Steve Lange @ Work

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

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    New Invoicing Option Available for Azure Benefits on MSDN

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    azure smallAs you may know, as an MSDN subscriber you get access to Windows Azure for reviewing your application’s viability and resource requirements in the cloud (see Azure Benefits for MSDN Subscribers). 

    If you went over the allotted computing usage while using your Azure access, you previously only had the option to pay for that overage via credit card.

    Now, you have two options:  credit card or invoicing.  (And if you’re a volume license (VL) customer, you can use your VL Agreement number to server as a credit check during invoicing setup.)

    So if you haven’t already activated your MSDN Windows Azure benefit, it’s pretty easy to get started.

    Credit Card Option – Simply go to the Windows Azure Portal and follow the instructions to activate via your MSDN subscriptions page.  For a straightforward walkthrough, try this.

    Invoicing Option – Start at the Azure Invoicing information page, then complete your activation at the Windows Azure Portal.

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    Using Oracle and Visual Studio together?

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    It’s about to get a heck of a lot easier!

    Both of what I’m about to discuss below are in beta, so please exercise your normal caution when using these tools.

    vs2010logo

    Oracle Data Access Using Entity Framework and LINQ

    A beta of Oracle Data Access Components (ODAC) for Microsoft Entity Framework and LINQ to Entities is now available on the Oracle Technology Network (OTN). What is this? The ODAC for EF and LINQ is a set of components that bring Oracle data access into the folds of the Microsoft Entity Framework, Language Integrated Query (LINQ), and Model-First development.

    If you’ve ever used the Entity Framework or LINQ, you can readily understand how productive these capabilities can be for a developer. Previously, EF and LINQ were not feasible with Oracle.

    If you’re not familiar with EF, LINQ, or the concept of Model-First:

    • The Microsoft Entity Framework (EF) abstracts the relational, logical database schema and presents a conceptual schema to the .NET application. It provides object-relational mapping for .NET developers.
    • LINQ is a .NET data querying language which can query a multitude of data sources using common structured syntax.
    • Model-First allows the conceptual model to be created first by the developer. Next, Visual Studio can create DDL scripts to generate the relational database model based on the conceptual model.

    Get started today! Download the beta, and then walk through the tutorial.

    Note: The beta includes the 32-bit Oracle Database client 11.2, which can access Oracle Database server 9.2 and higher. It requires Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.

    Toad Extension for Visual Studio 2010Oracle Database Change Management with Toad Extension for Visual Studio

    Speaking of Visual Studio, did you know our friends at Quest Software have been hard at work developing the Toad Extension for Visual Studio? Toad Extension for Visual Studio is a database schema provider (DSP) for Oracle in Visual Studio 2010, and aims to give the full benefits of Visual Studio 2010’s database change management and development features to Oracle databases. This includes offline database design, development and change management, better aligning your Oracle development with the rest of your organization’s application lifecycle management methodology.

    How do you get started? Download the beta, watch a couple videos, and dive in!

     

    Links & Additional Information

    ODAC for Microsoft Entity Framework and LINQ

    Toad Extension for Visual Studio

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    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!

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    Steve’s Monthly Newsletter – December 2011

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    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!

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    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. 

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    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 

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    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

    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

    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

    Activating Visual Studio 2013 on an Offline Machine

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    (File this under “I already know that”, but I get asked this question quite frequently..)

    Visual Studio 2013 likes to go online every so often to validate that it’s being used by a licensed user.  That’s all well and good, but what if that user is working in a permanently offline environment? 

    Fear not.  As an MSDN subscriber, you can download a “static” activation key to use.  Here are the steps:

    • Go to http://msdn.microsoft.com from a computer that has internet access.
    • Click on “MSDN Subscriptions” link toward the top right.
    • Sign into MSDN with a valid MSDN subscriber account (Microsoft Account, formerly Live ID)
    • Click on “My Product Keys”

    image

    • Scroll down to the VS 2013 edition you have installed.  You should see the term “Static Activation Key.”  That is the key you need to enter into Visual Studio to turn off the internet activation check (which normally runs every 30 days).

    image

     

    Make a note of that key, and head over to your offline computer.

