Steve Lange @ Work

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

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Additional VS 2012 ALM Webcasts by Imaginet

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    Take a look at the below webcast series from Imaginet focusing on Visual Studio 2012 ALM.  If something looks good, don’t forget to sign up!

    “Imaginet is thrilled to provide you with exclusive invitations to our Summer Webcast Series. Over the last year, Microsoft has made some significant announcements that affect software developers, architects, information technology professionals, and businesses profoundly. This is your exclusive opportunity to gain incredible insights, learn new skills, and understand how to best leverage some incredible new technologies from Microsoft.
    Space is limited to 500 participants per webcast!”

    Requirements and Storyboarding with Visual Studio 2012

    The saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" is true for requirements. 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. Come join us for this free Web Workshop!

    • July 31, 2012 - 1:00-2:30pm CT   Register (free)

    Scrum and Agile Management Using Visual Studio 2012

    Scrum and agile management methodologies focus on iterative planning, development and release. This session will demonstrate how agile planning, management and tracking are streamlined with Visual Studio 2012. Come join us for this free Web Workshop!

    • August 7, 2012 - 1:00-2:30pm CT   Register (free)
    • August 21, 2012 - 1:00-2:30pm CT Register (free)

    A Day in the Life: Developer Enhancements with Visual Studio 2012

    The next version of Visual Studio is rich with new tools that enhance standard developer activities. In this session we'll review and demonstrate some of these new features, such as Unit Testing, Code Reviews, Code Clones and other developer tools. Come join us for this free Web Workshop!

    • August 14, 2012 - 1:00-2:30pm CT   Register (free)
    • August 28, 2012 - 1:00-2:30pm CT   Register (free)

    For questions or more information on Imaginet's webcasts, please feel free to contact us at info@imaginet.com or by calling 1-800-989-6022.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    VS/TFS 2012 Tidbits: Requesting a Code Review on Code Already Checked in

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    As the Visual Studio family of products (Visual Studio, TFS, Test Professional) nears its 2012 release, I thought I’d bring some short hits – tidbits, if you will – to my blog. Some of these are pretty obvious (well-documented, or much-discussed), but some may be less obvious than you’d think. Either way, it’s always good to make sure the word is getting out there. Hope you enjoy!

    Requesting a Code Review on Code Already Checked in

    There’s been great hype about the new built-in code review capabilities in TFS 2012, and for good reason. The process is easy, effective, and most of all, audited.

    image

    But did you know that “My Work” is not the only place from where you can kick of a code review?  You can also do a review on code that’s already been checked in. Go to the file in Source Control Explorer, then view its history. In the History window, right-click on the changeset/revision and select “Request Review”.

    image

    This will load up the New Code Review form in Team Explorer:

    image

    Notice that it not only brings in the files from the changeset (5 of them, in this example), but also any work items that were related to this changeset as well.  The check-in comments are used to populate the title of the code review, as well as the optional description.

    Off ya go!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    VS/TFS 2012 Tidbits: Merging Changes by Work Item

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    As the Visual Studio family of products (Visual Studio, TFS, Test Professional) nears its 2012 release, I thought I’d bring some short hits – tidbits, if you will – to my blog. Some of these are pretty obvious (well-documented, or much-discussed), but some may be less obvious than you’d think. Either way, it’s always good to make sure the word is getting out there. Hope you enjoy!

    Merging Changes by Work Item

    This is something that existed in VS 2010, but it wasn’t talked about as much.  While it’s pretty straightforward to track changes merged across branches by changeset, sometimes it’s even more effective to track merges by work item (i.e. show me where changes associated with a work item have been merged/pushed to other branches).

    Let’s catch up. Consider the relatively simple branch hierarchy below:

    image

    A work item has been assigned to Julia, Task #80.

    image

    Julia makes some code changes, and checks in against (linking to) the work item (Task #80).

    She checks in 2 individual changes to create links to 2 discrete changesets from the task.

    Now, it’s easy to go ahead and track an individual changeset by selecting the option from the History window.

    image

    That’s all well and good, but if I didn’t know the exact changeset ID (#17), or if there was more than one changeset in associated with the task, this tracking process becomes less effective.

    What Julia can do is right-click on the work item and select “Track Work Item”.    (Note that this option will be disabled if there are no changesets linked to the work item.)

    image

    She can also click the “Track Work Item” button at the top of the work item form:

    image

    I get a much clearer picture now of all the work and where it’s been applied, and the “Tracking” visualization will now include all changesets (in my case, 2 changesets) in the window.

    Now I know exactly what changes to merge.  I merge them, and now I can see that the entire work item has been merged to Main from Dev (i.e. both changesets were merged).

    image

    And just as effectively, I can see these changes in the Timeline Tracking view:

    image

    So that’s it! Tracking by work items are pretty easy to do, and paint a much clearer picture of how a change from a work item perspective can, or has been, applied across branches.

    Again, I know this isn’t exactly a new feature, but there are a lot of people out there who are looking for ways to “merge by work item” and aren’t aware of this feature.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    VS/TFS 2012 Tidbits: Agile Planning - Drag & Drop to Assign Sprints

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    As the Visual Studio family of products (Visual Studio, TFS, Test Professional) nears its 2012 release, I thought I’d bring some short hits – tidbits, if you will – to my blog.  Some of these are pretty obvious (well-documented, or much-discussed), but some may be less obvious than you’d think.  Either way, it’s always good to make sure the word is getting out there.  Hope you enjoy!

    Agile Planning: Drag & Drop to Assign Sprints

    TFS 2012 places a greater emphasis on “agile” planning, enabling teams to more readily plan, monitor and augment their iteration assignments.  Regardless of the methodology used (Scrum, Agile, CMMI, or your own), this tool “just works” to help you in the planning process.

    One new, and welcome, addition to TFS 2012 is the added support of start and end dates on iterations.  This allows you to simplify the process of building iteration-specific queries, and provides better insight as to what sprint a team is currently working on.

