Flex Builder integration with TFS

Posted: 02/06/08

An image of Flex Builder integration with TFS

The development team I'm part of uses Team Foundation Server as the backbone for its source control and task management. The client for this is conventionally Visual Studio, as most of the developers are working on Microsoft technologies. For me, having Visual Studio open just for the purposes of checking code in and out, and updating my tasks, is massive waste of my system's resources; given I'm already running Flex Builder 3 and/or Flash CS3. There is a web interface to our TFS server, but I find it slow, and far inferior to a desktop-based client.

Luckily, there is a solution!

A firm called Teamprise have built a plug-in solution for Eclipse/Flex Builder. I've been using it for the past month, and whilst I had a couple of minor teething issues, I've found it to have increased my workflow and productivity.

Checkout's are managed for you, so when you edit a file in your project, the plug-in will automatically check the file out for you. A new tab panel at the bottom shows your Pending Changes, and the familiar check-in process tabs from TFS. You can associate your check-in with a work item assigned to you, and also undo changes on certain files if you wish. One thing I had trouble with initially was the plug-in's insistence on adding any new files created in the project to source control. Whilst helpful at times, this meant that temporary build files, bin directories and project metadata files were being added too. Eventually I found a way to prevent this using a .tpignore file (I'll try and post an example of this shortly).

The Team Explorer tab offers you access to your TFS tree, including full access to your source control. You can checkout files that aren't part of your project here, and you can also add, view and modify work items.

The plug-in is best installed using Eclipse 'Software Updates' option on the help menu; specifying that you want to install a new feature. This method contacts the download location for you, and installs the plug-in for you, without you having to worry about where to unpack .jar files etc... The remote site URL you need to use is http://update.teamprise.com/plugin/3.0/

In summary, if your development team is using TFS, you'll wonder how you ever coped without this small, but essential piece of kit!

Teamprise Eclipse/Flex Builder plug-in

Keywords for this post: flex builder, eclipse, teamprise, tfs, plug-in, source control