Everything you want to know about Visual Studio ALM and Farming
Brian Harry is a Microsoft Technical Fellow working as the Product Unit Manager for Team Foundation Server. Learn more about Brian.
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We’re in final testing for the August release of the TFS Power Tools. I’ve been playing around with it for the past couple of days and it’s looking really good. In this post I’ll give you a sneak preview of what is coming and then, as soon as the download is available (another week or two), I’ll blog the link. I hope you are really going to like it. We’ve managed to get in a bunch of long standing requests.
Key improvements in this release include:
One of the complaints we get a lot on the shell extension is that if you are using anything other than a domain account, there’s no way to enter your credentials. We’ve added login support, see the screenshot below to see it working against one of the CodePlex projects I’m a member of. This change also enables it to work against hosted TFS as soon as we make that available. To be 100% honest, this only fixes part of the problem. You’ll see below that there’s no way to save your credentials so you will, from time to time be prompted to reenter your credentials. Ideally this dialog would offer to save them in your Windows credential store, but unfortunately this dialog is actually in the product, not the Power Tools and therefore can’t be updated in the Power Tools. We’ll see if we can get the product updated to support this to really sew up this scenario.
Another oft requested feature is to be able to search work items easily within Team Explorer. If you look at the screenshot of VS below, you’ll see a new search box on the work item tracking tool bar (I’ve done a search for the word “admin” here). This will do a full text search of your work items and display the results like any query would. This feature is also getting added in our next version of the product but the search bar will be integrated a little better than we can do in a Power Tool.
In TFS 2010, we added rollback to TFS. Unfortunately it only showed up in the command line and for many people that’s almost the same as not having it at all. We’re adding it to the UI in TFS 11 and decided to release it a bit earlier than that in the Power Tools. There are two entry points. From the Source Control Explorer, you can do rollbacks scoped to a folder structure and based on a number of criteria:
And in history, you can rollback individual changesets easily.
We’re continuing the process of taking all of the cool build automation utilities that William Bartholomew has built as part of moving the Developer Division over to TFS Build and incorporation those into the Power Tools. With luck, we’ll continue to see contributions to every release. There are two new components in this release:
tfpt builddefinition /diff – Shows the differences between two build definitions.
tfpt buildprocesstemplate – A set of new features for handling build process templates on the command line. Very useful for scripting stuff but also useful for doing things you can’t do from the UI (such as defining which process template is your default and which is the upgrade process template).
While I’m on the topic of build, I’ll mention that we’ve added Maven 3 support to the list of supported build systems for our build extensions. We now support Ant, Maven 2 and Maven 3.
We’ve improved the Power Tools setup process to support in-place upgrade. You no longer have to uninstall the old Power Tools, you can just install the new ones and it will upgrade them. This is a request I’ve been hearing from you all for a long while now.
In recent months, we’ve found that one of the single biggest causes of bloat to TFS servers is all of the test artifacts that get added during test runs. We’ve built a tool (that was previously released separately) that can be used to prune out old and likely unused test data that has accumulated in TFS. In the future, we’ll be working on changes to the product to reduce the amount of data we attach in the first place.
As always, we’ve updated the Best Practices Analyzer with the latest and greatest diagnostic that our support team uses to help get unhealthy TFS servers healthy again.
And, of course, there are a bunch of bug fixes…