CodePlex kicks ass. There. I said it.
And my SharePoint Forums Web Part project has a new home. On CodePlex. Cool.
CodePlex is the brainchild of Microsoft and is basically a public facing Visual Studio Team Foundation workspace (the first one that I know of) for hosting and sharing of community projects. If you’re familiar with sites like SourceForge and GotDotNet, it’s very similar. SourceForge is closer to what CodePlex offers (or the other way around if you prefer) in that you have discussion forums, file releases, news, source code, a Wiki, etc. except that rather than hosted on Linux and using CVS/Subversion it’s all ASP.NET 2.0 baby and Team Foundation Server.
Although (and feel free to quote me on this) GDN just plain blows monkey chunks. When I go there, navigation is a nightmare and half the time I end up looking at the main page when I thought I was in a project. Also (just today for instance) I joined a new project, was approved and all that then tried to download the project files and was asked to join. I gave up after signing in a dozen ways to Sunday (oh and how I just love Passport). Nuff said.
I really love SourceForge and it’s served me well (and the other 60,000 projects hosted on it). Will CodePlex be the next SourceForge? I don’t know but I do know I’m going to enjoy working with CodePlex that much more. Complete Visual Studio integration, wikis, work items, tracking, forums, etc. That just works for me.
Okay, some people will gripe and say SourceForge (or the much improved GForge) is much easier to use and doesn’t require a $15,000 client to access it. Fear not as you can use the “tf” command line tool to use even if you don’t have Team Suite (which means you can still use say the free Express edition for development but still access your project on CodePlex). That’s the beauty of TFS, it’s open ended and I’m sure the command line client won’t be the last one you see (hint: hey TortoiseCVS and TortoiseSVN guys, it would be great if someone could put together a cool TortoiseTS project).
The main thing that I’m digging is the Wiki support so I’m just going to fill the site with documentation on the Web Part so I don’t have to keep posting tidbits on my blog or through emails. The collaboration features of CodePlex are going to be quite cool too since I could (eventually) have a team around the world working on the Web Part, all checking stuff in etc. in a nice interface without having to leave the comfort of Visual Studio.
Yeah, I know. You’re all saying Bil has just become a Microsoft brainwashed addict and has gone off his rocker spouting gobs of Team Server propaganda. Like we care since so many other sites have done far more for far less so what’s the big deal. I’m sure people will continue to say sites like SourceForge (and others) far surpass what CodePlex could ever be. Guys, don’t review the movie just from the trailer. Sure, CodePlex isn’t something that we haven’t seen before but it’s a damn better step forward than what GDN offers and (IMHO) can only get bigger and better. Time will tell.
I’ve just got the Forum project site setup and will be adding documentation, releases, and source code to it over the next week or so. There are some forums there, so feel free to sign up on CodePlex (it’s free of course) to ask questions, share experiences (good, bad, or ugly), suggest features, and all that jazz. Feel free to visit the site for updates as well and collaboration on the project (and I’ll be posting updates here but most of them will redirect to pages on CodePlex) and let’s make it the most popular one on the system (at least until something better comes along).
Oh yeah, while this is my first project on CodePlex (and from what I was told, the first non-MS project hosted there) this certainly won’t be my last project on CodePlex.
You can check out my SharePoint Forums CodePlex site here. I’ve also posted the file as a release now so please use this link to grab it (this includes a license agreement page you need to agree to in order to download the file) as I’ll be removing the old one. SharePoint Forums is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
P.S. sorry for the over abundant use of the word “cool” in this blog. It’s been a good (and long) caffeine enriched day.