Steve Lange @ Work

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

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 is Here!


    Yep, it’s here (maybe the timing had something to do with //Build?)!

    I’ll let you get all the tasty details via the official post, but here are my personal top highlights (and if you’re using VSO, you may have seen some of these already):

    Work Item Tagging updates

    Work Item Tagging allows users to further organize and categorize work items without having to do any customization (like custom fields/values, or custom queries).

    For this update, we’ve rounded out this functionality by allowing you to now:

    • View and edit tags from within Visual Studio/Team Explorer
    • View and edit tags from within Excel
    • Include tags in Work Item queries

    New CodeLens Indicator: “Incoming Changes”

    A new indicator for CodeLens shows code changes taking place to related code in another branch.  This provides a great “heads up” to the developer that some merging may be just around the corner.

    Git Improvements

    The list is impressive!

    • Use the Annotate feature (aka blame) with Git
    • Amend recent local commits using Visual Studio (similar to the command line: “git amend”), as long as the commits have not yet been pushed to the TFS repository
    • Push to or pull from a selected remote repository in Team Explorer without having to use the command line
    • Roll back a commit to undo a check-in more easily
    • Monitor or cancel long-running Git operations
    • Use Ant or Maven on the build controller to build Java code managed in a Git repository (requires Team Explorer Everywhere (TEE) Update 1)

    Web-based Test Case Management: Exporting Artifacts and Shared Parameters

    We’ve added new capabilities to the “Test” area of TFS Web Access, allowing you to:

    • Export test plans, suites, and cases into HTML format.
    • Sharing of test case parameters

    There are several other notable improvements, including:

    • Configurable Cumulative Flow Diagram  start dates (on Kanban boards)
    • Updated team home page in TFS Web Access
    • Work Item Charting: Home Page Pinning and Color Customization
    In addition to the official post, check out this KB article for a full list of changes.


  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Event: ALM Symposium in San Diego, April 30th 2014


    ALM Symposium

    An All Day Event to Train, Inspire & Connect Teams!

    Microsoft and Northwest Cadence are extremely excited to be partnering together to host the upcoming ALM Symposium in La Jolla, CA! This is a great time to be in the world of software development, and this event will show you why!

    San Diego is the perfect place to be for software engineering. Home of wireless communication technology, bioinformatics, defense technology and investing, San Diego is an epicenter of innovation and creativity. But so often, delivery challenges tend to inhibit the flow of software delivery. Challenges like enabling communication across globally distributed teams, long project backlogs, conflicting priorities, unresolvable bugs and redundant manual efforts can all get in the way of what we enjoy best –delivering innovative technological solutions built on software.

    The good news is that these challenges have been solved! Microsoft’s ALM Solutions are enabling the world’s leading organizations to reduce their project backlogs, respond to business requests more accurately and deliver higher quality applications faster than ever before. Some of the most complex organizations in the world with thousands of team members, strict regulations and ever-pressing deadlines are able to achieve true agility while maintaining the highest levels of quality and security. By attending this event, which will have a special emphasis on improving quality across every part of an application’s lifecycle, you’ll learn how all of the various teams, from project managers, to business analysts, to developers, to testers, to release engineers and operations teams, can come together to streamline and improve your software delivery processes and tools utilization.

    We’re going to have fun! It’s going to be informative and exciting! The raffle prizes are awesome! And we’re looking forward to meeting you there!



    • 8:30am Welcome Time with Coffee & Refreshments
    • 9:00am Keynote Session
    • 9:30am Demonstration of ALM in Action & End-to-End Project Management, Requirements Management, Development, Build, Deploy, Test
    • 10:30am Audience Activity, Customer Testimonies & Q/A Panel
    • 11:30am Break for Complimentary Lunch
    • 12:15pm Breakout Sessions
      • Breakout 1 - IT Leaders, Project Managers, Business Analysts
      • Breakout 2 - Testers & QA Professionals
      • Breakout 3 – Developers
      • Breakout 4 – Release Managers & DevOps
    • 4:00pm Evaluation Submissions and Raffle Giveaways

    Registration is free, but space is limited.


    Wednesday, April 30th

    Hyatt Regency La Jolla

    3777 La Jolla Village Drive

    San Diego, CA 92122

    Space is limited.


