Mike Swanson

May, 2004

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    Workaround for Help Issue in Community Technology Preview May 2004

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    Excellent! Thanks to Rob Caron for letting us know how to fix the external help system in the latest Visual Studio .NET Community Technology Preview. And I thought it was just my machine…

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    Tech·Ed Series Webcasts

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    While browsing tonight, I ran across some Tech·Ed series webcasts that cover some great architectural and developer-related topics. Some of these have already occurred, so they’re viewable on-demand. Others are upcoming. Software Estimation Best Practices is worth watching for anyone who has ever had to estimate a software project (probably everyone reading this). Test Driven Development as a Practice is worth watching if you’re looking for an introduction to TDD (in my opinion, it should be a 100 level presentation…not 400).

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    NxOpinion Mentioned in Steve Ballmer's Keynote at Tech·Ed 2004

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    The NxOpinion project I’ve been working on for the past year-and-a-half with Sagestone Consulting and the Robertson Research Institute was mentioned by Steve Ballmer in his keynote yesterday at Tech·Ed 2004 (see full transcript):

    The last is perhaps to me the most satisfying. Robertson Research Institute is an organization dedicated to healthcare. Dr. Robertson had a very unfortunate death occur with a son of a friend of his. He took a look and said, why, what was wrong in the healthcare delivery process? The problem, it turned out, was it was very difficult to get enough information to doctors [in] real time so that they can absolutely make the right diagnosis.

    So much healthcare information is locked up in so many different places in silos and they said, look, we're going to build a solution that really helps docs do a better job of diagnosing and solving patient problems. They're giving their solution away free to doctors as part of an emphasis to try to really do a better job and encourage people to do a better job of using information technology to solve healthcare issues. It's a very comprehensive tool. It was built in .NET.

    They've found that because it's all for free, cost, complexity were very important. They cut their costs by about 90 percent, their development time by about 58 percent. They've got something like 35 to 40 percent as much code, so better solutions delivered more quickly, more maintainable and supportable in a very, very, very mission-critical environment, that environment being the doc trying to deliver real-time healthcare services.

    It’s incredible to me how much support the NxOpinion project has received. Thank you to everyone who has helped (and continues to help) with this amazing endeavor.

    Update: Apparently our NxOpinion case study video was also played just prior to the first keynote.

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    Threat Modeling Tool

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    Looks like we’ve released a Threat Modeling Tool. From the site: “The tool allows users to create threat model documents for applications. It organizes relevant data points, such as entry points, assets, trust levels, data flow diagrams, threats, threat trees, and vulnerabilities into an easy-to-use tree-based view. The tool saves the document as XML, and will export to HTML and MHT using the included XSLTs, or a custom transform supplied by the user.”

    I’m looking forward to reading the upcoming Threat Modeling book by Frank Swiderski and Window Synder. Threat Modeling is a practice that we’ve implemented inside of Microsoft, and I’m very glad to see that we’re sharing this kind of information with the development community.

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    Visual Studio 2005 Team System

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    That darn Chris Sells...always doing my work for me. I was going to collect some juicy tidbits to post about the Visual Studio 2005 Team System that we announced at Tech·Ed 2004 today, but it seems he's beat everyone to the punch. So first, I'll direct you to his post, and then I'll provide some direct links to the video demos, which I find to be most useful:

    Visual Studio 2005 Team Test Edition: Testing Demos
    The Visual Studio 2005 Team Test Edition introduces a suite of new test tools. With this release, all tests including unit, Web, load and manual testing are first class citizens in Visual Studio and can be shared across the organization. The test results can be published to a database, you can generate trend and historical reports, compare different kinds of data, see how many and which bugs were found as a result of testing, and identify which bugs are not linked to a test that could help reproduce them.

    Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation: Source Code Control and Item Tracking Demo
    Visual Studio Team Foundation, the server component of the Visual Studio 2005 Team System provides integrated source control, work item tracking, reporting, and custom policies that enable teams to efficiently manage change in your software development projects. These change management components are seamlessly integrated into the development environment thereby offering unobtrusive SCM process and team-specific requirements in the developer’s daily workflow.

    Visual Studio 2005 Team Developer: Feature Demos
    The Visual Studio 2005 Team Developer Edition provides advanced development tools that enable teams to incorporate quality, early and often throughout the life cycle. The Static Code Analyzer helps developers detect coding and security related issues earlier in the development cycle thereby reducing the overall cost of fixing code defects. In addition, code analysis tools can be used as a part of the check-in policy for a nightly build process, enabling development teams to correct defects before code is checked into the source tree. Performance analysis tools in the Visual Studio Team Developer Edition enables developers to measure, evaluate, and target performance-related issues in their code, thereby identifying performance bottlenecks early on.

    Visual Studio 2005 Team System: Project Management Tools Demo
    The Visual Studio 2005 Team System delivers many different project management tools. The Visual Studio Project Management Tools enable better planning, scheduling, collaboration, communication, reporting, and process control. These tools are integrated with the Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE), Microsoft Office, Windows SharePoint Services, and SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services.

    Overall, my favorites are:

    ·        The integrated NUnit-like testing tools

    ·        Built-in code coverage analysis (with nice code highlighting)

    ·        A much better SCM interface with some good policy support

    ·        Integrated static analysis tools (similar to FxCop)

    ·        The UML-like Class Designer (“Whitehorse”)

    There’s a lot to like. If you’re a MSDN subscriber, you can play with these tools by downloading the just-released Visual Studio 2005 Community Technology Preview May 2004.

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