Chris Flaat's WebLog

Discussion of software processes and MSFT developer technologies.

  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Building from the command line: devenv /build

    • 23 Comments
    Greetings, dear readers!   Today I want to talk about using devenv.exe to build a solution or project from the command line (as opposed to interactively inside the IDE).   For example, you can say “devenv /build debug myapp.sln” to do a debug...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Watson's revenge

    • 12 Comments
    My dear readers, I have a terrible admission to make.   But it's time to come clean with you.  The fact is, of our hundreds of thousands of users, a small number encounter crashing bugs in Visual Studio.   They are working happily along...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Management tour of duty

    • 8 Comments
    Greetings, all!   My apologies again for doing such a bad job of keeping you up to date.   I have been absorbed with my duties as interim development manager for our team, and have not had much time to delve into the various technical things...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Newly minted Scrum Master

    • 7 Comments
    I now face the world as a Certified Scrum Master. Of course, I should note that Ken Schwaber practically chuckles at that term and points out that all he's certifying is that you learned something in the class, and he doesn't even verify that much. However...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Beginning our first Scrum sprint on Monday

    • 5 Comments
    Well, it's finally about to happen. I did a short presentation to get the team educated about Scrum (they seem excited about it), and we did our backlog selection and sprint backlog planning meetings yesterday. The sprint begins on Monday. I'm pretty...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Adding linked items to projects

    • 4 Comments
    One little tip before I leave town.  A very useful but well-hidden feature is that of "linked files" within a VB or C# project.  This lets you point to a file without having it be copied into the same directory of your project. ...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Linked items and SCC integration

    • 4 Comments
    A person named Blair commented on one of my prior entries about using linked files.  They mention that the integration of a project's linked files with source code control has some limitations, esp. when you link to files outside the current project...
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    Headhunters on the prowl

    • 4 Comments
    I am so jazzed...I've been at Microsoft for 11 years, often prowling public places with my MSFT account, and yet until today I've never had an outside recruiter come after me. But, my drought is finally up. "Barbara" (do they use aliases, I wonder?) called...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Software metrics primarily useful as negative indicators?

    • 4 Comments
    Dear Readers – I was thinking about metrics, and it occurred to me that most of the metrics we commonly use in the industry are really good as negative indicators of quality, efficiency, testing, etc. but lousy positive indicators. That is, most...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Trying out pair programming

    • 4 Comments
    Greetings all – My team has been reporting success with pair programming, so I wanted to try it out myself. This week one of my reports and I paired up to do a bit of maintenance work where we’re moving some automated tests around and setting aside...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Comments on first scrum sprint

    • 3 Comments
    Hi all - Wanted to reply to a couple of comments about my prior entry about having completed our first scrum sprint. A reader named Laurent May writes: "What software tools did you use to manage your sprint development methodology? We are are currently...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Sprint 5 planning

    • 3 Comments
    Greetings all – Well, our Product Owner got the product backlog ready in time for the first sprint planning meeting, where we pick the product backlog items we’ll use for the sprint. This planning meeting happened yesterday & went pretty smoothly...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Hello from ASP.NET!!

    • 3 Comments
    Greetings all -   We've been moved (not voluntarily, I might add) to this new blog server.  So far it looks like this a nicer system.  Hopefully my old content will get moved over soon so that this blog isn't split up.   Thanks for reading! Chris
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Easter Eggs & Credit Screens: good or bad?

    • 3 Comments
    Greetings, all.  So...I was re-reading (well, actually re-skimming) Pete McBreen's book Software Craftsmanship , which I think has a lot of interesting observations. One of the things he calls for is a return to the practice of letting...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    New VSIP program rollout

    • 3 Comments
    There's now free registration at the VSIP site  to become a VSIP ("Visual Studio Industy Partner"), which is the program whereby you can write a low-level package that integrates more deeply into Visual Studio than is possible as an...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Software patents

    • 3 Comments
    Greetings, all!   It looks like the Europeans came to their senses and rejected American-style software patents.   See here for a ZDNet article on this.   There was a recent article in the Economist discussing the EU’s consideration...
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    Have to recommend "Whale Rider"

    • 3 Comments
    So, I saw the movie Whale Rider this weekend, and I have to say it's one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.  Reading a synopsis of the film you wouldn't think much of it, but it really grabs you.  The girl who plays the lead role...
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    Career crossroads

    • 2 Comments
    Greetings all –   My apologies for being a bit out of touch for the last few weeks.   There have been several “fires” burning that I’ve had to deal with, plus a short vacation for my 10-year college reunion a couple weeks ago....
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    MSBuild talk at PDC

    • 2 Comments
    Hi all -   So, as I mentioned in an earlier blog entry , Alex Kipman & Rajeev Goel are going to do a PDC presentation on MSBuild (the new build engine we’re including with Whidbey).   If you’re going to the PDC, be...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Solution configurations & project configurations

    • 2 Comments
    Greetings, dear readers!   Today I want to talk about solution configurations and project configurations.   These are important concepts that are essential to understand if you’re trying to do complex coordination of builds using VS, esp...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    More on configurations

    • 2 Comments
    Greetings, all!   In my entry about devenv /build , a reader named Toby mentions the pain of maintaining multiple configurations when you have a lot of them that are identical except for one flag.   He says:   In my work,...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Don't take code (or solutions or projects) from strangers

    • 2 Comments
    Greetings, my dear readers.   I wanted to offer some suggestions about how VS users can safely handle code obtained from other sources.   A combination of common sense and careful reading of the VS documentation would lead you to the...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing

    • 2 Comments
    Greetings all!  It's a hot summer here in the Seattle area.  We went on a family getaway this last weekend and I got a chance to do some reading.  I finally got a chance to finish "Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing" by Jane...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Continued use of Scrum

    • 2 Comments
    Dear Readers – We continue to use Scrum on our project, and we’re now finishing our third sprint (numbered sprint 4 to match up with pre-Scrum milestone numbering). It’s been a stressful sprint. We had a bunch of very hard changes which took much longer...
  • Chris Flaat's WebLog

    Sprint 5 beginning

    • 2 Comments
    Greetings all - Well, next week we’re going to start sprint 5. We had a couple of weeks between the end of sprint 4 & the start of sprint 5, mainly since we had some distractions like an office move and a whole-team offsite fixing bugs for the main...
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