June 2, 2009

Integrating into Microsoft Visual Studio: the easy way

Surround SCM
Helix ALM
When companies look to invest in defect tracking and version control tools one of the first questions they frequently ask is “Do you integrate into Microsoft Visual Studio?” This might seem like a very easy question to answer because, in short, the answer is almost always “Yes we do”. But once people start to use the integration they normally have a ton of questions on how it works and how they would like it to work. I use Visual Studio 2008, Surround SCM, and TestTrack Pro on a daily basis so I decided to show some of the integration images with real files and bugs, as I believe that pictures speak a thousand words. The first image shows the Surround SCM and TestTrack windows you will see in Visual Studio. As you can see from the image, a Surround SCM tab and a TestTrack Pro tab are available in Visual Studio, next to the Output and Error List tabs. Why is the TestTrack Pro window so special? Well, you can create or edit defects from this window. You can also execute the workflow events in TestTrack Pro, so no need to launch TestTrack Pro. vsintegration1 The second window I want to point out is the Surround SCM tab that shows the pending changes. This allows you to check in files that have changed in your project. You can also add a comment and perform a file difference. vsintegration2 The last section I want to focus on is the Solution Explorer integration. With a simple right-click you have all the power and flexibility of Surround SCM at your disposal, again without the need to launch Surround SCM. vsintegration3 Instead of only asking defect tracking and version control vendors if they integrate with Visual Studio, I always tell customers and prospects to ask specifically about the level of integration with Visual Studio. Version control and defect tracking tools should be easy to use and should not cause unnecessary work for developers. I believe Surround SCM and TestTrack can deliver just this.