Steve Lange @ Work

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

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Microsoft’s Visual Studio ALM is a leader in the the Gartner Magic Quadrant


    The brilliant minds at Gartner have positioned Microsoft in the “leader” quadrant for Application Lifecycle Management, in their June 5th, 2012 publication, “Magic Quadrant for Application Life Cycle Management” (available for 12 months following publication).

    Their evaluation was based on Visual Studio 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010. I can’t wait to see what they think of the 2012 version once it releases!

    Magic Quadrant for Application Life Cycle Management (Gartner June 2012) 

    I’ll let you read the report (Microsoft section) for full details, but notable quotes include:

    “By virtue of its position in the market as a provider of key platforms and development tools, Microsoft acts as an overall thought leader in the ALM market”

    “Unlike all of the other tools in this Magic Quadrant, Microsoft's is the only one that tightly binds its versioning system to the rest of the ALM planning tool.”

    “..the company has made good strides with support for Eclipse and the ability to extend TFS with Java code.”

    This is truly a great accomplishment for our teams at Microsoft.  Congratulations to all!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    VS/TFS 2012 Tidbits: TFS Feedback Management Behind the Scenes


    In this post, I’m going to take a closer look at how the new Feedback capabilities in TFS 2012 works under the covers.

    In general, TFS users can request “feedback” from stakeholders about particular elements/areas of an application.  This can be either specific or general scenarios.  TFS manages the feedback process using work items and email notifications.  But how does this work, really?  Let’s find out!

    You initiate a feedback request from your project (or team) dashboard by clicking on “Request Feedback”


    In this example, I’m soliciting feedback for Bing searches.  And I’ve asked for two items of feedback (called “feedback items”, see Step 3 in the screenshot).

    So what happens when I actually click send?

    Well, as far as the stakeholder is concerned, they just get an email with some simple instructions to get started:


    But on the TFS side, TFS creates two work items (of type Feedback Request), one for each feedback item specified in the previous request (see #142 and #143):


    Let’s look at #142 (Search for ‘Steve Lange’) and see what’s stored.

    The Title field obviously houses the name of the feedback item.  On the Details tab, the Description field holds the specific instructions that correspond with the feedback item.



    On the Application tab you’ll find the details from step 2 on the request form (“Tell the Stakeholders How to Access the Application”).


    And lastly, you’ll notice that the feedback items (Feedback Request work items) are linked together to form the more composite request.


    So how can we see to whom this request was sent?  Look in the comments of the history for the work item (at the bottom of the screenshot):


    The benefit of this approach is that it allows feedback items to be tracked individually.  If you submit a feedback request, but ask stakeholders to check out features that align with different backlog items/requirements/whatever, this method provides more specific tracking.

    Reuse or Making Corrections

    Another less obvious, but equally nice benefit to managing feedback requests this way is that you can make changes to the request without creating an entire new one.  This is possible because the link that’s inserted in the email sent to the stakeholders references the work item ID’s of the feedback request items, rather than embedding all the instructions in the URL (or statically somewhere else).

    So if I make a mistake I don’t have to create a brand new request, but instead the Title, Description, and other applicable fields on the Application tab and have the stakeholder simply reuse the previously-sent link.

    In this example, the URL provided in the email looks like this (see bolded area):


    By updating either of the work items specified in the URL, the feedback session will subsequently be updated.

    More on the feedback URL

    You can modify the URL and send it directly to someone without filling out the feedback request form.  For instance, if I requested feedback of work items 142 and 143 from certain people but also wanted feedback on work item 143 from an additional person I can augment the URL and send it to that one-off person.  In this example it would look like:


    Here’s the basic breakdown of the URL:


    <TFS_URL> The URL of your TFS instance
    <Project_Name> The name of your Team Project
    work_item_ids Comma-separated list (or use %2C) of work item ID’s.  These work item ID’s need to correspond to Feedback Request work items or the Feedback Client will throw an error.

    Moving On

    So let’s say I walk through the process of providing feedback using the Microsoft Feedback Client.  For summary, here’s the feedback I provide:



    Once I submit my feedback through the Feedback Client, a work item (of type Feedback Response) is created for each individual reply.  (See #144 and #145 below)


    Again, this allows teams to track individual responses to discrete items.  So if a stakeholder skips feedback for a particular item, it doesn’t interfere with feedback on other items.

    Revisiting and Providing More Feedback

    Here’s one last great feature.  As the stakeholder, let’s say I want to either review or amend feedback I’ve already provided, or submit additional feedback.  I’m covered!  If I simply click on the link provided in the original feedback request email, upon entering the “Provide” step of my feedback session TFS is smart enough to see that I’ve already provided feedback.  In doing so, it inserts the feedback details I provided earlier into the Feedback Client.  So now I can make changes to existing feedback, or enter more information. 

    For example, here’s the Feedback Response work item created from my first submitted feedback:


    If I click on the URL in the original email sent to the stakeholder, the Feedback Client runs again, and I can instantly see the feedback I’d previously supplied:


    (Look familiar?)

    Really all it’s doing is looking at the Feedback Request work item, checking to see if there is a Feedback Response item submitted by me already.  If there is, it pulls the content of the Stakeholder Comments field and sends it over to the Feedback Client for the stakeholder to make further edits.  Sweet!


    The basic thing to remember here is that the Feedback Management process in TFS uses TFS work items to manage the storage and workflow of providing feedback.  Think of the Feedback Client as a very lightweight TFS client.  Changes you make in the Feedback Client either create or update Feedback Response work items in TFS.  Direct changes made in TFS to the work items are reflected in the Feedback Client when those work items are accessed.

    I hope this helps better explain how feedback actually works in TFS 2012.  It’s terrific and easy way to engage stakeholders to get feedback at various points in the development lifecycle.  But it’s a flexible implementation as well, providing mechanisms for reuse and more granular tracking.


  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Desert Mountain Events Calendar


    I'll be making a big effort to keep this calendar updated.  This calendar is designed to capture developer-related events in the "Desert Mountain" area.. There are several user groups which I'm sure I don't have, mainly because I'm still learning where they all are in the region.  So if you have a calendar item you want to let me know about, please do!

