Today at TechEd North America 2011, Jason Zander (CVP of Visual Studio) talked about Visual Studio vNext. Specific features of the framework and tool itself were not mentioned, but features expanding our vision of how Visual Studio expands our Application Lifecycle Management footprint took center stage.

There are so many features coming out, you really should check out Jason’s blog outlining what he announced, but for highlights, check this list:

  • Agile Requirements (Storyboard Assistant [PowerPoint Plugin])
  • Agile Coding (Code Review, MyWork)
  • Agile Project Management (TaskBoard, Planning Boards, Project Server Integration)
  • Agile Quality Assurance (Exploratory Testing, Unit Testing, Code Clone Detection)
  • Production IntelliTrace
  • SCOM / TFS Connector CTP
  • TFS on Windows Azure

Even though I’m no longer a development manager, two of the above highlights really are exciting to me: Production IntelliTrace and SCOM / TFS Connector

IntelliTrace is an awesome feature for both real-time debugging for developers or stack reply from tester to developer. But the IntelliTrace executable has to be installed on the tester’s workstation via Test Runner to capture the IntelliTrace stack. With Production IntelliTrace, image now being able to deploy IntelliTrace to your servers and/or customers workstations where intermittent problems are occurring and be able to turn IntelliTrace on to capture the call stacks of the application as the user replicates the issues, and then replay them on your development box. How much time do you think your help desk will save trying to capture the steps and seeing if they can replicate the steps? How much time do you think you’ll save trying replicate the issue from a production user/server? IMO, this feature is HUGE!

System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) is a great product that every Microsoft shop should have. But how many times have you had SCOM alert you of an error, and the error is because an application failed? Your help desk would create a ticket in their ticketing system and then send an email to the development manager that something went wrong. The development manager would have re-enter the information into Team Foundation Server (TFS), triage it, assign it someone, and so on. How much traceability is there from the Help Desk to Development? Pretty much zero traceability. With the SCOM / TFS connector, the help desk engineer can create the trouble ticket right into TFS and associate it with the error alert from SCOM. How much time do you think your help desk will save with this level of traceability? How much time do you think you will save not having to do double entry and report status back to the Help Desk?

ALM is all about enabling people with better processes and having tools that support the better processes. Visual Studio vNext is such a tool and it can adapt to many of the ALM processes that companies employ.

Definitely check out JasonZ’s blog article on Visual Studio vNext and if you can, catch the replay of the keynote so you can some of the highlighted features I spoke about in action.

Updated (5/16 9:30 am) For more information, check out the “Visual Studio vNext: Application Lifecycle Management” whitepaper, now available. Also, be sure to take a look at the Visual Studio Roadmap.

Excelsior!