Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Couple of Major Visual Studio Announcements

This week Microsoft is hosting the Visual Studio Live conference in Redmond. This conference is one of those that is fun to get to if you can, but I have unfortunately not been able to attend this time around. Microsoft has chosen this conference as a platform to make some pretty interesting announcements.

Developing Line of Business Applications from Templates

The first major announcement came yesterday when “Visual Studio Lightswitch” was announced. In short, Lightswitch is a Rapid Application Development platform. The marketing states, “Visual Studio Lightswitch enables you to quickly create professional-quality line of business applications regardless of your development skills” and from what I can tell, it definitely does that. While this tool isn’t targeted at developers who like to build code from the ground up, it certainly does make the lives of those who want to quickly build and deploy applications easier.. I could see this as a great prototyping platform, or even as a mechanism to quickly solve specific problems. I’ll play around with the bits and maybe post a few more articles on it here as I get the time.

Test and Lab Management

If you’ve spent any time at all looking at the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) features of Visual Studio 2010, you have heard about “Test and Lab Management” and are likely excited about it. When Visual Studio 2010 released, the Lab management capabilities were unfortunately not quite ready, and were released in “Release Candidate” form. There are a number of stories and rumors behind this, but the reality is that the team just couldn’t be comfortable with where they were based on the amount of customer feedback that they had received. There was also a lot of confusion around how much this was going to cost organizations to deploy, and how things were going to be licensed. (The idea was you needed the client, the server, and agents for each of the machines deployed, which meant that larger organizations potentially were going to have to make a sizable and serious investment)

The announcement today is that the “RTM” bits for Test and Lab Management will be available by the end of August! The other announcement is that the licensing has been very simplified. The client portion will be available by purchasing either Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate or Visual Studio 2010 Test Professional. The server portion is automatically included with Team Foundation Server, and the agents will NOT require a CAL (basically they are included with your TFS license).

For those of us who’ve deployed Test and Lab Management already, there will be an update package that will upgrade the Release Candidate bits to RTM, but will also include fixes for each of the components (Client, Server, Agent) and the “things” they are packaged with (Team Foundation Server, etc).

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