Visual Studio Celebrates 10th Year, Sets Road Map for Future

Microsoft's Visual Studio celebrated its 10th anniversary by adding a new component, and the company sets its road map for the future with new releases code-named Orcas and Rosario.

SAN FRANCISCO—Microsoft threw itself a party and celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Visual Studio tool set by acquiring a new component that will find its way into the next version of the product.

At the VSLive conference here, Prashant Sridharan, senior product manager for Visual Studio at Microsoft, delivered a keynote address touting the 10-year history of Microsofts flagship tool and announced the companys acquisition of devBiz Business Solutions and its TeamPlain Web Access technology. TeamPlain is a Web interface for Microsofts TFS (Team Foundation Server) that allows managing work items, documents, reports, and source control repositories.

"This gives us a Web front end to everything in TFS," Sridharan said. "This product is free for download for all Team Foundation Server customers. In the interim well ship it as a Power Tool, and well make it part of Orcas" when that ships. "Orcas" is the code name for the next major release of Visual Studio.

"We looked at how customers were using TFS," and they were coming in through Microsofts Excel, Project and Team Explorer, said Michael Leworthy, a product manager in the Visual Studio Team System group at Microsoft. "So when we looked at TeamPlain, we saw it as a great way for customers to access TFS, and we made the decision to acquire that technology."

Sridharan said the 10-year anniversary of Visual Studio also marks his 10th year at the company.

"We shipped Visual Studio 97 in February 1997," he said. But that product was not even a unified IDE (integrated development environment), Sridharan said. However, Version 6.0 of the product began to build on the vision of a unified IDE.

And "Visual Studio 2002 brought that IDE story to the forefront" by integrating lots of new functionality into the product, Sridharan said. Yet, the new functionality that enabled developers to do more with the tool set also led to collaboration problems, as the scope and complexity of the applications increased.

Microsoft addressed this in Visual Studio 2005 and is doing more to address it in Visual Studio Team System and in the upcoming Orcas release, the company said.

"Orcas is all about programmer productivity, team collaboration, and the latest and greatest platform technologies like LINQ [Language Integrated Query] and AJAX [Asynchronous JavaScript and XML]," Sridharan said.

In his keynote, Sridharan also talked about Rosario, the version of Visual Studio Team System that follows the Orcas release.

"Rosario is centered around organization and collaboration," Sridharan said. "Well also focus on QA [quality assurance] and testing—doing for testers what weve done for developers over the years."

Also, Sridharan said throughout the rollout of both Orcas and Rosario, Microsoft will be "looking at what Team System tools we can migrate down" and put into the professional version of Visual Studio. For instance, unit testing and code coverage are migrating down to the professional product, he said.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about Rosario.

Sridharan said the launch of Visual Studio 2005 was his favorite because he had a lot of involvement with it. But the first .Net version of the product, Visual Studio 2002, was perhaps the products most important launch.

"Bill Gates demo-ing the product on Valentines Day of 2002, that was a seminal moment in Microsofts history, and a seminal moment for Visual Studio and for developers," he said.

/zimages/3/28571.gifRead here about Microsofts latest Visual Studio release.

There are more than 1 million professional developers using Visual Studio, and there have been more than 10 million downloads of Visual Studio Express. according to Sridharan. In addition, 25 percent of all Visual Studio Team System users are using Team Suite, the suite of life cycle tools that provides each member of a core software development team with the most comprehensive collection of tools for software design, development and test, he said.

Moreover, Microsoft has had more than 1 million forum posts on MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) since the launch of Visual Studio 2005, "and weve fixed over 400 user suggestions; thats a testament to our transparency initiative paying off," Sridharan said.

Next Page: Road map for professional developer products.