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How TFS Lost my Trust

November 26, 2008

This morning, I spent the first 30 minutes of my day figuring out why the CI build failed after I checked in some changes to the code. No big deal, right? I just messed up. Turns out that I didn't screw up the code but TFS did.

Before committing the code to the source repository, I merged with the latest version on the trunk and ran all the unit tests. Everything was fine and dandy. After I checked in the code, TFS decided in all its wisdom to not update 5 source files, which were randomly picked of course. I didn't get any errors when I committed the code, so I was completely unaware of any problems whatsoever.

When I noticed that the CI build had failed, I naturally tried to figure out what was going on. From the build log I noticed some compiler errors about classes that couldn't be found. I checked and double-checked whether I forgot to commit them, but I didn't.

This is something that happens about once or more times a week. To fix this again, a colleague has to update its local copy of the source code and determine which files are skipped by TFS. Then I have to 'touch' those files on my machine and check them back in. At this point, valuable time of two persons is wasted.

I strongly believe that a source control system is the backbone of any proficient and productive development team. If you can't rely on a stable source control system, then what's the point? I consider TFS to be seriously broken. The upside of this sad story is that I've really come to appreciate a stable source control system like Subversion and the people who spent their free time in order to accomplish that.

There, I've got it out of my system. I can breathe normal again.

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Jan Van Ryswyck

Thank you for visiting my blog. I’m a professional software developer since Y2K. A blogger since Y2K+5. Curator of the Awesome Talks list. Past organizer of the European Virtual ALT.NET meetings. Thinking and learning about all kinds of technologies since forever.

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Thank you for visiting my website. I’m a professional software developer since Y2K. A blogger since Y2K+5. Curator of the Awesome Talks list. Past organizer of the European Virtual ALT.NET meetings. Thinking and learning about all kinds of technologies since forever.

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