    Here's the calendar link:


  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Requirements Management in TFS: Part 3 (of 4): Integrations


    In Part 2, I discussed how you can begin to manage requirements using the built-in facilities of Team Foundation Server.  While hopefully you can see how the infrastructure for a great requirements management solution already exists in TFS, the interface and client-side functionality isn't there.

    Enter Microsoft's amazing partner ecosystem.  Several technology partners have provided integrations (or at least interfaces) to help fill the requirements management gap.  If your organization needs a more requirements-specific solution for your RM practice (and you don't want to wait for Rosario), you might want to take a peek at the below partner integrations.  They are listed in no particular order, and I have pasted abstracts from each products' respective web sites along with my personal comments (based on my exposure to the tools as well as comments from my peers and customers).  Also, I'm sure there are a few others, and I'll try to add more as they are brought to my attention:

    CaliberRM by Borland Software

    Abstract: Borland® CaliberRM™ is an enterprise software requirements management tool that facilitates collaboration, impact analysis and communication, enabling software teams to deliver on key project milestones with greater accuracy and predictability. CaliberRM also helps small, large and distributed organizations ensure that applications meet end users’ needs by allowing analysts, developers, testers and other project stakeholders to capture and communicate the users' voice throughout the application lifecycle.

    About CaliberRM for Visual Studio Team System:  CaliberRM for Visual Studio Team System allows teams to manage requirements throughout the software delivery process.  By integrating Microsoft Visual Studio Team System and Borland CaliberRM, you enable the free flow of requirements between business analysts, developers, testers, and business stakeholders. Software developers are able to respond rapidly to requirements authored by analysts using CaliberRM, through traces from requirements to tests and work items such as Change Requests and Tasks.

    CaliberRM is a client-server application that focuses on requirements management.  It's server is an object-oriented database (OODB) that stores requirements artifacts as uniquely identified objects in its data store.  It supports rich-text, document generation (think mail merge on steroids), requirement hierarchies, glossaries, and traceability. 

    TeamSpec by Personify Design

    Abstract: Personify Design TeamSpec™ provides a rich project requirement management experience directly inside Microsoft Word. By making Team Foundation Server (TFS) project artifacts such as Scenarios, QOS Requirements, Risks, Issues, Bugs, Tasks, among others, first class citizens inside Microsoft Word, TeamSpec enables Application Lifecycle contributions by the Business Analyst, Project Manager, and Executive roles.


    MindManager by Mindjet

    Abstract: Use MindManager to create software requirements documents and turn those requirements into work items on Microsoft Visual Studio Team System.  The requirements map then becomes a bi- directional link to the work items.

    MindManager Pro 7 enables companies and individuals to work smarter, think creatively and save time by revolutionizing the way they visually capture and manage information.

    With MindManager 7, you will:

    • Align organizational strategy and objectives by visually conveying information in a single, centralized and coherent view.
    • Empower people to accelerate business processes by enhancing strategic thinking, facilitating quicker project planning and increasing team productivity.
    • Engage and excite employees by engaging people in stimulating real-time interactions during process planning.
    • Bring better products and services to market faster by enforcing best practices and making existing plans, processes and ideas accessible.
    • Stay ahead of the competition and foster innovation by increasing team interactions during the early stages of strategic planning.
    • Win new business faster and improve business relationships by quickly capturing relevant information and improving communication with clients.


    RavenFlow by Raven

    Abstract: RAVEN is an automated collaborative solution for detecting requirements errors early. It enables enterprises to elicit, specify, analyze, and validate requirements. RAVEN produces functional specifications, both graphical and textual, that everyone can understand.

    RAVEN automatically generates visual models of requirements, making errors easily visible to all stakeholders. Common requirements errors, such as ambiguous, conflicting, or missing requirements, can be detected and corrected early, reducing software costs and development time while increasing software quality.


    stpBA StoryBoarding by stpSoft

    Abstract: stpBA Storyboarding for Microsoft® Visual Studio® Team System allows a business analyst or analyst developer to capture, define and validate requirements and scenarios in a Team System project through GUI storyboarding. Requirements can be imported from stpsoft Quew. The tool seamlessly integrates with Team System process templates and generates screen flow diagrams, HTML storyboards, UI specifications, functional specifications, Team System work items and test scripts.


    RASK (Requirements Authoring Starter Kit) - MSDN Offering

    Abstract: The Requirements Authoring Starter Kit (RASK) provides a customizable requirements-authoring solution for software development teams. RASK serves two purposes. It provides the basis of a Requirements Authoring solution and illustrates how to access Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server programmatically from Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Microsoft Office System (Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office). RASK has broad functionality that you can extend with minimal effort.

    RASK integrates several Microsoft products into the solutions: Microsoft Office Word 2003, Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office, Microsoft SQL Server 2005, and Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services. In addition, RASK uses Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite and Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server, which are part of the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team System.

    RASK is not a complete requirements-authoring application and is not intended to compete with existing requirements-management applications.


    Optimal Trace by Compuware

    Abstract:  Optimal Trace is Compuware’s business requirements definition and management solution, built to enable IT and the business to collaborate more effectively and improve IT project delivery outcomes. According to CIO magazine, ineffective requirements are the cause of over 70 percent of IT project failures. Compuware Optimal Trace addresses this problem with “structured requirements.” This approach captures software requirements from the perspective of the user, complete with visual storyboards and traceable relationships throughout the project lifecycle to business needs. Using structured requirements, IT organizations ensure that they are accurately and completely capturing the right requirements, communicating them effectively and dramatically improving their ability to deliver on the expectations of the business.



    Next:  Summary


  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Quick Way to Integrate PhpED and Team Foundation Server


    phpedlogo So when I’m asked, “How can I integrate my PHP IDE with Team Foundation Server?”, my first response *should* be, “Why not use Visual Studio instead?”  That’s an idealistic reply, admittedly.  There are several great tools out there for PHP development, with followings that would collectively shudder at the thought of *having* to use Visual Studio.

    PhpED by NuSphere is a popular PHP development tool.  It boasts (among a lot of other things) the ability to plug-in to various version control systems, although it comes set up to leverage CVS.    There’s not much documentation out there to explain how exactly to tie into other version control systems besides CVS.  So what about Team Foundation Server?

