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
- Quality assurance
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
In short, professional development teams want ALM solutions
that are different from the enterprise-focused products available today.
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
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
- On the server side, we build on the stable technologies
from our existing products, used by tens of thousands of developers every
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- On the client side, we have built entirely new
applications for the most popular IDEs, presenting the user with a
seamlessly integrated experience:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.