Last week I had the privilege of visiting Barcelona. A beautiful city with some great places to visit, nice weather and really nice food. But that wasn’t the goal of my visit.
Microsoft organized the West European ALM Summit in Barcelona last week. The ALM Summit is a partner event where all ALM partners have a change to get the latest ALM news and meet there fellow colleagues.
So from breakfast with Sam Guckenheimer to drinks with Craig Kitterman, the ALM summit is a great place to meet people and learn directly from Microsoft.
The summit took two days. One day was focused on Cloud, the other day on Mobile. Which isn’t strange since Microsoft is a ‘Mobile first, Cloud first’ company.
Microsoft is really targeting the Cloud with its ALM innovations. From the new Cloud Deployment Projects to Dev/Test, ALM and Cloud go hand in hand as far as Microsoft is concerned.
Although I understand their goals, this sometimes means that new features have no value to customers who are solely on-premises. Of course Microsoft hopes that ALM Partners help customers move to Azure.
This is why Microsoft is pushing on using Azure for Dev/Test scenarios. And to be clear, Dev/Test on Azure is a great scenario. It’s cheap and flexible and with the Virtual Network support Azure offers, it’s also secure.
One particular area that was discussed are the MSDN benefits for Azure. Did you know that as a developer with an MSDN subscription you have free monthly credits for Azure? Depending on if you have a Professional, Premium or Ultimate subscription you get between $50 and $150 Azure credits a month that you can use to experiment with Azure and run small workloads.
In addition to Dev/Test scenarios, Visual Studio Online is also complimentary to your on-premises TFS environment. For example, Application Insights and Cloud Load Testing are features that you can use without storing any code in VSO but that really complement your on-premises TFS.
The second day was all about Mobile. What I found particularly interesting was the comparison between Cordova and Xamarin. For example, Microsoft said they used Cordova for the Connect() event app. This app is only used for one or two days and is mostly about displaying data. Cordova is a great solution for apps that don’t require a great performance or deep interaction with the device.
Especially with the new Cordova support for Visual Studio, Cordova is something you should
consider for ‘quick and dirty’ apps. Xamarin is on a whole other level. This is if you want to invest in a quality app that runs natively on a device.
What is totally clear is that MIcrosoft is focusing on DevOps with their ALM platform. This means that Microsoft invests in tooling that makes DevOps practices easier.
If you understand this focus it’s easier to understand why tooling like Smart Unit Tests is being released instead of investments in Coded UI.
Forrester gave a presentation where they showed that DevOps is required for succeeding in developing modern applications. For example, the most popular apps in the different app stores are all updated on a daily to weekly basis. This can’t be done without a good DevOps implementation.
So Microsofts vision is clear. They are really pushing on Mobile and Cloud and are underpinning this with their ALM tooling. Visual Studio 2015, Visual Studio Online and Azure will be the future of their investments and if we want to stay up to date as ALM consultants that’s where we should focus.
All in all, it where a nice couple of days and I’m looking forward to the summit next year! Are you looking into Cloud, Mobile and DevOps on the Microsoft stack? Please let me know!