The journal of Paul M. Watson.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Version madness

Microsoft has gone seriously psycho with versions and editions in their latest and forthcoming products.

Windows Vista for instance has seven base editions and then numerous releases of each (32bit, 64bit, European editions etc.) Imagine your mum trying to decide which version of Windows Vista she needs. "No mum, you have a 64bit machine bought in Europe, you need Windows Vista Premium Home 64bit Media Player Free edition." And just wait until the service packs start rolling out...

Visual Studio 2005 is another case, compounded by the MSDN Subscription changes. We have a MSDN Subscription here at work. Which one I don't really know because every time someone tells me I promptly forget as it is about 7 words long. Suffice to say it is a good one and we get pretty much every Visual Studio 2005 edition. Being a developer I chose to install Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Developers. What a mouthful.

I naturally assumed this edition would have a good suite of test tools. Wrong. I wanted to test the Web Test system but the option wasn't there. Puzzled I checked my install to make sure I had installed Visual Web Developer. It was installed. I then checked Brian's machine and his too had no Web Test item. Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Developers only has Unit Tests with the capability to order your tests and of course code coverage.

Turns out I need Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Testers to get at all the testing tools. Two installs just to get some useful testing projects? What does Software Tester edition not include that Software Developer does?

Looking around I see a lot of confused developers asking just what is in each edition of Visual Studio 2005. Some even mention that feature charts on different parts of show different details. Sounds to me like even Microsoft employees are confused about the editions.

This edition madness has got to stop. I just want to install the Uber edition and get my job done.


Anonymous Derek Lakin said...

In that case you need Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite.

With Visual Studio 2005 there effectivley 5 different variants:

* Express - the new low cost, limited functionality, hobbiest edition.
* Standard - similar to current/previous Standard editions.
* Professional - similar to current/previous Professional editions. Includes SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition.
* Visual Studio Tools for Office - tools for developing for Microsoft Office. Includes Windows Server 2003 Developer Edition and SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition.
* Team System.

These are detailed on the Visual Studio 2005 Product Line Overview.

It is at the Team System level that developers are becoming confused. At this level there are then 3 role-based editions: Software Architects, Software Developers and Software Testers. These editions also interact with the Team Foundation Server, which provides (among other things) source control, issue tracking and project management integration. Each of these Team System role-based editions have the same level of functionality as the Professional edition and then some role-specific features, some of which overlap, some of which don't. In addition there is a Team Suite edition (as mentioned at the start of my comment) that includes all 3 of the role-based editions giving you the full set of functionality that you were looking for.

There is more information on the exact feature differences on the Compare Visual Studio 2005 Team System Software Editions page.

Hope this helps.

9:48 PM


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