     

    • Launch Visual Studio 2013
    • Go to Help->Register Product

    image

    • Click on “License with a Product Key”

    image

    • Enter the static key you noted from MSDN.

    image

    • Click Apply, and you should be set!
  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Visual Studio Update 2 is here (well, the CTP is)

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    If you’re one of the lucky ones to be attending the ALM Summit this week (I’m not), you’ve been able to experience first-hand the bevy of announcements made concerning Visual Studio Update 2.  An evaluation CTP (read: Not supported, not “go live”) has been dropped and is ready for feedback.

    Brian Harry explains it best in his blog post (as always), but here’s a quick list of my highlights:

    • You can tag work items: Similar to tags on blog posts, you can place various tags on work items to help with categorization and organization.
    • Web-based test case management:  Think Test Manager (MTM) in the browser.  You can do basic management and execution of test cases via the web.  This will make it much easier to perform manual tests on non-Windows platforms.
    • Unit testing
      • Playlists: Create arbitrary test lists/groups.
      • Windows Phone app support
    • Fakes & Stubs has been moved down to VS Premium (still in Ultimate)
    • Office 2013 support
    • Blue Theme – if you still can’t get past the reduction of color in VS 2012.

    But nevermind all that – did you hear that Team Foundation Service (compare) now supports Git repositories?  More on Brian’s blog.

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    Build 2014 has been announced!

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    Build is back!

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

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

    IMPORTANT REGSITRATION INFORMATION:

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

    clip_image001

    Follow Build on Twitter as well: https://twitter.com/bldwin

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

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

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

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

    I hope to see you online!  REGISTER HERE..

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

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    Join Forrester and Microsoft for these upcoming webinars!

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

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

    Date

    Time

    Topic

    Registration

    Wed., January 22

    10AM

    Cloud Enterprise Storage

    Register Here

    Mon., January 27

    12:30PM

    Building Consumer Mobile Apps

    Register Here

    Wed., January 29

    11:30AM

    Building Enterprise Mobile Apps

    Register Here

    Wed., February 12

    10AM

    Cloud Services

    Register Here

    Wed., March 5

    10AM

    Taking Any App to the Cloud

    Register Here

    clip_image002James Staten

    Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

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

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

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

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    image

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

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

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

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

    Agenda

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

    When, Where, Registration

    REGISTER HERE!

    Tuesday Feb. 18th 2014

    InNEVation Center

    6795 Edmond St., 3rd Floor

    Las Vegas, NV 89118

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

  • Steve Lange @ Work

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What happens on May 7th?

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

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

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

    Chances are you’re covered:

    MSDN Subscription

    Accessible VSO Features

    Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN

    Visual Studio Online Advanced

    + Web Test Case Management

    Visual Studio Premium with MSDN

    Visual Studio Online Advanced

    + Web Test Case Management

    Visual Studio Test Professional with MSDN

    Visual Studio Online Advanced

    + Web Test Case Management

    Visual Studio Professional with MSDN

    Visual Studio Online Basic

    MSDN Platforms

    Visual Studio Online Advanced

    + Web Test Case Management

    Microsoft BizSpark

    Visual Studio Online Advanced

    + Web Test Case Management

    How do I reassign users to an appropriate license?

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

    image

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

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

    clip_image005

    Making this selection will do a couple things:

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

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

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

    clip_image007

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

    More information can be found here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. Advanced
    2. Basic
    3. Professional

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Clear as mud?

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

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    Microsoft Test Case Management – Handling Test Steps with Multiple Expected Results

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    I’ve been asked by a few customers about this topic in the past week, so I thought I’d generalize my response into this post.  I hope others will find this helpful as well!

    Sometimes when building a test case in Microsoft Test Manager or Web Access, you will have a test step with more than one expected result.  Perhaps you need to verify several fields on a form, or that multiple things happen as a result of your action. 

