Microsoft did not disclose a release date for the updated tool set, called Visual Studio 2010. The company, however, did outline the major themes of the new release, and described several new Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools that will be part of VSTS 2010, which is code-named "Rosario."
The new version of the developer tool set updates Visual Studio 2008, which was made generally available in January of this year. Microsoft released the first service pack for Visual Studio 2008 last month.
Microsoft said it built Visual Studio 2010 to incorporate what the company called its five major themes -- democratized ALM, riding the next platform wave, delighting developers, breakthrough departmental apps and enabling emerging trends.
As part of the ALM focus for VSTS, Microsoft said it plans to hone in on breaking down the walls that now exist between different developer roles in the development lifecycle, such as architects, developers and testers.
Dave Mendlen, Microsoft's director of developer marketing, said VSTS 2010 will also allow teams to configure and adopt any flavor of the Agile development process. In addition, the software is aimed at allowing both technical and non-technical users to create and use models to work together and graphically define software functionality, the company added.
For example, Mendlen added, the new version of VSTS expands on the notion of a continuous build, which was first introduced in VS 2008 to reduce the chances that developers will "break the build" by checking in bad code. The new toolset has incorporated workflow into the continuous build effort so that an organization can customize development processes, added Cameron Skinner, product manager of VSTS.
For example, a company can create diagrams that show source code that has been inspected against defined restraints, or rules a company sets up to determine if developers are following sound architectural principles, he added. "If a rule is violated ? that information is surfaced to you and you can act on it," Skinner said. "We're trying to take the architectural diagrams and get them living and breathing throughout the entire lifecycle for the team."
Another new tool, called Architectural Explorer, allows architects to build a graphical model that shows relationships and dependencies of code. This type of model can more easily show developers why certain restrictions are in place and how changes they make may affect other aspects of development, Mendlen said. The new version will support both the Unified Modeling Language and Domain Specific Language.
VSTS 2010 also includes a significant focus on testing. For example, there are new features to eliminate bugs that can't be reproduced, and to ensure that all code changes are tested properly, Microsoft said.