Microsoft held a series of closed press briefings at the end of last week detailing the release of the beta version of Visual Studio 11 and the Team Foundation Server 11 application lifecycle management system. With a new feature count in the hundreds, Microsoft says it has made good on a commitment to DevOps by addressing the needs of operations personnel with this version release.
Along with Team Foundation Server 11, Microsoft has also unveiled news of Team Foundation Server 11 Express, which will serve as a scaled back free version of the product for up to five users.
Speaking on an exclusive webcast, Microsoft corporate VP of development division Soma Somasegar promised "productive and agile" tools for those working in team environments. Team Foundation Server 11's reporting tools have been enhanced to now include screenshots and annotations to pinpoint reported bugs more easily for developers.
As programmers continue to ready themselves for the arrival of Windows 8 and its "Metro" user interface, the Visual Studio 11 beta will shortly be released alongside the beta version of the .Net 4.5 framework. Extra morsels announced at this time also include better support for games developers as well as HTML5 and CSS3 — welcome news no doubt for programmers working with ASP.Net applications.
Addressing the enhancements aimed at the operations team level, Microsoft's corporate VP of Visual Studio Jason Zander has said that he understands developers' frustrations in terms of being able to get what he called "actionable feedback" from the ops team to the programming unit. The new products will therefore integrate more closely with Microsoft's Systems Center Operations Manager product — a move which the company hopes provide new channels for operations to collaborate (or, more importantly, directly inform) the development team as to the nature of a bug as it is in encountered.
Although more information is on the way, early previews appear to suggest that Visual Studio has taken a more monochrome approach to its user interface presentation in order to reduce developer distractions brought about by superfluous colors and extraneous widgets. Perhaps not a back to basics approach, but certainly a more directly and adroitly delivered product appears to have been produced.