    To assign a work item (PBI, task, bug, whatever) to an iteration in the past, you had to open its dialog, set the correct iteration path value, and save it. Not a big deal, but excessive if you need to assign several work items in a single planning session.

    Fast-forward to TFS 2012.  When viewing your product backlog (however you have defined a “product backlog”) in the new TFS Web Access (which looks WAY cooler than the WA of old, right?) interface, you’ll see all your sprints/iterations listed on the left.  To assign a backlog item (in this case) to a sprint, you can instead drag the work item from the backlog to the sprint you want to put it in.  In the below screenshot, I’m dragging the second backlog item (“The calculator should perform division”) to Sprint 4.  The new web access client automatically updates the work item accordingly.  Done!

    Assigning a PBI to a sprint via drag and drop

    Assigning work items to iterations can be done pretty easily when looking at a work item query result as well.  If you’re in a view which doesn’t show the iterations to the left, for example, looking at “Assigned to me”, you can simply right-click on a work item and choose “Move to iteration –> <your iteration>”.  See the below screenshot of my doing exactly that.

    Moving a work item to a specific iteration

    Simple, yet effective!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Denver Event: SQL Server 2012 Breakthrough Insights

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    Looking to go deep into SQL Server 2012’s BI capabilities? Then this event may be what you’re looking for!

    Date/Time: Friday, July 20, 2012, 09:30-2:00 PM Mountain

    SQL Server 2012 "Breakthrough Insights." This will be a "deep dive" into the SQL Server Business Intelligence model including PowerPivot, Power View and SharePoint integration. This will be taught by Microsoft's Ted Malone. Ted works with large Microsoft customers to help them engage with emerging technology to solve complex business problems. Ted also has extensive experience as a software architect designing and developing enterprise storage solutions for EMC. Don't miss this opportunity to learn from one of Microsoft's best.

    To register, go here: https://clicktoattend.microsoft.com/en-us/Pages/EventDetails.aspx?EventID=161121

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Pluralsight + MSDN = Loads of free training!

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    Pluralsight - Hardcore Developer TrainingIn case you missed the reminder in the latest MSDN Flash, here’s another gentle nudge:

    MSDNFor a limited time, all MSDN subscribers in the US can get a FREE 1 year “starter” subscription to the list of 20 Pluralsight courses listed here on their website.

    This is a great opportunity to leverage even more of your MSDN subscription. Get over to Pluralsight’s page and sign up sooner than later! (Yes, this offer will expire!)

     

    .

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Hey Denver, there’s a new Meetup in town!

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    If you haven’t already joined, head over and check out the Colorado Microsoft Developers Meetup.  My pal Jerry Nixon started it about a month ago to create a central place for our development community find out about events (MSDN, MS-sponsored, others) happening in the area.  He’s also graciously added me as an organizer so we’ll be able to include development tools-specific events (ALM, TFS, Visual Studio, testing, etc.) to the calendar as well!

    image 

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Catching up..

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    Summer is here, and to help say goodbye to Spring, I thought I’d list a few tidbits that you may or may not have heard about in the news recently:

    There are two great books out now that cover Visual Studio ALM 2012.  These are among the first and most comprehensive books to dive into Application Lifecycle Management and Team Foundation Server, and are well worth the read!

    Team Foundation Service Preview goes public!  What? Yep, no more waiting for invite codes.  Go at it! You can just go to the home page (http://tfspreview.com) and sign up for your account.  As of right now, everything is still free. Check Brian Harry’s blog for more details.

    Virtual Machines & Hands on Labs have been updated to 2012 RC.  For details and download (it’ll take a while, so get comfortable), see Brian Keller’s post.

    There’s a lot more, but these are the highlights from the ALM side of things. 

  • Steve Lange @ Work

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

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    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

    Come to the SURF Incubator! Build Win8 Apps!

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    Come join us at SURF Incubator in Seattle over the course of 4 different Wednesday nights to build great Windows 8 apps. Throughout the course of this four-part series, guests will have a chance to learn from Microsoft experts about the world’s largest opportunity for app developers.

    We’ll also have great food and drink each night, and you’ll also have the opportunity to win great prizes! (See Official Rules here)

    Register now! https://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032514870&Culture=en-US

    SURF Incubator

    Exchange Building

    821 2nd Ave., 8th Floor

    Seattle, WA 98104

    Wednesdays, June 20, 27, July 11, 18 from 6pm-9pm

    Series Schedule

    June 20 - Week 1:
    · Business Opportunity for Windows 8
    · Designing Apps with Metro Principles and the Windows Personality


    June 27 - Week 2:
    · How Metro style apps drive end user impact
    · Building Metro style apps with HTML and JavaScript
    · Creating Windows 8 Metro Style User Interface (UI)

    JULY 4 – SKIP – HOLIDAY WEEKEND


    July 11 - Week 3:
    · Bring Your App to Life with Live Tiles and Push Notifications
    · Integrating with key Windows 8 features

    June 18 - Week 4:
    · Applying the finishing touches
    · The Business Opportunity Continued: Monetizing your app
    · The Windows Store

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Hey! We’re looking for great Windows 8 Apps!

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    As you likely know Windows 8 is coming in the near future. You can download, use it, and even develop apps for it today. At this point in time the Windows Store is not open for everyone to deploy, but we are looking for the first wave of great applications which highlight the power of Metro and Windows 8, especially those developers that want to get to market first and build the awareness and brand for their applications.

    In order to submit your application today you need a token which is something I can help you get.

    What do you need to do to get a token? Well I’ll tell ya.

    1. Create a great application or game and get it ready.
    2. Let me know about it by contacting me: stevenl@microsoft.com
    3. I’ll help you register so you can get your application through our Application Accelerator Labs where the app will get reviewed to confirm it is done and conforms to the Metro guidelines and certification requirements.

    This is a great opportunity to not only be first to market with your app, but also to get feedback from a Microsoft Services Engineer to make your app great. If you are serious about creating an application this is a chance that you probably don’t want to pass up.

