Visual Studio ‒ It Just Keeps Getting Better

With Visual Studio Update 2 the IDE of choice for many developers just keeps getting better and better. I'm already a big fan of Visual Studio, it's pretty much the best IDE for a number of platforms and with these recent updates it's just that much more awesome. As someone who's worked on the MS stack for quite some time as well as having first joined Microsoft back in 2006 I cannot tell you just how exciting it is to see these frequent releases. I'm a big fan of agile and iterative development and seeing a large organization such as Microsoft's Developer Division embrace this model is very exciting stuff! Speaking of agile, it's at the forefront of this update.


Kanban support

Within this update Team Foundation Server (TFS) has been extended with a number of improvements for the agile folks. A big request has been for Kanban support which I'm happy to see has been added. I'm also happy to see that this new Kanban board can be customized to fit your team's needs.

Read more about Kanban boards.


Custom tagging

Another small but in my opinion significant addition is the ability to tag work items in TFS. This makes it a whole lot easier to not only segment items & find them quicker, but opens up the possibility for more flexible reporting and analysis. Why is this interesting? Because you can use tagging to see the types of work items that affect burn down rates but also which types of items result in the most bugs, or when you are sizing a work item, you can find similar ones to see how long they took. All this from simply adding some meta-data to a work item!

Read more on custom tagging work items.


Browser Based Test Cases

TFS got a lot of love in this update including the ability to access test cases from the browser. Why is this important? Well not only can manage your test cases via the browser, but you can also run them and see the list of steps for a given test. As you proceed through the test you can check each step off and indicate which step failed and record your observations right there without having to switch tools. When you indicate a step has failed a bug is created and the information is automatically populated, which having worked with various QA teams, I can tell you is going to make a lot of people very happy.


Read more on browser bases test management & execution.


Windows Phone Unit Testing

I know many of you Windows Phone developers have been asking for this feature so here it is. You can now write Unit Tests for Windows Phone in C# by creating a new “Windows Phone Unit Test App” project under Visual C#/Windows Phone. Tests are executed on the target device by installing the Unit Test app on the phone. What about automated testing and what if you don't want to launch the tests manually from Visual Studio? No worries, they thought about that too. Since Phone UT is designed as an adapter to unit testing platform, you can use vstest.console.exe to execute unit tests from command line.

Read more on unit testing your Windows Phone project.


But wait, there's more!

There's so much goodness in this update that the above only scratches the surface. So if you'd like to learn more check out this great Channel 9 Video that discusses this update, or check out Soma's blog post on the topic. Or for the truly hardcore check out the entire list of changes right here.


Let us know...

What's your favorite new feature? Let us know in the comments below or on twitter.