You don’t need to keep that old TFS server to support older versions of Visual Studio

I have recently spoken to a number of people who were under the impression that older versions of Visual Studio could not connect to TFS2010. This is not the case. So for example you do not need to keep a TFS2005 running for your VS2005 clients.

Why you might ask does this question even come up? VS2010 can build any .NET 2.0 –> 4.0 project so why not upgrade all your projects to VS2010? The answer is that products such as Biztalk and SQL Business Intelligence use older versions of the Visual Studio Shell e.g. so for SQL 2008 BI you are using in effect VS/Team Explorer 2008. Though it must be said this issue is getting better currently a BI developer still ends up having to use VS 2008 (until SSDT arrives with SQL 2012)

Also some companies may just have a policy to stay on a version of VS for their own reasons.

Either way this is not a barrier to using TFS 2010. The key to getting these older versions of Visual Studio to talk to TFS2010 is only a matter of applying the correct patch sets, so for

All the products can be installed side by side.

Another point to note is that if you are using any of the TFS 2010 PowerTools and want the same features in old versions of Team Explorer you must also install the 2005 and/or 2008 PowerTools versions. Even if the 2010 PowerTools are installed, they will not be found by the 2005 or 2008 clients. The most common time you see this issue is when using check in policies.

For those of you working with VS2003 or VB6 all is not lost, you too can use TFS 2010, you just need Team explorer 2010 installed and the MSSCCI  provider

Hope this post clears up a bit of confusion.

4 Replies to “You don’t need to keep that old TFS server to support older versions of Visual Studio”

  1. Are you ignorant of how complex the tie-ins between TFS and the specific versions of Visual Studio? Questions: What about custom work item controls that ONLY work on TFS 2005\2008 and VS 2005\2008? What about custom build targets that don't work with the upgrade template in TFS 2010? What about custom check-in policies written against 2005/2008 servers and VS 2005/2008? What about the OLAP structure changes for TFS reports? What about the TFS registry changes between versions(we store tons of stuff there)? What about server side event handlers written against TFS 2005/2008? What about the test project types, heck load testing, manual testing between TFS 2005/2008/2010? What about custom controls against WebAccess 2008? Seriously. The upgade matrix for TFS is quite complex and the clients (VS 2005/2008/2010) function differently against TFS 2005/2008/2010 In our organization we have multiple TFS 2005/TFS 2008/TFS 2010 servers in our environment and while we'd love to move everyone to TFS 2010 we'd have to re-write and re-test tons of custom code, custom applications that interact with TFS. We've looked at doing attach and detach TPC exports, the TFS integration platform (fail), and so we see for the forseeable future we'll have a mixture of 2005/2008/2010 clients/server for the next 10 years. 10 years? ORLY? yes…we still have COBOL/FORTAN developers from the 1980's still working on our systems for our Financial Ledger statements….not to mention tons of C,C++,VB5, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and sure WPF, Windows 7, Azure based apps too. You can't just kill the old and move to the shiny new thing. 🙂

  2. What I was trying to say in the post was that I have met a surprising number of people who had no idea the forward compat patches existed, hence were staying on older VS platforms because the though they had to, not because in their case they needed to. For many of the people the upgrade to TFS would have not been a major issue as they had no TFS customisation and simple product sets. You raise fair point though, as you state if you have a complex ecosystem then any move to can cause issues. The choice of whether to move has to be based on the degree of investment you have made in TFS2005/2008 customisation and whether you can build what you need. You cannot and should not just upgrade blindly.

  3. When will the following be available for download: 2008 – use Visual Studio Team System 2008 Service Pack 1 Forward Compatibility Update for Team Foundation Server 2011

  4. It is available now, I notice I had a typo on link in my post saying 2055, I have no corrected this (the link went to the right place though)

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