TechEd – Visual Studio vNext announcements

TechEd 2011 is going on right now in Atlanta.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it up there this year, so I’m catching some of it online.  There were some interesting announcements during the keynote today surrounding Visual Studio and TFS as they showed Visual Studio vNext (2012?) functionality.  The keynote can be accessed here:, and you can catch other content here:

Some of the highlights:

– They are brining IT/Operations closer to development with this release.  2010 brought Architects, testers, and project managers into the team, so the next version will go one step further.  Again, they are focusing on collaboration and integration to bring everyone together under one system rather than having everyone working with disparate systems. So vNext has a lot of new features focusing on Stakeholders and operations.

– They showed some great improvements to TFS Web Access interface.  Up to now, it’s mostly a portal where you can go look for data.  Yes, there is some functionality as you can create new tasks and such, but if you have the option between Team Explorer and the Web Interface, you’d most likely stick with Team Explorer.  For vNext, they are adding backlog functionality that will help during sprint planning and execution.  It looks similar to the functionality that they added in the Excel templates in TFS 2010, but with much better user experience.  They also added a task board which seems to work pretty well for something that is not even in CTP yet.   One thing I really liked is that the burn-down chart gets updated as you change your task board.  Currently you have to wait until the cube processes as the data is pulled from Analysis Services.  It looks like the Scrum community will be very-well served by the next release!

– Storyboarding tool: They added a plugin for Powerpoint that allows a stakeholder to mockup screens.  It’s almost like Sketchflow, but for non-technical people.  A lot of the mockups that I get are already done in PowerPoint or Excel, so this seems like a good place to start, and it will definitely be better than bad drawings.  Once the mock-ups make it to the developers, you can associate them to the TFS tasks (since the PowerPoint mockups would be saved in SharePoint).  So this gets everyone a little closer than before and keeps all information in one centralized place, so it will allow faster feedback between devs and product owner.

– On the Operations side, they added a Connector that integrates TFS with System Center Operations Manager.  So you are able to generate bugs and send all the information (such as call stack, dumps, etc) into TFS when an issue is found.

Microsoft has been trying to bring teams together with TFS since it came out in 2005.  They brought Dev and QA closer with TFS 2010 and now vNext will bring Operations and Engineering teams together.  I can’t wait to get my hands on this!

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