Part I – Evolving Visual Studio (Part II)
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First, let’s take a look at the Visual Studio .NET 2003 product line to understand where things are today, and what’s coming down the road.
Figure 1.1 – Visual Studio .NET 2003
Each graduated edition of Visual Studio .NET includes all of the functionality found in the edition beneath it. For example, Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Developer includes all of the functionality found in Visual Studio .NET Professional, which includes all of the functionality found in Visual Basic .NET 2003 Standard Edition, Visual Studio .NET C# 2003 Standard Edition, Visual Studio .NET J# 2003 Standard Edition and Visual C++ 2003 Standard Edition.
Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Architect and Visual Studio .NET 2003 Professional are the most widely used versions of Visual Studio .NET 2003. Of the two, Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Architect has the largest share and is most frequently obtained by purchasing an MSDN Universal subscription, which is close in price.
Next, let’s take a look at how the Visual Studio product line is evolving for Visual Studio 2005.
Figure 1.2 – Evolving Visual Studio
As shown above, the product line is growing in many directions. First, the product line is expanding below the current language-specific Standard Editions to include a collection of very inexpensive Express Editions for each language, including an edition that is targeted at Web development.
Figure 1.3 – Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions
The Express Editions are an ideal fit for hobbyists and those seeking to explore software and Web development for the first time.
The current language-specific Standard Editions are moving into Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition, which includes several new features (such as Class Designer) and features previously available in Visual Studio .NET 2003 Professional (such as support for smart device and mobile Web application development).
Figure 1.4 – Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition
Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition now includes most of the features found in Visual Studio .NET Enterprise Developer & Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Architect, in addition to all of the functionality found in Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition.
This is typical for Microsoft developer tools. As features become more common and expected, they migrate into the lower-end versions.
Figure 1.5 – Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition
The subset of Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Architect features that are not included in Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition (such as Visio for Enterprise Architects) are available in the new MSDN Premium Subscription.
With that, Visual Studio 2005 has in essence blanketed what Visual Studio .NET 2003 covers today, not to mention added a bunch of new features. At this point, we haven’t even touched on Visual Studio 2005 Team System.
Looking at Team System, let’s put aside Team Foundation Server and first consider the role-based products, Team Edition for Software Architects, Team Edition for Software Developers and Team Edition for Software Testers.
Figure 1.6 – Visual Studio 2005 Team Editions
With Team Edition for Software Developers, Visual Studio provides functionality that was not previously commercially available from Microsoft (such as unit testing and C/C++ native code analysis), or integrated in the Visual Studio IDE (such as profiling and managed code analysis).
The Distributed System Designers in Team Edition for Software Architects are part of a larger initiative that is underway at Microsoft, the Dynamic Systems Initiative. These designers and accompanying tools represent the first wave of tools to improve the design and deployment of service-oriented applications.
Team Edition for Software Testers recognizes the role of the professional software tester, and includes functionality for managing tests, performing load & stress testing, managing load test agents, and leveraging machine virtualization with Virtual Server 2005. To increase the capacity for load testing, test managers can purchase Visual Studio 2005 Team Test Load Agent for additional load agents.
In addition, each of the Visual Studio 2005 Team Editions includes Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Microsoft Office System.
Perhaps one of the largest challenges to team software development is collaboration and communication. To answer that, Visual Studio 2005 introduces a new server product, Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server. Team Foundation Server is the nexus for Visual Studio 2005 team software development. Using deeply integrated core services, Team Foundation Server provides version control, work item tracking, and build automation. In addition, Team Foundation Server integrates with Windows SharePoint Services to provide a project portal site and SQL Server Reporting Services to provide project reporting.
Figure 1.7 – Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server
Using a model similar to SQL Server, Team Foundation Server requires a Client Access License (CAL) for clients to connect. Each of the Team Edition products includes a CAL and Team Explorer functionality. For those that require each of the Team Edition products on one desktop, there’s Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite, which flattens the three Team Edition products into one.
Figure 1.8 – Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite
In addition, you can purchase Team Foundation Server CALs for using Team Explorer with Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition and Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition to provide integrated Team Foundation functionality.
Figure 1.9 – Visual Studio 2005 Team Explorer
If you’re working on a project that cannot migrate to Visual Studio 2005 just yet but you’re anxious to start using Team Foundation Server, you can purchase Team Foundation Server CALs and use Team Explorer side-by-side with Visual Studio .NET 2003 and earlier versions of Visual Studio. Although you won’t enjoy the integrated experience found in Visual Studio 2005 you’ll be able to take advantage of Team Foundation Server’s core features, such as version control and work item tracking.
Figure 1.10 – Visual Studio 2005 Team Explorer with Visual Studio .NET 2003
Bottom line – Visual Studio 2005 represents a quantum leap in the evolution of Visual Studio. With the addition of Visual Studio 2005 Team System, Microsoft has expanded into the software development life-cycle tools market.
In Part II, I’ll explore Visual Studio 2005 pricing and licensing.