Microsoft To Add Architecture Explorer to Visual Studio

Microsoft announced Tuesday at its Tech-Ed conference that it will add a new tool to Visual Studio that will visually model applications.

Microsoft technical fellow Brian Harry demonstrated Architecture Explorer during Chairman Bill Gates' keynote opening the event. "Applications get very large, they get very complex, and very soon they're very hard to understand what they are. Modeling allows you to conceptualize applications at a higher level, and be able to make sense of them," Harry commented, according to a transcript of the keynote Microsoft provided. "What [Architecture Explorer] does is it goes through your solution, parses all of the code and visualizes that to allow you to see your application."

Another tool that will be introduced is Architecture Layer Diagram, which will allow developers to lay out their applications visually, as well as run checks to make sure the architecture is valid. "Application dependencies" can also be viewed and modeled.

According to reports, the tools will first arrive as add-ons to Visual Studio this fall before being released as part of the next version of Visual Studio Team System (code name Rosario) next year.

In a the Q&A portion, a developer asked Gates about the UML modeling standards in Visual Studio. He said in part: "We'll have additional support for UML in Visual Studio 10 for the specific modeling tools that are there. Then as we move forward and take the modeling platform to the next layer, we'll get even more ability for you to create your own models."

At Tech-Ed, Microsoft also announced a new version of extensions for connecting Visual Studio 2008 with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 v1.2, which, the company said, will "allow developers to use Visual Studio 2008 to extend the value of Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server by providing a simplified development environment."

More coverage of Gates' Tech-Ed keynote, including announcements on Silverlight, Velocity, IE8 and more, is available here. To view a video of the keynote on Microsoft's site, go here.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the executive editor of the 1105 Redmond Media Group's Web sites, including,, and, among others.

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