    If you encounter this scenario from time to time, you can handle it a couple different ways.

    Using this very generic example (you may or may not recognize this test case from my previous blog post):

    clip_image002

    Note that step 2 has two expected results.

    Single-step, multiple expected results, single pass/fail

    As-is, you can run this test case without issue. The small challenge with this is handling a failure with one expected result and a pass with another. Is the step a pass or fail? Chances are you want to fail the step so it’s recorded, but note somehow that one result did pass. To accommodate this, you would fail the step but capture a comment:

    clip_image003

    The secondary challenge with this is reporting. Since I told the tool that this was a failure, any reporting I do will show it as a failure, ignoring the fact that one result did pass.

    Single-action step, multiple expected results, individual pass/fail

    As an alternative, the tool will let you mimic multiple expected results by adding an additional step, but without an action. For example:

    clip_image005

    Now when you execute this, you can mark individual expected results as pass/fail:

    clip_image006

    This will make it easier to interrogate test results to see exactly where the failure occurred. Additionally, if you use Microsoft Test Manager, it has the ability to create an action recording to let you fast-forward through specific steps in subsequent test runs. Breaking up the results into individual steps will make this recording/playback experience more accurate.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    FREE Imaginet ALM Webinars: June through Dec 2014

    • 0 Comments

    clip_image001Here is an updated listing of upcoming ALM webinars from our partner Imaginet.  They’re FREE, so you might as well check them out!

    Enhance Productivity with Distributed Version Control Using Git and Visual Studio 2013

    Register

    Microsoft’s release of Team Foundation 2013 enables you to work locally with a Git (distributed version control) repository and then “sync up” with a central TFS repository. In this session, we will discuss and demonstrate how this new integration works and the advantages that it will provide for your teams. Get best of both distributed version control system (DVCS) and Team Foundation Server with the TFS-Git integration. Come join us for this free webcast!

    Date

    June 26, 2014 12:00 PM

     

    Deliver Higher Quality Software with Automated Coded UI Testing

    Register

    In this webinar, Imaginet will demonstrate how to record tests run against various types of application user interfaces using Microsoft Visual Studio's Coded UI Tests and how to replay them at any time. Additionally, we will explore how to embed validations, either simple or elaborate, to ensure your application is producing the correct results. Learn how to improve the quality of your applications by having a repeatable set of Microsoft Coded UI Tests available to ensure defects don’t go unnoticed!

    Date

    July 17, 2014 12:00 PM CST

     

    Discover the Top Business Benefits of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)

    Register

    Why should your business focus on Application Lifecycle Management? What benefits will you see to your overall business? How does ALM impact your bottom line? Come attend this free webinar to discover all the answers!

    Date

    July 24, 2014 12:00 PM CST

     

    How to Get Control Over Your Portfolio of Projects with Agile and TFS

    Register

    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 2013. In addition, this session will review and demonstrate the new Enterprise Agile Management capabilities, which enable larger organizations to effectively manage their Agile projects across all their teams. Come join us for this free webcast!

    Date

    August 7, 2014 12:00 PM CST

     

    How to Improve Your Software Deployments with Release Management and TFS 2013

    Register

    As teams try to meet the demand for a more rapid release cadence, one of the biggest pain points they are hitting is managing the releases and creating reliable, repeatable automated deployment. In addition, it is increasingly hard to manage the number of simultaneously in-flight releases. With Team Foundation Server (TFS) 2103, Microsoft now provides new release tooling to help you manage your in-flight releases. In this session, Imaginet will explore and demonstrate this new release management capabilities that will greatly improve your team’s release management experience.

    Date

    August 21, 2014 12:00 PM CST

     

    Enhance Productivity with Distributed Version Control Using Git and Visual Studio 2013

    Register

    Microsoft’s release of Team Foundation 2013 enables you to work locally with a Git (distributed version control) repository and then “sync up” with a central TFS repository. In this session, we will discuss and demonstrate how this new integration works and the advantages that it will provide for your teams. Get best of both distributed version control system (DVCS) and Team Foundation Server with the TFS-Git integration. Come join us for this free webcast!

