Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Visual Studio 2010 Community Launch review

Yesterday, I visited one of the offline Community Launch events for Visual Studio 2010 in the Netherlands (yes, even the Netherlands had more then one launch event). In this post I write about this event and about some of the new features in VS2010.

First of all, I must say Microsoft does a good job supporting their partners in organizing events like this. Microsoft deals with registration, which makes it a breeze, and Microsoft supplies (at least part of) the material used for the presentation, which obviously helps the partners do a better job.

Now, as you might know, flying above Europe is still an issue, because of the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Because of that the keynote speaker for the launch event I visited could not fly to the Netherlands. Luckily the Chief of Staff for Visual Studio, Jeff Beehler was on holiday in the Netherlands and was willing to fill in.

The keynote started with a small introduction of Jeff Beehler, followed by some astounding statistics to describe the sheer size of the Visual Studio product and team. A build that takes over 63 hours?? I thought my 5 minutes plus was long.


Then the attention was brought to the new testing tools that are available in the Visual Studio product. I was amazed at how much they evolved since VS2008. You can now record the complete test as a video that the developer can watch to find out how a certain bug can be reproduced. Even better the complete application status is recorded throughout the test, which allows you to debug forwards and even backwards through the software to analyze the bug further.

Team Foundation Server

After talking about testing Jeff gave us some new insights into the new TFS release. Obviously there are more reports and it is all very cool for a project manager on a large scale project. For small teams like the one I work with, I can’t really see the added value. What did stand out was the extended Excel integration that allows you to not only do advanced reporting in Excel, but also allows you to quickly edit data in TFS.

One feature that did surprise me, was the fact that you can now install TFS 2010 on a client OS, from Windows XP SP2 and up. Now that’s a feature which allows smaller companies to start using TFS early on. Also the setup is simplified, so that everything can now be provisioned from a single install in about 20 minutes.

Architecture tools in the Ultimate edition

After Jeff completed his keynote and we all had some drinks, it was time to let Marcel de Vries on stage, who is a TFS MVP and works as an architect. His talk completely focused on the new abilities in VS2010 Ultimate, which support and architect in making sure the architecture is maintained as it was intended. To help an architect do that there are obviously some forward and reverse engineering tools.

To help architects do a better job, there are now even more diagrams available. But the most important thing I found is that you can now make a Layer Diagram AND have Visual Studio and/or the TFS source control validate that any source follows that diagram. So now you can have an automated build fail whenever someone breaks the architecture, or you can even block them from checking something like that in.

Another important thing to note is that, although you need the Ultimate edition in order to create, generate and/or maintain these diagrams you can actually open them in other editions as well, so developers can now see the diagrams in their own environment.


All in all there are some great new features that surround the development process. Unfortunately there was not more information on new features for developers, besides some side notes on multi monitor support and zooming. Also I would have liked to have a better insight into migrating code to .NET 4.0 and Silverlight 4.0.

As Microsoft is now focusing more on the smaller companies and independent developers by having easier system requirements and some great licensing programs, I’d say that speakers on events like this should take that into account and focus a little more on the needs of these developers as well.

Have you been to a community launch of VS2010? Let us know what you experienced and leave a comment.