For those of you (like me!) that were unaware of it, Microsoft has released a CTP of Rosario (the next version of Visual Studio). Jeff Beehler (lead program manager on VSTS) blogged about this release
a while ago.
I attended the Rosario Architecture Edition preview yesterday. Frankly, I'm two orders of magnitude more excited about this than I am about anything else I've seen here at the summit yet.
This past week, I came across an interesting piece of irony. I just left a job as a "software developer" where I was running Team Suite, and had access to the architecture edition of VSTS. At my new job as "software architect" they gave me developer edition.
So, I went to the Microsoft web site and downloaded the 30+ page document that details the differences between versions. (<rant> Come on, you guys! This used to be one web page that was easy to peruse at a high level. Do I really need to scan over 30 pages just so I can find out there's no real reason to upgrade to the Architect SKU?!?!??! </rant>)
Anyhow, summing up that one... VSTS Architect currently has no
compelling reason to buy it. Distributed Systems Diagrams just aren't enough of a reason to step up.
On the other hand.... Rosario is a compelling argument to step up. Yesterday, Cameron Skinner showed some of the features of Rosario Team Arch. The core of the story is a set of incredibly powerful tools for discovering the actual architecture of existing code, to design new architectures, and to link physical implementation to logical design features.
I can't praise these features as highly as I'd like to, partly because I'm a little hesitant to talk too much about the fine details about the demo. However, Cameron was able to discover dependencies and coupling between classes in a code base that is several orders of magnitude larger than anything I expect to be working on any time soon.
Seriously.... take the time to check this out. The download is huge, but if you're an architect accustomed to using Visio to diagram your architecture, you'll love these tools. They're still in beta, but you'll never look back.