The Future of CodePlex is Bright

Brian Harry

The last 6 months or so have been really busy around here.  Over the next several months, you’ll see a lot of what’s been keeping us busy come to light.  Clearly a big part was unveiled recently with the launch of the VS/TFS/.NET Beta.

In this post I want to talk about CodePlex.

As you probably know CodePlex is a software development/open source collaboration site that we’ve run for several years.  From the beginning it’s been based on Team Foundation Server – and for a long time, it was really the only way to experience TFS hosted “in the cloud”.  When we first began development of what is now Team Foundation Service, I knew we were eventually going to want to reconcile that with CodePlex.  It only makes sense to me for us to operate a single public service with a combination of public & private projects, community that spans them and a pricing structure that runs from free to premium (sometimes called “freemium”).

In the early days of developing the new service, I wasn’t ready to think through all of the ramifications.  I just wanted to focus on getting the base service up and going and scaling on Azure.  We’re there now – and you’ll see a bunch of exciting announcements around the service in the coming months.

Last fall, we were finally ready to take the plunge and begin figuring out what the long term roadmap to a unified service would be.  We made the decision to move responsibility for CodePlex to my team in November of last year.  We’ve spent a few months now working out where we want to go, prioritizing and beginning to build the future.  Today I’m excited to talk about the first wave of the results.

We intend CodePlex to be the premier site for open source development – particularly for anything related to Microsoft platforms.  It’s clear that in the past few years CodePlex has suffered some from lack of care and feeding and the result is that it has fallen behind some of the alternatives.  So as we began to layout a roadmap for the future, it became clear that priority #1 is to demonstrate that CodePlex is alive and kicking and we are committed to evolving the service in a direction that our community loves.

So, the first task is to take a look at the CodePlex community feedback.  As you can see, the #1 most requested CodePlex feature is Git support.  Today, we are unveiling Git support on Codeplex (alongside the existing TFS and Mercurial support).  To demonstrate the lack of momentum in recent years, if you look closely, you’ll see that suggestion has been there since 2008.  I’m very happy to say that we plan to be much more responsive and you can expect us to continue to work actively on the list of suggestions.  I’m not promising we’ll do them all nor that we’ll work precisely in the order of the voting but we will be working to make CodePlex a site you love.

You can read more about the Git support we are introducing today.  It is live and you can create your new Git based CodePlex project now.

As we are rolling out the Git enhancements, we are also putting the finishing touches on a new look and feel for the CodePlex site to give it a more modern look that is pleasing to they eye.  I’ve included a screenshot here to give you some flavor for the style we are looking at.  The design isn’t finished but you should see a draft of it go live on the site in the next few weeks.  After that we’ll iterate based on feedback.


And, as I alluded to earlier, we’ll be working to align CodePlex and Team Foundation Service into a single, scalable offering.  This work will be happening partially in parallel with the efforts to revitalize CodePlex and respond to community feedback.  It will also happen in stages rather than in one big milestone.  It will likely start by having newly created CodePlex projects hosted on the Team Foundation Service Azure infrastructure.  Then, over time, we’ll integrate the user experiences.  This isn’t a concrete plan, but rather a flavor of how we are thinking about it.

I hope you are as psyched as I am about seeing new life poured into CodePlex and into the community.  I encourage you to watch closely and participate in bringing the experience forward.



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