Where to store documents in TFS

I have had several discussions with people I work with about where to put your documents when using Team Foundation Server. Obviously there are several places to put documentation depending on what sort of document it is. There are at least three places that make sense to me:

  • In the SharePoint Portal
  • In the Version Control repository
  • As attachments on Work Items

Each of these places has their advantages and disadvantages. I have found two interesting blog posts on one by Jason Barile and one by Jeff Atwood. For me I only use Work Item attachments for documents that have no project-historic value and only cover a single work item. Screen shots for bugs is a classic example. Anything that is scoped to more than a single work item or might be of value for new project members as background material or details of why the system has been built the way it is must be stored somewhere more visible.

The Version Control repository is great for code, but for me I really don’t want to see documentation in there for two reasons. All project members might not have Team Explorer installed. That means that anything that is placed under source control is effectively hidden to project members who don’t work in Visual Studio. In addition the documents might not be fully visible to project members who do use Visual Studio since generally we map up our Solutions and projects and get the latest version through the IDE integration in the Solution Explorer not by using the Source Control Explorer. So if someone creates a new folder in Source Control that is not part of one of the projects that I am working on then I generally won’t see it straight away. The SharePoint Portal has two advantages visibility and accessibility. All the documents are clearly visible in one place (Documents and Lists) and in addition we are not restricted to documents we can also use lists and WebParts to display additional data like reports and external links to help project members understand whats going on in addition to just getting hold of the right documents. Users who want to find information aren’t required to have Visual Studio installed and configured they only need a browser to get hold of the documents.

  • Use the SharePoint Portal for info that needs high visibility.
  • Use the Version Control repository for code.
  • Use Work Item attachments for documents that only relate to a single work item.

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