Getting Visual Studio 2008 to work with Team Foundation Server 2010

Recently I've been collaborating via Team Foundation Server 2010 - it's my first time, and I'll be honest... it was very gentle. It eased me in with its promise of improved Source Control (improved over Source Safe, that is) and toyed with me, sporting its ideals surrounding automated builds and work item collaboration.

Whilst I've not been directly involved with the set up, using it on a daily basis has been a refreshing change. I'm one of those developers who obsessively refactors code, renames and moves files around until I'm happy everything is in the right place, so when using Source Safe, CVS or SVN, there's quite a bit of repeat work involved when it comes to making sure the source control server is also updated. Suffice to say that TFS 2010 works beautifully in this area, keeping the local, server and project file structure the same as each other.

I've been exclusively working in Visual Studio 2010 for a while now, as I've been creating new systems rather than maintaining old ones. I recently needed to revert back to Visual Studio 2008 in order to create some SSIS packages for some good old ETL. I've not used TFS with any other version of Visual Studio, but I wasn't surprised to find out that VS 2008 doesn't let you connect to TFS (any version) out of the box. There were a few gotchas, but after installing a few updates and patches, I managed to get Visual Studio 2008 working with TFS 2010 so I could store my BI projects in the same source control system as my VS2010 solutions. Although I'm sure there's a distribution / version available with TFS support out of the box, here are the steps I took to get my vanilla Visual Studio 2008 working with TFS 2010:
  1. Install Visual Studio 2008
  2. Install Visual Studio 2008 Team Explorer
  3. Install Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1
  4. Install Visual Studio Team System 2008 SP1 Forward Compatibility Update for TFS 2010
  5. Open Visual Studio 2008 and connect to your Team Foundation Server 2010 as you would normally.
I already had VS 2008 installed, but because I haven't used it since my last reinstall, I didn't have SP1. If you install Team Explorer before SP1 (as per my instructions) and try to add a TFS 2010 server, you'll fist receive errors stating that you can't use forward slash characters etc. When I tried to add a server manually, via the below registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\TeamFoundation\Servers

... I just received another error stating that the server was an older version than was compatible with VS2008, which is obviously a load of rubbish. The key here is the "Forward Compatibility Update" listed above. Once I installed that, the UI started to act more like I would have expected it to.

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