Steve Lange @ Work

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

June, 2011

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Opening a OneNote 2010 notebook with section groups on WP7


    OneNote 2010[7/15 Update:  This post's workaround doesn't apply for Windows Phone 'Mango', just the currently available retail version of WP7.  OneNote section groups are fully recognized in 'Mango'.]

    I recently came across this issue with Windows Phone 7 (once I got it in late May, thanks Verizon):  I maintain a (what I consider to be) highly-organized OneNote 2010 notebook for interactions with my customers.  I use a new feature of OneNote 2010: section groups.  This allows me to structure my notebook like this:

    • Notebook
      • Summary (section)
      • Customers (section group)
        • Office Hub on WP7Arizona (section group)
          • Customer 1 (section)
          • Customer 2 (section)
        • California (section group)
          • Customer 3 (section)
          • Customer 4 (section)
          • Customer 5 (section)
        • Colorado (section group)
        • Nevada (section group)
        • Utah (section group)
        • Other (section group)
      • Internal (section group)

    (you get the picture)

    This topology lets me have a full section for each customer.  Using section groups to group customers by state is very helpful for me in that it logically organizes my notes based on where I’m traveling for a given week.

    And having OneNote on my phone is really slick – I can quickly review notes for a customer before a meeting begins, or take quick notes on my phone to record impromptu tidbits of information.  With my notes automatically syncing to SkyDrive, my notebook is always up-to-date, regardless of the device I’m using (phone, 2 laptops, or desktop).  Nice!

    But I ran into a snag.  Remember my love for section groups?  That feature isn’t supported in OneNote for WP7.  When I open the notebook on WP7 I can only see the Summary section – section groups aren’t recognized – so I can’t see my customer notes!

    In doing some searching online, I found this thread on Microsoft Answers in which a workaround was published:

    1. Copy Link to Section GroupIn OneNote (desktop), right-click on the desired section and select “Copy Link to Section Group”.
    2. Email yourself the link
      1. The default paste action will put two links in the email, one to open on the web and the other to open in OneNote.
    3. Open the email on your phone and follow the link:  follow the “OneNote” link, not the “Web” link.

    This will open the section group as a notebook on your phone.  While not ideal, it does give you access to the contents of your section group.  So in my scenario, I emailed myself (in a single email) links to the section group for each state: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Other.  Since each of these section groups have no nested section groups, I’m golden.  It’s a little work, but you only have to do it once for each section group.

    Now, when I go to OneNote on my phone, I see:

    • Arizona
      • Customer 1 (section)
      • Customer 2 (section)
    • California
      • Customer 3 (section)
      • Customer 4 (section)
      • Customer 5 (section)
    • Colorado
    • Nevada
    • Utah
    • Other

    So what does it all boil down to?  OneNote on WP7 doesn’t recognize section groups (OneNote 2010), but it can recognize them as “root” notebooks.  So email yourself the link to each section group and WP7 will see each section group as a notebook.  If you have nested section groups, you’ll need to pick and choose which ones you really want to have available on your phone and do the email/open process for each one.

    I hope this helps someone out there!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    ALM Rangers at work again!


    Earlier this month, the ALM Rangers team released two newly-completed projects to CodePlex, the Rangers Lab Management Guide and the Rangers Build Customization Guide.

    I expect you to find both guides valuable as you further your usage of Team Foundation Server 2010.  Below are some details for each project.  Selfishly, I’m especially fond of the second one (I was a contributing author):

    Lab Management Guide

    This project has the primary goal of delivering scenario based and hands-on guidance for the planning, setup, configuration and usage of Visual Studio Lab Management, backed by custom VM Template automation for reference environments.

    The content is packaged in 3 separate zip files to give you the choice of selective downloads. The default download is the first of the listed packages:

    • Guidance, which includes scenario based practical guidance and frequently asked questions.

    • Hands-on Labs (HOL), which includes the HOL documents that provide walkthroughs of the technology, based on the guidance

    • HOL Package, which includes a HOL environment setup package which allows you to setup the HOL environment in your own environment

    The Epics included in the guidance are:

    • Epic - Visualization of the guidance using quick reference posters
    • Epic - Advanced golden image management using the VM Factory for Lab Management
    • Epic - Provide guidance on setting up Test environments with respect to pre-defined personas
    • Epic - Provide Guidance to enable large and small teams to setup and configure both automated and manual tests
    • Epic - Provide practical guidance for managing and maintaining a Lab Management environment
    • Epic - Provide practical guidance to enable teams to quickly setup and configure their lab management environment

    Build Customization Guide

    This project has the primary goal of delivering scenario based and hands-on lab guidance for the customization and deployment of Team Foundation Build 2010 activities such as versioning, code signing, and branching.

    Guidance, Hands-on Labs, and Quick Reference Posters

    The content for this project is provided in individual packages to allow you to be selective in what you get:

    • Guidance contains scenario based practical guidance, frequently asked questions and quick reference posters
      • Selected PDF contains guidance and quick reference posters in PDF format only.
      • Complete contains guidance, quick reference posters and localization files in all available formats.
    • Hands-on Labs (HOL) includes:
      • HOL documents that provide walkthroughs of the technology, based on the guidance
      • HOL Package contains a HOL environment setup package allowing you to setup the HOL environment in your own environment
      • BRDLite Build Process Reference Template walk-through.
    • Samples contains sample build process templates used by the team as part of the guidance.
    • Videos which showcase the guidance in quick 5-10min videos.

