Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 is now live, and we have updated the Beta2 landing page to point to the publicly available downloads. Early reaction from our MSDN customers and MVPs has been very positive. The Beta 2 release is also a “go-live” release – that it, the product is ready enough that we are licensing the product for developing and deploying production applications. You can read more about what it means to go-live from Jeff Beehler’s post on the topic.

In my product team, we are actively working with a set of customers who have chosen to go-live with our Test and Lab Management Products. Please post a comment on this blog if you are interested in going live with the VS 2010 Beta 2 product.

In this post I want to highlight the changes that you will see in Beta 2, focusing on the Test and Lab Management capabilities.

One of the most significant changes is on the packing front. We have finalized the SKU structure for the VS 2010 release, and it is a marked simplification from the many different SKUs we had in VS 2008 which made the buying decision quite complex. With the 2010 release, we are moving to a simple nested-model of capabilities which you can think of as three variants – good, better, and best. The picture below shows the three variants.

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At the lowest level you have the good – the VS 2010 Professional SKU with or without MSDN. These are the tools for basic development tasks. The “better” is the VS 2010 Premium SKU which offers a complete toolset that allows developers to deliver scalable, high quality applications. Finally, the “best” builds upon this theme and provides a comprehensive suite of application lifecycle management tools for teams. The next diagram below gives you a sense of how the capabilities build up from the good to the best. I have marked off those feature sets that are targeted for testers (or valuable for testers) with red boxes.

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There are some additional products in the VS 2010 family that are shown below – these are particularly important for testers. The Visual Studio Test Elements SKU is essential for anyone engaging in test case management or manual test execution in the development cycle. All of the functionality of this SKU, by the way, is also included in the VS 2010 Ultimate SKU as well. The Lab Management product enables teams to configure and manage virtual lab environments. All of these capabilities are of course built on top of the Team Foundation Server product.

A high level diagram which shows were the features land in the different client side SKUs is shown below

In the backdrop of the above changes in the SKU and packaging, let me now tell you about the key changes you will see in the Test and Lab Management products in Beta 2 that are new or improved over the functionality we had in the Beta 1 release.

The table below shows all of the features and capabilities for our Test product that is new or changed in Beta 2

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The next table shows the improvements in the Lab Management product for Beta 2

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You will see a lot of blog activity from team members soon, as they talk about their favorite features and scenarios. I will complete this post with a set of screen shots from the Beta 2 builds.

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A view of the plan activity center showing the hierarchy of suites and test cases in a suite

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Test Plan properties showing various settings and results overview

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Test Results from a Data Driven Test

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The Lab Activity center showing Lab Environments in various states

Releasing Beta 2 is a very significant milestone for us. We are now in the home stretch for the product, and are ready for you to go live with this release. I look forward to you deploying the products in your teams, and will be happy to answer any questions and clarification you may have.

I will be back soon with future posts on value props and scenarios we are enabling with this release.