Is Visual Studio 2005 Team System really more than just presentationware?
During a demo at Microsoft's Tech Ed 2004 last month, lead project manager Prashant Sridharan said the graphical depiction of how Web services can be added to a process "isn't just a pretty picture."
Rather, the application life-cycle management tool, code-named Burton, captures and models functionality on-screen and can preview how an application will run before it is actually deployed, he said. It also promises workflow capabilities to facilitate collaborative design.
The product, which will replace Visual Studio .Net Enterprise Edition, comes in response to IBM's acquisition of Rational Software's testing, modeling and development methodology tools.
But some solution providers said Microsoft is far from competing with the Rational Unified Process, a popular development methodology. The first demo of Team System was supposed to show much more detailed process development management technology--much of it contributed by third parties--but that idea was nixed just before the show, said a source familiar with the plans.
Microsoft "only understands one process: software development," the source said. Burton needs to integrate deeper knowledge of other processes, he added.
Later this year, Microsoft expects to talk more about how integrators and their process- and "domain-expertise" will play in the system, Sridharan said.
One Microsoft solution provider discounted what Microsoft has done thus far. "There's no computer science underneath this. Microsoft [is] leveraging its SharePoint know-how into the development space. But there's not a proficient methodological or process base there," he said.
This partner maintains that IBM's purchase of Rational puts Microsoft at a great strategic disadvantage in enterprise development.
But Joe Lindsay, CTO of eBuilt, a partner in Costa Mesa, Calif., who saw the tool at a partner-only event, said it looks like "almost a full life-cycle product. "The product is there, but it's version one and sometimes that's ugly," he said.