Geeks With Blogs

The long-awaited launch happened yesterday and I enjoyed what I was able to see. Unfortunately, I only stayed through the morning session since our team was scheduled to release that day (imagine that). In any case, the organizers were understanding and forgiving enough to give me the free copies of VS.NET 2005 and SQL Server 2005 before I left anyway. Let me give a quick synopsis of some of the things I noted during the talks.

The keynote speech cited a few statistics that showed the market adoption of .NET in comparison to J2EE and SQL Server in comparison to Oracle and DB2 over the past few years. Some of these numbers were quite impressive although I wasn't able to catch the source quickly enough so I'm not sure how reliable/accurate they were. Nonetheless, a couple things sure hit home; the fact that .NET has been adopted by a lot of large companies and it is here to stay for a while. Two of the companies that the presentation specifically talked about were HMV and Barnes & Noble. The presentations focused on how HMV is utilizing VS.NET 2005 to develop its online media center and how Barnes & Noble is using SQL Server 2005 to integrate, analyze and support billions of data records. The argument that SQL Server cannot scale has to be seriously reconsidered after seeing what they are doing with it.

Ok, so moving on to the session about Visual Studio Team System. The Team System is targeted at integrating several different software team roles: the infrastructure architect, the solution architect, the developer, the tester, and the project manager. The Team System comes in three editions (software architect, developer, or tester) or you can get the whole team suite. The idea is to let everyone on the team work smoothly together via a common toolset. In this case, the infrastructure architect can create a logical model of the available web servers, database servers, firewalls etc. and the solution architect can apply the functional model with the web service packages, web interfaces, smart clients etc. on top of that. Then the deployment can be validated and checked in for the developer who will work on the specific projects and solutions and so forth. Later on the tester comes in and start writing stress tests, unit test and other things and the project manager can check-up and run reports seeing all the progress that has been made because everything relates back to the same repository. What makes all this possible is that Team System uses the concept of work items. So you can, for example, only allow a developer to check-in code that has been related to a specific work item, which could be a feature or a bug fix or whatever. The Team System has version control so history of all changes is kept. It also has automated build, unit test integration, and code performance and analysis checking capabilities with things such as NUnit and FxCop. Another plus is that the software comes with the documentation for two MSF methodologies including the agile one. It has templates, samples, and learning material to teach you the formalized approach as well as help you complete each deliverable. So as you can probably tell I was pretty impressed with the tool and would love to start using it myself. [I just realized that there is a 180 free trial version of it available at Now all you have to do is find a company that is willing to pay for it and employ you to use it.]

I missed the afternoon sessions on 1) Design and Development Tools for Building Mission Critical Applications, 2) Web Application Development, and 3) Smart Client Application Development and Deployment, but I would love to hear from anyone else who was able to attend them.

Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 8:35 PM ASP.NET , .NET , Developer Community , Visual Studio | Back to top

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