    The fast answer?  Use the TFS Power Tools, more specifically the Windows Explorer extension.  This power tool allows you to perform version control operations on files directly from Windows Explorer:

    The TFS shell extension power tool

    All that’s really required (besides having the TFS Power Tools installed) is that the files you want to work on reside in a folder that’s in a TFS workspace

    If you use PhpED for PHP development, you probably see where I’m going with this.  ;)

    Let’s say I have the below workspace and project in PhpED:

    A sample project in PhpED

    I set up this project in C:\Work\NotDotNet\Test, which is already mapped to a TFS workspace.  As soon as I start populating files into this project, I can see that the Windows Explorer extension power tool is already working if I look at the file system:

    The TFS shell extension

    Now for the fun part.  PhpED has a nifty little feature that allows you to access the Windows shell from within its IDE.  Right-click, select “Shell Menu”, and there it is!

    Accessing the TFS shell extension from PhpED

    To add all these files to TFS version control, I right-click the project and select Shell Menu->Team Foundation Server->Add.

    The “Add to Source Control” dialog pops up:

    Add to Source Control dialog

    Hit “Finish”, and I’ve added all my files as pending changes to TFS.  Last, all I have to do is check them in by again going to the Shell Menu, only this time selecting “Check In”.

    Selecting Check In

    That gives me the TFS check-in dialog we all know and love.  I can do everything I normally would with this dialog, such as choosing specific files to check in, comments, check-in notes, and linking to work items.

    TFS Check-in dialog

    Click “Check In” and I’m done (in my case, check check-in created changeset 270)!

    Check-in completed!

    BTW, notice I’m getting the TFS version control icons displayed in PhpED (the green triangles in at the bottom-right of an item’s icon indicates it’s “seen” by TFS, a pencil indicates a checked-out file, etc.):

    TFS version control icons in PhpED

    Now to test that I can check out and check in, let’s make a little change.  (My big preface here is that I know almost nothing about PHP development, so I’m just going to insert some arbitrary text so I have a modification.  This is not a PHP lesson!)

    First, I noticed that PhpED won’t even let me modify a file (may be a setting somewhere, but I’m not sure) if it’s read-only.  So that tells me right away that my file is not checked out.

    So I check out the file via the Shell Menu extension (Shell Menu->Team Foundation Server->Check Out for Edit).

    Checking out a PHP file for edit

    Now I can make a small change.

    My simple change

    Once I’m done making my edits, I save the file and check it in (again using the Shell Menu, you probably get this by now).

    Selecting check-in

    Again, I get the beloved check-in dialog again.

    Check in Dialog

    Fill in the information I want, click “Check In”, and  I’m off!

    Now, just to make sure I’m not looking at smoke and mirrors, let’s switch to Team Explorer and view the file’s history.

    File history in Team Explorer

    There’s my change!  Now, for a final check, let me diff the two versions.

    Comparing the two versions of the PHP file in version control

    Make sense?  Not bad for a free integration point!

    Now, this all said, there is one main caveat which is worth mentioning – it shouldn’t prevent you from leveraging this shell-type integration, but it should be known nonetheless.  The TFS Power Tool shell extension only provides the basic version control operations.  Others, such as getting historical versions, viewing history, branching, merging, and shelving are notably absent from the shell extension’s menu.  You can still do all this from Team Explorer – you’ll have this installed on your machine, as it’s a requirement for the TFS Power Tools to be installed.  So yes, for some operations you’ll need to pop open Team Explorer, but the bulk of your daily operations are available right from the shell.

    BUT, PhpED is also has a very extensible menu system (that’s how it ties in with CVS), so you may also be able to leverage that to create TFS-specific menu options (such as creating workspaces, diffing files, etc.).  I had a little fun with this and was able to quite easily create a couple of TFS-related menu options to help me view a file’s history, as well as create a shelf.  All I did was drop the path to tf.exe (by default it’s "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\”) into my PATH environment variable (just easier than putting in the full path to tf.exe each time), and away I went.

    In PhpED, go to Tools->Settings, then scroll down to Integration under Tools.  Here I created a new menu called “Team Foundation Server” and added a few submenu items with the following options (I’m sure you can figure out how to add a few more if you want):

    Option Name Command Options Selected
    View History tf history “@FName@”
    • Show this command in workspace popup, for files
    • Show this command in Explorer popup, for files
    Shelve tf shelve
    • Show this command in workspace popup, for files, for directories
    • Show this command in Explorer popup, for files, for directories


    tfpt annotate “@FName@”
    • Show this command in workspace popup, for files
    • Show this command in Explorer popup, for files

    And I end up with this:

    PhpED Settings - customized menus for TFS

    As you can see, I can leverage the command-line interface for both Team Explorer (tf.exe) and the Power Tools (tfpt.exe, which gets added to your PATH automatically upon installation).

    So now, when I right-click on certain objects in PhpED, I can take advantage of these options.  They simply shell out the specified commands and the appropriate CLI takes over.  For example, if I select “View History”,

    Selecting the View History custom menu option

    I get this:

    Viewing History of the selected file in PhpED


    So that’s about it!  There of course may be other ways to integrate these two products (perhaps using SVNBridge on CodePlex), but I found this above method to be quick and relatively painless.

    I hope this helps a couple people!  Please let me know what you think, or if you have any questions.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Visual Studio Team System for Database Professionals Workshop


    Visual Studio Team System 2008 Database Edition provides advanced tools for database change management and testing and offers functionality to enable database developers and administrators to be more productive and increase application quality in the database tier.

    Visual Studio Team System 2008 Database Edition delivers a market shifting database development product that provides a foundation for managed database evolution through the use of an offline, Visual Studio project-centered source code control system together with a suite of tools designed to help understand the impact of proposed changes.

    Schemas, DML and metadata can be versioned, code can be automatically reviewed using static analysis, unit tests can be created and executed to ensure quality, and comparisons can be made with test and production systems prior to deployment.

    Integration with Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server helps increase the productivity of the database professionals by enabling them to become an integral part of the application team.

    Please join Microsoft and Adventos for this one-day course to learn how the Developer and Database editions of Team System work together in the application lifecycle.

    image  Course Outline

    • Core Features of TFS
    • Team Projects
    • Source Control and Team Foundation Build
    • Managing Databases in a Team Environment

    Who Should Attend?

