Steve Lange @ Work

Steve Lange's thoughts on application lifecycle management, Visual Studio, and Team Foundation Server

December, 2010

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Don’t Forget to Try the VS 2010 Service Pack 1 Beta


    You can get it here:

    The installer covers all editions of Visual Studio 2010 – Express, Professional, Premium, & Ultimate.  The what’s new covers some of the benefits of SP1, but here is a consolidated list:

    Unit Testing (now includes SharePoint 2010)

    • You can create unit test projects and target them to the .NET Framework 3.5.
    • You can run unit tests that target the .NET Framework 3.5 from Visual Studio 2010 SP1 Beta on your local machine.

    • You can run unit tests that target the .NET Framework 3.5 by using MSTest.exe from the command prompt.

    • You can run unit tests on a build agent as part of a build.

    IIS Express - a lightweight Web server that you can use in Visual Studio. IIS Express combines the simplicity of the ASP.NET Development Server with many powerful Web server features offered by IIS 7.5. IIS Express offers the following advantages:

    • It is less than 10 MB, and it consumes fewer system resources than IIS 7.5.

    • It works in Visual Studio 2010 and in Visual Web Developer 2010 Express.

    • You do not have to use an administrator account to run or debug Web applications in Visual Studio.

    • Most development features available for IIS 7.5 are available for IIS Express.

    SQL Server Compact 4.0 Design Time Support - an embedded database server that has a small footprint. The Visual Studio 2010 SP1 Tools for SQL Server Compact 4.0 CTP2 enable you to work with SQL Server Compact databases in Visual Studio Web projects.

    Using SQL Server Compact databases and tools provides the following advantages over using the full SQL Server or SQL Server Express edition:

    • They are quick to install and set up. The total download for the database and tools is less than 20 MB.

    • Data storage is file based. Your data is stored in a single .sdf file, which you can copy to the App_Data folder of your ASP.NET application on a Web hosting site.

    • Database deployment is improved. Transact-SQL and .NET Framework data APIs are compatible. You can use the same SQL commands and database code that you use with other versions of SQL Server.

    • Visual Studio design-time data tools, such as Server Explorer, the Query and View Designer, the Entity Designer, the SqlDataSource control, and the Dataset Designer, all work with SQL Server Compact databases.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Steve’s Development Tools Newsletter - December 2010


    Visual Studio 2010I receive a lot of email each week from you asking very specific, and valuable questions.  It’s my hope that a newsletter like this will help me communicate important announcements, tips/tricks, and other items to help you and your team ultimately be more successful!  Whenever I post a new newsletter, I will send email notifications to those of you who would like to be contacted.  If you don’t want to receive email notifications, just let me know!


    A new Visual Studio Feature Pack was recently released to MSDN subscribers.  It contains a myriad of new functionality, but a couple of the most notable include improvements to Coded UI Tests.  With this feature pack we’ve added support for Silverlight 4 applications, a graphical UIMap editor, as well as the ability to playback recorded tests in Firefox.

    If you’re about ready to upgrade to TFS 2010 from either 2005 or 2008, let me know before you do!  I can make sure you have the latest and greatest bits to ensure a smooth upgrade process.

    Wanting to load test WCF services?  Take a look at the latest beta of the ALM Rangers project, the WCF Load Test Tool on CodePlex.  This newest edition includes some new functionality such as DataSets support, duplex contracts, improved error reporting, and Fiddler2 trace processing.

    If you’re looking for a good read, take a look at Brian Harry’s blog, most notably a recent post talking about the history and direction of TFS as an open platform.

    The Denver Visual Studio .NET User Group has found a new home!  When meetings resume in January, they will convene at HBA (Home Builders Association) of Metro Denver in Centennial.  It’s just off I-25 between Arapahoe and Dry Creek, only a few exits south of the Microsoft office (address and map)

    Events & Training

    Build & Brew – We produced the first two rounds of the Build & Brew last week in Phoenix and Denver.  Thanks to all who attended!  For those of you in other cities, it’s going to be moving across the rest of the Western US starting in January.  Stops include San Diego, Los Angeles, Costa Mesa, Portland, Bellevue, Sunnyvale, and San Francisco.

    Silverlight Firestarter – If you missed the live webcast, you can catch the video highlights on the web, including labs.  Sessions include best practices, Windows Phone 7, and a look at Silverlight 5!

    Ramp Up - Trying to wrap your brain around all the stuff Microsoft is cranking out?  Get started with the basics with Ramp Up, a free, online, community-based learning program rooted at MSDN.  Simple sign in with your Live ID, click a track, and get going!


    • When you upgrade to TFS 2010, TFS automatically applies an upgrade template to your existing build definitions (or build types in 2005) so they will continue to use your TFSBuild.proj file after the upgrade.
    • (Random) What’s my favorite feature in Outlook 2010?  “Ignore”, by far!  It let’s me flag a conversation as irrelevant, putting any future messages related to that thread directed in Deleted Items.
    • Yes, you can use Premier hours and Microsoft training vouchers for development related activities!  If you have an agreement that’s expiring soon with Microsoft, check and see if there are any hours you need to use!

    Final Thoughts

    Happy Holidays to you and your family!  Thank you for being my customer, colleague, and friend this past year.  My job at Microsoft, while multi-faceted, is simple at its core:  To help you understand Microsoft development tools as fully as possible so that you can get the most for your investment in our software.  If you’ve seen me present to your team before, you know that I’m never short on information! 

    Thank you for providing me that opportunity.  That said, enjoy the holidays with friends and family!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Build & Brew Follow-up


    vs glassThanks to everyone who attended the first two rounds of the Build & Brew event series in Phoenix (11/30) and Denver (12/2)!  Judging from the level of interaction and feedback, I’d say it’s been a success so far!

    As promised, I’ve posted slide decks and other links online for you to download.  You can get this content from Skydrive HERE.

    Also, below are some links to help jumpstart your use of TFS 2010 Build:

    Again, thanks for attending!  This type of event format is somewhat of an experiment, so I appreciate not only your attendance but your feedback as well!

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