  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Denver Event: Professional Scrum Development with Visual Studio


    Professional Scrum Development with Visual Studio

    Delivered by Accentient

    When: Friday, 11 April 2014 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM (MDT)


    7595 Technology Way
    Suite 400
    Denver, Colorado 80237


    Scrum is the #1 framework chosen by Agile software development teams. Visual Studio is a leader in Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools. The combination of the two is just awesome, and so is the value potential for you and your software development team.
    Join Professional Scrum Trainers Richard Hundhausen and Charles Bradley as they explain why Scrum works and show how Visual Studio can implement it.

    Whether you are an executive, manager, or business-decision maker looking for a new way to manage the ROI of your IT investments and value delivery, or a seasoned Scrum practitioner or Visual Studio expert, this full day event will provide some measure of value to you. Be sure to ask us your hard questions as we show you ways to deliver business value in the form of working software while reducing risk and waste.

    Specifically, we will cover these topics:

    • Why Scrum works
    • Scrum in a nutshell
    • Getting started with Scrum
    • How Visual Studio supports Scrum
    • Setting up a Scrum team project
    • Planning and managing work in Visual Studio

    Complimentary lunch will be provided.

    Be sure to attend and see if your current or next project might benefit from leveraging Scrum, Visual Studio, or any of the principles or practices that we discuss. Contact Richard with any questions.

    Register here:

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Webcasts: MSDN, Meet Azure. Activate your Benefits


    Active Your MSDN Azure Benefit

    I want to make sure you are aware of the below benefit and how you can enter into a drawing for one Acer ICONIA W510-1422 Windows 8 Hybrid Tablet!

    clip_image002Enter for your chance to win an Acer ICONIA Windows 8 Hybrid Tablet!


    Join one of the three Azure DevTest webcasts listed below and your name will automatically be entered into the drawing.

    One winner will be announced June 6th, 2014. Drawing and announcement administered by Northwest Cadence. Prize sponsored by Microsoft.

    Did you realize you, personally, have up to $150 of free credit monthly to spend on Windows Azure for anything you want! Can’t wait for IT to give you a test environment? Go get one now in Azure. Want to test out the latest Microsoft software? Spin up a free machine today! Want to host a blog to share your brilliant development skills with the world? Host one on your own Azure infrastructure today.

    The bottom line is that you have credit to spend on Azure. The $150 monthly credit is “use it or lose it”, but you get a new $150 credit each month. What does $150 buy in Azure? If you have an MSDN subscription, each month you get enough money to run a virtual machine in the cloud for the entire month. You read that right… You can run your own cloud VM 24x7 as long as you have an MSDN subscription.

    Getting started is easy! Simply visit here and click on “activate”. Once logged in with your Microsoft ID (aka Live ID), you can explore your new account portal here.

    It’s that easy!  But if you get stuck, visit this blog post for the full scoop.

    Now, use it!

    If you’re not going to host your own server, I recommend using your benefits to create your own test environment. To learn more, check out the Azure DevTest webcast that Northwest Cadence is hosting on the following dates:

    Everyone who attends one of the three webcasts above will be eligible to enter into a drawing for one Acer ICONIA W510-1422 Windows 8 Hybrid Tablet!

    Creating a DevTest sandbox on Azure takes literally just minutes. Drive a configuration-as-code strategy, automate infrastructure, and most importantly, start turning around lightning-fast feedback between developers, testers, and operations to make your code production-ready faster (and better) than ever before.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Visual Studio Online (VSO): Owning Multiple VSO Accounts


    NOTE: This is not official guidance, nor may it be even officially a supported “feature” in the near future (my guess is that it’s not a directly intended capability.  It’s simply a short-term workaround that assisted a few of my customers that I thought I’d share.

    Visual Studio Online by default only allows a Microsoft account to create a single VSO account.  When you create a VSO account, the system records who the owner (creator) is, and the next time that user comes back, they cannot create additional VSO accounts.

    I have customers who currently maintain several VSO accounts (for various reasons), and have done so by creating multiple Microsoft accounts, one for each VSO account.

    With the May 7th date of ending the “Early Adopter” program for VSO, I have customers in this situation asking what to do about this moving forward.

    There’s a slightly indirect, but perfectly doable way around this: a way to let a single Microsoft account “own” multiple VSO accounts.  You need two (2) Microsoft accounts (but only for VSO account creation purposes), but only two.

    For this example, I’m going to create 2 sample Microsoft accounts, one primary and one secondary (both which I’ll delete after this post – I hate stale/dummy accounts!) and show you how to create three (3) VSO accounts owned by the primary Microsoft account.

