New codplex TFS command line client

Cast your mind back...

If you recall (maybe you don't) there was some discussion a while
back about Codplex, TFS and the fact that it's a bit of a wash for creating an collaborative environment for an open source project... why?  Well because of the chasm between developers for the project and those users who wish to collaborate by providing small patches, or working on the bleeding edge (i.e. checking out changes since the last time they build your project from source)

Just to recap the big problems were:

  • No support for patches
  • No anonymous check-outs
  • No easy way to diff/merge between your version and the latest version on source control (because you could only get the source as a tarball).

In particular I remember Ayendes posts on the subject, which sparked a bit of debate on the whole issue (and even got some feedback from the codeplex developers themselves...)

Codeplex's new command line client

Well it looks like one small step has been taken this week, check out this
on the codeplex blog ... There is now a .Net 2.0 command-line client being developed, which will include support for:
  • Anonymous checkouts (hurray! dragging down a tar ball every time there were changes... what an arse that is/was)
  • Merging
  • Patching

I got all excited (well as excited as you can be about a command line client for TFS) and grabbed the beta... really all I cared about was anonymous checkouts... I like my open source medium rare (mmm... nothing like a fresh check-out of castle... release candidates
never have any of the fun stuff!)

But my hopes were dashed - it appears there's no way to skip the authorisation check as far as I can see, and when supplying my own credentials I didn't have access:


cpc co reflectoraddins:/ c:devresourcesreflector


Username [sndanonymous_cp]: bittercoder

Password for bittercoder: ********

error: TF50309: You do not have sufficient permissions to perform
this operation

. ---> Attempted to perform an unauthorized operation.

I guess there's a little more waiting to go yet...

Still, not to get too disheartended I decided to try it on a project I coordinate for (ye olde Splicer...) and I can certainly confirm it works... considering that the command line tools are less than 200K, this is already a great improvement over the current situtation... (about 250mb to download Team Explorer's iso).


cpc co splicer:/ c:devhomesplicer_copy

A    c:devhomesplicer_copy

A    c:devhomesplicer_copysrc

A    c:devhomesplicer_copysrcASL - Apache
Software Foundation License.txt

.... and so on ;o)

So as you can see ... it does work... but I have to say it's pretty damn slow (could just be because I'm in New Zealand of course).

At any rate... I'll be keeping my eye on it... there may be hope for codeplex yet ;o)

... and on one last note... the gui check-in looks a little like TortoiseSVN don't you think...  hopefully the work towards some feature parity there.

Written on March 28, 2007