    The Epics included in the guidance are:

    • Practical guidance and tooling to simplify the customization of Team Foundation Build
    • Practical guidance to use Team Foundation Build process templates to automate build and non-build scenarios in Microsoft environments
    • Practical guidance to enable simple and flexible deployment of applications and their data stores
    • Practical guidance for Activities to empower developers and build engineers
    • Quality hands-on labs that complement the guidance and effectively guide the user through the features
    • Visualization of the guidance using quick reference posters

    For additional information related to this project, check out Willy’s post.


    Like what you see?  Check out the full list of Rangers projects.  Also, be sure to read about who the Rangers are!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Partner Webcasts: Northwest Cadence


    Several of our awesome ALM partners are delivering some terrific webcasts this summer and fall.  In this post, I’ve listed upcoming webcasts from Northwest Cadence.

    Northwest CadenceTake a look, and if you see something you like, click on the webcast title to register!  See NW Cadence’s events page for additional details, events, or last-minute changes.

    Friday, July 22 - Scrum versus Kanban

    Scrum is a process model that promotes highly iterative, value driven development and has been successfully adopted by agile teams world-wide. Kanban, meaning “signboard”, is a concept relation to Lean and focuses on the reduction of work in progress and visual signals to indicate that new work should be started. Both models have proven track records, and in this session Martin Hinshelwood (ALM MVP and Scrum proponent) and Steven Borg (ALM MVP and Kanban fan) will go head to head to discuss their similarities, their differences, and which you should choose for your software development.

    Friday, August 5 - Introduction to Kanban

    Kanban is a Lean-inspired approach to software development. Although the rules of Kanban are simple, they are also remarkably powerful. By simply visualizing work, limiting work in process, and monitoring the flow of work, the team begins a powerful process of discovery and improvement. This has resulted in impressive improvements in nearly all areas of software development time and time again. During this event, we will talk about the five basic principles of Kanban adoption, the benefits of adoption, and the pitfalls along the way.

    Friday, August 19 - Introduction to Scrum

    Scrum is the most adopted agile methodology. Time and again, it has transformed low performing development teams into powerful creators of business value. Scrum does particularly well in environments where requirements shift or change unpredictably and in areas with substantial uncertainty. During this event, we will introduce the three Scrum roles, dive into the basic Scrum processes, and explore the reasons behind Scrum’s power. Although this event is an introduction to Scrum, we will provide several tips and tricks to assist in Scrum adoption.

    Friday, September 9 - Visualize Work – The Power of Big Visible Displays

    Visible work has a profound impact on a team. By making work visible, teams can rapidly identify bottlenecks and issues, visualize the amount of work the team has under development, and most importantly understand the “life story” of the features they are working on. At a glance, teams can identify overloaded people, problematic stories, quality problems, and overall development speed. Visualization is one of the key tools in an effective Kanban implementation. During this event, we will discuss how Kanban teams visualize work, where to get started with visualization, and the tools available to help build effective visualizations electronically.


    Northwest Cadence delivers deep technical acumen and broad process perspective. After all, technologies alone do not translate into success. Productivity is about clearing bottlenecks and reducing waste while leveling the load wherever possible. It is also about optimizing flow, while preserving quality and minimizing risk. All of this makes for a delicate balance.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Steve’s Newsletter–June 2011


    Did you notice that it’s June, too?  If you work in the field at Microsoft, you’ve probably been preparing for the last month of our fiscal year by either setting a “1 month” reminder or actually ripping the month right out of your calendar (sorry, you can’t do that in Outlook.  Feature request, maybe?).

    So this edition of the newsletter is being written in parts at an airport, on a plane, or quietly downstairs in my home office.


    Events & Trainings

    • 6/10: HTML5 Web Camps in Colorado Springs and Irvine! The focus? HTML5. ‘Nuff said. Come to this web camp (it’s FREE, by the way) to learn how to leverage HTML5 to build the next generation of exciting websites. Presentations & demos to start, followed by hands-on labs to really get those creative juices flowing. Get registered today!
    • 6/10:  Azure Bootcamp coming to Denver and Salt Lake City!  Join us for an immersive experience which will help explore and learn about how to leverage the Windows Azure platform and get started with the tools and architecture available. Register now, as space is limited! (Registration: Denver | Salt Lake City)
    • 6/24: Windows Phone 7 Unleashed event in Tempe!  BYO laptop for a 1/2 day of lecture and 1/2 day of lab!
    • Upcoming Webcasts:

    Final Thoughts

    I’m officially “in role” in Southern California again (additive to my current areas) alongside William Salazar.  If you have development teams in SoCal, give me a shout, as I’d love to see how I can help you get the most bang for your buck out of your Microsoft development products.

    This newsletter will probably take a month off in July as I hope to catch up on my “work/life” balance.  :)

    I 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!

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