Dinesh asked me to support training at a deep dive VSTS last week and I readily agreed. I really can't pass an oppurtunity to see how people use our product and hear their feedback. The training was in Bangalore and I have lived in Bangalore for 21 years and visiting home always feels so good :)

Chris Menegay, the guy who delivered the training was awesome and held the audience in good stead. The training material was quite comprehensive and had a lot of hands on lab exercises. It was heartening to see the audience show a lot of interest in many of the advanced functionality of VSTS too. There were a ton of qs around customization of existing functionality, writing your own plugins, which SKU gets what dlls, best practices, integrating existing systems with selective VSTS features etc. Team Build and converters were introduced on Day 2 and Day 3. A lot of qs on the internals and some fairly complex customizations were asked. Of course, we had our standard qs about case loss during migration, how Team Build uses workspaces and how we build web projects, setup projects. We will soon get a FAQ out on these issues. But overall, users were pretty wowed with the kind of integration support that Team Build gives and the handiness and robustness of the VSS Converter and I did get a lot of requests for targeted help with Team Build for building Proof of Concept scenarios. Predictably, the rest of TFS also had their share of FAQs with users asking qs about offline support for Version Control, correct usage of branching and merging, selctive backup of files in source control, customizing work item types, MS Project integration support and general qs on the object model. The profiling and code analysis tools along with web tests were undoubtedly some of the most popular features of TS and got quite a few cheers. I noticed however that we really need a document that addresses some queries around what works and what does not when you use some components as stand alone from TS. Stuff like the minimal set you require to get things up and running and also the features that you can use and stuff that you will miss if you try using components as stand alone. More on that in the coming blogs.

Interestingly, I met a couple of folks in the training with whom I had been interacting very frequently on the VSTF forums. It is curious how you form a picture of a person that you have been interacting with but have not met. One of my blog readers actually referred to me as a guy in one of his comments. I think I am now inclined to put up my pic on my blog that helps associating my name with a 23 year old girl :)