    In addition, my extended team is holding a series of events and office hours to help you – they want to make sure you have what you need to be successful. You can come learn more about how to build apps for Windows 8 or show up and build your app with one of our evangelists or others in your community available to help you if you need it. You can find more information here:

    image

    See below for upcoming developer camps and accelerator labs (click on the link on the city to register!):

    Windows Developer Camps

    Windows Application Accelerator Labs

    So, do you want to build the next great Windows 8 app, first?

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Slide content from Denver ALM Roundtable

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    This is a slightly tardy post, but here is a link to the presentation slide deck used by Peter and Matt during the ALM Roundtable in Denver.  You’ll see that it’s rather light; but keep in mind the slides were merely for talking points leading to more demo (remember, this was a demo-heavy event!).

    If you have any questions, please let me know!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Thoughts on Managing Documentation Efforts in Team Foundation Server

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    I’ve met with several customers over the last few months who either are, or are looking to, manage their documentation efforts in Team Foundation Server.  There’s not much guidance or documentation about the best way to do that.  Now my blog is hardly a repository of impactful information; but I hope this post helps to shed some light on practices that can be used to manage documentation in TFS.

    In thinking about this, the concept of documentation management is somewhat similar to requirements management:  A document format is the ultimate output, consistent capture and management is ideal, and a development workflow is needed.  Several years ago (when TFS 2005 was the current release), I blogged a four-part series on requirements management in TFS, a series which many seemed to appreciate.  (Since then, a much more robust, prescriptive guidance has been published on CodePlex around TFS 2010 called the “Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Requirements Engineering Guidance” ). 

    There are two main schools of thought around using TFS to manage documentation efforts:

    • Document-centric
    • Item-centric

    Document-Centric

    In the document-centric approach, the document itself is the “version of the truth”. Updates are made to the document directly, and either TFS or the associated SharePoint site manages versioning.  Any approval workflows are handled by SharePoint.

    The benefit of this approach is that people already know how to edit a document (Word is the most popular requirements management tool, as well!).  It’s natural and seemingly convenient to just pop open a document, make some updates, hit “Save”, and close.  When the documentation process is finished, you already have your “output” – the document itself.  Just convert it to the format that you want (PDF, XPS, whatever), and you’re done.

    The drawback however, is in its simplicity.  You lose formatting consistency of individual sections of the document, as well lower-level management of those sections.  This results in extra scrutiny over a document to check for those inevitable inconsistencies. If you have traceability requirements in your process guidelines, it’s going go be very difficult to accurately relate a specific section within a document to another artifact in TFS.  It’s quite near impossible to report on the status of a documentation effort, other than “the document is or isn’t done yet.”  There are no metrics around how much effort has been applied to the documentation, how many people have collaborated on it, etc.

    Item-Centric

    The item-centric approach uses the work item tracking system in TFS to manage components/pieces of documentation individually.  This is accomplished by creating a work item type designed to support individual pieces of documentation.  In this scenario, TFS becomes the “version of truth”, and the actual document is really just an output of that truth. (Think of this as similar to version control, which houses the truth of your code, and the build is the output of that.)

    Several of these RM-centric approaches can be applied toward documentation efforts:

    • Custom work item types
    • Consistent UI for consistent data capture
    • Querying and reporting
    • Categorization or classification

    Below is just one example how a “Documentation”-like work item type might look in TFS:

    Sample documentation work item type

    You’ll notice there are standard fields such as title, assigned to, state, area, and iteration.  In this example, there are a few custom fields added as well:

    • Document Structure (group)
      • Target Document
      • Document Order
    • Documentation

    Target Document allows you to target a specific document that this documentation piece belongs to.  In my example, I use a global list for this field, allowing choices of End User Manual, Administrator’s Guide, and Installation Guide.

    Document Order is a field I created to help with the ordering of the documentation piece (for sibling work items) when it is finally output into a document.

    In TFS 2010, you also have the added advantage of work item hierarchy to better help organize the structure of your documentation. You can use hierarchy to break down sections or areas of the document.  Viewing the “structure” of a document (like a document outline in Word) is a matter of constructing a query.

    For example, below is a query result that shows a document hierarchy for my “End User Manual”:

    image

    There are a few very tangible advantages of using this approach:

    • Each section of documentation is individually manageable.  They can be assigned to different people, follow individual workflows, and be reported on and queried against.  Documentation can much more explicitly be planned as documentation work items can be put into sprints, iterations,etc.
    • Sections can be modified using a number of tools (Team Explorer, Excel, Web Access, or several 3rd party integrations).
    • Documentation work items, as they are work items, can be related/linked to other artifacts they support.  For instance, you can tangibly relate a build, task, requirement, or even code to a piece of documentation.
    • You can use work item queries to help identify and track the progress of your documentation efforts.  For example, while the previous screenshot shows the entire tree of documentation items, you could have another query to display the items that haven’t yet been completed:

    image

    Creating your Document

    Sounds great, right?  Oh yeah, but what about actually creating the document itself? (What, you don’t just want to dump the query results to Excel and format from there?)

    Well, the first main step is to get your work items exported to a Word document (for any fine tuning) and ultimately converted to your final output format (probably PDF).

    If your list of documentation work items is flat (i.e. no hierarchy, parent/child relationships), that simplifies things because you can dump your work items to a file format that can be used as a merge source for Word (like a TSV or Excel file).  Then you really just have to worry about formatting your document appropriately.

    And there are a couple of 3rd party tools that you may (again, based on your specific needs) be able to leverage.  These tools work to integrate Word with TFS, and each carries their own pros and cons:

    It gets more complicated as you work with a hierarchy.  In my above example, I want my work item hierarchy to reflect  a document hierarchy in the output document (i.e. first level gets Heading 1, second level gets Heading 2, etc.).  That puts a small wrinkle in things.

