A different way of presenting the Visual Studio 2010 testing tools

This post is about the Visual Studio 2010 testing tools. I promise. But first, a bit of back story… skip to “Testing with Visual Studio 2010” if you don’t care about the back story. Go on, I don’t mind.

Over the last year or so I’ve been struggling to come up with a great way of describing the new software testing paradigms we are enabling with Visual Studio 2010. In my day job as a technical evangelist I get to interact with a wide range of audiences, each with a different set of interests in Visual Studio 2010 as a solution for software testing. A manual tester, a software developer, a project manager, and a CIO are all going to have their own preconceptions about testing tools, and will bring along their own expectations and questions when consuming the content I deliver.

Our software testing story with Visual Studio 2010 is very rich. Case in point, I contributed about 300 pages to a new book on Professional Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio 2010, and truth be told I could have written another 1000 pages if I had the time. How do you condense all of that material into a presentation format that is (usually) delivered in 30-, 60-, or 90-minute chunks?

My original solution to addressing these varying demands was to have an arsenal of PowerPoint presentations that I could open up depending on the situation. Sometimes, especially when visiting customers in the field, I would only learn about the makeup of my audience a few minutes before the presentation. I would just grab the right set of slides and start presenting. But this approach can be unwieldy, and requires that I maintain (and be able to present on a moment’s notice) multiple PowerPoint presentations. And as much as I love PowerPoint, it tends to create a rigid, linear approach towards delivering presentations that can be boring for both the audience and the presenter. There had to be a better way…

I had seen a few presentations delivered at MIX which were presented completely with Microsoft Deep Zoom. The presenters could zoom in and out, pan around, and tell their entire story all without the “context reset” of changing slides. This was perfect! But how do I create one of these? I borrowed some time with Nishant Kothary, a colleague of mine on the MIX team who pioneered the Website Named Desire Deep Zoom that he used to present with at MIX. Nishant was very helpful in describing how you can generate Deep Zoom with Microsoft Expression, but there were some limitations in the approach that I would have to code around – including the ability to embed videos in the Deep Zoom composition, which I decided was critical for showing off testing with Visual Studio 2010.

So I posed the problem to a local software firm – SharpLogic Software – that I knew had a lot of experience with Microsoft Silverlight. Two weeks later, we had built a prototype of a Deep Zoom presentation showcasing software testing with Visual Studio 2010. Over the last few months we have been iterating on the design, adding features, and going through the usual legal hurdles. What follows is the result of this effort… this has forever changed the way I think about delivering presentations. I hope you enjoy it. Note that SharpLogic has even spun off a new business, SpeakFlow, where you can create your own such presentations.

Testing with Visual Studio 2010

This Deep Zoom is designed to help presenters tell the story of software testing with Visual Studio 2010. This includes concepts such as manual testing, actionable bugs, “no more no repro,” lab management, the build-deploy-test workflow, rich reporting, and more!

This presentation is based on Microsoft Deep Zoom and is designed to provide the following benefits over traditional linear presentations:

· Go deep, or stay high-level: Depending on what your audience craves you can either focus on a high-level story or drill deep into product demonstrations.

· Context retention: In between each “deep zoom” you can always remind your audience of the bigger picture by bouncing back to the high-level context view.

· Inline videos: Each concept includes product demonstrations which can be used to supplement your storytelling experience.



To get started, visit: http://archive.speakflow.com/vs2010testing

Or you can run it locally by extracting the offline version (127MB).

The offline version is nice when your Internet connection might be slow, since the videos can take some time to load.

Some tips:

  • Videos will “remember” your location if you navigate away from them. This is by design. But if you want to refresh the location of all videos (e.g. just before you go on stage) just press CTRL+F5.
  • Videos don’t have any audio. I might add some later, but this is designed first and foremost as a presentation aid.
  • You can use the space bar to pause/play a video. This can be helpful to control the pace of the video to match your narration.
  • You can use your mouse’s scroll wheel to zoom in and out. You can also use the up and down arrow keys. (sometimes I even prefer the arrow keys even when I have a scroll wheel – practice it for a few minutes and see what you like best)
  • You can use the left-and-right arrow keys to move through the workflow panels.
  • I like to set expectations with an audience when I use this presentation that I won’t be showing live demos. Something like, “I want to assure you all of these demos are real (they are) and you can perform them using the Visual Studio 2010 release candidate that you can download today. But I’m using videos here simply as a storytelling aid and because we don’t have a lot of time, since some of the scenarios cut across several different roles and various points in the software development lifecycle.” Of course if you have the time and inclination, you can also break away from the Deep Zoom and drop into a live demo or two to augment the story. For a beta 2 VHD with sample data and demo scripts, click here.

Videos in this Deep Zoom are based on beta 2, but the concepts are fundamentally identical to RTM. As time permits I’ll update the videos for RTM.

I hope you enjoy it!