Getting to Know Microsoft ALM

Modern practices for software development and support are centered around four tenants of wisdom:

  • Agile – a methodology based on iterative development
  • Continuous Integration – frequent code commits, automated builds
  • DevOps – increased collaboration between development and operations
  • ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) – the management (governance, development, and maintenance) of software applications

In my earlier article, I explored the evolution of software development practices and how these new approaches have helped reshape and improve the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of software development.

Microsoft has invested heavily in creating tooling to support these modern techniques of software application lifecycle management. The company has embraced and promoted the capabilities of their products to support these strategies, so let’s take a look at what they actually offer, minus the jargon and marketing hype.

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The Evolution of Software Development Practices

The last twenty years has seen major changes in the technologies we use to build software, but most significantly, the way we build software has fundamentally evolved to improve the quality, accuracy, and speed of delivered software. This article takes a look at changing philosophies and strategies that has driven these improvements.

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Which Visual Studio Do I Need?

The “Visual Studio” moniker has expanded over the years to a full-fledged family of products tailored to facilitating the implementation and support of high quality software. The versatility of Visual Studio makes it a good choice for software development whether your language or framework of choice is .NET, web client, or open source.

The website is the hub for all things “Visual Studio”. There is a lot of good content on this site, as well as access to free and trial editions of products. The challenge that this site has is how to distill the Visual Studio offerings into a format that a technologist, manager, or purchaser can absorb to make decisions on which software best satisfies their needs. Since Visual Studio has grown into multiple products, and each of those products has an ever-expanding feature set, the straightforwardness of conveyed information is often eschewed in favor of highlighting new and improved features. Industry terms and branded feature names are also commonplace in describing Visual Studio capabilities, making it harder to comprehend the amount of relevancy and value to your own development team.

So, with this in mind, let’s take a simpler look at Visual Studio from the ground up from the perspective of a decision maker needing to assess what software is needed for a software development team to work effectively.

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