Buck Hodges

Visual Studio Online, Team Foundation Server, MSDN

April, 2011

  • Buck Hodges

    Professional Team Foundation Server 2010 is now out!


    Professional Team Foundation Server 2010

    In the year since the release of TFS 2010, we’ve seen a run of great new books coming, all by authors who really know their subject matter extremely well.  At the beginning of the year, Sayed Ibrahim Hashimi and William Bartholomew published Using MSBuild and Team Foundation Build, the book on MSBuild and TFS Build.

    Then Mickey Gousset, Brian Keller, Ajoy Krishnamoorthy, and Martin Woodward brought us Professional Application Lifecycle Management.  My copy of that book came in handy when I wrote a post on using the code metrics power tool with TFS Build.  It covers the full range of the VS ALM 2010 product.

    Now Professional Team Foundation Server 2010 written by Ed Blankenship, Martin Woodward, Grant Holliday, and Brian Keller is now out.  I got my copy the other day and highly recommend it.  Martin wrote a great blog post on the book, and in it he describes the differences between Professional ALM and Professional TFS.

    People have asked us what’s the difference between the ALM book and the Pro TFS book.  The ALM book was deliberately written as an overview to the huge amount of functionality available in the entire Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management suite.  Though there are a couple of chapters, the Team Build one in particular, that get pretty technical – the Pro ALM book tries to keep things approachable by everyone.

    The Pro TFS 2010 book is a deep dive on TFS.  We tried to make it so that you can pick up the book having never used TFS before any by the end of it not only know how to use TFS but how to administer a complex TFS instance and even use it to study for the TFS Administration exam.  I’ve learnt something from every single chapter in the Pro TFS book, but I would also hope that someone new to TFS could pick up the book and learn just enough to get going then come back for more over time.

    They’ve included information on every major area of TFS and have included some coverage of the test features that integrate with TFS.  One of the things that makes the book great is that it includes some great information on features of the product you may not even know about.  For example, did you know you can use Active Directory to automatically configure version control proxies for your distributed teams (check out chapter 24)?  Want to understand your server’s health and diagnose performance issues (see chapter 21)?

    Jeff Levinson’s Software Testing with Visual Studio 2010 covers the testing features of VS ALM 2010, which was a huge area of focus for us in the 2010 release.  In it he covers creating test cases, reporting, and lab management, which is a powerful and complex new feature in 2010.

    In May we’ll get Professional Scrum with TFS 2010, so stay tuned for more.

  • Buck Hodges

    OData service for TFS


    Brian Keller has release a new OData service for TFS.  He does a great job explaining it, and he also includes a video demo.

    OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010

    What the heck is an OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010?
    I’m glad you asked. The purpose of this project is to help developers work with data from Team Foundation Server on multiple types of devices (such as smartphones and tablets) and operating systems. OData provides a great solution for this goal, since the existing Team Foundation Server 2010 object model only works for applications developed on the Windows platform. The Team Foundation Server 2010 application tier also exposes a number of web services, but these are not supported interfaces and interaction with these web services directly may have unintended side effects. OData, on the other hand, is accessible from any device and application stack which supports HTTP requests. As such, this OData service interacts with the client object model in the SDK (it does not manipulate any web services directly).

    What is OData?
    OData exposes a way to work with data over the web. If you’re new to OData, I suggest spending a few minutes at http://www.odata.org/ reading about this evolving standard. It uses interfaces similar to REST, so that you can programmatically consume and manipulate data from any device or application stack which supports HTTP requests. DPE has been working with several organizations (such as PayPal, Facebook, and Netflix) and product groups to enable OData where it makes sense to do so. Team Foundation Server was an obvious choice since it not only allows developers to extend TFS in new and interesting ways, but it also allows us to further showcase support for this evolving standard with the developer community at large.



  • Buck Hodges

    Be a developer at Microsoft in Durham, NC


    Do you want to be part of a team of talented developers and build great software?  Here’s your chance to join the TFS team.  In addition to development positions in Redmond (work item tracking client team), I have openings on our development team here in North Carolina.  Please follow one of the links to apply online.

    Job Category: Software Engineering: Development
    Location: United States, NC, Durham
    Job ID: 753545
    Product: Visual Studio Team System
    Division: Server & Tools Business

    Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (TFS) is leading the way in improving the success of software projects, and we want your help! TFS provides software development teams with project and bug management, version control, and build automation. We are now building our services in the cloud using Windows and SQL Azure platforms to make TFS available 24x7 over the internet.

    This is also an opportunity to live on the east coast in North Carolina (Raleigh/Durham) and work on cutting-edge product development for Microsoft!

    Are you passionate about building a great version control experience? Developers interact with version control more than any other part of the system, so you have the opportunity to have a big impact. The position will require you to have or gain extensive knowledge of one or more of these technologies: Visual Studio packages, WPF, WCF, and C#/.NET Framework. Version control in TFS makes use of a wide-range of technologies, so you’ll have the opportunity to learn new stuff and go deep to become an expert in one or more of these areas.

    We’re looking for a developer who seeks big challenges as part of a strong, agile team and has both great collaboration skills and an ability to also work independently to deliver well thought out solutions to tough problems. You must have 3 or more years of experience developing production software using C/C++, C#, or Java and a strong background in object-oriented design and algorithms. A BS in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or equivalent is required.

    If you enjoy building software with a broad range of technologies and being part of a great team that’s making software development better, join TFS!

    If you are passionate about build or web access instead, you can still apply to one of the positions above, and we can discuss team fit as part of the interview process.

  • Buck Hodges

    Making debugging easier: Source Indexing and Symbol Server


    Have you ever tried to debug an issue in old binaries and you don’t remember which version of the source they correspond to?  Have you debugged without symbols because no one saved them?  Here’s how to make your life easier.

    One of the great features in Team Foundation Server 2010 Build is the ability to have your builds automatically indexed with source server and the symbols stored in symbol server.  Ed Blankenship has posted a great write up on how to configure and use this feature from the build to debugging in Visual Studio.

    Source Server and Symbol Server Support in TFS 2010

    As Jim Lamb announced in June 2009, TFS 2010 introduces support for Source Server and Symbol Server as part of the default automated build process template. This is a really key feature addition but I have found that many developers ask about why it would be so important and why it would help them. Ultimately, we are starting to have more and more tools that need access to the symbol file information and the original source code that was used for compilation. For example, some of the tools that come to mind are:

    By setting up Source Server and Symbol Server support during your build process, you’ll be able to work with assemblies & executables that come from the build servers and still use tools that need information from them.


    [UPDATE 4/12/2011]  Ewald Hofman pointed out that I missed Cameron’s excellent debugging series posts.  In Cameron’s second post, he points out how to work around an issue with using minidumps with VS 2010 SP1.

    Check it out!

  • Buck Hodges

    How to reject checkins with code analysis violations


    Andrew Hall wrote a great post on the Code Analysis Team Blog about how to use the code analysis checkin policy with gated checkin in Team Foundation 2010 Build to reject checkins that have code analysis warnings or errors.  He shows you how to configure the rule set and set up the gated build definition to enforce the code analysis rules you’ve chosen.

    Preventing check-ins to TFS that contain code analysis warnings

    Recently we have received several questions regarding Visual Studio Code Analysis integration with Team Foundation Server’s check-in policy and build server, so I thought it would be helpful to clarify the behavior and expose some relatively hidden functionality.



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