Visual Studio Components on Track

Microsoft confirms future release dates.

Microsoft has solidified the time frame for releasing 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 last week.

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

In a recent blog post, Somasegar called 2005 a "foundational year" that now ushers in a new era of software development for both developers and designers. In addition, Somasegar said Microsoft will continue to hone its focus on process and agility in development.

In his speech, Somasegar also said the TFS component of VSTS (Visual Studio Team System) would reach release-candidate status by the end of last week and will reach RTM (release to manufacturing) status in March.

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

Meanwhile, since Microsoft launched the Visual Studio 2005 tool set, SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006 in 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. "Well take another few months of planning before we start developing" toward the Orcas platform, he added. Orcas is the code name for Visual Studio 2005s successor.

"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 is to expand Visual Studio to focus on more than just professional developers and consider the needs of others 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."

Since the launch of Visual Studio 2005, there have been more than 10 million downloads of .Net Framework 2.0, which represents "the fastest adoption of the .Net Framework weve ever seen," Somasegar said. At the same time, there were 1.8 million downloads of the Visual Studio Express tool line and more than 300,000 downloads of SQL Server 2005 Express tools, he said.

In addition, Somasegar presented the results of a Microsoft-commissioned IDC study about enterprises platform choices for mission-critical applications. In the survey, 35 percent of respondents said they rely on .Net, while 25 percent said they use 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.

To showcase this, Michael Leworthy, a technical product manager for VSTS, came onstage to demonstrate partner technology supporting VSTA. Leworthy showed Serena Softwares requirements-management software working with VSTS. He also showed how VSTS could support UML (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, as well as DevBiz Business Solutions TeamPlain providing Web access for VSTS. Finally, he demonstrated how AVICodes Design for Operations Starter Kit supports Microsofts Dynamic Systems Initiative and helps Microsoft bridge the gap between the IT and developer worlds.

Visual Studio 2005: A report card

Heres how the applications key performance indicators stacked up in a recent eWEEK Labs review.

For the full review, see,1895,1894615,00.asp

Microsofts tool milestones

  • TFS to be released in March
  • CTP of VSTA coming in weeks
  • CTPs for Cider designer, "Atlas" tool, WinFX and LINQ available now
  • Working on MQ release of Visual Studio
  • In the planning stages for "Orcas," the next full version of Visual Studio