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And now we are 10: MS goes to work on Visual Studio

Roadmaps for Orcas and Rosario

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VSLive Microsoft has let slip a couple of roadmaps to accompany celebrations for Visual Studio's tenth birthday. As is the way of all roadmaps, there are codenames to bandy about. So say hello to "Orcas, your next Visual Studio, and 'Rosario", which is to be the next iteration of - take a deep breath - the Visual Studio 2005 Team System (VSTS) application lifecycle management (ALM) platform.

Due this year, Orcas will see tools beefing up enterprise, web and database development. Microsoft will also throw in previously separate tools for Office to help turn Office 2007 into a platform for independent software vendor and system integrator partners.

Orcas featurea refactoring for Visual Basic, enabling Windows developers to bring in and modify the huge footprint of VB code. Development using SQL statements is simplified in C# and Visual Basic.NET using Microsoft's LINQ architecture. AJAX tools are also planned for Orcas.

The professional edition of Visual Studio Orcas will feature tools for building Office applications with an updated version of Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO). VSTO will introduce visual designers and drag-and-drop controls to reduce the number of steps needed to create workflows that integrate Office with SharePoint portal and collaboration server, along with one-click deployment.

Microsoft is particularly keen to have its legions of partners quickly build applications that tailor the recently launched Office 2007 suite to vertical sector and individual customer needs. Microsoft plans to open the Office 2007 ribbon interface to customization. Also it will enable the capability to create and import Outlook Forms, and provide the ability to access content on the VSTO server without actually opening the document. VSTO will also call back to the legacy Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) enabling customization of the Office traskpains.

Elements of VSTO will debut with the Orcas community technology preview (CTP) edition in March, with fuller features due in the Orcas betas.

Rosario

After Orcas, Microsoft will update its Visual Studio 2005 Team System (VSTS) application lifecycle management (ALM) platform focusing on improvements in the management of development teams, collaboration between team members, and providing tools to improve developers' output.

VSTS launched in November 2005 as Microsoft's debut in ALM against incumbents IBM/Rational and Borland Software. Sixteen months later, Microsoft claims a quarter of the one million developers using Visual Studio 2005 are on the full VSTS Suite - they upgraded from VSTS modules purchased under their Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscription with Visual Studio 2005. According to Visual Studio group product manager Prashant Sridharan the biggest spike in VSTS uptake followed Microsoft's May 2006 launch of Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Database Professionals.

The VSTS update, codenamed Rosario, will feature advanced development tools with analysis of cyclomatic complexity and cave analysis for rigorous performance analysis and stack tracing. Application development team management gets a boost with integration between the VSTS project server and system center, to help managers analyze time spent on work and assess the impact of changes on projects and to the business.

The goal is help IT and business managers keep tabs on projects, allocate resources accordingly, and predict the impact of their decisions on projects. Microsoft also wants to let developers see the impact on projects of their own actions.

Sridharan told The Register that this is a long-term project and Rosario would be the first implementation in this strategy. "That's not easy in version one - that won't be rosy, but the data is there [in the server]. Our goal with Rosario is to do the team analysis in the Team Foundation Server," he said.

Microsoft plans APIs for partners to build connectors from TFS to non-Microsoft products like IBM's Tivoli management suite. Rosario does not have a release date. ®

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