The sad but true story of Borland’s “Together for Visual Studio” (Originally Posted 7/20/05)

I cringe to think of the damage this one product has caused my professional reputation.  Less than a year ago I was singing TVS’ praises from the rooftops of every client I met with.  This was the future.  This was going to change everything.  At last small shops could compete with the big boys using tools that while not exactly on PAR with the Rational Rose’s of this world, were certainly close enough to enable some real productivity without the gazillion dollar budget.

Yeah, there were some small bugs here and there, but surely they would be fixed in short order, and we’d pat ourselves on the back for adopting Together early.  Yeah, we couldn’t actually print out documentation in a truly meaningful way to give to the clients, but surely that would be fixed shortly, after all it was just a minor formatting issue, right?  Yeah you couldn’t use it with solutions containing such common elements as a simple Database project or an installer, but surely they’d HAVE to address something that bad, right?

After all, these issues were being ADDRESSED in the forums.  We were being TOLD that they were being logged in the tracking system.  They were being assigned ISSUE NUMBERS.  This was great, Borland was listening to its users.  There was great promise that progress was being made, and indeed it was.  Somewhere deep in the bowels of Borland’s secret underground "skunkworks" there were teams of highly trained mole-men hammering out those bugs, and making sure that the next patch was going to totally take the world by storm.  We could just FEEL the greatness coming over the horizon.  But it never came.  We waitied, and waited, and waited.  A few lost the faith here and there, and wandered off, but the truly faithful, the visionaries, the true desciples of Together-ness stayed where we were, waiting for that next patch that would make the world right again.

Then the clouds parted, the sun shone through, and a new version of Together was announced.  But it was not a patch.  It was not an answer to the prayers of the faithful.  It was instead a mighty blow.  The promised version was indeed coming, but the faithful, having taken their vows of poverty, would not be able to afford it.  It was placed high in the gilded towers of the wealthy, now truly a tool worthy of (And priced for) kings.  And the faithful looked upon what Borland had wrought, raised their hands in gestures of admonition and said in unison "Up yours!".  And the forums fell deadly silent.  And the silence was deafening.  Here endeth the lesson.

By the way, I looked for information about the new TVS.  In the downloads I found a link for the help file, so I thought I’d read it to see what was new…  Every page in the entire thing says the same thing:

The page cannot be displayed
The page you are looking for is currently unavailable. The Web site might be experiencing technical difficulties, or you may need to adjust your browser settings.

What a freakin’ joke.
Let me know when I can start taking you seriously again, Borland.  In the meantime I’ll start trolling eBay for used copies of TVS 2.0.  We’ve learned to live with or work around the bugs by now.  It’s not worth thousands of our dollars to see them fixed for real.  I just don’t see how I can recommend a piece of software to a client ever again and be taken seriously.  I’ll forever be "That guy that thought Together was a good idea"

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