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Microsoft Previews Visual Studio vNext at Tech-Ed Keynote

Microsoft's Tech-Ed North America conference in Atlanta kicked off today with a keynote presentation by Robert Wahbe, corporate vice president of Server and Tools Marketing, and Jason Zander, corporate vice president of Visual Studio. While Wahbe talked at length about Microsoft's evolving public and private cloud solutions and management, Zander focused on the expanding reach of the upcoming version of Visual Studio.

Referred to simply as Visual Studio vNext, the next version of Microsoft's flagship integrated development environment (IDE) will expand beyond dev and QA to integrate into the ALM cycle the input of application stakeholders and IT operations. The new features aim to address a common challenge facing projects.

"What makes software projects fail? The number one thing that comes back is collaboration," Zander told attendees during his keynote.

He noted that Agile dev projects are often hampered by inexact communications between the stakeholders and customers championing an application, and the developers tasked with build it.

"How many times have you built exactly what your customers asked for, but not what they wanted?"

Microsoft General Manager Cameron Skinner demoed the new requirement management features coming to Visual Studio, including the new storyboarding feature accessed from the Visual Studio ribbon. The demo showed how tasks can be manipulated and tracked in Team Foundation Server (TFS) and TFS Web Access, providing real time feedback on progress as changes are reflected in TFS.

On the operations side, Microsoft Principal Program Viktor Mushkatin showed how Visual Studio links to Microsoft System Center, via the new System Center Conductor, available today as a community technology preview (CTP). IT managers can identify an issue flagged in System Center and send it directly to the development team. Developers immediately gain access to all the information around the event, including the complete call stack.

"Essentially I turned an exercise that would take hours or days into mere seconds," Mushkatin said.

Visual Studio Magazine columnist Mark Michaelis is excited about the new features. During the keynote he tweeted: "Wahooo! IntelliTrace will be enabled for production code. You will be able to create TFS work items from System Center 2010 that even includes application stack trace information."

Zander also showed off the new suspend feature coming in the next version of Visual Studio. The new feature lets developers back up all their current work, including breakpoints and tool positions across multiple monitors, so that it can be restored at a later time. The feature makes it possible for developers to set aside work to address an urgent request or interruption.

"You snapshot the whole thing and you are ready to go," Zander said.

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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