Using Team Foundation Server and Team Explorer with CodePlex

About Team Explorer

Team Explorer (TE) is graphical user interface (GUI) application that acts as a client for CodePlex projects, allowing users to connect to the CodePlex Team Foundation Server.

It is essentially a version of Visual Studio with all the development features removed, providing only the necessary functionality for working with the Visual Studio Team System. The application integrates directly into the Visual Studio IDE. However, Team Explorer also works as a stand-alone client for CodePlex project contributors that don’t have Visual Studio installed.

For additional help with using Team Explorer, see http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms181304.aspx.

Obtaining the Team Explorer Client

!! Warning !! - If you use the Team Explorer client then it will add source control binding information into your project files. When users download your source code and try to open it in Visual Studio they will get error messages because of the source control bindings. You can use any of the other available source control clients as an alternative.


You can use Team Explorer as a stand-alone source control client, or if you have any version of Visual Studio installed (except the Express editions) than the Team Explorer client will install itself as an add-on which gives you full source control integration within your Visual Studio IDE.

Downloading Team Explorer

  • Team Explorer 2010 - This is the version of Team Explorer that integrates with Visual Studio 2010. This download is 304 MB. Download and install instructions are on the download page when you click on the link.
  • Team Explorer 2008 - This is the version of Team Explorer that integrates with Visual Studio 2008. This download is 387 MB. Download and install instructions are on the download page when you click on the link. Due to upgrading all TFS servers to TFS 2010 you will need to install the 2008 forward campatibility pack
  • Team Explorer 2005 - This is the version of Team Explorer that integrates with Visual Studio 2005. This download is 246 MB. Download and install instructions are on the download page when you click on the link. Due to upgrading all TFS servers to TFS 2010 you will need to install the 2005 forward campatibility pack
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Install Team Explorer

This help topic shows you how to install Team Explorer from the extracted VSTFClient.img file you downloaded from Microsoft Download Center. As mentioned in Obtaining the Team Explorer Client, the .img file must first be extracted using a third-party tool before you can run setup. For help with extracting the .img file, see How to extract the VSTFClient.img File.

To install Team Explorer from the extract setup files
  1. Browse to the location where you extracted the NetSetup folder, and then double-click this folder to open it.
  2. From the NetSetup folder, locate and double-click the setup.exe file.
  3. If prompted to install the program as user with administrative privileges, type the User name and Password of such a user.
  4. Click OK to launch the Visual Studio Team Explorer Setup.
  5. From the Welcome to Setup dialog, click Next.
  6. From the License Terms and Product Key dialog, read the terms of the License Agreement, select I accept the terms of the License Agreement, and then click Next.
  7. From the Destination Folder dialog, click Next. (Note that you may not be able to change the destination location.)
  8. From the Ready to Install dialog, click Install.
  9. After the Team Explorer is installed, click Finish.

Team Explorer is now ready to use. To run the program, click Start, point to All Programs (or Programs from the classic Start Menu), point to Microsoft Visual Studio, and then click Microsoft Visual Studio.

For more information about using Visual Studio Team System, see Visual Studio Team System Resources.

Connect to a CodePlex Project using Team Explorer

You will only have permission to connect to the CodePlex Team Foundation Server using Team Explorer for a particular project if you have been added as a Coordinator or Developer of that project.

The first time you connect to a CodePlex project using Team Explorer, if it is not the default setting, you must first select Visual Studio Team Foundation Server as source-control plug in. Once you’ve set up the connection, you will not need to repeat these steps unless you want to make changes to your connection or want to add additional team project connections.
To connect to your project in Visual Studio, use the settings on the project's Source Control tab, accessed by clicking the Visual Studio Team Explorer link.

Team Explorer Areas, Iterations, Documents, and Reports

Areas are mapped to "Components" and iterations are mapped to "Releases" in the web UI. The document repository (SharePoint) and reporting (SQL Reporting Server) functionality are not available with CodePlex.

See our documentation on issue tracker for details on adding componenets and releases for adding releases.

About tf: the Command–Line Client for Team Foundation

For developers that prefer managing projects from the command line, Microsoft offers tf—a powerful command–Line utility included with the Visual Studio Team System. tf includes the following features:
  • Complete version control feature set.
  • Check-ins on a one change at a time basis.
  • Powerful branching and merging.
  • Shelving.
For a walkthrough on using the tf for source control, see http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/zthc5x3f.aspx.

Using the VSTF Server MSSCCI Provider for Version Control

The Visual Studio Team Foundation Server MSSCCI Provider enables integrated use of Team Foundation Version Control with products that don't support Team Explorer integration. Such products include the following:
  • Visual Studio .NET 2003
  • Visual C++ 6 SP6
  • Visual Visual Basic 6 SP6
  • Visual FoxPro 9 SP1
  • Microsoft Access 2003 SP2
  • SQL Server Management Studio
To download the VSTF Server MSSCCI Provider for Version Control, visit the Microsoft Download Center.

You may also find answers to questions about the VSTF Server MSSCCI Provider for Version Control in the Team Foundation Server Version Control Forum.

TFS Features Available to CodePlex Projects

CodePlex enables you to use the source code version control and work item tracking features of TFS. None of the other TFS features are available at this time.

TFS Process Template

CodePlex uses a custom process template that is a simplified variation of the MSF Agile process template.

Here are the process template files we use: BasicProcessTemplate_2010.zip

TFS Version Control: Renames and Moves

In order to rename, you will need to tell the tool that you are renaming. If you're using the Visual Studio plugin, then renaming or moving something within Visual Studio automatically queues up the rename/move for the next check-in.

You can also use the command line client (tf.exe) to do renames and moves.

Connection Trouble with TFS Server

To troubleshoot TFS connection issues, try the following:
  • Verify that you are running the RTM version of Team Explorer or VSTS (versus the beta or RC version)
  • Verify that you are logged into your machine as an administrator
  • Try clearing your local TFS cache, which is located in the following two folders:
    • C:\Documents and Settings\Default User\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Team Foundation\1.0\Cache
    • C:\Documents and Settings\<login name>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Team Foundation\1.0\Cache

If you are still having trouble, try going through the “Forgot Password” link to reset your password. (Note: you need to use Forgot Password, and not the normal Change Password option). Try connecting again.

Access Trouble: TFS Options are Greyed Out

Make sure that you have selected Visual Studio Team Foundation Server for source control. To do this, go into the Visual Studio options menu and select Visual Studio TFS as the Current source control plug-in. Then, select Tools r-arrow.gif Options r-arrow.gif Source Control r-arrow.gif Plug-in Selection.

Support for TFS

CodePlex does not provide technical support for TFS. Please try posting your question in the TFS forum located at http://forums.microsoft.com.

Atomic Check-ins

TFS tracks the source control system using changesets (so it behaves more like Subversion than CVS, for example). Those changesets can also be automatically associated with changes in work items in the item tracking database. The Visual Studio GUI for checking into TFS makes this very simple.

Branching and Tagging Speed

See the Team Foundation Weblog for more information on branching, merging, and shelving for more information: http://blogs.msdn.com/team_foundation/archive/2005/02/23/379179.aspx.

You may also try one of our other source control clients, if this does not meet your needs.

Last edited Nov 15, 2012 at 9:59 PM by tomcornelius, version 25