    Database Administrators, Database Developers


    imageBasic Agenda

    • Welcome: 8:30 PM
    • Seminar: 9:00 AM-4:30 PM

    Denver, CO

    • February 18, 2009
    • Click here to register with invitation code: 982D4B .

    imagePhoenix, AZ

    • February 19, 2009
    • Click here to register with invitation code: 15B18A.

    Los Angeles, CA 

    • March 3, 2009
    • Click here to register with invitation code: 31A402

    Irvine, CA

    • March 4, 2009
    • Click here to register with invitation code: E4995A

    San Diego, CA

    • March 5, 2009
    • Click here to register with invitation code: 3B9F3B

    To Register by Phone –

    • Call 1.877.MSEVENT (1.877.673.8368) with invitation code.
  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Thanks, RM Tech Trifecta!


    I had a great time on Saturday hanging out with 400-ish of my closest friends at the Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta!  Many of you braved iffy road conditions to make it downtown for this incredible event.

    Big hats of to the Yacks for putting this together!


    View Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta (Feb 2009)
  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Take TFS for a Test Drive with a Hosted Trial


    There is a new option for taking TFS for a test drive:


    Free 6-week hosted trials of TFS are being offered by TeamDevCentral.  It includes:

    ·         Accounts allowing customers to experience different team roles and to collaborate within a project

    ·         Up to 4 hours of guidance and/or support for the trial can be used for any type of advice related to TFS or Visual Studio Team System


    You can sign up for the trial at their website, or read the press release:  Press Release: TeamDevCentral Offers Free Trials of Hosted Microsoft Team Foundation Server


  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Sssshh!!! The Team System Big Event is Coming..


    We’ve got a cool event in the works.  Covering all aspects of Team System.  Presented by Microsoft, partners, and community influentials.

    Where?  Denver, Phoenix, Irvine, Mountain View, Portland.

    Don’t tell anyone! (Okay, do tell people – bring them along, but don’t give up your seat!)

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    First Take: Microsoft Surface at the Rio's iBar


    Surface at the iBarDuring a recent trip to Las Vegas (yes, for business), I was able to visit the iBar at the Rio.  It recently installed six Microsoft Surface machines to add to the social experience at the bar (press release).  This was the first time I'd seen a Surface up close.

    For a Monday night, there were quite a few people hovering around the area waiting for one of the Surface machines to become available.  We found one, sat down, and started experimenting.  Here are the games/apps that we played with.


    This app allows you to scroll through various adult beverages and select one to be ordered directly from the bar.  You can also experiment mixing your own.  Overall, it worked pretty well, although we had to get used to the navigation.  It was the first application we played with, so I think we were also still figuring out the touch sensitivity and the allowance for multi-touch (the two of us were touching the screen at the same time, and I think that messed up some of our menu choices).

    PIC-0062 - Copy Hip-notic

    This application is basically a YouTube viewer.  You can search for videos by keyword, browse by rating, or browse by most recent.  Your search results appear as postcard-looking thumbnails that can be rotated, resized, and played.  We found it pretty easy to lose track of time with this application (isn't that the point?), and spent most of our time watching videos.

    Head Games

    This app provides a series of games, most notably "High Roller" bowling, pinball, and Last Call (a memory game).  We bowled a few frames and moved on.  BTW, here's a hint for the bowling game if you want to run up your score.  As you're getting ready to bowl, you can run your fingers on the standing pins, you can knock a lot of them over before you even bowl.  (You can also use the same technique against your opponent, moving his pins away from the ball.)


    This app allows patrons at one Surface machine to interact with patrons at other machines.  There are video cameras pointed at each Surface table, so you can look at other Surface users in the bar.  The interactions available include chat, zooming the video camera, taking and sending pictures, or send predefined phrases (read: pick-up lines) or words (remember the magnetic words you can put on your fridge?  This is the virtual version of that).

    There are a couple other applications that were available, but we didn't really check them out.  They looked to be a "virtual vegas" tour, showing attractions, shows, and other sights.

    My overall impression is that this has some great social potential.  Since there were only six tables at the iBar, there weren't a lot of choices for interaction.  A much more compelling social experience:  Someday when Surface machines are installed at other Harrah's properties around the country (or world), network them together and allow the Flirt app to work across those properties.  The fun and interactivity dynamic will be dramatically different when someone in Las Vegas "flirts" with someone in Atlantic City.

     PIC-0064Oh, and one last thing - it's with a heavy heart that I must confess that we crashed a couple of the apps - each several times.

    On the bright side, there were no GPF's or Blue Screens of Deaths.  Rather Surface just mentioned that there was a problem, killed the failed app and restarted.  Not a huge distraction for a social user who would probably have a decent count of adult beverages coursing through their system to begin with.

    The flirt app has the most promise, integrating with webcams and other Surface machines.  If it can scale without crashing, Flirt will be a great draw for many Harrah's properties.  We didn't "flirt" too much - not just because we're married, but because most of the tables were occupied by other guys...

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Phoenix: Awesome Upcoming SDLC/VSTS Event




    June 12, 2008 | Phoenix, AZ |Event ID: 1032374283


    Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 (VSTS) is an integrated Application Life-cycle Management (ALM) solution comprising tools, processes, and guidance to help everyone on the team improve their skills and work more effectively together. VSTS 2008 provides multi-disciplined team members with an integrated set of tools for architecture, design, development, database development, and testing of applications. Team members can continuously collaborate and utilize a complete set of tools and guidance at every step of the application lifecycle.

    This one-day seminar will walk through VSTS 2008, highlighting new features that are available in the most recent release. Presentations will include demonstrations, best practices, and discussions on all four role-specific editions. We will also cover project management with Team Foundation Server (TFS), leveraging TFS source control, and new features such as integration with MOSS, and managing the build process with continuous integration. .  During lunch, we will also have a discussion around the adoption of methodology within the enterprise including lessons and experience from customers that have been through that process.

    Please join Microsoft and Neudesic, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for this one-day seminar. Thank you, we look forward to seeing you there!


    Interactive seminar and demonstrations

    • VSTS Role-based Editions
      • Architect
      • Developer
      • Test
      • Database Professional
    • Team Foundation Server
    • Adopting a Methodology (lessons from other customers)
    • Best Practices
      • Version Control
      • Project Management using VSTS
      • Working with Continuous Integration


    To register, please visit and search on the event code listed below, or call 1.877.MSEVENT (1.877.673.8366).

