Technology Positioning Statement Report

1.2.2 Integrated Development Environments

Description: Code editors and related tools used to automate routine tasks in the development of applications.

Category: 1 - Authoring and Editing   Subcategory: 2 - Development Editing Tools
Old Category: Application Toolset – Supplementary Developer Tools


  Visual Studio
Visual Studio .NET
XML tools


Industry UsageSC Usage

Performance Metrics

Ease of learning; ease of use; code and data configuration management; team-based collaboration support; high level of integration; adaptability to our lifecycle process.

Usage and Dependencies

Industry Usage: Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0, with around 7 million users, is the dominant COM-based language IDE (Integrated Development Environment), which includes editors for Visual Basic, C++, Visual FoxPro, Visual InterDev (web), and Visual SourceSafe. It was released in Jan. 1999 and will be fully supported until Jan. 2005. Reduced support will be provided until Jan. 2008.

There are many Java IDEs, from IBM, Symantec, Sun, Borland and others. Microsoft has basically given up on Java-based development tools, because of Sun's cease-and-desist lawsuit against Microsoft's efforts to add features to its version of Java, which was called J++. Subsequently, Microsoft created its own Java-like language called C# (C sharp) which will be supported (along with other languages) in the new Visual Studio.NET product.

Frequent complaints about IDE's involve their limited team-based or collaborative features and their lack of a common repository for code snippets, components, models, reference data and tools. Into this space a new kind of product is emerging, called the Developer's Resource Portal (DRP). Established companies, including IBM, Merant, Microsoft, Rational Software and Computer Associates (CA), are expanding and integrating their products to better address collaborative development. In addition, newer companies, such as CollabNet, VA Linux Systems and OpenAvenue, are trying to adapt open source collaborative development concepts to corporate IT environments.

Microsoft provides several tools to support various parts of the development lifecycle, including The Visual Studio IDE, Visual SourceSafe for code version control, Project Central for task management, Visio for UML graphical design, and a web server stress tool. Visual Studio.NET continues to show a high level of individual user interface integration, but is weak on cross-developer or team integration. Our programmers have found Visual SourceSafe to be inadequate because it does not allow the creation of full version baselines.

Historically, Microsoft has relied on partners in the area of developer collaboration and will continue to improve this strategy with Visual Studio.NET and through the Microsoft Open Tools Platform. For example, several of Rational Software’s life-cycle management tools can be integrated with Visual Studio.

A subset of Microsoft’s Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) content is available through the tools’ help functions. Of course, Microsoft does not use the word “methodology,” but refers to MSF as “guidance” and “process models”.

Overall, Microsoft’s tool integration is among the strongest, and its commitment to an enriched DRP, over the next few years, is clear. In the near term a third-party tool that can work well with Visual Studio, such as the Rational suite or Merant Dimensions product may be necessary to support for your collaboration and team integration. Unfortunately, Rational products are quite expensive on a per-developer basis, and Merant is currently being threatened with takeover by other companies.

See also 3.3.1, Portals.

SC Usage: Microsoft Visual Studio tools and Plumtree 4.0 support development in the web and Windows environment, which is oriented toward SC's Intranet Portal (SCIP). The SC browser on the standard image is Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0, so that users can be assured that these ActiveX components are functioning properly as they use MS IE to access SC enterprise-wide applications. Externally accessible versions of SC corporate systems (presented publicly on the Internet or via an intranet or an extranet) are also being developed with no use of ActiveX components to assure appropriate functioning under the multiple types of Web browsers that exist across the globe.

SC Application Impact: All in-house software development for architected applications, both IMSC and SCIP.

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