TFS Integration … Platform or Tools or both?

UPDATE 2012-05-17: This is a dated post and contains broken download links. Please refer to TFS Integration Tools (Platform) for a list of the latest posts and URLs to the latest builds.
UPDATE 2012-10-25 : Update code gallery link to http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/eb77e739-c98c-4e36-9ead-fa115b27fefe

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If you have been a visitor to our CodePlex site on http://tfsintegration.codeplex.com/ and the code gallery at http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/eb77e739-c98c-4e36-9ead-fa115b27fefe, or have been following some of our blogs and forum discussions, you may be asking yourself as to what the difference, if any, is between the TFS Integration Platform and the TFS Integration Tools.

The Codeplex site home page will be refreshed shortly to address this topic and to guide the users to the correct download site. In the mean time, let us explore this question …

The TFS Integration Platform represents the re-usable and extensible framework, that allows us to develop integration tooling. Think of it as the engine room and the software development kit (SDK). The TFS Integrations Tools are built on the TFS Integration Platform and represent the official product name that is shipped and supported by Microsoft.

Custom developers can use the TFS Integration Platform as a platform to build third-party tooling that complements the Microsoft tooling, or extend the platform itself as shown in the illustration below.

Are you looking at the right product?

  • Are you trying to understand how the TFS Integration Tools and Platform are developed, by exploring the code base?
  • Are you planning to develop your own adapters, providers or other tooling, based on the TFS Integration Platform?
  • Are you looking for the bleeding edge version and early-drops of the TFS Integration Platform or TFS Integration Tools?

If you have answered yes to any of the above, you should probably get the latest bits from: http://tfsintegration.codeplex.com/.

Alternatively you may be looking for a supported tool to install, configure and use, without much interest in the inner workings. In this case you should get the latest and supported bits from: http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/5a8d1703-7987-4081-ba2f-9d0b68b0ed3e

If we have a peek at the readiness package documentation that ships as part of the product, we will notice that the majority of the documents are focused on the platform itself, while others, such as the guidance and configuration documents are focused on the tools.

  1. The documentation that has been rebranded as TFS Integration Tools are indicated with an “X” in the Tools column.
  2. The Rational Getting Started document is under construction and is not yet included with the TFS Integration Tools.

Hope this helps to clear up some of the confusion … clear as mud?