    Date: June 12, 2008
    Time: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
    Microsoft Corporation
    2929 N. Central Ave., Ste. 1400
    Phoenix, AZ 85012
    Phone: 602.280.8600
    See map and/or driving directions

    Registration Link:

    Event ID: 1032374283

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Where's my old Borland blog?


    I think the folks at Borland have finally removed my StarTeam blog.  With the inception of CodeGear, CG seemed to take over the blog server, and removed me. 

    I honestly haven't touched it since leaving Borland, but several former colleagues and customers have emailed me wondering if the content is still available somewhere (I had a lot of how-to's and SDK samples posted).  I honestly don't think it's archived anywhere, but I've asked the CodeGear folks via email, and will post the URL if it's still posted somewhere.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Team Foundation Server: Beta 3 Refresh vs. CTP

    Which to use for evaluation?  Well it depends on you ultimately might use the evaluated TFS install as your production server.  Keep this important note in mind.  The Beta 3 Refresh version carries a go-live license, which means that Microsoft will provide a supported migration path to the RTM version of TFS.  The CTP version does NOT carry the same promise.
  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Upcoming ALM Webcasts from Neudesic


    The events just keep comin’ from our awesome partners!  See below for the latest schedule of ALM webcasts from Neudesic.

    October 30th Scrum and Agile Management with Visual Studio 2012, Presented by Clementino de Mendonca

    Find out how Visual Studio has become the tool of choice to manage your Scrum projects, and how it stands out of the way allowing you to do Agile in your own terms instead of forcing you to adapt your development process to a tool. We will take a tour on how you can enact Scrum best practices and cycles, allowing the team to always have a clear picture of Done should look like at the end of a sprint through using Team Foundation Server as a team communication hub.

    November 1st Requirements and Stortyboarding in the Visual Studio 2012, Presented by William Salazar

    Many teams use mockups or storyboards to describe general application appearance and flow.  This session will demonstrate new features in Visual Studio 2012 that support creating, presenting and maturing storyboards using tools you already know. And then we’ll show how this process fits into the rest of your application’s lifecycle.

    November 6th – Creating a Branch Strategy, what it is, why you need one, and how you get started, Presented by Clementino de Mendonca

    Do you know for sure which code base snapshot in your source control system matches what is in production? What is the best strategy to manage source code for team members working in parallel in different features? In this talk we will take a look at creating branching strategies that answer these and other questions, and allow you to balance simplicity, isolation, and speed in your software development efforts.

    November 8th – DevOps: Integrating Operations for Continuous Delivery, Presented by William Salazar

    Integrating Development and Operations teams deeply using new practices and tools is critical to delivering on the promise of shorter cycle times, improved mean time to repair, and increased business value that all companies that build software want to fulfill. Organizations that use practices and tools to integrate development and operations can significantly speed up their Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) process and enable continuous delivery of software to their customers, whether internal or external. Developers and Operations engineers are increasingly working closer together to maintain always on services. Visual Studio 2012 with System Center 2012 give developers and operations the tools to work seamlessly together to reduce the mean time to repair for defects in production applications.

    Learn about some of the newest features in Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 and System Center 2012, including:

    • Features to help improve the interactions between development and operations, creating better, integrated workflows
    • New lab management tools that allow teams to quickly spin up an advanced Build-Deploy-Test infrastructure
    • Deployment management features such as support for multiple package types, virtual machine management, automated deployment to private and public clouds
    • Integrated production monitoring and diagnostics tools


    November 14th – Collecting Actionable Feedback with Visual Studio, Presented by Clementino de Mendonca

    Most teams collect feedback from customers in one way or another but it fails to trickle down as something that developers can use to improve the product. See how Visual Studio can help you capture, structure and tie feedback into your existing development efforts with Microsoft Feedback Client, allowing you to provide actionable starting points for your development and testing efforts. REGISTER TODAY!

    November 15th – Developer Testing with Visual Studios, Presented by William Salazar

    From the ground up, the developer testing experience in Visual Studio 2012 was designed to allow developers to focus on their code and avoid unnecessary distractions. Test Explorer is now easily extended, allowing you to add third-party testing frameworks in addition to those shipped with Visual Studio. Visual Studio also includes the new Fakes framework to let developers create fast running and isolated unit tests. In this session, we will review the new developer testing experience in the context of a typical day-to-day workflow, showing how these features will help you quickly write better quality code.

    November 27th – Improving Small Team Productivity with Team Foundation Server, Presented by Clementino de Mendonca

    Team members in smaller teams have always had to wear multiple hats: talk to customer, develop, test, talk to customer, fix bugs, retest, talk to customer, deploy… did I forget to mention you also have to plan your releases?  No way you can do this without some automation. Visual Studio 2012 is the suite that will boost your productivity to the max by augmenting your skills with powerful tools that will help you trace your way out of a development cycle labyrinth.

    November 29th – Making Developers More Productive with Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, Presented by William Salazar

    In this session, we will talk about those “fit-and-finish” scenarios in Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 which will make developers more productive as they write code and collaborate with other team members. You’ll find out about the new integrated code reviews; the new “My Work” experience for managing your active tasks; and once you’re “in the zone” Visual Studio will now help you stay focused on the task at hand, no matter how much you’re randomized, with a new suspend/resume experience. You’ll also find out how to work offline seamlessly, how the new merging experience works, and how you can more easily find work items.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Denver Study Group, by the Denver Visual Studio User Group


    2/13: Update – New meeting location!

    The local user group here in town has set up a new study group, kicking off tomorrow (Feb 7th).  For full details, go here, but below are the core details.

    The Denver Study Group is a sub group of Denver Visual Studio User Group.


    Thursdays, beginning February 7, 2013 (first course for 6 weeks, then repeat for next course)
    5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Limited to First 20 Attendees!  


