Look Out ‘Orcas,’ Here Comes ‘Rosario’

Talk about getting antsy.

Microsoft has only just begun Beta 2 of Visual Studio 2008, but it’s already preparing the first community technology preview, or CTP, of that product’s successor.

Visual Studio 2008 — previously codenamed Orcas after an island in Puget Sound north of Seattle — officially entered its second beta test phase last week. That product is on track for release possibly as soon as the end of the year, although its “official” launch won’t come until February 27.

Now the company has announced that it will issue this week the first CTP of the “next” version of Visual Studio Team System, which will come after VS2008. That release is codenamed Rosario, after a historical resort located on Orcas Island.

“Man what a couple of weeks — first Orcas Beta 2 … and later this week the Rosario August CTP… this confluence of things wasn’t exactly by design but it sure is exciting,” Brian Harry, Microsoft product unit manager for Team Foundation Server, said in a blog post on Monday.

While the company has traditionally only worked on one release at a time, this time Microsoft is trying a slightly different tack. The objective is to speed up the development process where possible.

“We have been working on Rosario (to some degree or another) since September of last year,” Harry said in a post last week. “The outcome of this should be a shorter delta between Orcas and Rosario than we’ve seen between previous releases. We’ll see if that bears out,” he added.

What’s coming in Rosario? Harry said he will provide more details later in the week but in the meantime what’s coming in this first CTP boils down to new tools for manual testers and work item linking and hierarchy support.

In addition, the company is also planning a second CTP for release in “about three months.” No other dates, including the final shipping schedule, have been made public yet.

According to his biography on the company’s site, Harry joined Microsoft in 1994 when it bought out One Tree Software, the startup he co-founded which developed SourceSafe — the forerunner of the source code control package that Microsoft today markets as Visual SourceSafe. Since that time, he has worked on projects such as the Microsoft Repository and later what became the .NET Framework.

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