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Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 - Should You Choose Ultimate Edition Over Premium Edition?

By Edited Dec 29, 2013 1 0

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate Vs Premium Editions

Microsoft Visual Studio is the industry standard Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for commercial quality software development within Microsoft Windows operating environments. With the release of Visual Studio 2010, Microsoft has created a new "elite" version, labelled Ultimate, containing additional functionality not previously available in the IDE. With the previous type of the line version, Premium, now filling the middle ground between Express and Ultimate, what are the new features that can only be found in Ultimate and are these features worth the additional licensing costs for your business.

IntelliTrace (Historical Debugger)
This is a significant new feature only available in Visual Studio Ultimate. Unlike the current debugger, that only records the currently-active stack, IntelliTrace records all events like prior function calls, method parameters, events and exceptions. This allows the code execution to be rewound even when a breakpoint wasn't set where the error occurred. The downside to this outstanding feature is that it can cause the application to run slower and use additional memory in comparison to the current debugger, due to the extra data that this logging records. The amount of data recorded is a configurable option, allowing developers to balance speed of execution and resource usage. This allows development sections to tailor their historical debugging efforts to fit the infrastructure and resources of their development environment. This feature also enables better debugging of test environment issues, with play back features to help determine the exact sequence of events that lead to a bug or defect.

Web Performance Testing/ Load Testing
Developers should be heavily encouraged to conduct performance and load testing early in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), to validate the chosen software design. This new tool set will assist developers in quickly and accurately assessing that their code will meet pre-determined performance metrics. The will either validate their existing approach or allow analysis early in the SDLC to determine if their code needs optimization or if there is a design limitation that needs to be addressed. By making these finding early in the SDLC, this feature in Visio Studio 2010 Ultimate can easily pay for itself by saving significant re-work late in projects if performance metrics are found to be unachievable, due to system design problems. This functionality is also extremely useful in regression environments to ensure that performance issues will not appear in future.

Lab Management Configuration/ Virtual environment setup & tear down/ Provision environment from template/ Checkpoint environment
Recognising that enterprise level application development sections have heavily moved into virtualised development and testing environments, Microsoft have integrated into Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate Edition, a suite of tools and management offering to leverage and manage virtual servers and environments, as long as the virtual environment being used is Microsoft's own Hyper-V. The is a must have inclusion if Hyper-V is used in your software shop but will be of no use if using a competing virtualisation tool such as VMWare or if virtualisation is not being heavily used.

Architecture Explorer/ UML® 2.0 Compliant Diagrams (Activity, Use Case, Sequence, Class, Component)/ Layer Diagram and Dependency Validation
This is the perfect edition for architects and developers who need to create low level system design documents and modelling. This tool assists in the creation of quality documentation. Unlike Visio, this suite of tools is code connected and feature rich, graphically displaying projects and classes and the relationships between them. The new tool set can create and supports UML, use case diagrams, component diagrams, activity, logical class and sequence diagrams.

Conclusion
Every developer wants the biggest and best toolset at their disposal to help to quickly and efficiently develop high quality software artefacts. The additional functionality offered in Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate Edition justifies the additional expense of the product. The cost benefit savings that IntelliTrace and WebPerformanceTesting/LoadTesting bring to the development environment should be enough justification for most software development shops to pay the extra expense of providing Ultimate Edition as their software developers endorsed IDE. If virtualisation is heavily used via Hyper-V, then the cost savings and additional efficiency gains make this decision even easier.

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