    Microsoft Store, 303-824-6772
    Park Meadows Mall, 8505 Park Meadows Center Dr., Lone Tree, CO 80124,
    Store is near the center of the mall, Zone B, Upper Level, between Macy's and Forever 21
    Meeting space is near the middle back portion inside the Microsoft store

    UPDATED LOCATION (see below)   

    Innovation Pavilion, 9200 East Mineral Ave., Centennial, CO 80112

    North of Park Meadows Mall, between E. Dry Creek Rd. & E. County Line Rd., W of I-25)
    - Plenty of free parking, Enter the front lobby (doors locked after 7:00 p.m.)
    - Check the white board for room number (probably, 3rd floor, Suite 310 or 385)

    Using Pluralsight videos: one month free pass for first time attendees
    First Course: Building Applications with ASP.NET MVC 4 by Scott Allen
    Watch Videos, Code, Discuss (no purchase necessary)
    Optional: bring your own pc (free Wi-Fi available)
    Join us for our first Denver Study Group --
    FMI: read the details below


    The Study Group meets for the express purpose of gathering developers together on a series basis to watch, code, discuss, and learn from high quality video training along with others of a like mind.
    During the Study Group meetings, the training videos are shown in a web browser via a streaming service and displayed on a large screen audio/visual presentation system for all participants to watch and hear together.


    Video training helps us in our group bring experienced and highly rated training professionals directly into our group at a time and place of our choice -- and for free! More than that, it provides us with opportunities to select the specific training we need to be delivered via video and supplement it with coding in a group setting and interactive discussions learning together with our own peers locally. This gives us the best of both worlds - expert training and group interaction - delivered to fit our needs.
    Video training provides an excellent, cost-efficient alternative to live training programs by using a vast training library which has helped thousands of developers worldwide. When we add our group members to code and discuss together, you get even more than you could by watching the videos solo.


    Thursdays, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm MST, approximately 2 hour meetings once each week
    Watch 45-60 minutes of course video at each meeting
    Work 20-30 minutes on ad-hoc exercises and code together as a group related to the video just watched
    Discuss 20-30 minutes in a round table format related to the video just watched
    Approximately 5-6 consecutive weekly meetings will be completed to go through a course
    Break between courses 1-4 weeks and then repeat for next course
    Depending on the course and the needs of the participants, the watching/coding/discussion times  will vary, sometimes considerably
    Depending on each course, length of each weekly meeting and consecutive meetings for a course may vary
    Holidays, other special days, weather, and venue use, may cause changes to the planned schedule
    We will plan for each course from one to six months ahead of scheduled venue space needs and  communicate those dates and times to ensure our space reservations and placement on the venue  events calendar

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Ordering Method Execution of a Coded UI Test


    There’s often no discernable, consistent pattern that dictates the execution order of automated tests (Coded UI in this example, but the same applies to Unit Tests).  Some argue that it may be a good thing that there isn’t an inherent pattern for the execution of CodedUI tests (and unit tests, for that matter), as a seemingly more random pattern can uncover test dependencies which reduce the overall effective coverage of tests.  And I agree with that to an extent, but there are always cases in which control over execution order is needed.

    An easy way to accomplish test order is to use an Ordered Test. This will provide you explicit control over the execution order of your tests.

    For this example, I have a Coded UI Test class called CodedUITest1 (for more on Coded UI Tests, see the Anatomy of a Coded UI Test).  In it, I have two CodedUI Test methods:

    • CodedUITestRunFirst()
    • CodedUITestRunSecond()

    I want to order them such that they execute like:

    • CodedUITestRunSecond()
    • CodedUITestRunFirst()

    1. Add a new Ordered Test. Go to Test->New Test, and select Ordered Test.

     New test window

    2. The ordered test will open. I can move the available tests from the left list into my ordered test list on the right. I can then move the tests up/down to create the desired order.

     Ordered Test dialog

    It’s not shown in this screenshot, but there is a checkbox to allow the ordered test to continue upon a failure.

    3. Save the ordered test. I can now see the ordered test in my Test View window.

    Test View window showing new ordered test

    4. When ready, I select to run my ordered test. It will appear in the Test Results window as a single test.

    Test Results window showing ordered test

    When finished, I can double-click on the test result to see that both tests did actually run, their individual results, and their order.

    Detailed results of ordered test

    It’s a surprisingly easy yet elegant solution.  I can put pretty much any automated test into an ordered test (except for load tests).  If you have a lot of tests, coupling the use of ordered tests with other test lists can really help visually organize your test project.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Announcing My New Virtual Office Hours!


    In an effort to continually help you get the most out of your investment in Microsoft development tools, I am happy to announce that I have set up regularly-scheduled virtual office hours!

    Please join me at any of his scheduled hours to ask questions, view quick demos, or learn more about upcoming products, technologies, and events.  You can also use this time to collaborate with other customers who may have stories or advice to share.

    I've created a page on this blog that lists my office hours dates/times, as well as information on how to join.  I've scheduled them roughly every two weeks or so for one hour.

    My current office hours schedule runs through the end of January 2012.  If enough people participate each week, I would love to extend them another six months!

    I hope to "see" you in my "office"!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    No PDC Tickets? Watch it with us at PDC Live!



    Live Broadcast & In-Person Session

    UPDATE (10/26) – The Denver PDC viewing venue is moving to the local Microsoft office in the Tech Center: 7595 Technology Way, Denver, 80237 (map HERE)

    PDC10 is now sold out, but you can still join in on the excitement via the live stream and in-person delivered sessions. Attend this event on October 28, 2010; this year’s content will focus on the next generation of Cloud Services, client & devices, and framework & tools. You can get the highlights of PDC without heading to Redmond.

    This year’s groundbreaking event will include live streaming of the keynotes, as well as concurrent live streaming of sessions. All content will be available on demand within 24 hours of recording. Be a part of it by attending a local area event or by watching online.

    So since it’s online, why come to a PDC Live event?  Watch it with others to create better interaction and an improved learning experience; plus see key sessions demonstrated live!

    Join the PDC mailing list for the latest news on upcoming PDC events and special discount offers:

    Space is limited, register soon! For agenda & session detail, please visit the local event registration page.

    PDC Viewing Venues & Registration Info

    Mountain View, CA

    Microsoft Corporation

    Event ID: 1032464622

    Denver, CO

    The Cable Center

    Microsoft Office

    Event ID: 1032464623

    Phoenix, AZ


    Event ID: 1032464624

    Seating is limited. Register online or call 1-877-MSEVENT

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Holy Accelerated Training, Batman!


    Hey Denver!  Our friends at IT Boot Camps have two sets of accelerated trainings coming up that you will want to check out.  This is just a subset of courses offered, ones that focus on developers. 

    imageTeam Foundation Server 2010 Administration

    This 2-day accelerated program covers all the material that targets achieving the MCTS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration certification (Exam 70-512).

