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Drilling into VSTS 2010 Testing

With the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) around the corner, I half expected things to get pretty quiet ahead of the show. So imagine our surprise when the Redmondians began peppering us with new information about upcoming dev-related products like Visual Studio 2010, .NET Framework 4.0, the "Dublin" app server and the "Oslo" modeling and repository initiative.

Updates to Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) took center stage in a recent blog post by Microsoft Developer Division Senior Vice President S. "Soma" Somasegar. He said the next version of Microsoft's VSTS will allow developers to more easily test for and isolate bugs.

Last week, we covered Microsoft's announced plans for the Team System IDE. As part of the announcement, Microsoft officials said it will extend its role-based clients to include a VSTS 2010 Architecture Edition (which includes the Architect Explorer and Layout Diagram designer), a VSTS 2010 Test Edition and a VSTS 2010 Developer Edition.

As ever, Microsoft seems to be taking a crafty tack with its integrated testing. Rather than compete with the full-scale test harnesses provided by third-party vendors, Microsoft is focusing on roles integration -- an enduring theme in the VS space. Specifically, VSTS Test Edition will help testers and developers work more smoothly together by providing better situational awareness for both parties.

"We think about testers as largely disenfranchised from the application lifecycle and the tools that are out there for them aren't where they need to be," said Dave Mendlen, director of developer marketing at Microsoft.

"Overwhelmingly, most of the testing that goes on out there in the industry is manual testing, so we now have a set of tools that enable the manual tester to capture what's going on with their test runs," he added.

The testing tool promises to let the tester specify the precise state of any given build, such as what's been checked in and what's changed in the source code. That way, the developer can compare the state of the build when trying to reproduce the bug. This should help stamp out "no-repro" bugs, Somasegar wrote.

"One of the other common blockers to reproducing a bug is the collection of actionable data on the bug," Somesegar noted. "By providing a set of tools designed specifically for testers, we are enabling better documentation of test scenarios as well as more thorough collection of data when a scenario fails. This includes the collection of system data, as well as stack trace information, screen images and even fully indexed video capture of the testers' screen attached to the bug." Somasegar attached some screens to his post illustrating this feature.

Returning to the roles integration theme, Somasegar pointed out that the "collaboration hub" that's the basis of Team Foundation Server (TFS) "enables all of the roles in the lifecycle to work together on shared requirements, shared code assets, and a powerful build management system."

Ultimately, Somasegar wrote, the new TFS features in VSTS 2010 "provide the same level of visual capabilities for source code and build management as we provide for architectural design."

What do you think of Microsoft's efforts to advance test in VSTS 2010? E-mail me at [email protected].

With reporting by Executive Editor Jeffrey Schwartz.

Posted by Michael Desmond on 10/07/2008

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