Airplanes are equipped with recorders that capture both cockpit audio and flight data, so in the event that something goes wrong, investigators can try to determine the source of the problem. Microsoft is aiming to give software developers the same kind of access in the next version of its developer tool suite, to be known as Visual Studio 2010, Microsoft plans to include the ability to record the full screens of what testers are seeing, as well as data about their machine. When a test application crashes, the technology will enable developers to see the bug as it occurred.
In an interview last week, Microsoft Developer Division Director Dave Mendlen said the feature is designed to avoid the all-to-frequent conflict that occurs when a software tester finds a bug that the developer says it can't reproduce. Internally, the feature has been called "TiVo for debuggers."
Although the feature is initially only aimed at in-house testers, a similar feature could one day find its way into broader testing, potentially even into Microsoft beta products. "I wouldn't be surprised at all to see this become a way that we do beta management, going forward," Mendlen said.