Microsoft is charting its future product course beyond Orcas in 2007.
Microsofts next major release of its Visual Studio application development tool set is known by the code name Orcas, but Microsoft also is hard at work on a version of the tool set that will revise Visual Studio Team System, or VSTS, the companys team development system.
Sam Guckenheimer, group product planner for Visual Studio Team System, told eWEEK that Microsoft is working on a follow-on release to Orcas code-named Rosario. Rosario is the name of a resort on the Orcas Island. Microsoft has been code-naming some of its Visual Studio tools after some of the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest. The current version of Visual Studio is code-named Whidbey, another of the San Juan Islands.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has a vision of an even more distant island for follow-on tooling to the Orcas timeframe in a set of technologies known by the code name Hawaii. But, "Hawaii is a code name thats not actually attached to a release right now," Guckenheimer said.
The goal of Microsofts successive versions of its tools, including the team-oriented tools, is to better enable first teams and then entire organizations to become more productive with the applications they build.
Orcas, which is due in 2007, is a release of the whole Visual Studio stack, including Team System, that is tied to the wave of Office System 2007 and the Vista operating system, Guckenheimer said during a one-on-one meeting with eWEEK on Microsofts Redmond, Wash., campus.
The Rosario release of VSTS will follow Orcas, but "it will not be very different in terms of the Visual Studio Pro level functionality," Guckenheimer said. "The emphasis will be moving forward on Team System." Rosario is the follow-on release to VSTS, which is code-named Burton.
"The way to think about what were doing is that we went with Team System 2005 from where Visual Studio had been—which was 10 years of focusing on individual productivity, to growing to think about team productivity," Guckenheimer said. The teams include project managers, testers, architects and database professionals—all roles that VSTS currently does or soon will cover, he said.
And Microsoft continues to grow, thinking from team productivity to organizational productivity, he added. "So were very conscious that we live in an organizational environment where around that extended development team there are project management offices, chief information officers, business analysts, operations staff and IT pros, support staff, compliance officers and so forth," Guckenheimer said. "And we need to be increasingly focused not on just optimizing for this development team, but in optimizing for the IT organization."
The additional functionality will put Microsofts tools in more direct competition with IBMs Rational tools.
Moreover, Guckenheimer said he believes IT organizations need to run as much as a business as the parent companies that maintain the IT organization.
"IT struggles with providing the same level of transparency and trustworthiness and customer satisfaction and availability [as the overall business itself]," he said.
Guckenheimer said Microsoft has what he considers a "fantastic" set of assets to bring to bear. "Team System has done a wonderful job of raising productivity in the application lifecycle for the extended team," he said. "It doesnt yet speak to the portfolio management space, where we also have a great product in Microsoft Office Project Portfolio Server. That doesnt yet connect live with Team System."