What's on Your Wish List for Visual Studio vNext?
Jason Zander showed an early glimpse of what's coming in the next release of Visual Studio at Microsoft Tech-Ed North America this week. Most of the new functionality is designed to support Agile development: storyboarding, lightweight requirements, stakeholder feedback, Agile planning dashboard, continuous integration testing, and so on.
Zander, who is the corporate vice president of the Visual Studio engineering team, explained the thinking behind the new application lifecycle management (ALM) features during the keynote and in his blog:
When we asked people what the biggest problem they faced in successfully delivering software, they identified the need for better collaboration. We know that building software takes a team of people including developers, testers, architects, project planners, and more. Out of this observation, we created the strategy for our ALM offering which focuses on helping people collaborate in very tightly integrated ways: collaboration, actionable feedback, diverse work styles (Visual Studio, Web browser, SharePoint, Office or dedicated tooling) and Agile transparent processes.
Visual Studio ALM vNext aims to bring more people into the application lifecycle, adding tool support for project stakeholders and IT operations teams. On Monday, Microsoft released the first Community Technical Preview of a Systems Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 connector for Team Foundation Server 2010.
According to the keynote demo, stakeholders (customers) will be able to use the new storyboarding assistant, which is a plug-in to PowerPoint, to describe their ideas using a familiar tool. The tool provides a Storyboarding ribbon and controls to help team members create storyboards and understand ideas before they implement them into working software. The storyboarding assistant looked like a good approach during the demo but many people don't feel all that enlightened after looking at a PowerPoint—remember the Department of Defense's use of that technology?
Microsoft is also revamping the Web access tools for Team Foundation Server with a new Scrum model that allows users to manipulate the product backlog in real-time (drag and drop), assign a priority work item to the current sprint, monitor the capacity of the team, and manage the taskboard.
With the new Web access solution, the popular Excel-based Agile planning workbooks will not be part of vNext, according to Microsoft. The Web tools will support Excel. Word integration is still not on the roadmap.
Integration with multiple unit testing frameworks is also planned for Visual Studio ALM vNext. The upcoming IDE will support the MSTest command line utility, xUnit.net on CodePlex and open source NUnit for .NET and native C++ code, according to Zander.
Along with the support for Agile processes, Microsoft also showed a lot of improvements for developers who are coding in the IDE. A cool feature is the ability to suspend what you are doing and then resume the work with all your files and break points exactly as you left them. Zander referred to it as My Workspace functionality, which packages up your work as "a snapshot" in Visual Studio for easier context switching.
That's just the tip of the iceberg; Zander and his team demoed a lot of exciting features.
Express your thoughts on Visual Studio ALM vNext. What's on your wish list? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Kathleen Richards on 05/17/2011 at 12:54 PM