Microsoft Opens up About Visual Studio Team System 2010

While the name is all Microsoft is revealing about the main VS suite, it's getting fairly detailed about Team System.

Microsoft is revealing more about its plans for the next generation of Visual Studio Team System (code-named "Rosario"), part of the now officially named Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 rollout. All these products are still in the very early stages.

"We've got a name called Visual Studio 2010, and that's about all we've got right now," Dave Mendlen, director of developer marketing at Microsoft, said in September. "We're not saying much more about schedule at this point."

But the company is being more forthcoming about the new functionality in Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) 2010, which consists of Team Foundation Server (TFS) and the Team Suite of role-based Visual Studio clients. This next release will focus on "breaking down the walls between the roles that exist today," said Mendlen.

VSTS first shipped just after the Visual Studio 2005 release. Partner companies doing development were major stakeholders in the initial design of the product, and early adopters included global systems integrator, EDS Corp., which is now part of Hewlett-Packard Co. (See "Taking the Mystery out of Software Development," May 2006.)

With VSTS 2010, Microsoft is addressing the need to better integrate the functions of the project lead, architect, developers and testers throughout the application lifecycle. Key features in the 2010 Team Suite enable reuse of code assets, modeling across tools and architecture, higher quality testing and better collaboration.

SQL Server 2005 Dropped
Going forward, the VSTS Database Edition will be rolled into VSTS Developer Edition.

"Developers are more hybrid today than they were in the past. This need to work not just with the core source code but also with the database is becoming more and more important to them," said Mendlen. "With that in mind, we've made the decision to fold these two products together in the 2010 release of the product."

Effective immediately, Software Assurance customers with licenses for VSTS 2008 Developer Edition or VSTS 2008 Database Edition can download the VSTS 2008 Database Edition, VSTS Developer Edition, VS2005 Team System for Software Developers and VS2005 Team System for Database Professionals at no extra cost.

In a surprise move, Microsoft has also decided to discontinue TFS Rosario support for SQL Server 2005. VSTS lead Brian Harry explained in his blog: "That was a controversial decision but it is a final decision. The primary driving force behind it is that the Report Server feature in SQL Server 2008 is sooooo much improved over that in previous versions that we simply could not pass up taking advantage of it for Rosario."

Plans for Expression Studio integration or a VSTS "Designer" edition aren't yet on the 2010 roadmap. "There's more work to be done to enable cross designer-developer collaboration," Mendlen said in September. "[We have] nothing specific to announce but it's absolutely an area of focus for both sides."

Team Suite Upgrades
The VSTS April 2008 community technology preview (CTP) 12 offered a glimpse of many of the new features in the upcoming Developer, Test and Architecture Editions. The next CTP was unofficially expected to be available around the end of October in conjunction with the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2008 in Los Angeles.

Developers can expect improved customization of the continuous build process through new features such as architectural validation. That includes the ability to model the app's UI layer, business layer and data layer, set up constraints and map back-end code onto that architectural diagram. Using the new "Architecture Explorer" and "Layout Diagram Designer" in the 2010 Architecture Edition, project leaders can enforce policies at code check-ins through architectural validation.

"Team Build will include a [Windows Workflow Foundation] engine that's very extensible," says Cameron Skinner, product unit manager for Visual Studio Team Studio. The next version of Team Build introduces an agent/ controller architecture, with support for distributed builds.

The new client environment for testers beefs up its support for manual testing and test-case management. It's built using Windows Presentation Foundation to enable better visualizations of software processes. Testers can run test cases that relate only to modified code. They can also capture what happens in the debugging process through video recording-TiVo for test-and that along with a debugging log, can be handed off to the developer.

The 2010 Developer Edition adds support for historical debugging, a standalone debugger on a USB stick for testing code on separate machines, code analysis rule sets and test impact of code changes.

New Modeling Platforms
The April CTP of VSTS supports Unified Modeling Language (UML), which Skinner said makes sense for higher-level concepts such as the logical layer, with Domain Specific Language (DSL) at the physical layer. Microsoft has long championed DSL as an alternative to UML.

Forrester Research Inc. analyst Jeffrey Hammond believes Microsoft views UML "as a great DSL for software architects." One of the issues for Microsoft early on was the problem of complexity in modeling, and "Microsoft rightly noted that building off UML 2.0 can create some complex tooling for architects and developers," Hammond says.

Microsoft officials have hinted that support for UML might be coming in "Oslo," a new modeling platform that consists of a repository, language and tools. The company was supposed to issue the first CTP of "Oslo" at PDC2008.

"In Team System 2010, we clearly need to be able to interoperate and get the models that you're creating in the Team Architecture Edition into the Oslo repository," says Skinner. "That's something that we're currently working on, we're still early in making that happen but that interoperation is absolutely going to be there, and we're actually chasing out more integrations between the two, but it's still too early to talk about at this point."

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.


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