    So when in doubt, roll your own.  I have several customers who have implemented custom utilities to export their documentation work items to a Word document.  Given my amateur status as a programmer, I thought I’d give it a shot myself.  More on that in a future post, but the basic idea of such a utility is something like this:

    1. Select the WI query that gives you the work items you want, in the right order, etc.
    2. Select a document template to use, or at least a document style.
    3. Click “go”, and watch the utility run through each work item in the query results, inserting field values in the appropriate placeholder (named area, bookmark, whatever) in the document.

    Again, more on that later.

    Summary

    So keep in mind that while your mileage may vary in terms of approach and need, it is definitely possible to leverage TFS WIT as repository for your document development needs.  My examples above are by no means the only way to attack this topic – I’ve just seen them work with other customers of mine.

    Enjoy!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Content from the VS11 ALM Roadshows (Denver/Phoenix/Lehi)

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    Happy Monday!

    First, thanks to all of you who have attended the ALM Roadshows so far, and I hope to see many more of you attend the upcoming stops.

    VS 11

    Many folks from the Denver and Tempe events asked if the content would be made publicly available (to help minimize the amount of note-taking required).  So as promised, this morning I posted the slide decks from the three sessions on SkyDrive here:

    Here are direct links to the individual sessions:

    1. Continuous Delivery
    2. Beyond Software Testing with Agile Team Support in Visual Studio 11
    3. Beyond Code - Increasing Developer Productivity

    And again, if you want to more easily download all the session content, you can view the entire folder here.

    The demos performed during the sessions are very similar to the labs which are included in a publicly-available VM by Brian Keller.  Download the VM + labs from here and enjoy a pre-configured environment will all the VS11/TFS11 Beta goodness ready to roll.

    For those of you that will be attending a roadshow event in the near future, take note: Exact content varies between venue, so the content I posted is really most applicable to Denver, Tempe (Phoenix), and Lehi (Salt Lake City).

    And as a reminder, if you can’t make it to an in-person event, definitely check out some of the many webcasts being delivered as well.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Holy VS 11 Webcasts, Batman!

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    Want to learn more about Visual Studio 11 and TFS 11 but can’t make it to an in-person roadshowCheck out this line up of “11” webcasts provided by our awesome ALM partners.  Topics include:

    • A View into Microsoft's New ALM Features and Tools
    • Agile Planning
    • Managing Requirements & Customers
    • Testing Tools
    • Cross-Platform Development
    • Storyboarding
    • Exploratory Testing

    .. to name a few.  Check out the list of webcasts and sign up!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Event: Reimagining App Development: Introducing Windows 8

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    Don’t know what you’re doing on April 4th?  You do now!

    Are you interested in experiencing the next great app platform opportunity, Windows 8? Do you want to learn how to get started building apps for this new platform?

    We are inviting the Silicon Valley startup community to a full-day, knockout, deep dive event taking place on our Silicon Valley Campus. Developers and designers alike will take the stage to show you how to take advantage of this new platform opportunity. Several startups will demo their brand new apps and talk about their early experiences developing for Windows 8, while the Microsoft team will provide attendees the opportunity to play with the platform and the tools needed to get started. Sessions will cover designing for the new Metro UI, building for the platform, and monetizing your apps. 

    April 4, 2012

    Registration: 12:00 PM

    Event: 1:00 PM-7:00 PM

    Microsoft Silicon Valley

    1065 La Avenida, Bldg 1

    Mountain View, CA 94043   

    650.693.4000

    Register here: http://introducingwindows8.eventbrite.com/

    Agenda

    Time    

    Topic

    12:00 PM

    Registration

    1:00 PM

    Welcome & Kick-Off

    Dan’lLewin, Corporate Vice President, Strategic and Emerging Business Development

    1:15 PM

    Windows 8 Introduction, Keynote, Demo, & Metro UI App Design

    2:15 PM

    Break | Windows 8 Hack Stations

    2:30 PM

    Windows 8 Showcase Panel

    3:15 PM

    Windows 8 Marketplace Opportunity

    Robert Youngjohns, President, Microsoft North America

    4:00 PM

    Break | Windows 8 Hack Stations

    4:15 PM

    Build & Reimagine your App on Windows 8

    5:00 PM

    VC & Entrepreneur Panel

    5:45 PM

    Closing Remarks & Next Steps

    6:00 PM

    Reception & Windows 8 Hack Stations

    Join us! You won't want to miss this first of its kind event, put on by Microsoft’s BizSpark program and Microsoft’s developer evangelism team.

     

     

     

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Upcoming Free Webinars and Workshops from Imaginet

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    Check out these upcoming web-based learning opportunities from Imaginet!

    Visual StudioThese training events are completely free.  To register, simply click on a date below.

    A View into Microsoft's New ALM Features and Tools

    As more is known and released about the next release of Visual Studio and related tools, some features rise to the top as new stars. In this session we'll briefly discuss the breadth of new features and then spend some time demonstrating the ones that could make the biggest difference in the success of your development projects. Come join us for this free Web Workshop!

    Requirements and Storyboarding with Visual Studio 2011

    The saying "a picture paints a thousand words" is true for requirements. Many teams use mockups or storyboards to describe general application appearance and flow. This session will demonstrate new features in Visual Studio 2011 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.

    Involving Stakeholders with Visual Studio 2011

    Microsoft has provided requirements management features since the initial release of Team Foundation Server. In Visual Studio 2011, Microsoft now also handles earlier stages in the requirements lifecycle. This session will describe the new storyboarding practices available in Visual Studio 2011 and how they integrate into the rest of Microsoft's ALM strategy. Come join us for this free webinar!

    Collecting Feedback from Stakeholders with Visual Studio 2011

    One important aspect of defining and refining applications comes as feedback from the user base. This session will demonstrate how the users can seamlessly provide feedback that is captured, tracked and communicated through Visual Studio 2011. Come join us for this free Web Workshop!

    Scrum and Agile Management Using Visual Studio 2011

    Scrum and agile management methodologies focus on iterative planning, development and release. This session will demonstrate how agile planning, management and tracking are streamlined with Visual Studio 2011.

