Visual Studio 2010 bridges the gap between developers and testers
Bangalore: One of the most commonly heard phrases between testers and developers in the development and testing cycle is "Well it worked on my machine," and "I can't reproduce the bug that you filed". It becomes a frustrated situation for the two genre of roles i.e. developers and testers during application development. However, this gap cannot be afforded during a software development lifecycle, which already reels in a certain amount of uncertainty blended with an inherent risk factor. Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools have come into the purview to bridge this long drawn gap. For Microsoft who stepped into the realm with Visual Studio 2010 (VS2010), it's about helping to form integrated teams, where the flow of information from team member to team member is totally streamlined, thus decreasing the level of conflicts within the cycle.
In a conversation with SiliconIndia, Jason Zander, Corporate Vice President, Visual Studio; Amit Chatterjee, Managing Director of Microsoft India Development Centre and Brian Harry, Technical Fellow at Visual Studio explained how VS2010 tries to bridge the gap between developers and testers and how the various products in the ALM tool brings better collaboration between the two.
Diminishing conflicts via Lab Management
Today 70 percent of the testing done in the industry is done manually. This segment was not served with tools until now. So the testers had the case written in a paper or word document and they read it and drive the product along the test lines. Testers could report the bug as a defect but not fix it. So while noting down the details of the bug if they missed reporting any information, the reporting created confusion among the developers and testers. This aspect is now made easy by the right tools in place. "So, we've tweaked the ALM solutions via integrating modern tools for testers to ensure an integrated environment. Microsoft's Visual Studio 2010 puts a halt to this 'bug ping-pong'. In fact the Lab Management solution in VS2010 extends the existing Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management platform to enable integrated Hyper-V based virtual machine management. Lab Management automates complex build-deploy-test workflows to optimize the build process, decrease risk and accelerate your time to market," says Zander.
Lab Management helps to reduce costs associated with setup, tear down and restoration of complex virtual environments to a known state for build automation, test execution and build deployment. This eliminates waste across the entire application lifecycle by allowing development and QA to work together to effectively optimize the build process and minimize regression testing efforts. Lab Management also enables customers to easily file 'rich actionable bugs' with links to environment snapshots that developers can use to recreate the tester's environments and identify issues. It enables the automation of build-deploy-test workflows to reduce the overall risk and accelerates time to market. Above all, Lab Management helps to streamline the collaboration between development, Quality Assurance and operations to help organizations achieve higher ROI.
Simplifying App Development
Organizations are constantly looking to address business needs with applications that are flexible and scalable enough to match those needs as they change; but the time and resources to build those applications are not always available. "Visual Studio LightSwitch helps developers to quickly and affordably build applications that integrate with their data systems and Web services, work with a variety of hosting and deployment options, and work with third-party plug-ins," says Chatterjee.
LightSwitch is intended for anyone who needs to quickly and affordably create business applications. It is also an ideal tool for professional developers who need to build great-looking customer applications and want to kick start the development with a business application based on the LightSwitch templates.
Building Applications On and For Cloud
There have been large investments done in this area. We've offered Azure, Sequalising the data and data access. We've shipped 6 versions of VS based tools for Azure. There has been a major release of Visual Studio in every 2-3 years and we also keep producing updates against the existing versions of the tools. VS2010 comes directly with the latest version of Azure tools which released in Apr 2010. Also with certain latest components like the Visual Studio LightSwitch which is the simplest way to build business applications for the desktop and the cloud.
Migration from Visual SourceSafe (VSS) to TFS
VSS is a source control software package oriented towards small software development projects. The next generation version of VSS called Team Foundation Server (TFS) offers source control, data collection, reporting, and project tracking, and is intended for collaborative software development projects. "VSS is a very popular product we have. The answer to why one should move from VSS to TFS should be understood by the time these are built in. VSS was designed and built in early 1990's. It was an innovation at that time because when it was created, the state of the art was RCS, SECS command lines and PVCS, so VSS brought more control to the masses. It was simple and easy to approach version of control system, so it became popular," says Harry.
"And as the time went by, the state of software development has evolved - we have Azure, unit testing, large teams of software developers, etc. Now it is much about the collaboration among the team. This is solved by TFS. It gives a much bigger look at the software development process. So over the time we expect that as people's software development process matures, the vast majority of people will move from VSS to TFS. We've made a lot of help available for the move in the form of whitepapers. We've designed TFS similar to VSS so that the users are familiar with the path, command lines, explorer window, etc. We've also given migration tools to convert the VSS data to TFS. So it's a natural evolution from a focused version to an overall ALM tool ," he added.
Confirming the fact that TFS does support multiple platforms, he explained, "There is a feature called Team Explorer which allows you to access TFS from within development environments on Mac, UNIX and LINUX. It has Eclipse Plugin which is a great solution for the jobs of the other developers on the eclipse. So it solves a whole bunch of people's problems. There is a web interface called Team Web Access, intended for nondevelopers like project managers, analysts, etc., who need access to development information. In this you are not needed to install VS. You can just browse the web and review reports, projects stats, etc. And it works on any OS - IE, Chrome and others."
Enhancing the User Experience
Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 delivers a modern, enhanced user experience that makes understanding the current context more natural. It enables the users with:
* Clear UI Organization.
* Reduced clutter and complexity.
* Improved editor.
* Better support for floating documents and windows.
* Enhanced document targeting.
* Focused animations for action feedback.
Democratizing the Application Lifecycle Management
Microsoft introduced its ALM tool at a time when there were only expensive, complicated and disjoint tools in the market. Realizing there is the need, Microsoft comes up with a single tool which is inexpensive and integrates all the different roles to work together in a collaborative environment. We have integrated the testing feature along with development and the similar impact has been created on the architecture side to remove the bottlenecks and integrate the efforts of multiple people across the application lifecycle to work together.
Visual Studio Team System 2010 delivers new capabilities for everyone on a project, including architects, developers, project managers and testers. VSTS 2010 helps to:
* Discover existing code assets with the new Architecture Explorer.
* Design and share multiple diagram types, including use case, activity and sequence diagrams.
* Tooling for better documentation of test scenarios and more thorough collection of test data.
* Run tests impacted by a code change with the new Test Impact View.
* Gated check-in, branch visualization and build workflow allow for enhanced version control.
As Windows Phone 7 is expected to hit the market soon, VS2010 will further mount its popularity as it supports application development for Windows Phone 7.