SourceGear announces Project "Allerton"
I'm writing this blog entry to share an exciting bit of news from SourceGear: We have decided to announce the fact that we are developing a new product which will be released later this year. The code-name for this new product is "Allerton". In a nutshell, Allerton is a Linux/Solaris/MacOS client for Team Foundation.
What is Team Foundation?
A bit of background: With Visual Studio 2005, Microsoft will be introducing a suite of new tools called Visual Studio Team System targeted especially at enterprise customers. Team Foundation is the server component which offers source control and work item tracking as part of Visual Studio Team System.
Why would anybody need a non-Windows client?
The primary client for Team Foundation is Visual Studio itself, but that obviously runs only on Windows. If you have even one person who needs to access source control or work item tracking from a non-Windows platform, this is a big problem. In large enterprise environments, this is not only a big problem, it is a common one.
To address this need, we are building tools which allow users on Linux/Solaris/MacOS to access the source control and work item tracking features of Team Foundation. The Allerton product will include a rich GUI client, a command-line client, and support for integration with Eclipse.
How much will Allerton cost?
Pricing for this product has not yet been announced. Don't ask me about it. I'm not saying anything until we make an official announcement.
When will this product ship?
We plan to release Allerton later this year in the same time frame as Visual Studio 2005. We will demo the product at our booth at Tech-Ed in June.
Isn't this a big change in SourceGear's strategy?
No. SourceGear has two main products, SourceOffSite and Vault. These two products are very different. One is a SourceSafe add-on, and the other is a SourceSafe replacement. Vault and SourceOffSite are very distinct. They are developed by two different teams.
It may seem goofy for the company who makes Vault to develop an add-on product for somebody else's source control tool. But Allerton is the next logical step for the SourceOffSite side of our company. Just as SourceOffSite is an add-on for SourceSafe, Allerton is an add-on for Team Foundation.
Does this mean you are giving up on Vault?
Heck no. The Vault team is busy working on the next release. Vault's momentum is strong and growing. December 2004 was a record month for SourceGear revenue, and it was the first month that Vault sales beat SourceOffSite sales.
Doesn't Team Foundation compete with Vault? By building Allerton, aren't you consorting with the enemy?
The positioning of Team Foundation and Vault will be so different that the sense of competition between them will be a lot less than you think. Compared to Vault, Team Foundation will be much larger and much more expensive. Team Foundation will be most popular in large enterprise scenarios with hundreds of developers. Vault is very popular in the "professional developer" market segment where teams typically have less than 100 developers.
I believe Team Foundation will succeed. I believe Vault will continue to succeed. I also believe Perforce, AccuRev, and Subversion will continue to succeed. The source control market is very fragmented, with lots of profitable and popular products. That won't change anytime soon.
No, really, why are you doing this Allerton thing?
For the money! As a private company, we don't publicly disclose our revenue numbers, but trust me on this -- SourceOffSite makes a lot of money. This product has made me a believer in the strategy of building add-ons for popular products.
It may take a long time, but eventually Team Foundation is going to become a popular product. Some ISV is going to make a boatload of money selling Unix clients for it. It seems silly to think about that money going to somebody else. Our experience with SourceOffSite makes SourceGear the natural company for the job.
But I heard somewhere that companies are supposed to be focused. Doesn't this dilute SourceGear's focus?
If you think Allerton is a change of focus for us, that is only because you have no idea how much time I've spent thinking about the opportunities in software for woodworkers. :-)
Where does the name "Allerton" come from?
Allerton Park is a really cool place, not too far from SourceGear's office. If you hate this code-name, don't worry -- it's just a placeholder to be used until we figure out the real product name.