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At Tech Ed: Visual Studio Team System aims at DB crew

A new edition of the Visual Studio Team System aimed at database developers and administrators publicly debuted at TechEd.

A new edition of the Visual Studio Team System aimed at database developers and administrators publicly debuted at TechEd in Boston. Microsoft is aiming to tear down the "Chinese firewall" between development and database teams with Visual Studio Team System Edition for Database Professionals, which was announced in late May.

Matt Nunn, senior product manager, said the addition to the team suite will make database professionals part of the application development lifecycle, with a key goal of making it easier to manage change.

A main concept of the database tool is "one version of the truth" for the schema, managed offline and under source control. Now, for a database project, team members will check out and check in pieces of the database schema, move to a test system, and then deploy, ensuring that nothing breaks when it hits production, said Nunn.

Also new, database professionals can use build unit tests in the familiar TSQL.

Ted Vail, a database developer for Compassion International, a nonprofit child advocacy organization in Colorado Springs, Colo., said the new Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals "made the trip" for him. His organization already uses the Visual Studio Team suite, and he said he's "pretty sure" they'll invest in the Database Professional. The ability to address the "pain points" of lack of integration between development teams and database developers, as well as the difficulty of managing change, hit home for him, he said.

Sharon F. Dooley of Dooley Associates Inc. in Philadelphia said Visual Studio was not on her horizon, but the addition of the Database Professional to the suite "may be the thing that will force me to install Visual Studio." Dooley said she's looking to replace a tool that is now costing her $5,000 and has not worked well with SQL Server 2005.

The CTP of Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals is available now. For those who own the suite there will be no extra charge once the Database Professionals tool is formally available toward year-end. Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Database Professionals will also be sold separately, consistent with the other "role-based" products in the Visual Studio Team System family ($5,469 estimated retail price).

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