April 8, 2005

VSTS Message Clearer, But Still Priced Too High

Yesterday, I attended the MSDN Webcast on Visual Studio 2005 Team Test, and I got a bit clearer message about what the different team editions were. I left halfway through because you could tell that the presenter had absolutely no respect for testers, and that's not a message that you want to convey to your target audience.

Components of Team System/Team Edition

First thing first, Microsoft could have avoided a metric shit-ton of headaches had they released this chart when they released the pricing. When we saw the breakdowns, we were thinking that each SKU was only getting the limited amount of things that were mentioned and nothing more.

So, with Team Architect, the unique stuff you get is the Application, Infrastructure and Deployment modeling stuff. For Developer, it's the dynamic and static code analyzers and the profiler. For Test, it's the Manual and Load Testing modules and the Test Case Management.

Unit Testing and Code Coverage are shared between Test and Developer, and Class Modeling and Visio/UML Modeling are shared between Architect and Developer. So if you have to get a Team Edition, get Team Developer. You get the most bang for your buck.

Now looking at the Team Edition breakdown and comparing it to competitive pricing, here's what I see. Team Architect is competitively priced. Team Architect is competing with the Rational product suite with the unique feature set that it has, so I will not debate that pricing system. However, for v1 products, they better be extremely good in order for this to be valid.

Team Developer and Team Test, however, are still overpriced. The Load Testing system is essentially an enhanced version of ACT, the Unit Testing stuff competes with the *Test products from ParaSoft and is essentially NUnit with a GUI/Code Creation front end, and most of the Test Case Management features that a Test Manager or Test Lead would need are only available if you use Team Foundation.

On the Team Developer front, Microsoft is going to be competing head-on with VTune from Intel, and I don't think that a v1 product is going to be able to do it. As for the code analyzers, well, Microsoft has had PREfix and PREfast internally for years and they have paid for themselves repeatedly. Admittedly, they were a pain in the ass to get working, but once you got them working on your product, you would get marked size and speed improvements on your executables.

What's scary is that looking at Team Developer, aside from the Team Foundation Client, everything else that is there is what we would expect from a v.next software package from Microsoft. They'd say, "Hey, guess what, here's everything from last year's version, and a few extra features...all for the same price!" Now it's, "Hey, guess what, here's everything from last year's version, and a few extra features...and we're going to take you for over twice as much!"

I can understand gradual price adjustments, but this is insane.

1 comment:

Anderson Imes said...

I found your site through GeoBlog - Nice to get a QA person who is really serious blogging.

I was thinking that these pricing structures were insane compared to the previous versions of Visual Studio. I really didn't understand, so I visited the NDDNUG's meeting and they went over Team System. I got the skinny on what's going on.

Team System is not Visual Studio. If you want Visual Studio, you should purchase Visual Studio 2005 Professional and throw a little NUnit action into it and you have everything you get in Team Developer.

The thing that a company gets with Team System is lifecycle management tools. This is really a completely different product. This is a product to help development teams manage their development cycles, track workitems from withing VS, and do automated builds. It's not a product - it's a software development process. Similar lifecycle management software with all of the integration that MS is offering is very expensive.

So, if you are looking for 'VS.Next' then get VS 2005 Pro - it's 300 bucks less than VS 2003 Enterprise Architect and has a lot more features. If your company has a need for lifecycle management - invest in team system.

As for the testing products - I think I'll agree with you there. You really aren't getting much more than a better flavor of ACT. My company has been using NUnit and NUnitASP to test our stuff, along with the ACT stuff just fine - no reason to pay for it, if you don't need the work item tracking integration or don't need those tests run nightly after the latest build is built by the automated build server (even though these things can be supplimented with other products as well).

Keep blogging man! Check out www.NDDNUG.org - hope to see you there.