microsoft top100 Free Access to Microsoft ALM Servers   TechEd ConferenceIn its recent TechEd conference held in Orlando, Florida last June 4, Microsoft announced that they are already in the process of expanding access to their cloud-based application lifecycle management service, even though the app itself is still in preview mode.

According to the company, anyone can utilize its Team Foundation Service ALM server, which is currently hosted on Microsoft’s own Windows Azure cloud. The service was first launched in September last year, and until now the service remains limited to invite-only access. The good thing about this is that since it is still in preview mode, the service can be used for free.

One of the possible uses of the ALM cloud is for software development, in which developers can use the cloud service for planning, collaboration, and management of code through the Internet. The service allows code to be stored in the cloud via Visual Studio or Eclipse IDEs, and supports a wide variety of programming languages as well as platforms, such as Android and Windows.

Microsoft’s Team Foundation Service puts them in direct competition against other similar services such as Atlassian Jira, aiming to provide the same, if not better, set of capabilities regarding project planning and management through testing, development, and deployment. Microsoft hopes that their free preview phase will convince developers to give their service a try, as it doesn’t have any risk, and believes that the Team Foundation Service will fill the needs of developers that they would stay even after the free preview phase is finished.

Those who are worried about the free preview phase ending even before they settle in with their code shouldn’t worry, as Team Foundation Service’s product line manager, Brian Harry, says that they’ll eventually start charging for the service, but it will not happen this year.

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