    First, I create the primary Microsoft account:

    Here’s this account’s profile page:


    Note that this account neither owns any VSO accounts nor is a member of any VSO accounts.

    Using this Microsoft account, I create a new VSO account:

    Next, I sign out of Microsoft and create my secondary Microsoft account:

    And the resulting profile page:


    Like the first account, this account neither owns any VSO accounts nor is a member of any VSO accounts.

    Using this secondary account, I create a second VSO account:

    Next, while still logged in as the secondary account, I go to the Users page.


    Once there, I click “Add” and add the primary account (the first account I created) to this VSO account as a user, assigning a “Basic” license.


    Now that the primary account is recognized as a user, I set that account to be the owner of this VSO account.  (The same below steps are described here.)

    I click on the "gear” icon at the top-right, which takes me to the Admin area.


    Next, I click on the Settings tab, and for Account Owner, select my primary account from the drop-down list, and click the Save button.


    NOTEWARNING: If you follow my steps to the letter, you may have the unintended consequence of removing the secondary Microsoft account’s access from all the VSO accounts.  If this is truly a “dummy” account, then it’s probably no big deal.  But if you’re using a Microsoft account you with to keep using in VSO, you’ll want to make sure you add that account as a valid member of a group in the VSO account. In this walkthrough, I added the secondary account back into the VSO as an administrator.

    So let’s see what’s happened.  Sign out, and then sign in as the primary Microsoft account.  Here’s the updated profile page for the primary account:


    Notice that now this account “owns” both VSO accounts (primary and secondary).  Cool?

    Now let’s own a third VSO account.  Sign out, then back in as the secondary Microsoft account.  Here’s the secondary account’s profile page:


    This should be expected now, because this account no longer owns the secondary VSO account.

    I click the link to “Create a free account now”, and create a third VSO account:

    Like before, I go to the Users page, add the primary Microsoft account as a valid (Basic) user, then specify in the Administrators area that I want my primary Microsoft account to be the owner (and per the above note/warning, I add the secondary account back in). Be sure to click the “Save” button throughout!



    Once that’s all set, I sign out, then back in as the primary Microsoft account:


    Now my primary Microsoft account owns three (3) VSO account. Sweet!

    See the pattern?

    • As a Microsoft account that doesn’t own a VSO account, create a VSO account.
    • Transfer ownership of that account to the Microsoft account you actually want to own the VSO account.
    • Sign back in as the “dummy” Microsoft account, rinse and repeat as needed.

    As an added FYI, if you have an Azure Subscription (not the same thing as Azure MSDN Benefits, by the way), you can link you Azure account to each of the VSO accounts you own, and distribute your Azure resources (users, build minutes, load testing, etc.) across each of them.

    Here’s a big disclaimer: I’m still not clear if this is intended behavior, mainly because there’s no obvious link to create additional VSO accounts while logged in as a Microsoft account that already owns one.

    Hey, but for now, this works!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Visual Studio Online (VS) – Transitioning from Early Adopter Plans


    Now that TFS Preview Visual Studio Online is transitioning to monetized plans, I’ve received quite a few inquiries from my customer asking what to do. These are customers who are considered “early adopters” – those who signed up for an account prior to December 13th, 2013. This gives these users access to the full set of capabilities in Visual Studio Online (VSO) for free.

    But the early adopter program/plan is expiring on May 7th, 2014 (this was extended from an original date of March 14th).

    So now what? There are all kinds of scenarios that customers have been asking about, all centering on the concern of having to start paying for something they’re already entitled to, service disruption, and even service cancellation.

    Have no fear! In this post I’m going to try and lay out how this transition is going to work, and what you can do be prepared for it. Below are questions I’ve received over the past few weeks, along with guidance to address those concerns.

    Note: This information is based on several official sources/FAQ’s. I suggest referring to these sources as well for any updated information:

    What happens on May 7th?

    First, any user that’s using their Microsoft Account (formerly Live ID) as their account in VSO (signed up prior to December 13th, 2013) that is also associated with an active MSDN subscription, shouldn’t have to do anything. Microsoft will recognize those accounts as MSDN subscribers and automatically assign the appropriate VSO license (remember that VSO access is included with MSDN!). Microsoft has already done this in most cases.

    For users that Microsoft can’t discern as MSDN subscribers, they were assigned “Early Adopter” licenses, which again, is granting them full rights to VSO until the transition date. To help avoid any interruption to your users on May 7th, you’ll want to transition those “Early Adopter” users to a “real” license before then.