    Managing Agile/Scrum Iterations & Sprints

    Scrum and agile management methodologies focus on iterative planning, development and release. This session will describe standard agile management processes and how they work. Then, we'll describe how the new features in Visual Studio 2011 make it easier for all team members to more effectively participate in agile management. Come join us for this exciting webinar!

    A Day in the Life: Developer Enhancements with Visual Studio 2011

    The next version of Visual Studio is rich with new tools that enhance standard developer activities. In this session we'll review and demonstrate some of these new features, such as Unit Testing, Code Reviews, Code Clones and other developer tools.

    Operations Management in the Application Lifecycle

    Application lifecycles start when the software is envisioned and lasts until it is retired. Most of that time is generally spent in maintenance and upgrade, after an application is deployed into production but before it is retired. This session will describe how to optimize this segment of the application's lifecycle with new Microsoft tools.

    Integrating Production Support into ALM

    Successful applications spend most of their life in maintenance. In this session we'll discuss and demonstrate how operations management can be integrated into the application lifecycle.

    TFS in the Cloud

    In this session we'll describe how to offload your ALM infrastructure to a supported infrastructure in the cloud. In addition, we'll walk through the steps you should take and what to consider before making that move. Come join us for this free webinar!

     

    For questions or more information, please feel free to contact us at info@imaginet.com or by calling 972-607-4830.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Upcoming Webcasts from ALPI

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    ALP International (ALPI) has been a leading provider of comprehensive test automation and software training services in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area since 1993.  They specialize in end to end software testing automation and training.

    Below is a great list of upcoming Webcasts by ALPI (a Microsoft Inner Circle partner) related to Testing and Team Foundation Server 2010.  Hope to see you join one (or more) of these!

    Managing Requirements and Tracking Defects with Team Foundation Server 2010

    2/1 @2:00 pm EST

    https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/904393118

    Manual and Automated Software Testing with Microsoft Test Manager

    2/6 @2:00 pm EST

    https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/266126838

    Load and Performance Testing with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010

    2/8 @2:00 pm EST

    https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/533225462

    Implementing Test Lab Virtualization with Microsoft Lab Management

    2/15 @2:00 pm EST

    https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/656221678

    Reporting and Dashboard Options in Team Foundation Server 2010

    2/20 @2:00 pm EST

    https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/238077030

    Testing Sharepoint - Functional and Performance Testing for SharePoint based applications using Visual Studio 2010

    2/22 @2:00 pm EST

    https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/548231342

    SCRUM and Microsoft ALM: Using Team Foundation Server 2010 and the Microsoft SCRUM Process Template

    2/27 @2:00 pm EST

    https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/506105366

    Improving Developer and Tester Collaboration using Visual Studio 2010

    2/29 @2:00 pm EST

    https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/508414446

    Practicing Effective Test Management with Microsoft Test Manager and Team Foundation Server 2010

    3/5 @2:00 pm EST

    https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/560852470

    Managing Requirements and Tracking Defects with Team Foundation Server 2010

    3/7 @2:00 pm EST

    https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/321462214

    Manual and Automated Software Testing with Microsoft Test Manager

    3/12 @2:00 pm EST

    https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/315428238

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Upcoming Events & Webcasts for You

    • 0 Comments

    Northwest Cadence is on the move with a slew of great webinars and live events over the next few weeks.  Take a peek below and see what grabs you!

     

    Webinars

    Double Feature: Test Professional; Intellitrace and Test Impact Analysis

    Webinar

    January 27th, 9:30AM – 11:30AM

    Free Event

    Registration Link and More Information

    In this Double Feature ALM Catalyst Session webinar, we will cover both Test Professional and Intellitrace & Test Impact Analysis.  During the first portion of this session (Test Professional), we will demo and show:

    · Setup a Manual test run

    · Explain the architecture of Test Professional

    · Show how to configure the environment, build and other conditions for a test

    · Show how Test Professional is completely integrated into TFS and VS 2010

    · Show how we can gather real-time test data that we can provide back to teams or person

    In the later portion of this webinar we will explore how Test Impact Analysis helps the team focus and prioritize by automatically identifying which tests are potentially affected by a pending change. Join us for this free webinar!

    Double Feature:  TFS - Branching & Merging & Builds; TFS – Analytics & Process Template

    Webinar

    February 3rd, 9:30AM – 11:30AM

    Free Event

    Registration Link and More Information

    Join us for this Double Feature Delivery of TFS Branching & Merging as well as TFS Analytics & Process Temple. In this session we'll demonstrate how lab management can be used to support development, deployment and test of SharePoint applications. In addition, we will show how to leverage Process Template to provide essential transparency and empower teams to identify and address opportunities for continuous process improvement. Join us for this free Live Workshop!

    ALM Catalyst: Northwest Cadence – SharePoint Development Tools

    Webinar

    January 20th 11:00 AM -12:00 PM

    Free Event

    Registration Link and More Information

    In this webinar, we will explore the new features that are in SharePoint 2010.  Some of the main topics we will cover are how SharePoint development now fits in a normal software lifecycle and how the ALM process and tools increases productivity and quality for SharePoint software development and deployment. Come join us for this free online workshop.

    Introduction to Kanban

    Webinar

    January 27th, 8:00AM – 9:00AM

    Free Event

    Registration Link and More Information

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

    Introduction to Scrum

    Webinar

    February 3rd, 8:00AM – 9:00AM

    Free Event

    Registration Link and More Information

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

    Visualize Work – The Power of Big Visible Displays

    Webinar

    February 10, 8:00AM – 9:00AM

    Free Event

    Registration Link and More Information

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

    Scrum-damentals

    Webinar

    February 17, 8:00AM – 9:00AM

    Free Event

    Registration Link and More Information

    Scrum is the most adopted and recognized agile methodology. However, there are still challenges to Scrum adoption.  This event will dive into several Scrum adoption pitfalls and how an organization can avoid them.  In particular, we will highlight some of the proven practices that have worked for diverse sets of teams.  We will also leave time for questions and encourage attendees to bring your most challenging problems!

