Introducing SourceGear Fortress

Warning:  Blatant marketing hype ahead.  Use Caution.  :-)

Below is the text of a marketing whitepaper we are releasing this week.  The PDF version of the whitepaper is here.

Introducing SourceGear Fortress

The ALM Solution for Professional Development Teams

Development Teams Want Integration

The world of software development is always changing.  We've come a long way since the days when all we needed was a compiler and a text editor.  Today, there is a vast array of "team tools" available, including version control software, bug tracking systems, project management software, automated build tools and automated testing frameworks.

In the last fifteen years, our industry has greatly increased its use of such tools:

  • Fifteen years ago, most development teams had little or nothing in the way of tools to help them be more effective.  Some used version control.  A few used bug tracking.  Very few used automated builds or automated testing.
  • Ten years ago, version control and bug-tracking had become more common, but were still employed by a minority of software teams.
  • Five years ago, the use of team tools had increased, but in a piecemeal fashion.  Developers assembled a complete solution by picking and choosing from each category.  They would select one vendor for version control, a second for bug-tracking, and a third for build management.  The various tools were generally not integrated.  The resulting solution was complex and often costly.
  • Today, the use of these team tools is more widespread than ever, and expectations are rising.  Developers, dissatisfied with the level of integration across vendors, are searching for a seamless solution.   They demand the sort of tightly-coupled package that comes from a single vendor who will provide excellent customer support.

Looking into the future, we can predict continued adoption rates and better integration.  In five years software teams will expect a seamlessly integrated solution.  Development teams will no longer consider version control and bug tracking separate products.  They will expect a package that offers both in a seamless and fully integrated fashion.

Application Lifecycle Management

Today, the term most closely associated with the concept of an integrated solution is "Application Lifecycle Management".  An increasingly common substitute for that ten-syllable term is "ALM".

As implied by the word "lifecycle", ALM solutions typically include tools for every phase of the software development process:

  • Project management
  • Project tracking
  • Requirements planning
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Quality assurance
  • Builds
  • Release management

The leading ALM vendors today include IBM, Borland and Microsoft.  Not surprisingly, their ALM solutions are very focused on enterprise customers.  And why not?  The enterprise ALM market is an attractive place to do business.  When a large enterprise buys an ALM solution, the transaction can be in the millions of dollars.

Not Just For The Enterprise

We use Microsoft's terminology to describe the various tiers of the software development industry:

  • The word "Enterprise" refers to a company with at least 500 developers.
  • The word "Professional" refers to a company with less than 500 developers.  Such a company is also referred to as a "small or medium-sized business" or "SMB".

It is common to see enterprise companies with 5,000 or more developers.  Due primarily to the sheer size of these organizations, enterprise development teams have special needs.  Today's ALM products are specifically targeted to meet those special needs.

At SourceGear, we believe that large teams are not the only ones who can benefit from an integrated solution.  Small and medium-sized companies want ALM too, but they want solutions designed for their special needs.

  • They want an ALM tool which is painless.  It should be easy to install.  It should have an intuitive user interface.  Its ongoing maintenance burden should be minimal.  Small and medium-sized businesses typically do not have the resources to hire an employee just to baby sit the ALM server.
  • They want an ALM tool which supports their way of working.  Enterprise development tends to place a lot of emphasis on formal processes, strict policies and documented methodologies.  In contrast, most small and medium-sized teams find those features too heavy-handed.
  • They want an ALM tool which is affordable.  Its pricing should be easy to understand.  Purchasing should be straightforward.  The cost should be compatible with the leaner budgets often found in small and medium-sized businesses.

In short, professional development teams want ALM solutions that are different from the enterprise-focused products available today.

SourceGear Fortress

SourceGear has been selling developer tools with a special focus on professional development teams since 1997.  Our flagship product, SourceGear Vault, is extremely popular as a reliable, powerful, and affordable option for the millions of developers working in small and medium-sized businesses today.

In 2007, SourceGear will launch an ALM solution especially designed for those same users.  We call it SourceGear Fortress.

Our recipe for building this product begins with the highest quality ingredients:

  1. On the server side, we build on the stable technologies from our existing products, used by tens of thousands of developers every day:
    1. Start with the mature and powerful version control features from SourceGear Vault.  We have done seven major releases of Vault since it was introduced in 2003.  Today, Vault has over 25,000 users all over the world.
    2. Add the features of SourceGear Dragnet for work item tracking and project management.  SourceGear customers have been using this technology for over six years as we have continually refined its features, stability and performance.
    3. Mix these two technologies together to form a powerful and stable server, completely integrated.  The Fortress server has one installer, one login system, and one place to manage license keys.
  2. On the client side, we have built entirely new applications for the most popular IDEs, presenting the user with a seamlessly integrated experience:
    1. Our client for Visual Studio 2005 is a full-featured way to access the Fortress server.  It provides version control and work item tracking functionality inside the Visual Studio environment.
    2. For Java developers and cross-platform teams, Fortress includes an Eclipse plugin, offering the same features and functionality as our Visual Studio client.  The Eclipse client is supported on Windows, Linux, Solaris, and MacOS.
    3. For developing scripts and custom solutions, Fortress includes an easy-to-use client API, accessible from either Java or .NET.

The result is an exciting product that we believe many professional development teams will see as an attractive option.  SourceGear Fortress is an integrated solution, an ALM system designed specifically for the needs of small and medium-sized development teams.

Pricing and Release Schedule

SourceGear Fortress 1.0 is tentatively scheduled for release in March 2007.  Pricing is $499 for developers and $199 for non-developers.  Current customers of SourceGear Vault and Dragnet who want to transition to Fortress will be offered special pricing.

Those who prefer to stay with Vault need not worry about its future.  Vault is SourceGear's flagship product, and we have big plans for it.  Vault 4.0 is scheduled to be released simultaneously with Fortress 1.0.  New features will include:

  • New admin tool, improved user interface
  • New Java support and Eclipse integration, offering greatly improved support for cross-platform development teams
  • New Visual Studio 2005 integration client, greatly improved over the MSSCCI-based client

In addition, we have already sketched out our plans for Vault 5.0, 6.0 and beyond.

Vault 4.0 will continue to support integration with third-party bug tracking systems such as FogBugz (Fog Creek) and OnTime (Axosoft).

SourceGear Fortress will not replace Vault.  We know many customers will continue to prefer the simplicity and elegance of our flagship version control product.  Others will need the richer functionality of our integrated ALM solution.  Both groups of customers will continue to receive the excellent technical support for which our company is known.

About SourceGear

SourceGear has been selling team tools for professional software developers since 1997.  In 2002, we were named #156 on the Inc 500, an annual list of the fastest growing private companies in America, published by Inc Magazine.