Visual Studio Feature Packs

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Visual Studio Feature Packs

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[Reader Note: It looks like the formatting is cutting off the table on my main blog page.  If you click on the link for the full story it will show in full.]

 

I was talking with a customer the other day that uses Visual Studio Ultimate for many of its developers and just happened to mention the feature packs.  I was surprised to discover that he didn’t know much about them so thought I would do a general discussion on them for folks.

 

NOTE: Some feature packs have a minimum level required to use them and may require higher level SKUs to use them.

 

What is a Feature Pack?

According to the documentation: “Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 feature packs let you extend Visual Studio 2010 with capabilities that enhance and complement the existing tools. This release expands the scenarios where you can use Visual Studio 2010 to help you create better software.”

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff636699.aspx

 

In a nutshell, feature packs allow us to augment Visual Studio with features we couldn’t get in by RTM or to enhance features we have delivered already.  They are a great way provide ongoing enhancements to the product in consumable chunks so customers can choose what they want to add.

 

Visual Studio 2012 Feature Packs

So what feature packs are available? The VS2012 Feature Packs are still in the works but Jason Zander has revealed that the first packs will be around the following areas:

SharePoint Development Quality of Service Testing scenarios.  Make it easy to test sites for high volume with SharePoint load testing. Make it easier to do SharePoint unit testing by providing Behaviors support for SharePoint API’s.
IntelliTrace

New capabilities for customizing collection of trace data, including the ability to refine the scope of an IntelliTrace collection to a specific class, a specific ASP.NET page, or a specific function. Better results filtering making it faster to find the data you need as well as improved summary pages for quickly identifying core issues.

 

As the new feature packs come out I will probably do individual posts on each one.

 

 

Visual Studio 2010 Feature Packs

Here are the Visual Studio 2010 Feature Packs with a description of each one taken directly from http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff636699.aspx

 

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Visualization and Modeling Feature Pack: Overview, prerequisites, and documentation of the visualization and modeling capabilities in this feature pack.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Visualization and Modeling Feature Pack

This feature pack extends the visualization and modeling capabilities in Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate as follows:

  • Generate dependency graphs for C or C++ code and ASP.NET Web projects.

  • Create layer diagrams from C or C++ code and validate code dependencies against layer diagrams.

  • Generate code for UML class diagrams.

  • Create UML class diagrams from code.

  • Import UML sequence, class, and use case diagram elements from XMI 2.1 files, which you can export from other tools.

  • Create links and view links from work items to model elements.

  • Provide extensibility that lets you write custom code to modify layer diagrams and validate code against them.

For more information about visualizing and modeling code by using Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate, see Modeling the Application.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Feature Pack 2: Overview, prerequisites, and documentation of the extended testing capabilities in this feature pack.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Feature Pack 2

This feature pack extends the testing capabilities in Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate, Visual Studio 2010 Premium and Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 as follows:

  • Playback tests using the Mozilla Firefox browser. You can use Windows Internet Explorer 7 (or later versions) to record UI actions on a website or a Web-based application and then play back the tests using the Mozilla Firefox browser version 3.5 and 3.6.

  • Edit coded UI tests using the Coded UI Test Editor. The editor lets you easily modify your coded UI tests. You can locate, view, and edit your test methods, UI actions and their associated controls in the UI control map.

  • You can create coded UI tests or action recordings for Silverlight 4 applications. Action recordings enable you to fast forward through steps in a manual test.

For more information about testing applications by using Visual Studio 2010, see Testing the Application.

Important noteImportant
Feature Pack 2 also includes the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Visualization and Modeling Feature Pack for Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate. If you already have the Visualization and Modeling Feature Pack installed on your computer, make sure that you copy any custom templates from the extension folders under %LocalAppData% to a safe location before you install Feature Pack 2. Installing this feature pack uninstalls the Visualization and Modeling Feature Pack, removing it from the Visual Studio Extension Gallery and also any custom templates under %LocalAppData%, and installs it in a different location. You will have to remap the templates for any code generation projects to the following location, where you can find the extensions and DLLs that are necessary to use some of the visualization and modeling capabilities:…\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\Extensions\Microsoft\<InsertVisualStudioFeaturePackName>\<InsertVisualStudioFeaturePackVersionNumber>For more information, see Visualizing and Modeling Code with Feature Pack 2 and How to: Generate Code from UML Class Diagrams.

Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010 and Microsoft Project Server Integration Feature Pack: Overview and documentation about Project Server integration for Team Foundation Server 2010.

http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=216263Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010 and Microsoft Project Server Integration Feature Pack

This feature pack lets project managers use Project Server to access up-to-date project status and resource availability across agile and formal software teams who work in Team Foundation. This integration lets data to flow from work items in Team Foundation Server to tasks in enterprise project plans in Project Server. This feature pack lets project managers and software development teams use the tools that they prefer, work at the level of precision that supports their needs, and share information transparently. After the two server products are configured, the synchronization engine maintains scheduling data and resource usage for the configured data in the mapped enterprise project plan and team project.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Load Test Feature Pack: Overview about virtual user license changes included in this feature pack.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Load Test Feature Pack

This feature pack provides Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate users who are active MSDN subscribers a license key to generate unlimited virtual users for load testing.

Out-of-the-box, Microsoft Visual Studio Ultimate 2010 restricts you to a maximum of 250 virtual users which can only be used on a local load test run. If your load testing requires more than 250 virtual users, or if you have to use remote machines, you are required to purchase one or more copies of Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Lab Management Feature Pack

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Lab Management Feature Pack

This feature pack provides Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN and Microsoft Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 with MSDN active subscribers the ability to extend the existing Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management platform to enable an integrated Hyper-V based test lab.

Using a Virtual Lab for Your Application Lifecycle helps you to optimize the use of Microsoft Hyper-V technology to manage and use virtual machines in testing, building, and developing applications in Visual Studio 2010. Visual Studio Lab Management is integrated with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) to enable you manage multiple physical computers that host virtual machines and to manage the storage of virtual machines, virtual machine templates, and other configuration files in SCVMM library servers. Lab Management:

  • Automates complex build-deploy-test workflows to optimize the build process, decrease risk, and accelerate your time to market

  • Helps you reduce development and testing costs associated with setup, tear down, and restoration of virtual environments to a known state.

  • Streamlines the collaboration between development, Quality Assurance, and operations to help organizations achieve higher ROI.

 

If you haven’t tried out the Feature Packs yet then give them a try today to improve your Visual Studio experience.

  • Service Packs, Feature Packs, Power Tools. Really?!? This is getting out of hand. Keep it simple. When you state " They are a great way provide ongoing enhancements to the product in consumable chunks so customers can choose what they want to add."

    I understand that Power Tools are used to test some features before incorporating them into the product so it may be a good idea to keep them separate, but Service Packs and Feature Packs should be merged together. I should be able to choose what I want to install from the setup wizard  en.wikipedia.org/.../KISS_principle

  • Hey Alfred :)

    As you know in software dev we don't always get all the features we want when the product gets to the customer.  Service Packs, Feature Packs, and Power Tools are all post-RTM vehicles we use to deliver value in distinctly different ways after the product ships:

    Service Packs - Used to rollup hotfixes to the existing code base and resolve any issues with product.  May also be used to introduce new features that can typically be used at all levels of VS.

    support.microsoft.com/.../983509

    Feature Packs - Typically used to augment or add features specific to the higher-end versions of VS such as Premium or Ultimate but are rarely used for lower level SKUs.

    (see above)

    Power Tools - These are usually made to be used with any version of VS and sometimes give early access to features that we may (or may not) include in the next rev.  These come in multiple flavors and are very need-focused.  So the Productivity Power Pack would be great for future-looking enhancements:

    visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/d0d33361-18e2-46c0-8ff2-4adea1e34fef

    Whereas the TFS Power Tools are only wanted by those that are using TFS currently:

    visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/c255a1e4-04ba-4f68-8f4e-cd473d6b971f

    All of these are created by different teams and sometimes the timelines match up for delivery (like SP1 for VS2010 where we had new features and hotfixes) and sometimes they don't.  Regardless the nature of the different types of Packs lends them to being distinct entities so folks can choose what they want to have for their VS installation.

    Z

  • Does VS 2012 include the features in the VS 2010 feature packs, specifically we are looking at the features in Feature Pack 2 that updated some thing is MS Test Manager.

  • Frank,

    It's possible for some of the featues from the feature packs for Visual Studio to make it into the next revision.  I haven't looked at specific features from there yet to see what made it and what didn't yet.  If you are loking for something specific I suggest you download the VS2012 RC and see if that feature is in there.

    Z

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