    Which MSDN subscriptions include access to VSO, and what features do they get?

    Chances are you’re covered:

    MSDN Subscription

    Accessible VSO Features

    Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN

    Visual Studio Online Advanced

    + Web Test Case Management

    Visual Studio Premium with MSDN

    Visual Studio Online Advanced

    + Web Test Case Management

    Visual Studio Test Professional with MSDN

    Visual Studio Online Advanced

    + Web Test Case Management

    Visual Studio Professional with MSDN

    Visual Studio Online Basic

    MSDN Platforms

    Visual Studio Online Advanced

    + Web Test Case Management

    Microsoft BizSpark

    Visual Studio Online Advanced

    + Web Test Case Management

    How do I reassign users to an appropriate license?

    You can verify who is assigned what license in your VSO account by connecting your VSO account (http://<accountname> as the account owner or project collection administrator. Click on “Users” and you’ll see something like this:


    In the above example (this is my VSO account), you’ll see a list of 7 users, the last one which has already been identified with my MSDN subscription. The others are assigned Early Adopter licenses, which I need to adjust to another license to avoid disruption.

    Let’s take Dave Developer for this example. If I know that he has an MSDN subscription associated with the “Sign-in Address” noted in this user list, I can select his name, click “Edit”, select “Eligible MSDN Subscriber”, then click “Save”.


    Making this selection will do a couple things:

    • The next time Dave Developer signs into VSO, VSO will validate and update his license to reflect his valid MSDN subscription.
    • This will prevent a “Basic” (free) license from being assigned to him, therefor freeing up that free license for someone who doesn’t have an MSDN subscription.

    Note: If a user is assigned to “Eligible MSDN Subscriber”, but actually isn’t, they won’t have access to VSO until they’re assigned a valid license.

    You’ll notice a user license breakdown in the right margin of the Users page:


    This will help you track license allotment and identify if there are users that need their licenses adjusted.

    More information can be found here.

    I have a mix of MSDN subscribers and non-MSDN subscribers in my VSO account. What do I do?

    First, follow the above instructions to assign your MSDN subscribers to “Eligible MSDN Subscribers” so they can get the full benefit of VSO via their MSDN subscription.

    For your non-MSDN subscribers, you have a choice:

    • First, remember your first 5 users are free (in addition to your MSDN subscribers). If you know the 5 users you want to assign to those free “Basic” licenses, follow the same above instructions for assigning licenses and select “Basic” instead of “Eligible MSDN Subscriber”.
    • If you have more than 5 non-MSDN-subscriber users and you need to maintain their access to VSO, you’ll need to put them on a VSO plan (Basic, Professional, or Advanced, all of which can be compared here).

    What if I don’t do anything before May 7th?

    If you take no action at all, on May 7th Microsoft will convert up to 5 Early Adopter licenses to the free Basic license the next time the user signs in. Any remaining users (past the first 5) with an Early Adopter license will be blocked until the account owner, or an administrator, assigns a valid license.

    I created my VSO account using a personal Microsoft Account or one that isn’t associated with my MSDN subscription. How can I transition the VSO account to my MSDN subscription?

    This is pretty common. If you first signed up for VSO using a Microsoft account that’s not associated with your MSDN subscription (perhaps you used a personal Microsoft account, but you have an MSDN subscription through work), you’ll need to have them change the Microsoft account associated with their MSDN Subscription. More info on how to do that is here.

    If you need to (or would rather) use the Microsoft account that’s already associated with your MSDN subscription, you can add that Microsoft account as a user to VSO, then make that account the account owner. Click here for more information on how to change VSO account ownership.

    I have more users than I have licenses, so I need to buy some more. How do I do that and assign users?

    Basically, you’ll want to set up billing for your account so you can buy or upgrade VSO licenses. Click here for information on how to do that.

    Note: If you need to buy licenses (or additional services, like extra build or load testing resources), you’ll need to create a new Azure subscription. Your Windows Azure MSDN Benefit can’t be used to buy additional licenses or resources, as it’s designed for your own use only.

    Once you have billing set up and have purchased licenses, you can assign them in the same manner I mentioned earlier.

    You can also add users outside of the Users page in your VSO instance. In order to automatically assign those users licenses, they'll get the next available license that’s available, and in a certain order:

    1. Advanced
    2. Basic
    3. Professional

    It’s probably easiest to just add them through the Users page because you have better initial control over which licenses are allocated. You can't add users outside of the Users page if you don't have available licenses.