    This program is designed for knowledge and skills on installing, configuring and maintaining Visual Studio 2010 Team Foundation Server.  It is intended for candidates who install, configure, and manage a Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (TFS) 2010 implementation. Candidates typically work in an enterprise development organization that provides process automation services by using TFS.

    This $950 course (even cheaper if you belong to one of the local user groups!) includes:

    The currently-scheduled dates for this training are: February 17 – 18 and March 17 - 18

    For more information, visit the course’s home page on IT Boot Camp’s site, or email

    imageVisual Studio Boot Camps

    Visual Studio, and .NET development in general is a broad and deep topic.  IT Boot Camps is providing four separate curriculums in this area:

    Visual Studio Windows Applications 2010

    March 7 - 9
    May 2 - 5

    Price: $1,495*

    Exam Targeted:  70-511: TS: Windows Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4

    Course Material:  10262A: Developing Windows Applications with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010


    1. Windows Client Application Design
    2. Introduction to Visual Studio 2010 and WPF
    3. Designing and Developing a User Interface
    4. Taking Control of the User Interface
    5. Testing, Unit Testing and Debugging
    6. Sample Data Binding and Validation
    7. Data Binding to Collections
    8. Enhancing UI Responsiveness
    9. Integrating Localization and User Assistance Features
    10. WPF 2D Graphics, Multimedia and Printing
    11. Control Customization
    12. Attached Properties and Behaviors in WPF
    13. Animations in WPF
    14. Application State, Settings and Lifecycle
    15. Configure and Deploy Windows Client Applications
    Visual Studio Web Applications 2010

    March 10 - 12
    May 5 - 7

    Price: $1,495*

    Exam Targeted:  70-511: TS: Windows Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4

    Course Material:  10264A: Developing Web Applications with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010


    1. Designing a Web Application
    2. Developing MVC Models
    3. Developing MVC Controllers
    4. Developing MVC Views
    5. Designing for Discoverability
    6. Writing Server-Side Code for Web  Forms
    7. Optimizing Data Management for Web Forms
    8. Ensuring Quality by Debugging, Unit Testing, and Refactoring
    9. Securing a Web Application
    10. Applying Master Pages and CSSs
    11. Developing Client-Side Scripts and Services
    12. Advanced AJAX in a Web Application
    13. Deploying a Web Application
    Visual Studio Service Communications 2010

    March 14 - 15
    May 9 - 10

    Price: $950*

    Exam Targeted:  70-513: TS: Windows Communication Foundation Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4

    Course Material:  10263A: Developing Windows Communication Foundation Solutions with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010


    1. Service Oriented Architecture
    2. Getting Started with WCF Development
    3. Hosting WCF Services
    4. Defining and Implementing WCF Contracts
    5. Endpoints and Behaviors
    6. Testing and Troubleshooting
    7. Security
    8. Advanced Topics
    Visual Studio Data Access 2010

    March 16 - 18
    May 11 - 13

    Price: $1,195*

    Exam Targeted:  70-516: TS: Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4

    Course Material:  10265A: Developing Data Access Solutions with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010


    1. Designing a Web Application
    2. Developing MVC Models
    3. Developing MVC Controllers
    4. Developing MVC Views
    5. Designing for Discoverability
    6. Writing Server-Side Code for Web  Forms
    7. Optimizing Data Management for Web Forms
    8. Ensuring Quality by Debugging, Unit Testing, and Refactoring
    9. Securing a Web Application
    10. Applying Master Pages and CSSs
    11. Developing Client-Side Scripts and Services
    12. Advanced AJAX in a Web Application
    13. Deploying a Web Application


    Additional Great Opportunities

    IT Boot Camps has courses covering a wide range of topics, but here are a couple more developer-focused ones you may want to look at:

    Silverlight 4: Application Development

    March 28 -31

    Price: $1,895*

    Exam Targeted:  70-506: TS: Silverlight 4, Development

    Course Material: 

    • 10553A: Fundamentals of XAML and Expression Blend
    • 10554A: Developing Rich Internet Applications using Microsoft Silverlight 4

    This accelerated program will take 8 days of information and offer it in a 4 day format.  Candidates for this program are developers who create and maintain rich interactive applications (RIA) using Silverlight 4.  Candidates may have additional experience with previous Silverlight versions.

    Windows Azure Professional Developer

    June 13 - 14

    Price: $950*

    This class is designed for .NET developers with Web application experience that are exploring developing new applications or porting existing applications to Windows Azure.

    After completing this course, students will be able to:

    • Understand cloud computing in its various forms and how Windows Azure fits in the cloud computing space.
    • Learn why organizations want to run applications in the Azure cloud.
    • Understand the architecture of Azure.
    • Explore the Azure SDK and DevFabric development environment.
    • See how to develop applications for Azure and how that varies from "normal" .NET application development.
    • Write and deploy a ASP.NET Web application (Web Role) to Azure.
    • Explore Azure storage capability.
    • Learn how to create and deploy background computational applications (Worker Role) in Azure.
    • Explore SQL Azure capability.

    * Remember that there are discounts for user group members!

    WHEW!  Don’t know where to start?  Contact IT Boot Camps for more information.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Content from My DevExpress Webinars this Week


    Thanks to those of you who attended the DevExpress webinars I delivered this week.  I hope it was worth your 60 minutes!

    As promised, below is the content from each webinar.  I’ve posted the slide decks on, and the sample code from my second webinar on SkyDrive.

    Feb 22nd - Team Foundation Server 2010 for Developers

    (view the replay here at DevExpress)


    Feb 24th – Visual Studio 2010 Testing for Developers

    (view the replay here at DevExpress)

    The sample project from this webinar can be found here on SkyDrive (click on

    Again, thanks for attending!  I had a lot of fun!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Woot! Expression Studio 4 is Here


    Expression Studio 4Expression Studio 4 was announced this week!  There are some incredible new capabilities in this release, and I’ve bulleted the big ones below.  There are other places that will talk more about each in detail, but this should give you a start.  (One of my favorite features – native TFS support!)