    Limit Work in Process (WIP)

    Webinar

    February 24th, 8:00AM – 9:00AM

    Free Event

    Registration Link and More Information

    Overloaded individuals and teams suffer from bad multitasking.  They are also cursed with long lead times, poor quality, and high rates of failure.  Kanban limits work in process (WIP) to improve the flow in a development process.  This event is more technical than the earlier Kanban events.  During the event, we will expose the problems caused by excessive WIP, and the wide-ranging benefits of reducing WIP.

     

    Live Events

    Double Feature: Testing and Application Lifecycle Management for Agile Development

    Cleveland, OH 

    January 30th, 2012

    Free Event

    Registration Link and More Information

    Northwest Cadence and Microsoft are pleased to bring you two half-day seminars.  We will cover two Agile topics, tying together testing and ALM inside an agile team. First, we will start with testing, highlighting the tools and techniques that can enable an agile test team that works tightly with the developers. Then we will broaden our vision to explore agility across the entire team. We will not only highlight the Visual Studio tools that can help you get to agility, we will directly address the difficult challenges teams have when adopting agile or lean principles. We will provide tips, tricks and cautions; case studies; and the key foundational reasons agile and lean techniques can work for your organization.

    Double Feature: Testing and Application Lifecycle Management for Agile Development

    Nashville, TN

    January 31th, 2012

    Free Event

    Registration Link and More Information

    Northwest Cadence and Microsoft are pleased to bring you two half-day seminars.  We will cover two Agile topics, tying together testing and ALM inside an agile team. First, we will start with testing, highlighting the tools and techniques that can enable an agile test team that works tightly with the developers. Then we will broaden our vision to explore agility across the entire team. We will not only highlight the Visual Studio tools that can help you get to agility, we will directly address the difficult challenges teams have when adopting agile or lean principles. We will provide tips, tricks and cautions; case studies; and the key foundational reasons agile and lean techniques can work for your organization.

    Double Feature: Doing Application Lifecycle Management from Design to Development

    Bellevue, WA

    February 14th, 2012

    Free Event

    Registration Link and More Information

    End to end ALM is includes more than just writing code. We need to include the broad spectrum of efforts, including infrastructure maintenance once the application is in production.  In this session we look at the sometimes-forgotten boundaries of application lifecycle management. Don’t miss this full day session, filled with demonstrations, professional advice and thoughtful responses to your questions. Take away a new appreciation for the breadth of power of the Visual Studio 2010 toolset.

    Double Feature: Doing Application Lifecycle Management from Design to Development

    Fremont, CA

    February 15th, 2012

    Free Event

    Registration Link and More Information

    End to end ALM is includes more than just writing code. We need to include the broad spectrum of efforts, including infrastructure maintenance once the application is in production.  In this session we look at the sometimes-forgotten boundaries of application lifecycle management. Don’t miss this full day session, filled with demonstrations, professional advice and thoughtful responses to your questions. Take away a new appreciation for the breadth of power of the Visual Studio 2010 toolset.

     

    Agile Development using Visual Studio ALM

    Boise, ID

    February 15th, 2012

    Free Event

    Registration Link and More Information

    Drive your organization forward by learning about how to leverage the Microsoft Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solution. Join Microsoft and Northwest Cadence as we share our knowledge of how to leverage Microsoft’s ALM strategy and toolset to take your team and the software they create to the next level. We will dive into how Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate and Team Foundation Server will give you the process efficiency, automation, and standards-driven development capabilities that will increase productivity and decrease costs.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Steve’s Monthly Newsletter – December 2011

    • 1 Comments

    I receive a lot of email each week from you asking very specific, and valuable questions. It’s my hope that a newsletter like this will help me communicate important announcements, tips/tricks, and other items to help you and your team ultimately be more successful!

    Announcements

    Happy Holidays!Happy Holidays to everyone!  I hope you all take the time to enjoy the season with your family and friends (assuming the build doesn’t break!).  For those of you local to Colorado, I hope to see you soon and share a holiday toast!

    If you haven’t joined me before, I encourage you to stop by my virtual office hours!  I’m committed to holding them through the end of January.  If enough folks visit I’d like to extend them until summer.  My remaining hours for this month:

    • 12/15 @ 9:30 AM (Pacific)
    • 12/30 @ 9:30 AM (Pacific)

    Don’t forget that my team has access to programs (and funds to help pay for them) to help you and your organization get ramped up on all sorts of topics and technologies:

    Send me a note and let’s see where I can help!

    Upcoming Events

    QuickAnswers

    • Looking for a way to track effort against fixing a bug?  Instead of customizing the bug to capture hours, why not create a linked task to track it?  This simplifies the process and provides better granularity for measuring scope and effort (plus the reports are ready to run against tasks already!)
    • When upgrading TFS, don’t try to do too much at one time.  Rather than moving hardware, changing domains, AND upgrading at the same time, do each one incrementally.  This will allow you to checkpoint your progress and make for easier troubleshooting should something go wrong.
    • Try Notion Timesheet as a way to keep track of hours worked on a given work item in TFS.

     

    Parting Thought

    The source of Control is not the same as source control!  Oh, and True never fails!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Event: Practical Team Foundation Server

    • 0 Comments

    HarborObjectsIf you’re in SoCal somewhere, you may want to take advantage of this FREE “quick start” event, offered by HarborObjects.

    For registration and additional details, visit their events page, but below is a teaser of what you’ll learn during this event:

    The goal of this training is to quickly bring you up to speed with the essentials features of Team Foundation Server 2010 so that you can quickly setup and be productive in your own TFS environment.

    We start out by outlining a generic development process which embodies basic activities that are encountered in any software development process.  We'll use those activities as the context in which you'll learn to use TFS and you'll be able to easily map those activities into the process that you use in your own development work.

