Microsoft Shares Visual Studio 11 Ultimate Road Map, Launches TFS Build Service

At a set of conferences in Las Vegas, Microsoft shed light on its Visual Studio 11 road map and also launched new cloud-based build services for it Team Foundation Server.

Microsoft shared news on the future of its Visual Studio tools and also announced a new build service for Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) at conferences in Las Vegas.

At DevConnections, Jason Zander, corporate vice president, Visual Studio, shared some insight into the road map for Visual Studio Ultimate. Zander said Visual Studio Ultimate is Microsoft€™s complete, state-of-the art toolset that provides tools for all members of the team, from product owners to testers, and is ideal for the development of mission-critical enterprise applications. The Ultimate SKU features architecture modeling, code discovery, quality of service testing and advanced cross-environment diagnostic tools.

Essentially, Zander announced an accelerated cadence of feature pack releases for Visual Studio 11 Ultimate. Zander said after the Visual Studio 11 release that Microsoft would ship Visual Studio 11 Ultimate Feature Packs as an ongoing benefit.

€œThe goal of these feature packs is to further build on the value and scenarios that we€™re delivering in Visual Studio 11,€ he said in a blog post. €œThe main themes for the first feature pack will be SharePoint quality of service testing scenarios, and the ability to debug code anywhere it's run using our IntelliTrace technology. These are two challenges we see at the interface between the development and operations teams, which we can help address with the right tools.€

Moreover, Zander added that Microsoft is focusing on DevOps with Visual Studio 11. €œIn Visual Studio 11, we€™re removing friction between the development teams building software and the operations groups managing software in production,€ he said. €œEnhanced IntelliTrace capabilities and features like TFS connector for System Center Operations Manager allow teams to monitor and debug their apps anywhere: in environments spanning development, test and even in production.

"In the first Ultimate Feature Pack after Visual Studio 11, we€™ll continue building upon the IntelliTrace enhancements in Visual Studio 11," Zander said. "We€™ll add new capabilities for customizing collection of trace data, including the ability to refine the scope of an IntelliTrace collection to a specific class, a specific ASP.NET page or a specific function. This fine-grained control will enable more targeted investigations and allow you to debug issues more quickly, saving hours of effort. We€™ll also invest in results filtering making it faster to find the data you need as well as improved summary pages for quickly identifying core issues.€

Zander added:

"In Visual Studio 11 we are expanding our support for teams working with SharePoint with features like performance profiling, unit testing and IntelliTrace support. In the first Ultimate Feature Pack after Visual Studio 11, we€™ll make it easy to test your site for high volume by introducing SharePoint load testing. We will also make it easier to do SharePoint unit testing by providing Behaviors support for SharePoint API€™s. This is a great win for teams developing SharePoint solutions."

Meanwhile, at Visual Studio Live (VSLive), Brian Harry, technical fellow, Team Foundation Server, announced a Build Service for Team Foundation Service, which is essentially Team Foundation Server hosted on Microsoft€™s Windows Azure cloud platform. With the TFS Build Service, the cloud platform integrates and compiles all the checked-in code every time a team member checks in code. The build service then runs a complete clean and build and tests the code against established test cases, Microsoft said. Using this service, developers will have a complete, tested clean and build every time a member of the team checks in code.

€œOur new build service works by maintaining a pool of Azure VM [virtual machine] roles that can expand and shrink as needed,€ Harry said in a blog post. €œWhen you start a build, a VM is allocated from the pool to run your build. Your build is run, the build output is copied off the build machine, then the VM is restored and it is returned back to the pool for someone else to use.€

Moreover, Harry said in the near future, Microsoft will enable Java builds on the service. Indeed, said Harry:

"It€™s possible today but a bit manual. The problem is that, by default, Java builds use the upgrade template and we haven€™t added support for the new version control drop locations to that template yet. So, if you really want to get a Java build working on the cloud, then you can customize the default build workflow to enable Java builds€”that€™s what our Team Explorer Everywhere team has done. They€™ve been using Team Foundation Service for their development for months€”including cloud-based builds for the past several weeks."

In addition, Microsoft€™s Team Explorer Everywhere client that includes Eclipse support will also support the new build service, Harry said. And there will be an update to Visual Studio 2008 that will enable Team Foundation Service support, he said.

€œTeam Foundation Service is still a pre-release offering,€ Harry said. €œWe€™re working very hard on it and you should stay tuned to a lot more improvements in the coming months. We are releasing new capabilities to the service about every three weeks. In one of our recent updates, we changed our terms of service to more clearly express that the service can be used to €˜go-live€™ production projects and not just test and experimentation.€