    There are three (3) different product sets for Expression Studio:

    • Expression Studio 4 Ultimate
      • Expression Web + SuperPreview
      • Expression Blend
      • SketchFlow
      • Expression Design
      • Expression Encoder Pro
    • Expression Studio 4 Web Professional
      • Expression Web + SuperPreview
      • Expression Design
      • Expression Encoder
    • Expression Encoder 4 Pro

    (Technically, there is a fourth edition, Expression Studio 4 Premium, but that is not available via retail)

    Here’s the experience you get with xStudio 4 as told in an elevator:

    Expression Blend, Visual Studio, Silverlight and .NET provide the most compelling design and development workflow on the market today. Seamlessly working on user experience and core architecture enables you to deliver visual and interaction design and underlying code that is both unique and innovative. The speed and flexibility with which ideas are taken from concept to completion gives you and your team the ability to push the envelope of your skills throughout the project, challenging you to deliver sophisticated and compelling applications for your customers, while still enabling you to deliver the final project on time and within budget.

    Here’s what I say:

    Expression Studio 4 allows you to conceptualize, design, and create compelling user experiences while easily collaborating with development and test teams.  Map your thoughts, communicate ideas, design the next “wow” experience.

    Think about it in a few major focus areas, and their supporting capabilities:

    Compelling Experiences

    • SketchFlow
    • Adobe Photoshop Import
    • Adobe Illustrator Import
    • Behaviors
    • Control Styling
    • Visual State Manager
    • Custom controls
    • Easing Animation
    • Path Layout
    • Pixel Effects

    Powerful Technology

    • Silverlight 4, Silverlight 3, .NET 4, .NET 3.5
    • Code Editor
    • XAML IntelliSense
    • C#/VB IntelliSense
    • Sample Data
    • TFS support (yeah, baby!)
    • Behaviors
    • Extensibility (UI adorners on custom controls)
    • Expression Blend and Visual Studio integration
    • Eco-system – utilizing and leveraging skills that are in place today

     Accelerated Results

    • Behaviors
    • SketchFlow / Microsoft Word export
    • Adobe Photoshop Import
    • Adobe Illustrator Import
    • Sample Data
    • Code Editor
    • XAML IntelliSense
    • C#/VB IntelliSense
    • Control Skinning
    • Visual State Manager – State animation / Effects
    • Custom controls / Convert Graphics to control parts
    • Superior workflow design/development workflow

    Take it for a test drive today!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Hey Slange, where have you been?


    I received a few emails and tweets asking why my blog has been so quiet lately.  Well, I promise there’s a good reason.

    My newest little guy, Caden Jax

    My wife and I welcomed our second child into the world in March.  As a result, I was able to take advantage of a Microsoft benefit giving me 4 weeks of paid leave.  So, I went dark for all of April to adjust to life as a new dad (again).

    So what about this leave?, some of you have asked me.  Well, let me explain further:

    I know there are a few other companies out there that offer this, but I’ve never worked for any of them before.

    When my wife and I had our first child, I worked for a different company.  I had done well to save up my vacation time so that I could take three weeks of to adjust to our new family lifestyle.  While it was vacation time well-spent, doing so drained my allotted vacation hours.  It was months before I could afford to take any more time off for family excursions, personal activities, or just plain R&R.

    Enter my career at Microsoft.  Microsoft provides what’s called ICL, or Infant Care Leave, for both new mothers (as you’d expect) AND new fathers (very, very cool!).  I was provided four weeks of leave, paid, and the option to take an additional eight weeks (unpaid) if I so chose (I didn’t, as three months from work would probably give me the shakes).

    However, I did work one day in April – the VS 2010 Launch event in Denver on April 22nd.  I delivered the Application Lifecycle Management session in the Developer track.  (Thanks to all of you who offered kind words after!).  My task list includes getting the content posted online soon, for those of you asking for it.

    So, as of today (5/3), I’m back and digging out of my pile of email.  If you’ve sent me email, I promise I’ll find it and get back to you ASAP.  I also have some pending blog entries which I’ll get posted in the next couple weeks.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Free Webcast: The Full Testing Experience – Professional Quality Assurance with Visual Studio 2010


    vs2010logo I hope you can make this Webinar on June 15 - we’ll review all of the great new TESTING functionality of Visual Studio 2010.

    If you are using other Testing solutions from HP, IBM or providers (including open source solutions), you will want to learn more about what comes “in the box” with Visual Studio 2010.  Many of you already own the licenses to our new Testing solutions – learn how you can start to leverage them today!

    The Full Testing Experience – Professional Quality Assurance with Visual Studio 2010

    • Imagine knowing exactly what manual regression tests you had to run, given the code changes in the recent build…
    • Imagine being able to quickly and completely capture bugs in such a way that developers can always reproduce them…
    • Imagine being able to record your exploratory testing and turn that exploration into detailed test steps – with just a few commands…
    • Imagine taking a manual test run and, in seconds, turning it into an automated test…
    • Imagine seeing your testing progress on one simply dashboard, and drilling into critical details…

    Registration Link:

  • 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

    VSO is Happy to See You! Project Welcome Pages


    The August 18th news article on the Visual Studio site announced a fun new addition to VSO: Project Welcome pages.

    Think of Welcome pages as documentation, a greeting, or basic contextual information for the Team Project.  You can use a Welcome pages for things like:

    • Describing the purpose/business value of the project.
    • Basic tips and tricks for navigating the VSO project.
    • Project-specific nomenclature or acronyms
    • Project sponsors or contacts
    • You get the idea.. whatever!

    The implementation of these pages is surprisingly simple.  Pages are really just Markdown files (.md) which are checked in/committed to the root of your project.  The default page is named “”.  For example, in my “Awesome Calculator” project, I checked in a “”:


    Now if I got to my project’s homepage, I see a “Welcome” tab.  If I click on that, I get to any/all of my Welcome pages:


    Adding additional Welcome pages is simple as well.  Just check in/commit more markdown files! 


    My new markdown file, “The”, then renders like this:


    If you’re not familiar with markdown, don’t fear.  It’s a simple and fast markup.  VSO utilizes of GitHub Flavored Markdown, a common convention already used in some open source version control systems, based on then “marked” open source library. You can use virtually any editor (they are just text files) to work on your markdown files, including VIsual Studio, MarkdownPad, and others.

    For additional details, please read Martin Woodward’s post on the Visual Studio ALM blog.


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