REDMOND, Wash. — April 12, 2010 — ComponentOne Inc. Managing Director Gustavo Eydelsteyn is all too familiar with the recent challenges that have cropped up for application developers. “I think everyone, regardless of age or career path, has witnessed the remarkable and rapid advancements the world has seen in application development over the past few years, from the Web to mobile devices and now to the cloud,” says Eydelsteyn.
One of 50 Microsoft partners shipping products with today’s launch of Visual Studio 2010, Eydelsteyn has staked his success in the Microsoft platform for more than 19 years, focusing solely on building add-ons and applications for products such as Visual Studio and SharePoint Server. With the proliferation of platforms, his business looks much different today than it did when it was founded two decades ago. However, from Eydelsteyn’s perspective the fundamental challenges facing development teams haven’t really changed over the years; they’ve just intensified with the growing complexity.
“Collaboration, defect management, delivering apps on time and to spec — these things are simply hard to do, particularly when hundreds or thousands of developers are involved or when you factor in new areas like mobile or the cloud,” says Eydelsteyn. “With the launch of Visual Studio 2010, .NET Framework 4 and Silverlight 4 this week, Microsoft has delivered a cutting-edge integrated development platform that actually solves challenges like this, while also opening the door for organizations to start building applications for emerging environments. This represents an unprecedented opportunity for companies like mine that have bet their business on the Microsoft platform.”
Bob Muglia, President, Server and Tools Business, Microsoft.
Microsoft’s president of the Server and Tools Business, Bob Muglia, and his engineering teams echo Eydelsteyn’s observations about the evolution of the software development industry. More than that, they have worked to incorporate — and anticipate — customer requirements in the next version of the company’s developer platform and tools. The team designed Visual Studio 2010, .NET Framework 4 and Silverlight 4 to offer something for every developer. For example, to help with issues such as defect management, Visual Studio 2010 introduces IntelliTrace, which aims to make non-reproducible bugs a thing of the past by recording the application’s execution history. IntelliTrace is one of hundreds of new features that represent a quantum leap for developers using the Visual Studio Team System products from 2005 or 2008.
Similarly, an array of new functionality in Visual Studio 2010 taps into the features and capabilities of the Windows 7 platform, such as built-in support for Windows 7 multi-touch and “ribbon” interfaces. Access to SharePoint functionality is provided through the Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE), and Visual Studio 2010 also provides the ability to easily create and publish Silverlight applications, especially those designed using Expression Studio. There are also new Windows Azure Tools that make it easy to develop, debug, test and deploy cloud applications from within the familiar Visual Studio environment. The ability for Visual Studio 2010 to take advantage of a more diverse set of capabilities in the Windows platform enables a wider range of .NET developers to work together in the same environment, allowing organizations to deliver applications up to 80 percent faster.
Muglia applauds his team’s integration of capabilities like these into a simplified development environment that will “move the bar” for developers — whether they’re creating immersive online and offline experiences with Silverlight or simply looking to increase productivity while performing everyday tasks.
“We recognize that developers and their businesses want to bring their application visions to life without boundaries, yet not only are they often burdened by age-old process and integration issues, they also have to keep pace with the changing landscape,” says Muglia.
This is why he and his team have focused on making sure Visual Studio, the .NET Framework and Silverlight enable developers to use their existing skills to deliver the types of scalable, flexible applications their businesses demand, without getting bogged down in the process.
“With the launch of Visual Studio 2010, .NET Framework 4 and Silverlight 4, developers around the world will find it much easier to build immersive applications that cross organizational boundaries, and enable their businesses to be successful, both today and in the future,” says Muglia.
Early Investments Lead to Great Returns
Several companies have invested in early versions of the 2010 products, building solutions on the beta and release candidate versions. For example, Fortune 500 company 3M chose Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 and Expression Blend 3 to enable its Software, Electronic, and Mechanical Systems (SEMS) team to speed the delivery of high-quality code to customers. The SEMS team sought the latest developer technologies from Microsoft to enable their business and technology teams to quickly bring solutions to market, such as the 3M Visual Attention Service, which helps product designers understand how audiences perceive and experience the applications they build. The unification of the development environment between Visual Studio 2010, the .NET Framework 4, SharePoint Server and Office reduced complexity for the SEMS team — 3M’s largest product development lab — and saved 3M valuable time in getting products to market.
“One of the biggest challenges for any development team is balancing the demands of programming with the requirements that business owners have for their projects,” says Brian Hackerson, technical manager at 3M. “With Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend 3, our team can understand the needs of the business faster and more efficiently than ever before, which delivers significant improvements in productivity. In fact, we have seen a 70 percent improvement in elapsed time to perform a full system regression test by using Visual Studio 2010.”
Empowering the Ecosystem
Microsoft’s partner ecosystem delivers several benefits to its members, including the opportunity to participate in early adopter programs. Partners not only get a head start on building new products, they are also invited to join a forum to share feedback that helps mold Microsoft’s final developer products.
“We take feedback from our partners extremely seriously,” says Muglia. “Partners often provide the best insight into how the market is responding to the platform because they’re out there building customized solutions with our products, so we greatly value their input.”
Case in point: Silverlight 4 contains nine out of the top 10 most requested features by customers, a direct result of a community forum. And Microsoft extended the beta period on Visual Studio 2010 to ensure that the engineering team had time to incorporate all the feedback they’d received from the community into the final product.
ComponentOne’s Eydelsteyn says Microsoft’s partner program has been invaluable to his organization — well worth the investment. “Not only do we receive deep technical information on Microsoft’s developer products, which has been especially helpful in optimizing our products for Visual Studio 2010 and Silverlight 4, but we are able to attend technology summits and training sessions that help us more effectively run our own business.
“You can really tell that Microsoft cares about its ecosystem and takes our comments and concerns seriously. These latest product releases have allowed our company to deliver customized third-party tools for specific business sectors, which is great for our product portfolio and bottom line.”
Muglia’s passion is clear for making it easier than ever for developers to build compelling apps for a broad range of platforms— whether it’s a customized Twitter application for Windows Phone 7 built with Silverlight, Visual Studio and Expression Blend, or a cloud-based solution such as McDonald’s recent Olympics Village application that runs on Windows Azure. “I am extremely proud of what the Microsoft team and our partners have been able to accomplish, and I can’t wait to see the game-changing solutions that the development community builds with this great new platform and toolset, especially those that tap into the incredible capabilities inherent in all of our Windows-based PCs,” Muglia says.