Visual Studio Team System 2010 delivers on Microsoft’s vision for ALM
October 15, 2009 —
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Microsoft's upcoming Visual Studio Team System 2010 release is anchored in efficiency and code quality, incorporating new ALM, architecture and testing tools. As the release draws nearer, the company is continuing to flesh out those features, and developers are learning how to adapt their workflows to its new capabilities.
Core improvements to Team Foundation Server (TFS) and making testing parallel to development are driving efficiencies across Visual Studio Team System (VSTS), said senior product manager Doug Seven. Microsoft is also trying to ensure that "quality is paramount" throughout the software development life cycle, he added.
TSF is the backbone of Microsoft's application life-cycle management (ALM) solution, Seven said. It is designed for collaborative software development, and facilitates that with artifact collection, project tracking, reporting and source control.
Source control may yield the greatest gains in efficiency. The build server verifies code in isolation as it is checked into the TSF repository to make sure that it is not damaged in any way. "It's a huge thing to drive productivity," Seven said, adding that build issues are a huge productivity drain to organizations large and small.
However, team members may require training before an organization will realize the build process productivity benefits. Microsoft moved the build system to Windows Workflow Foundation (WF), said Chris Menegay, a principal consultant for Notion Solutions and a Microsoft regional director (recognized by Microsoft’s Developer Platform evangelism group for technical expertise).
"For those of us who never bothered to learn WF, we'll have to learn it," Menegay said. WF facilitates a lot of things, he said, such as customized workflows that have approval steps.
TFS also includes work item improvements whereby tasks have parent-child relationships. "Those are rolled up into reports; it's huge in terms of visibility," said Seven.
Tight with Office, SharePoint
"The reporting is pretty cool in that it tightly integrates Office tools and SharePoint. Some of the best development managers I've ever worked with ran multi-million [lines of code] development projects off of Excel," said Jeffrey Hammond, principal analyst for application development at Forrester Research. "VSTS 2010 taps into that style of project management by turning spreadsheets into live documents, populated by data from TFS."