Microsoft will begin rolling out to testers next week an interim beta of its Visual Studio 2005 release, which will include for the first time the bits for its Team Foundation Server product.
Microsoft in late June rolled out the first beta of Visual Studio 2005, code-named Whidbey. The first beta also included the bits for the Team Architect piece of the new Visual Studio Team System, code-named Burton, that Microsoft is set to roll out alongside its regular development-tool suite.
Microsoft has said it plans to make Beta 2 of Visual Studio 2005 available this fall. The final release is due out by mid-2005.
Visual Studio Team System is a family of application life-cycle management tools aimed at teams rather than individuals. The system will compete head-to-head with IBMs Software Development Platform and its upcoming IBM Rational development tools suite, code-named Atlantic.
Many testers have been waiting for the Team Foundation Server, which is set to include back-end development facilities such as change management, work-item tracking, reporting, project management and integration services required by the Visual Studio clients.
Rick LaPlante, general manager of Visual Studio Team System, announced on his Weblog earlier this week that Microsoft was prepping the refresh release.
LaPlante said developers could expect Microsoft to make the bits available to Microsoft Developer Network subscribers by the end of this week. The company also is planning to make the refresh available on DVD for attendees of the VSLive Orlando conference in mid-September.
"This will be a big CTP [community technology preview] because it will include the Team Foundation Server installation, which I know many of you are very anxiously awaiting," LaPlante wrote on his blog. "It will also be based on the Whidbey Beta 1 bits, so you will finally have a matched set of Beta 1 compilers/editors/frameworks, and the Team System all in one place.
"Its important to note that not all Team System bits are beta quality yet, but they should be much better than they were in May," LaPlante wrote. "Our bar for the release was to make sure that folks could get going on evaluating the server-side bits and having a better client-side experience. The server scale/performance isnt there yet, nor are all the features or quality, but its certainly enough to use to get a sense of trajectory and where we are headed.
"Be warned that the HW [hardware] requirements [for the updated Visual Studio beta release] are pretty hefty—well support a three-machine configuration (client, middle tier, data tier)," Frank Prengel, a Microsoft Germany development evangelist, warned on his blog. "VPC [Virtual PC] looks like a solution but will probably require at least 2 GB of RAM."
Thomas Murphy, an analyst with The META Group Inc., based in Stamford, Conn., said the push toward team productivity represents "the real meat of Whidbey."
"There are lots of great new things in Whidbey and value in updates to the libraries, runtimes, etc. but it is this push into team productivity and code quality that really steps up the game," Murphy said. "Microsoft is not unique in taking this direction, but I believe they are the first to deliver on collaborative development environments. Of course, this is beta—it will still have broken parts, etc., and it is round one of the enterprise tools push for them.
"As the environments evolve, it will be interesting to see developer reaction," he said. "I believe from what I have seen that Microsoft has struck a good balance here and that they are raising the bar for enterprise development tools."