    2012 Event Dates:

    • January 11th - Microsoft Office, Los Angeles
    • January 18th - Microsoft Office, San Diego
    • January 25th - Microsoft Office, Orange County

    Again, visit the events page to register, and we hope to see you there!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Adding Members to Your Project Collection on TFS Preview

    • 0 Comments

    TFS Preview is just that – a preview.  So things may not be where you’d think they are, especially if you’re used to the current version of Team Foundation Server.

    I was recently asked (twice), “Okay, so I’ve got my account and project collection established, how do I get more people added to the environment so we can do some team development?”

    TFS PreviewHere’s the quick way:

    1. Log in to your TFS preview site (https://<whatever>.tfspreview.com)
    2. Click on Collections at the top, and select the collection (most likely “Default Collection”) to which you want to add users.
    3. You’ll see a list of Team Foundation groups at the left.  Select the group (or create a new one) to which you want to add users.
    4. You’ll see information about the selected group at the right.  Click the “add members” link under Group Membership.
    5. In the dialog, enter:
      1. An email address of the user to add, if they are not already in the system.  Remember that this email address needs to be a Live ID, as currently that’s the only authentication type supported for TFS Preview.
      2. The display name (select from the drop-down list) of the user to add, if they already exist in the system.
    6. Click “Save Changes”
    7. Send the user the URL (https://<whatever>.tfspreview.com) and have them log in with their associated Live ID, and they should be set.

    For a broader overview of setting up groups, users, and security, I recommend taking a look at this video tutorial.  There are several other video tutorials that you can watch, all from the Administration page on your TFS Preview site.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Steve’s Monthly Newsletter – November 2011

    • 0 Comments

    I receive a lot of email each week from you asking very specific, and valuable questions. It’s my hope that a newsletter like this will help me communicate important announcements, tips/tricks, and other items to help you and your team ultimately be more successful!

    Upcoming Office Hours

    Yep, I’ve added virtual office hours to my plate in an effort to get your questions answered!  I’m holding them for an hour every 2-3 weeks – I hope you stop by sometime!  My next office hours are next Friday, 11/18 at 9:30am Pacific.

    Announcements

    If you’re using using Visual Studio 2010 and TFS 2010 (and possibly Test Professional 2010), you may want to download and take advantage of the “Visual Studio 2010 SP1 TFS Compatibility GDR” update, now available.  It contains several fixes, and even the addition of a highly-requested feature in MTM (multi-line test steps)! 

    The OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010 is not officially released!  Brian Keller has more here.

    If you’ve been playing with the VS 2010 virtual machine with labs and sample data, it’s been refreshed with a new expiration date.  Again, see BrianKel’s blog for details.

    Did you know you can “fake” a TFS build? This is useful if you don’t actually use TFS as a build system, but still need build numbers to load into TFS to help associate items together (i.e. changes between “builds” for testing purposes).

    Want to get access to TFS Preview but don’t have an invite code?  Ping me, let’s talk.

    Are you going to the ALM Summit next week in Redmond?  I am, and I hope to see you there!

    Upcoming

    November 17, 2011 Coffee Talk: Scrum-damentals (free webcast)

    November 28, 2011 LIVE event in Edina, MN: Double Feature: Testing & ALM for Agile Development For Details or to Register, Click Here

    November 29, 2011 LIVE event in San Diego, CA: Double Feature: Testing & ALM for Agile Development For Details or to Register, Click Here! 

    November 30, 2011 Visual Studio 2010 ALM Tools Live Roadshow
    Denver, CO

    Don’t Forget!

    My team has access to programs (and funds to help pay for them) to help you and your organization get ramped up on all sorts of topics and technologies:

    Send me a note and let’s see where I can help!

    QuickAnswers

    • In MTM, if you don’t see test results not showing up in the “Analyze Test Runs” area in MTM, it’s usually because either a test run isn’t actually completing a test run (i.e. exiting a test run without saving), or not filtering the view properly (this is most common). Try setting the “Start date range:” filter to “All”, and try toggling the “Show manual runs” button to see if your rest run results show up.
    • BIDS and Visual Studio 2010 are separate products, and while there is definitely overlap in functionality (schema object creation, for example), with BIDS being based on Visual Studio 2008 there are several areas that are specific to BIDS that Visual Studio 2010 will not do (and vice versa, for that matter).  The simplest way to differentiate between the two is that because BIDS is based on VS 2008, support for the below project types are only supported in BIDS: BIDS Integration Services, Report Services, and Analysis Services.  Many customers simply use Visual Studio 2010 Premium or Ultimate side-by-side with BIDS, so that SSAS packages (for example) can be worked on in BIDS, and other object creation, change management and testing functions can be performed in VS 2010.
    • When you remove a test case in MTM, the test case is not physically removed from the system but rather disassociated from its test suite. That’s why it will still show up on the Organize tab. This helps you identify overall test volume, and find potential test cases created by others that should be included in your test plan. Click here for more information.
    • Want to export information from MTM?  You have a few options.  First, you can use TestScribe, a free add-in for MTM that allows you to generate documentation for either a test plan or test runs.  You can also export your test cases to Excel, either from Team Explorer or by using Excel itself. For more, see: Create, Open, and Modify Work Items Using Office Excel or Refresh Work Items and Change the List Type in Office Excel.  Finally, in Team Explorer (and in TFS Web Access, our browser-based client), you can elect to print one or more test cases directly from TFS. See: Print Work Item Results or Forms

    Parting Thought

    Why is 'abbreviated' such a long word?

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    “Fake” a TFS Build (or Create a Build That Doesn’t Do Anything)

    • 5 Comments

    Team Foundation Server’s build system serves as the “heartbeat” for your development lifecycle.  It automatically creates relationships between code changes, work items, reports, and test plans.

    But once in a while I’m asked, “What if we don’t use TFS Build for building our application, but we still want to have builds in TFS so we can track and associate work?”  Besides the biased question of “Why NOT use TFS Build, then?!”, there is sometimes the need to leverage the benefit of having empty/fake builds in TFS that don’t do anything more than create a build number/entry in TFS.

