Microsoft has announced the name of the next version of its developer tools and platform: Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0.
In the announcement on Sept. 29, Microsoft also described the next release through the following five focus areas: riding the next-generation platform wave, inspiring developer delight, powering breakthrough departmental applications, enabling emerging trends such as cloud computing, and democratizing ALM (application life-cycle management), said Dave Mendlen, a director of product management in Microsoft's Developer Division.
However, Mendlen did not give an actual date for when the new technology would become available, except to say that its name implies something about the time frame of its availability. However, like automobile makers, Microsoft has been known to release products well before the year in the product names.
Meanwhile, Cameron Skinner, product unit manager for Visual Studio Team System, gave an in-depth look at how Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) 2010, which had been code-named "Rosario," will help developers better handle ALM processes. However, neither Mendlen nor Skinner would detail what developers can expect to get in their hands in terms of Visual Studio Team System 2010 in the near future. With the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference less than a month away, developers are looking for bits they can come away with to begin to kick the tires on. However, Microsoft has not indicated whether there will be another CTP (Community Technology Preview) or even a beta of the Rosario technology.
"With Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0, we are focused on the core pillars of developer experience, support for the latest platforms spanning client, server, services and devices, targeted experiences for specific application types, and core architecture improvements," said S. "Soma" Somasegar, senior vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft, in a statement. "These pillars are designed specifically to meet the needs of developers, the teams that drive the application life cycle from idea to delivery, and the customers that demand the highest quality applications across multiple platforms. You can expect to hear a lot more about Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0 in the coming months."
Meanwhile, Mendlen said VSTS 2010 features includes new capabilities that make it easier for all contributors on the software team to participate throughout the life cycle - from the core developers and testers to the wider team of project managers, designers and business analysts.
The new offering will feature modeling tools through VSTA 2010 Architecture, where Microsoft will enable both technical and non-technical users to create and use models to collaborate and to define business and system functionality graphically. The new version supports both Unified Modeling Language and Domain Specific Language support, so development organizations will have the right tool for the right job. The new modeling capabilities in VSTS 2010 are a core part of the larger Microsoft modeling platform, which will also include the "Oslo" repository, tools and language.
Mendlen said "Oslo," though developed by the Microsoft Connected Systems Division, will be delivered via Visual Studio. And Skinner added that Microsoft added UML support based on customer demand. He said Microsoft already has support for five types of UML diagrams.
Also, with VSTS 2010, Microsoft has made a significant investment in testing features and simplified tools required to integrate testing across the life cycle, Mendlen said. New features include the ability to eliminate non-reproducible bugs by providing a TiVo-like recording capability for reproducing bugs.
And Microsoft also has made major investments in the capabilities and scalability of TFS (Team Foundation Server) including improvements that allow teams to configure and adopt any flavor of agile development processes, Skinner said. And in the source code management system, TFS now provides Microsoft WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) based visualization tools for tracking changes across branches and into the production build. VSTS 2010 also introduces workflow-based builds that catch errors early.
"The application life cycle is an integral part of today's business," said Theresa Lanowitz, founder of Voke, in a statement. "Regardless of core competencies, all organizations are driven by software that is created and customized to deliver a competitive advantage. Enterprises that invest in an ALM solution can decrease their total cost of ownership of applications in their IT portfolio and bring about a global approach that is an integrated and expansive system consisting of people, processes and technology. This global approach to ALM facilitates collaboration and takes the risk out of software development to produce predictable and reliable results for an optimized business outcome. Solutions such as VSTS are poised to take advantage of market opportunity by offering an application life-cycle platform to help enterprises realize this ROI benefit."
Moreover, in another move to increase integration across the life cycle, Microsoft also announced that VSTS 2010 will provide a unified VSTS Development and Database product.
And as a benefit to existing SA (Software Assurance) customers, those who currently own Visual Studio Team System 2008 Development Edition or Visual Studio Team System 2008 Database Edition will receive all the following products starting Oct. 1 for free: Visual Studio Team System 2008 Development Edition; Visual Studio Team System 2008 Database Edition; Visual Studio 2005 Team System for Software Developers; and Visual Studio 2005 Team System for Database Professionals.