Getting started with Ivercy and Team Foundation Server

This guide describes how to set up the development environment for Microsoft Team Foundation Server as version control software to manage your Microsoft Access project with Ivercy.

Installing Team Foundation Server

The first step in using Team Foundation Server is setting up the server. As we have not extensive first hand expertise on that matter and you will most likely have done that already, we skip this step here.

If you do not want to set up your own Team Foundation Server, there is a very good alternative in Visual Studio Online. This is a cloud service from Microsoft, which allows you to use TFS in the cloud for up to 5 user free of charge.

Setting up the Repository

Log in to your Team Foundation Server or into Visual Studio Online and create a new TFS project for your Access Database. – You can of course use an existing project as well. Ivercy will automatically create a new folder in the repository when a new database is added.

The Process template of the project is not related to version control. Therefore we do not cover this topic here.

The project you choose or add for your work with Ivercy and Microsoft Access has to use TFS Version control. Only Team Foundation Version Control is currently supported with Ivercy. There are some 3rd party MSSCCI-Provider available for git, but we have not tested any one of them yet.

Local set up

Team Foundation Server MSSCCI Provider

For Ivercy to work with TFS you need an MSSCCI Provider for Team Foundation Server. Please install the appropriate TFS Provider for your Team Foundation Server installation. These are the current download links:

MSSCCI Provider for Team Foundation Server 2010

MSSCCI Provider for Team Foundation Server 2012

MSSCCI Provider for Team Foundation Server 2013, 2015, 2017 and Visual Studio Online

Team Explorer

Microsoft Team Explorer is a system requirement for the TFS-MSSCCI-Provider. You explicitly need either Team Explorer 2012 (with the latest updates applied) or Team Explorer 2013. Even if you connect to a newer version of Team Foundation Server.

While you usually do not need to work in Team Explorer when you use Ivercy as interface to TFS, we strongly recommend to have Team Explorer available to manage the repository on TFS.

Team Explorer is available for download from Microsoft. However, you either need a free Visual Studio Dev Essentials account or a MSDN-Subscription to download Team Explorer.

If you are logged into that account you should find Team Explorer 2013 by using this link: https://my.visualstudio.com/Downloads?q=visual%20studio%202013%20team%20explorer

Setting up Ivercy

When using Local Change Tracking in Ivercy, Ivercy might perform additional merge operations your source code control system will not know about. For this end you need to configure a merge tool for Ivercy in addition to the standard merge tool of the source code control client.

Start Access and navigate to the Backstage (File Tab in the Ribbon). In the start screen of Access 2013 and Access 2016 click Other Files first, then click the Ivercy tab. Open the Ivercy Global Options dialog. Find the External Programs section and there enter the path to your favorite Diff/Merge-Tool in the MergeProgram program setting and an appropriate command line in the MergeCommandline setting.

A good choice for a merge tool would be the vsDiffMerge utility of Visual Studio. This tool is also included in the Team Explorer Download mentioned earlier, so you can use it even if you do not have Visual Studio installed.

The settings for vsDiffMerge should be

MergeCommandline

/m "{repoFile}" "{accFile}" "{baselineFile}" "{outputFile}"

MergeProgram

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 12.0\Common7\IDE\vsDiffMerge.exe

The path in the MergeProgram setting for vsDiffMerge depends on your installation path of Visual Studio or Team Explorer. Pay attention to the version number in the path!

This command line should work with all versions of vsDiffMerge from 2012 to 2015. However, we experienced that it does not work (fails without error message) with some versions of the VS2013 vsDiffMerge. (We believe this to be a defect in those versions of vsDiffMerge and currently we do not have instructions on how to resolve this issue.)

If you don't get vsDiffMerge to work, you could have a look at our list of diff/merge-tools for an alternative.

Connecting to TFS with Ivercy and Microsoft Access

Now you are ready to connect to TFS. The first step would be to either add a local Access database to the source code control repository or to get an existing database from your repository.

To do this you use either the “Add Database to (default SCC-Provider)”- or “Create from (default SCC-Provider)”-Button in the Ivercy-Ribbon in Microsoft Access. This will bring up the connection dialog for TFS.

The following descriptions and screenshots are for the Add...-operation, but creating a local database from the repository is very similar.

Connection dialog

When connecting to Visual Studio Online you should use settings similar to the settings provided in this sample. If you are connecting to your own Team Foundation Server you should ask the administrator of that server for the proper settings.

Enter https://yourVSOAccount.visualstudio.com/DefaultCollection in the Team Foundation Server name field. The Port number and Protocol fields are not needed then.

After adding the appropriate server, select it in the connection dialog and click OK.

Choose Folder in Team Foundation Server dialog

In this dialog select a folder in the repository for you Access project. We recommend that the folder name is the same as the Access database name (default setting).

The MSSCCI Provider for TFS requires a server workspace to operate. We recommend you create a dedicated workspace for the use with Microsoft Access and Ivercy. Use the “Add”-Button in this dialog to create a new workspace.

Ivercy Object List dialog

In the Object List dialog select all your Access objects, enter a comment and click ok. Then all the objects from your database will be added to the TFS repository and you database is checked in to version control.

Ivercy needs to close the current database to add it to version control. Please confirm the message regarding that.

Check in - Source files dialog

In the next dialog you can confirm the operation to TFS. With the default configuration of TFS and Visual Studio Online you just need to klick Check in to confirm.

Navigation in Pane in Access

Now all the objects in the Access Navigation Pane should have Ivercy’s blue lock symbol for checked in objects. You might want to have a look at the full list of Ivercy’s SCC-Status icons.

Congratulations. – You are set up and ready to work on your project now.