    Can users with a TFS CAL access VSO as a licensed user, or do they have to have a VSO subscription/license?

    A TFS CAL won’t grant you access to VSO (although that person certainly could consume 1 of the 5 free licenses).  Users need to either use the 5 free licenses, be MSDN subscribers, or have a VSO license.

    I created multiple VSO accounts with different Microsoft accounts? Can I consolidate?

    A Microsoft account can only create one VSO account. You’ll notice that, if signed in, you try to create a new one, you’ll simply always be redirected to your summary page with your profile, owned VSO account, and memberships to other VSO accounts.

    Yes, your Microsoft account can be added as a user to multiple VSO accounts (you can only be the owner of a single VSO account).

    Clear as mud?

    I hope this helps some, but please know that some things are still fluid – we’ll know more (hopefully before May 7th) soon, and as I find out I’ll be sure to update this post.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Event: Las Vegas - Modern Web and App Development with Visual Studio 2013



    Connect to the cloud. Create brilliant apps. Transform your potential.

    In an age of extraordinary expectations, how can you ensure every app works flawlessly, seamlessly, and elegantly on every device, all the time?

    Lunch & Learn: Modern Web and App Development with Visual Studio 2013

    Join your local Microsoft Developer Tools team for an exclusive launch of Visual Studio 2013. See how Visual Studio 2013 helps developers blow minds and win business with state-of-the-art tooling and services designed to help you develop, test, deploy, and support service-powered apps that transform the user experience- across all Windows devices.


    • 9:00am – Welcome time with Breakfast
    • 9:30am – Keynote
    • 10:00am – Developing Web and Cloud Applications using VS 2013
    • 11:15am – Break – lunch
    • 11:30am – What’s New in ALM using VS 2013 and TFS2013
    • 12:45pm – Evaluations and raffle

    When, Where, Registration


    Tuesday Feb. 18th 2014

    InNEVation Center

    6795 Edmond St., 3rd Floor

    Las Vegas, NV 89118

    Space is limited, please register soon!  Please let me know if you have any questions, and I hope to see you there!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Webinar Series: How Do Enterprises Make the Cloud Work for Them?


    Join Forrester and Microsoft for these upcoming webinars!

    Featured speaker: James Staten, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester.

    Check out the below series of webinars designed to expose you with why organizations are choosing the cloud, what scenarios, and the economic benefits.





    Wed., January 22


    Cloud Enterprise Storage

    Register Here

    Mon., January 27


    Building Consumer Mobile Apps

    Register Here

    Wed., January 29


    Building Enterprise Mobile Apps

    Register Here

    Wed., February 12


    Cloud Services

    Register Here

    Wed., March 5


    Taking Any App to the Cloud

    Register Here

    clip_image002James Staten

    Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

    James serves Infrastructure & Operations and CIO Professionals, providing insights and
    best-practice use of cloud computing (IaaS, public and private clouds, cloud storage
    services and related cloud technologies and services). As the content lead for Forrester's
    Cloud Computing Playbook, he further advises IT leadership on cloud economics, cloud
    outsourcing (strategic rightsourcing), IT cloud readiness and business and developer
    engagement on cloud.

    James is the author of best-practice analysis on maturing your virtualization and cloud practices, building a cloud computing consumption strategy, and optimizing web infrastructures for blazing-fast performance.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Webinar: The Longest Yard – Getting across the goal line when releasing to production


    imageReleasing code to production is no mystery. Many development teams and operations managers have been doing this their own way for years. Release Management for Visual Studio 2013 offers tools to standardize this process in both the Release Pipeline Management and Release Deployment process.

    Join us to discover how Release Management for Visual Studio 2013 can help Release Managers, Operations Managers, Business Decision Makers and Developers live happily and co-exist in the DevOps world.

    WHEN: Tuesday, January 07, 2014 11:30 AM (Pacific Time)
    DURATION: 1 hour(s)

    I hope to see you online!  REGISTER HERE..

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Build 2014 has been announced!


    Build is back!

    You can read the full details in Steve Guggenheimer’s post on the Microsoft Blog, but here are the basics:

    • WHEN: April 2-4, 2014
    • WHERE: Moscone Center, San Francisco
    • WHY: Because you want to build awesome applications that run on awesome platforms that reach millions of people and devices.


    Registration opens on January 14th, 2014 at 9AM Pacific at Don’t be late – Last year’s conference was booked in less than an hour!


    Follow Build on Twitter as well:

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