Microsoft has released the third beta version of its Team Foundation Server (TFS) software for application lifecycle management, a Microsoft representative said.

Available to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers, the beta release will be feature-complete and is based on the September SQL Server 2005 Community Technology Preview, according to Microsoft. The beta will function with the Visual Studio 2005 Release Candidate made available to MSDN subscribers and attendees of the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference last week.

Team Foundation Server enables developer collaboration and change management as part of the Visual Studio 2005 Team System product planned for release on 7 November. The general release of Team Foundation Server is expected in early-2006.

"Of course, the question everyone wants to know is, are we still on track for [final release in] Q1 2006?" said Microsoft's Rick LaPlante, general manager for Visual Studio Team System, in his blog. "The answer is yes. Releasing a high-quality, feature-complete TFS Beta 3 was a critical step in being ready for Q1, and we still feel good about that commitment."

"We [also] will release a Beta 3 Refresh which synchronizes TFS with the final RTM [release-to-manufacturing] bits of [Visual Studio and SQL Server]," LaPlante said. This will happen when most of the Visual Studio 2005 platform ships.

The new beta features a "Go-Live" licence for implementing it in deployment situations.