Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Testers
By: Ian Murphy
The Testers edition of VSTS is designed for use by the testers on your development team, although some of the tools are also available in the Developers edition. Ian Murphy tests them out. (Copy now revised for Beta 2!)
Author: Ian Murphy
Last updated: May 2005
NOTE: This article is based on Beta 2 of the software, so the features described may differ from those of the final release.
There is a general misconception that developers do little testing of their own software. Instead software testing is seen as the preserve of Quality Assurance (QA) teams, or even worse, the end user. With Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Testers, Microsoft has extended the test tools from the Developers edition to provide continuity, and then added further tools specifically aimed at the Test role.
Like other software vendors who have gone for a ‘unified’ development environment, Microsoft accepts that QA cannot be done in isolation from development. As a result, whenever errors are detected in the code, the testers can create a bug report that includes the offending code. Such reports can be stored in the Team Foundation Server that underpins Visual Studio Team System (VSTS), ready to be analysed using the Business Intelligence (BI) tools inside SQL Server 2005. Not only does this allow you to create an auditable review, it also provide the ability to examine the performance of an individual developer or team.
In many ways this is the same approach as that taken by Rational, Borland and other software vendors. However the BI tools allow Microsoft to add something that the other vendors don't at present have.
Many companies have significant investement in software test tools from vendors such as Mercury Interactive, Rational and Compuware, and in the associated training. Although there are plenty of tools built in to the Testers edition, Microsoft has been actively courting such vendors to ensure their tools can integrate closely with the Testers edition, and indeed Beta 2 comes with extensive Application Programming Interface (API) descriptions.
At the time of writing we have little information as to who will have their tools ‘plugged-in’. However, Microsoft is suggesting that more than 250 ISVs are currently porting tools to VSTS, with between 30 and 50 planning to announce or show their products at the forthcoming TechEd conferences.
Spreading the test effort over both the Developer and Tester roles provides a solid handover and common ground between the two roles. Unit testing and code coverage are supported in both editions, while Load Testing and Test Case Management are controlled from the Testers edition. Additionally, Microsoft has released a separate Load Test engine which, like Team Foundation Server, needs to be licensed separately.
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