Microsoft Moves on Team System

SAN FRANCISCO — With Visual Studio 2005 just three months old, Microsoft is hard at work on building collaboration tools.

That was the message that S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s developer division, delivered today at VS Live, a technical conference for developers.

During his keynote, Somasegar said the company was on track to deliver Team Foundation Server in March; a community technology preview (CTP) will be released this week.

“It’s a collaboration platform that brings all these role-based tools together and enables the team to work together in a collaborative way,” he said.

With earlier versions of Visual Studio, the focus was on the professional developer, Somasegar said. Now, the focus has been expanded to include a variety of other roles, including architects, project managers and testers.

“All these people need to work together in a collaborative way to build an application and get it ready for deployment,” he said.

Team Foundation Server, backed with SQL Server 2005, can be used to store everything related to the project. By using those together with Visual Studio 2005, all members of a project team can work with a single information store, so that everyone has a consistent view of changes, bug reports, code check-ins and builds.

“With Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Team System, we take the agility and productive you’re used to with Visual Studio for individual developers and marry it with the transparency and discipline to enable the team to work collaboratively,” Somasegar said.

Microsoft wants businesses to build the application stack on Windows Server and SQL Server, with Team Server and BizTalk Server on top, with development via Visual Studio.

Somasegar said business intelligence features built into SQL Server 2005 will let enterprise customers make business decisions faster while getting deeper insight into the data.

ISVs in the Visual Studio Industry Partner Program will extend Team System. The program has 205 partners, Somasegar said, and Microsoft hopes to have more than 400 integrated products by year’s end.

Microsoft also announced the release of Design for Operations Starter Kit, which integrates Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 and Team Foundation Server.

The kit, developed with AVIcode, facilitates and automates communication between MOM and Visual Studio 2005 Team System, uniting Operations and Development organizations.

Somasegar reiterated the “early and often engagement” strategy of delivering multiple community technical previews, gathering feedback and using that to fine-tune the product. He said he was committed to giving developers “transparency” into Microsoft’s product development via CTPs.

“Every little thing that I do, I want to be able to share it with you,” he said. “You’ll give us feedback, and together we deliver the right product.”

Microsoft will be even more transparent when it comes to Orcas, he said. Orcas is the code name for the next version of Visual Studio, which will target Windows Vista, the new operating system expected to be released to manufacturing by the end of 2006, and Office 12, planned for after Vista.

Developers will be able to write Vista applications using Visual Studio 2005, as well, but Orcas will make it easier.

Somasegar promised to not only deliver frequent and early CTPS, but also to share every specification document, as well.

In unrelated news, Microsoft merged its Exchange and Real-Time Collaboration (RTC) Groups to form the Unified Communications Group (UCG).

The UCG will be part of Microsoft’s Business Division, led by Jeff Raikes. Anoop Gupta, current corporate vice president of the RTC group, will be in charge.

Microsoft said the move is part of its continuing effort to streamline its organization. The merger acknowledges the increasing integration of various kinds of communications, such as instant messaging, video conferencing and voice over IP with e-mail.

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