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Got some questions about TFS Express 2012

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    Doctor Who

    At work we've been using Visual SourceSafe since the late 90's. It was good, for it's day, but that day has past. Last night I attended our local .NET user group where a presentation was given on Team Foundation Server 2012. I am impressed with the product and would like to give it a try, but I'm also impressed with the shear scope of TFS 2012; much more is involved than was with the old venerable VSS. So, I'd like to give it a try at home. Now, at home I don't have Active Directory. It's just a simple peer-to-peer network/workgroup. They guys at last night's meeting said that there was a TFS for workgroups. However, when I looked into it, it looks to me as though TFS for Workgroups must be installed on a 32-bit OS; I don't have one anymore. So doing some more Binging I found that there's a TFS Express 2012 and it does work on both 32-bit and 64-bit OS's, so I thought maybe I could give that a try. I'm downloading it even as I type this.

    So here's some questions. Does TFS Express 2012 work with regular Visual Studio 2012, or does it only work with the various Visual Studio Express SKUs? Second, how different is TFS Express compared with the regular TFS? Will I get a good idea what TFS is like, using the Express version? Can I put TFS 2012 Express on my Windows 8 Pro desktop, and access it from my Windows 8 laptop?

  • User profile image

    Instead of installing it yourself, you might check out the free cloud version of TFS. This will let you play with the latest and greatest version of TFS without having to install anything. You can even use it as a destination for a VSS conversion (which you can find more about here, Here's the URL for the Team Foundation Service (TFS in the cloud),

    To answer your questions:

    Yes, TFS Express works with the full/normal versions of VS.

    Brian Harry has a good post on the differences,, but in short, yes, you'll get a good feel for basic TFS with Express.

    The Express edition is essentially the same TFS as you get when you install the TFS Basic wizard except that the install is trimmed down and streamlined to make it incredibly fast and easy. In addition to the normal TFS Basic install limitations (no Sharepoint integration, no reporting), TFS Express:

    1. Is limited to no more than 5 named users.
    2. Only supports SQL Server Express Edition (which we'll install for you, if you don't have it)
    3. Can only be installed on a single server (no multi-server configurations)
    4. Excludes the TFS Proxy and the new Preemptive analytics add-on.

    Of course, your team might grow or you might want more capability. You can add more users by simply buying Client Access Licenses (CALs) for the additional users – users #6 and beyond. And if you want more of the standard TFS features, you can upgrade to a full TFS license without losing any data.

    Yes, you can access TFS Express on a different machine than what it was installed on.

    Another option, is that Brian Keller,, has a couple Hyper-V VM's that are complete TFS installes, we're talking everything. They are big, and require a system that supports Hyper-V (like Windows 8 Smiley, but if you're looking for a peek into TFS, these are also hard to beat, &

    Hope this helps.


  • User profile image
    Doctor Who

    @gduncan411: Thank you for such a thorough reply! We don't use SharePoint at work now, so we wouldn't loose anything there. However, the thing the guys really talked about at last night's .NET meeting, was the reporting features of TFS 2012. If TFS Express 2012 doesn't have reporting, then it does seem as though I'd be missing a very important feature. That's unfortunate. So then, what I get "out of the box" with TFS Express, is version control and agile planning features, correct? I already have SQL Server 2008 Express (or perhaps it's SQL Server 2008 R2 Express) on my desktop, but I don't believe it's the default instance, as I also have SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition, which is the default instance. Does TFS Express require that it's database be in the default instance?

    Personally, I am really favoring installing a local instance. Sorry, I'm just more comfortable with a local instance. However, with TFS in the Cloud, how is one's source code treated? For example, I believe with Git (which I have no experience with) one's source code is open to everyone to see and modify, unless you pay for private storage on Git. Is that the way it is with TFS in the Cloud?

  • User profile image
    Doctor Who

    @gduncan411: WOW, just took a look at Brian Keller's blog post you linked to on the Hyper-V demos and VM's. I don't have the necessary hardware here at home, and unfortunately don't have it at work, either. Heck, we're still limping along with Windows 2003 R2 Server. Sad

  • User profile image

    @Doctor Who: The Team Foundation Service (TFS in the Cloud) is 100% private, no matter if you choose to use the TFVC (the old/traditional) version control system, or GIT. Both are first class citizens and both are only exposed to the people you save they are. It's a real TFS, just running on MS's hardware. There's a few things you can't do with it, like builds with custom components, but all in all, it's very complete and kept even more up to date than the one you install in your data center.

    It's free for 5 users, so there's no harm checking it out, to at least get yourself familiar with TFS.

    Yes, TFS Express gets you version control and work item management (i.e. user stories, bug tracking, etc). It's about 100% more powerful than VSS, but the full version is 1000%...

    I've not actually installed it, so I can't say how it handles already installed databases. I do know they've put in a great deal of effort to try to make it click-click-click easy to install, so...

    BTW, not to toot my own horn, but there's this great TFS podcast... RadioTFS (where I just happen to be a co-host Smiley and all we talk is TFS stuff. Worse case, the show notes are a great resource for TFS.

  • User profile image
    Doctor Who

    @gduncan411: Thank you very much for this great information. ANd I love podcasts, so I'm going to subscribe to your TFS Podcasts right away, thanks!

  • User profile image

    We recently started using TFS 2010 at work. The source control is so easy to use, and the automated builds and deployments make our whole process much more foolproof.

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