Moving along, an ambitious product is coming out of the developer division at Microsoft: Visual Studio Team System (VSTS). I have mentioned it several times in the previous chapters and would like to provide a more involved overview of the product here. Just as a lot of great information on MSBuild is available on the Internet, there is even more on this new tools platform. Following are my two favorite places to look for up-to-date information (you should add these two sites to your favorites list):
VSTS is a suite of extensible life-cycle tools that helps software teams collaborate to reduce the complexity of delivering modern service-oriented solutions. VSTS expands significantly on Microsoft's demonstrated successes in delivering highly productive tools by offering businesses tightly integrated and extensible life-cycle tools to increase the predictability of their software development process. With VSTS, organizations can do the following:
VSTS consists of the following:
I have been to several talks on VSTS, and at each one of them, I see Figure 18.1 or a fancy PowerPoint version of it. It is a great layout of what the product is. The boxes in the figure are self-contained, meaning that you do not need to purchase the other boxes for it to run. I am often asked if VSTS works with other development tools, such as Rational or PVCS. The answer is yes, but you don't get the optimal effect of the integration that VSTS provides. The source code control tool or bug tracker that you use falls into the Visual Studio Team Foundation (VSTF) box at the bottom of the figure. If you want to use the tools provided by VSTS, you must not mix tools by different manufacturers. If you are interested only in the testing tools of VSTS, it does not matter which VSTF tools you use. Also, when boxes stretch over two or more products, it means those tools are included in the covered products.
Figure 18.1. VSTS overview.
This just skims the surface of the development tools that Microsoft is releasing. For the details, I recommend spending a lot of time at the two previously mentioned VSTS sites. Those links have the most current information available.
Because this is a build book, I would like to dive deeper into the details of one of the boxes shown in Figure 18.1 the Build Automation box. This tool is called Visual Studio Team Build (VSTB).