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A Glimpse at Visual Studio Team System

I've spent the last couple of days in San Francisco at VSLive!, which offers Visual Studio developers a chance to glimpse Microsoft dev tool roadmaps, hone technical skills, and explore important new tooling like Language Integrated Query (LINQ) and the latest version of Visual Studio Team System (VSTS). Along the way, attendees also get a chance to voice their opinions about the tools they use every day.

All of that was in evidence at the session Stephanie Saad gave on Monday afternoon. The VSTS group manager is heading up work on the next release of VSTS (codenamed "Rosario"), and she was actively working the audience to get a sense of what they wanted, and wanted changed, in the upcoming toolset.

While her early demos of VSTS-Microsoft Project integration fell a bit flat, Saad pleased the crowd when she showed off the promised reporting tools within the next Team System version. And no wonder: When Saad asked developers if they struggled to author reports, one attendee replied flatly, "We gave up." Saad then demoed the slick integration of Excel to display flexible and compelling report charts from simple queries, drawing applause from developers.

There's more, of course, including SharePoint integration for project dashboarding, promised client-side code search and enhanced test functionality with a focus on manual testing. Ultimately, Saad noted, Microsoft's goal isn't to produce best-of-breed tooling across VSTS, but rather to deliver the most well-integrated tooling.

In short: Development managers will face some tough choices in the years ahead as they weigh the benefits of a focused testing suite like Identify Appsight, for example, against the across-the-board plug-and-play value offered by Rosario.

What do you think of Microsoft's efforts with VSTS? Is the company focusing on the right things or are there specific areas it really needs to address? E-mail me at mdesmond@reddevnews.com.

Posted by Michael Desmond on 04/01/2008 at 1:15 PM


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