Newest Visual Studio to push life-cycle collaboration

Due in a year, the revised Team System will add new roles, rethink existing roles, and drop the separate database developer role

For debugging, the tester tool offers a feature referred to as "TiVo for debugging." With this capability, a tester can record all PC activities and hand that off to a developer. Source code is examined and the state of the machine determined for developers inside of Visual Studio. The tester tool also offers an integrated manual testing.

Chris Menegay of Notion Solutions, a user of Visual Studio Team System 2008, looked forward to the 2010 platform. "We use Visual Studio Team System 2008 extensively today for managing our work processes, doing testing and handling our builds and releases. It's been incredibly valuable for streamlining both our process and those of the companies we work with," he said. "One of the main shortcomings we've been struggling with today is that the testing tools are sub-par. We've been looking at what's coming in the 2010 release, and it appears to fill all the key gaps that we've identified, which is phenomenal."

Microsoft's efforts in UML (Unified Modeling Language) as part of Visual Studio Team System 2010 were noted by Jeffrey Hammond, senior analyst for application development at Forrester Research: "They are putting in a lot of capability to round out the tools. For architects, the UML tooling will be a real improvement and go a long way toward finally putting the UML vs. DSL [domain specific language] debate to rest. There are also some really nice testing features that I think will compete favorably with anything else in the market today for unit and regression testing."

Microsoft has seen Visual Studio Team System used in applications ranging from line-of-business systems to departmental, aerospace, and Web applications. "Visual Studio Team System is a general-purpose software development tool, so we see all kinds of things," built using it, Mendlen said.

Microsoft views its competition in ALM as Rational and says that capabilities like Architectural Explorer and TiVo for debugging will make Visual Studio Team System 2010 stand out.

While there is no set ship date yet for the 2010 version of Visual Studio Team System, Microsoft has been on roughly two-year release cycles for upgrades to its Visual Studio platform. The last version, Visual Studio 2008, shipped in November 2007.

The Architecture product in Visual Studio Team System 2010 will work with the planned Oslo software modeling platform by enabling storage of models in the Oslo repository, according to Microsoft.

Mendlen says the pillars of the Visual Studio 2010 development environment, meanwhile, include "delighting" developers and riding the next platform wave, which involves .Net Framework 4.0 and the importance of Windows Workflow Foundation and Windows Communication Foundation. Other pillars include powering breakthrough departmental applications, enabling emerging trends like cloud computing, and "democratizing" ALM.

Microsoft plans to shed more light on .Net Framework 4.0 within a few weeks.

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