Microsoft closes the door on Visual Studio’s Team Rooms

For future collaboration, Microsoft encourages alternatives like Slack or its own Team Services

Microsoft's Team Room collaboration capability for application lifecycle management soon will be no more. Instead, developers will need to rely on other options, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams.

The company said this week that Team Rooms is to be deprecated from the on-premise Visual Studio Team Foundation Server at the next major version, and from the online Visual Studio Team Services platform later this year.

"We don't have a name yet for this release, but it will be the version beyond TFS 2017 and associated updates," Microsoft's Ewald Hofman, TFS program manager, said.

Explaining Microsoft's reasoning, Hoffman said more collaboration solutions have emerged since Team Rooms was added a few years ago. Slack, for one, has emerged as a popular team communication tool, while Teams provides a chat-centered workspace in Office 365. "With so many good solutions available that integrate well with TFS and Team Services, we have made a decision to deprecate our Team Room feature from both TFS and Team Services."

Both TFS and Team Services integrate with HipChat, Campfire, and Flowdock, Hoffman said, and he noted "you can also use Zapier to create your own integrations or get very granular control over the notifications that show up." Another alternative is to install the Activity Feed widget, showing activity in a team's dashboard.

Microsoft's move was lauded by a user responding to the company's bulletin about the deprecation. "Good to see this," one commenter said. "While I appreciate the innovative approach taken here, I always felt the rooms were a confusing addition to the otherwise-solid feature set of the TS offering. Chat is a very difficult domain to solve correctly, as Skype clearly demonstrates."

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