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Microsoft Developer Day - March 20, 2013

On March 20, 2013, I went to a Microsoft Developer Day event in Tallahassee, FL.  This session featured Visual Studio 2012, Team Foundation Server 2012 and Azure.

With fewer than 50 attendees, we were able to have engaging conversations and the speakers were able to address everyone's concerns.

Mike Gresley (Senior Developer Technology Specialist at Microsoft) presented the morning topics which included:

  • A Quick Look at What’s New in Visual Studio 2012.
  • Fast and Simple Web-based ALM: Using the New Visual Studio Agile Tools.
  • Prototyping Made Easy: Great Design with the Visual Studio 2012 Storyboarding Tool.
  • Developer Collaboration: Understanding the Feedback Manager and Code Reviews.
  • Quality Is Key: Authoring, Executing and Automating Tests with the Test Manager, and Introducing the New Exploratory Testing Tool.

As a MSDN Ultimate subscriber, I enjoy getting the latest Microsoft technology tools.  Visual Studio Ultimate 2012 has new and improved features, for example:

  • Architecture modeling and validation.
  • Complex code base visualization and navigation.
  • Advanced unit testing.  Microsoft Fakes framework with stubs and continuous regression tests.
  • Quality of service testing.  This includes unlimited web and load testing, flexible load testing patterns and detailed analytics.
  • Actionable production diagnostics and debugging.  Intellitrace helps eliminate the ‘no-repro’ scenario by recording file and registry access, exceptions, method calls and other state information to allow code execute to be rewound and the exact error condition re-created.  Intellitrace can also be used in production to reduce mean time to repair.
  • Microsoft is now releasing quarterly Ultimate Feature Packs.

The Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) experience with Visual Studio has continued to improve with each release.  Some of the key features Mike demoed are:

  • ALM web-based user interface allows for quick drag and drop of work items.
  • Storyboarding in PowerPoint.  This is a simpler alternative to SketchFlow.
  • On automation failures, defects can be created with attached text, screenshots and even the virtual machine (VM) to allow the environment to be inspected and analyzed.
  • Exploratory testing is well integrated and easy to use.  The recorded steps can be edited to remove the steps you don’t want.

If you don’t have an Ultimate subscription, many of the previous generation ultimate features get pushed down with each release.

The afternoon topics were presented by Tev Sanders (Azure Technology Specialist at Microsoft).  His topics consisted of:

  • Azure overview – A quick look at the wide offerings of services available in Azure.
  • Deep Dive on IAAS – running VMs in Microsoft’s cloud.
  • Storsimple – how Storsimple can help reduce your storage cost and make restores easier.

Because Azure now offers IAAS, it can support a wide range of business needs and concerns; furthermore,  the potential combination of on-premise and cloud solutions add even more flexibility.

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