Last week, I had a visit from two members of the Microsoft Visual Studio team, Dave Mendlen, Director of Developer Tools Marketing and Cameron Skinner, Product Unit Manager of Visual Studio Team System. They were here to give me at least part of the news about Visual Studio 2010 and .Net Framework 4.0.

Most of what Dave and Cameron told me was about breaking down the barriers between roles in a Visual Studio-using team, for which they had the marketing-speak of "democratising ALM." They were specific about the ways that they are helping developers work with architects and testers. Since all of the screen shots below come from Microsoft and not from a live hands-on session, I can't speak to how well any of the features currently work.

First up is a picture of exploring the architecture of a game (click on the screen shot to see it full size):

Visual Studio 2010 game architecture

How many times have you needed to visualise the architecture of an application? How many times have you found that your diagrams were out of sync with your code? This will be very useful for architects and developers.

Next up, a UML sequence diagram generated from the code of a method:

Visual Studio 2010 sequence reverse engineered

Again, very useful for architectural visualisation. And how nice that Microsoft is starting to do more with UML.

The next diagram shows a layer with validation errors:

Layer with validation errors

What's happening here is that the code has been checked against the architectural rules, and determined to violate layer boundaries. It's definitely the sort of thing you want to know about sooner rather than later.

The rest of the screen shots are about bridging the gap between developers and testers. This one shows a manual test runner report after clicking the "Create New Bug" button on the left, which raises the Defect Work item screen on the right. That screen shows how the test steps are automatically inserted into the defect.

Manual test runner

Well, being able to generate a complete work item quickly certainly will make testers lives easier, but what about convincing the developer that the bug is real? Check out the next screen, in which the tester is attaching bug logs to the work item:

manual test runner report

There was lots more covered in our discussion, but today I'm sticking to pictures. In the future, Microsoft will be doling out more information about the other pillars of the Visual Studio 2010 and .Net Framework 4.0 system: riding the next-generation platform wave, inspiring developer delight, powering breakthrough departmental applications, and enabling emerging trends such as cloud computing.

I don't know what all the marketing-speak means, but I guess we'll find out.