    There are a couple scenarios where this makes some sense, but the most common one I hear is this:

    Without builds in TFS, it’s near impossible (or at least very inconvenient) to tie test plans (accurately) to the rest of the lifecycle.

    Luckily, TFS 2010’s build system is incredibly flexible: flexible enough to allow us to “fake” builds without actually performing build actions (get source, compile, label, etc.).  It’s surprisingly simple, actually; and it doesn’t require writing any code.

    In my example (which I’ll detail below), I define a build which doesn’t do much more than craft a build number and spit out some basic information to the build log.

    First, create a new build process template, based on the default process template, using the steps described in this MSDN article.

    Once you have the process template created and registered in TFS, open the new template (.xaml file) in Visual Studio.  It will look (collapsed) something like this:

    Collapsed default build process template

    Here’s where it gets fun.  Inside the outermost sequence, delete every sequence or activity except for “Get the Build”.

    Drag an UpdateBuildNumber activity from the toolbox into the sequence, after “Get the Build”.

    (optional) Rename “Get the build” to “Get Build Details” so there’s no implication that an actual build will take place".

    Now expand the Arguments section (at the bottom of the XAML Designer window).  Delete all arguments except for BuildNumberFormat, Metadata, and SupportedReasons.

    At the bottom of the now-shorter list, use “Create Argument” and create the following arguments:

    Name Direction Argument type Default value
    MajorBuildName In String  
    MinorBuildName In String  
    Comment In String  
    IncludeBuildDetails In Boolean True

    MajorBuildName” and “MinorBuildName” will be used to help manually name each build.  “Comment” will be used to capture any notes or comments the builder wants to include for a given build.  “IncludeBuildDetails” will be used to determine if additional summary information about the build will be written to the build log.

    To provide users with means to set values to these arguments, create parameters in Metadata.  Click the ellipsis (…) in the Default value column for Metadata.  This will bring up the Process Parameters Metadata editor dialog.  Add each of the following parameters:

    Parameter Name Display Name Category Required View this parameter when
    MajorBuildName Major Build Name Manual Build Details Checked Always show the parameter
    MinorBuildName Minor Build Name Manual Build Details Unchecked Only when queuing a build
    Comment Comment Manual Build Details Unchecked Only when queuing a build
    IncludeBuildDetails Include Build Details Summary Manual Build Details Unchecked Always show the parameter

    Process Parameter Metadata editorA couple notes about setting the above parameters:

    • The “parameter name” should match the name of the like-named argument.
    • Use the exact same category name for each parameter, unless you want to see different groupings.  Also, check for any leading or trailing whitespace, as the category field is not trimmed when saved.
    • Feel free to add descriptions if you like, as they may help other users understand what to do.
    • Leave the “Editor” field blank for each parameter.

    Your dialog should now look something like the one at right.

    Next, open the expression editor for the Value property of the BuildNumberFormat argument and edit the value to read: “$(BuildDefinitionName)_$(Date:yyyyMMdd)_$BuildID)”. Including the BuildID will help ensure that there is always a unique build number.

    Now, Click “Variables” (next to Arguments) and create a new variable named ManualBuildName of type String, scoped to the Sequence, and enter the following as the Default:

    If(String.IsNullorEmpty(MinorBuildName), MajorBuildName, MajorBuidName & “.” & MinorBuildName)

    This variable will be used to provide a manual build name using the supplied MajorBuildName and MinorBuildName arguments.

    Now we have all the variables, arguments, and parameters all ready to go.  Let’s put them into action in the workflow!

    Drag a WriteBuildMessage activity into the main sequence, before Get Build Details, with these settings:

    • Display name: “Write Build Comment”
    • Importance: Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Build.Client.BuildMessageImportance.High
    • Message: “Comment for this build: “ & Comment

    Next, add an “If” activity below “Get Build Details” to evaluate when to include additional details in the build log, with the following properties:

    • Display name: “Include Build Details If Chosen”
    • Condition: IncludeBuildDetails

    In the “Then” side of the “If” activity, add a WriteBuildMessage activity for each piece of information you may want to include in the build log.  In my example, I included 3 activities:

    Display name Importance Message
    Write Team Project Name Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Build.Client.BuildMessageImportance.High “Team Project: “ & BuildDetail.TeamProject
    Write Requested for Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Build.Client.BuildMessageImportance.High “Requested for: “ & BuildDetail.RequestedFor
    Write Build reason Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Build.Client.BuildMessageImportance.High “Build Reason: “ & BuildDetail.Reason.ToString()

    Your “If” activity will look like this:

    If activity for showing build details

    The last thing to do is to add an UpdateBuildNumber activity as the last element in the main sequence, with the following properties:

    • Display name: “Set Build Number”
    • BuildNumberFormat: BuildNumberFormat & “-“ & ManualBuildName

    This last activity will actually create the build number which will be stored back into TFS.  Your completed workflow should look like this:

    Completed fake build process

    Now go back to Source Control Explorer and check this template back into TFS.

    Go create a new build definition, opting to use your new template on the process tab.  You’ll notice that your options are dramatically simplified:

    Process tab on build definition editor

    Specify a value for Major Build Name and save your new definition. 

    Queue the build and you’ll see the following on the Parameters tab:

    Parameters tab while queuing a build

    Enter some basic information and click “Queue” to run the (fake) build.

    What you end up with is a build that completes in just a couple seconds, does pretty much nothing, but includes your specified information in the build log:

    Build log after fake build

    Pretty sweet!

    And just to be clear, my example adds more “noise” into the build than you may find necessary, with additional build information, comments, etc.  You could streamline the build even more by removing the “Include Build Details If Chose” activity (and all its sub-activities).

    Given the overall flexibility TFS 2010 has with incorporating Windows Workflow into the build system, there are undoubtedly other ways to accomplish variations of this type of build template.  But I had fun with this one and thought I should share.  I’ve posted my sample template’s xaml file on SkyDrive here:

    I’m all ears for feedback!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Announcing My New Virtual Office Hours!

    • 2 Comments

    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"!

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