After a six-month build up, Microsoft Corp has said that it is finally done with development of Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) Foundation Server, the linchpin of its new software development collaboration platform. It made the announcement during an address at the Software Development West conference last week.
VSTS was first announced two years ago as Microsoft’s vision for unifying the development life cycle. It is a communications and collaboration framework that includes some tooling plus a communications engine and data warehouse with plenty of web services and other APIs for third party .NET tools.
Several VSTS clients for developers, testers, and architects, respectively, were released at the Visual Studio 2005 rollout last fall.
There were few if any surprises regarding the features in the product’s launch. Ironically, the biggest surprise was that Microsoft kept its six-week old promise for the March rollout that it hinted at last fall.
And they largely repeated a demo that they first played at the VSLive conference in San Francisco at the end of January which included Serena, which provides a business requirements tool that submits and receives updates from Team System; Sparx Systems, which provides a UML 2.0 framework; Team Prize, which enables developers on UNIX or Macintosh platforms to link their code to Team System; Team Plane, which provides a web client for Team System; and Identify Software (the only new player in this demo), which covers issue or defect tracking.
Rick LaPlante, general manager for the VSTS product, delivered the talk, reiterating the lines that have become the VSTS mantra over the past few months: that Microsoft is providing a lightweight framework for unifying application life cycle management; that VSTS makes Microsoft the only player outside IBM striving to cover the application life cycle end-to-end; and that VSTS provides a framework that can accommodate the methodology of your choice.
He also highlighted an aspect of VSTYS that Microsoft has only recently began emphasizing: that VSTS applies the power of business intelligence to help you analyze the effectiveness of your software development processes.
For instance, if the tool that you use provides data on test cases, VSTSD Foundation Server’s analytic reporting capabilities can provide trend analysis on test coverage of each build or piece of code that is checked in.
Of course, because this is a lightweight approach, that means Microsoft does not impose rules from Olympus governing the data that must be submitted buy the tool to the VSTS data warehouse. Instead, the onus is on development teams to make sure that all their .NET tools feed the right data.
With the release to manufacturing, VSTS Foundation Server will become available for download off MSDN probably by the end of the week. DVDs should be available by April.