharePoint Server system.

The addition of devBiz "comes down to improving the overall usability of the Visual Studio product," said Brian Harry, a Microsoft distinguished engineer for Visual Studio Team System, in comments prepared for the announcement.

"There are countless individuals who have indirect roles in the development cycle that don't necessarily require [Visual Studio]," Harry noted.

No dollar figures were given for the acquisition. Microsoft is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its 1997 launch of Visual Studio, which brought its Visual Basic, Visual C++, and C# tools together, producing code that could use the same runtime environment. Visual Studio has battled back for developer market share after Microsoft tools temporarily lost ground in Web development to Java-based tools.

Harry said Microsoft is considering the addition of other TeamPlain features to Visual Studio Team System, such as TeamPlain Customer Connect, which lets users access a public help desk and trouble ticket system.

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