Microsoft Talks Up Tools at VSLive

The company says it will soon release the first CTP of Visual Studio Tools for Applications, discusses its VSTS philosophy and demonstrates partner technology at the conference.

SAN FRANCISCO—Microsoft has solidified the time frame for the release of its Team Foundation Server and will be releasing a preview of another key piece of Visual Studio technology, a company executive said at the VSLive conference here.

In a keynote address, S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of developer tools at Microsoft, said that in the next week or so, Microsoft will "make the first CTP [Community Technology Preview] drop of Visual Studio Tools for Applications."

Somasegar also said the TFS (Team Foundation Server) component of VSTS (Visual Studio Team System) will reach release candidate status by the end of this week and will reach RTM (release to manufacturing) status in March.

Somasegar defined TFS as a technology that provides a collaboration platform for all the VSTS tools to come together.

Meanwhile, since Microsoft launched the Visual Studio 2005 tool set, SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006 last November, and has been working to deliver TFS, the companys Developer Division also has been working on two other things.

One is the MQ or quality milestone release of Visual Studio 2005, and the other is "planning for Orcas," Somasegar said, adding, "Well take another few months of planning before we start developing" toward the Orcas platform. Orcas is the code name for the next version of Visual Studio beyond Visual Studio 2005.

"Orcas is the best tool set for the next generation platform—Vista, Office 12, new designers for WinFX, etc.," Somasegar said.

Somasegar said the goal behind VSTS was to expand Visual Studio to focus on more than just the professional developer, considering the needs of people in other roles such as project managers, software architects, designers and testers.

"We said, Lets build a set of tools to enable them to work together," Somasegar said. "We want to broaden the life-cycle tools to support other roles."

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about Microsofts Visual Studio Team System 2006.

Since the launch of Visual Studio 2005, Microsoft has seen more than 10 million downloads of the .Net Framework 2.0, which represents "the fastest adoption of the .Net Framework weve ever seen," Somasegar said. Meanwhile, the Visual Studio Express family of tools had 1.8 million downloads and the SQL Server 2005 Express tools had more than 300,000 downloads, he said.

In addition, Somasegar presented the results of a study Microsoft commissioned from IDC regarding which platform enterprises choose for mission-critical applications. According to the survey, 35 percent of the respondents said they rely on .Net, while 25 percent said Java/J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition).

Beyond that, 16 percent said they use non-.Net versions of Windows, 16 percent said they rely on mainframes and 18 percent said they rely on Unix or a derivative, Somasegar said.

Meanwhile, in another indication of Visual Studio and .Net adoption, Somasegar said the VSIP (Visual Studio Industry Partners) program has grown from 22 partners in 1999 when the program started to more than 240 partners offering more than 400 products today. And more than 20 partners already have products shipping on top of VSTS today, he said.

/zimages/1/28571.gifRead a review here of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005.

To showcase this, Michael Leworthy, a technical product manager for VSTS, came onstage to demonstrate some partner technology supporting VSTA. He showed Serena Softwares requirements-management software working with VSTS. He also showed how VSTS could support Unified Modeling Language 2.0 documents via software from Sparx Systems.

In addition, Leworthy showed SourceGears Teamprise providing access to TFS from non-Windows environments, and DevBiz Business Solutionss TeamPlain providing Web access for VSTS. Finally, he demonstrated how AVICodes Design for Operations Starter Kit supports Microsofts Dynamic Systems Initiative and helps the software giant bridge the gap between the IT world and the developer world.

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