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CIO - Microsoft is offering a first look at the next version of its Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE) and platform, which will be named Visual Studio 2010 and the .Net Framework 4.0. There's a lot promised in the new release (expected to ship, duh, in 2010), from improved software testing tools to software engineering modeling capabilities to integrated development and database functions for the application lifecycle management (ALM).
I could bulk that up with a lot more feature buzzwords, but the bottom line is that Microsoft is putting its attention on improving Visual Studio for the benefit of every one of its users-from the CIO to the software architect to the enterprise developer to the software testing team. I was given an overview of some of these new-and-improved features, particularly in Visual Studio Team System 2010 (VSTS, code-named Rosario) by Dave Mendlen, Microsoft's director of developer tools, and Cameron Skinner, VSTS product unit manager.
But it would be too easy to simply report on vendor promises and rely on my own jaded programmer-meets-journalism background. With Microsoft's permission, I shared some of the product details with experienced programmers and software quality assurance professionals, so you can learn how the software developers in your shop may respond to the new software (or at least, to its promises based on demo-ware).
A key goal in VSTS 2010, says Microsoft, is to help democratize ALM by bringing all members of a development organization into the application development lifecycle, and remove many of the existing barriers to integration.
One way that Visual Studio 2010 will do this is to break down the ALM roles, from the business decision maker (who needs a project overview but doesn't want to be bogged down in details) to the lead developer or system architect (who enables the software infrastructure and draws the blueprint), to the developer who writes the code and the database administrator (DBA) who integrates it with the company database to the testers (who make sure the software is of high quality).
For the IT manager or CIO, says Mendlen, VSTS will give clarity and visibility into the state of the project throughout the lifecycle, using Team Foundation Server-enabled dashboards customized for her role. The dashboard can answer high level questions such as ongoing project cost or project status.
Agile Tools, Built-In
Visual Studio 2010 also will sport features to integrate Agile methodologies into the tech stack using Team Foundation Server. Skinner explains, "We'll include in the [VSTS] box an Excel workbook for teams that are leveraging, say, the Scrum process so they can get burndown from their project." These features, he says, will let Agile teams track daily progress, see projects broken down into iterations and use sprints.
The result of right-clicking on a method in the VS text editor, selecting "Generate Sequence Diagram." A UML 2.1.1 sequence diagram depicting the call chain originating from the selected method. (Image supplied by Microsoft)