Microsoft rolls out new tool for database developers

Microsoft has unveiled its new Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition software that's designed to help database developers and administrators better collaborate with other members of application development teams.

Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals, which is expected to ship before the end of the year, will be the fourth role-based edition of the development software. Today, there are tool sets targeted at developers, architects and testers available as part of VS 2005.

The new edition will be integrated with Team Foundation Server, the server-based software in Visual Studio that supports integrated version control, reporting and work item tracking, said Matt Nunn, Microsoft senior product manager in the developer division.

"You have this verifiable way to track changes being made to the database, and you can now make the database professionals a true part of the team," Nunn said.

The problem for database developers and administrators today involves managing changes to database schemas, he added. The new software is designed to put database schemas in the source control tool and to allow users to make changes to it in an environment where the different versions can be managed before putting the changes into production.

In addition, the tool also includes a data generator designed to provide sets of test data that can mirror production data without including potentially sensitive information such as Social Security numbers or credit card numbers, Nunn added.

"We can import not the data but information about the data -- to allow us to understand the shape and distribution of data and how often things change," he said. "We can then build a plan to automatically generate data that looks very close to the production data in volume and shape."

Microsoft will release the first community technology preview of the new database edition June 12.

In addition, Microsoft shed some light on the next release of Visual Studio, which is now code-named Orcas and is expected ship sometime after the next release of Windows.

Prashant Sridharan, group product manager in Microsoft's developer division, said the next version of Visual Studio will add portfolio management and compliance tools. These new tools will use data gathered from the various roles within the team system to provide more visibility into the overall application development life cycle, he added.

"The team accumulates a bunch of data throughout its course of development, like how many bugs is my software creating and how quickly I can solve those," Sridharan said. "We want to build tools to aggregate data from a bunch of different teams."

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