    Date

    September 4, 2014 12:00 PM CST

     

    Enterprise UX: Project Success with User Experience Design

    Register

    Find out why User Experience Design is the most important process that your development practice needs to adopt to stay ahead of the game. We will identify the fundamentals of UX and explain how you can succeed on your next project.

    Date

    September 18, 2014 12:00 PM CST

     

    Discover the Top Business Benefits of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)

    Register

    Why should your business focus on Application Lifecycle Management? What benefits will you see to your overall business? How does ALM impact your bottom line? Come attend this free webinar to discover all the answers!

    Date

    October 2, 2014 12:00 PM CST

     

    Discover How the Kanban Method Can Kick Start a Culture of Continuous Improvement for Your Organization

    Register

    Kanban was originally created as a scheduling system to help manufacturing organizations determine what to produce, when to produce it, and how much to produce. Although this may not sound like software development, these lean principles can be successfully applied to development teams to improve the delivery of value through better visibility and limits on work in process. This webinar will provide an overview of the Kanban method, including the history and motivation, the core principles and practices, and how these apply to efficiency and process improvement in software development.

    Date

    October 16, 2014 12:00 PM CST

     

    How To Manage Your Test Labs Without The Headaches

    Register

    Several years ago, Microsoft released a bold new feature to support management of virtual test environments. "Lab Management" provided the ability to easily spin up test environments, perform automated build and deployments, run automated tests, and collect diagnostic data. Unfortunately, many teams were discouraged by the infrastructure requirements. With the newest version of Visual Studio and standard environments, even small teams or groups who can't use Microsoft's Hyper-V can still benefit from lab management. This session will demonstrate how to configure your existing environments for many of the same compelling features formerly available only with Hyper-V. Come join us for this free webinar!

    Date

    October 30, 2014 12:00 PM CST

     

    Deliver Higher Quality Software with Automated Coded UI Testing

    Register

    In this webinar, Imaginet will demonstrate how to record tests run against various types of application user interfaces using Microsoft Visual Studio's Coded UI Tests and how to replay them at any time. Additionally, we will explore how to embed validations, either simple or elaborate, to ensure your application is producing the correct results. Learn how to improve the quality of your applications by having a repeatable set of Microsoft Coded UI Tests available to ensure defects don’t go unnoticed!

    Date

    November 13, 2014 12:00 PM CST

     

    Enhance Productivity with Distributed Version Control Using Git and Visual Studio 2013

    Register

    Microsoft’s newest release of Team Foundation 2013 enables you to work locally with a Git (distributed version control) repository and then “sync up” with a central TFS repository. In this session, we will discuss and demonstrate how this new integration works and the advantages that it will provide for your teams. Get best of both distributed version control system (DVCS) and Team Foundation Server with the TFS-Git integration. Come join us for this free webcast!

    Date

    November 20, 2014 12:00 PM CST

     

    Enterprise UX: Project Success with User Experience Design

    Register

    Find out why User Experience Design is the most important process that your development practice needs to adopt to stay ahead of the game. We will identify the fundamentals of UX and explain how you can succeed on your next project.

    Date

    December 4, 2014 12:00 PM CST

     

    Discover How the Kanban Method Can Kick Start a Culture of Continuous Improvement for Your Organization

    Register

    Kanban was originally created as a scheduling system to help manufacturing organizations determine what to produce, when to produce it, and how much to produce. Although this may not sound like software development, these lean principles can be successfully applied to development teams to improve the delivery of value through better visibility and limits on work in process. This webinar will provide an overview of the Kanban method, including the history and motivation, the core principles and practices, and how these apply to efficiency and process improvement in software development.

    Date

    December 18, 2014 12:00 PM CST

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Upcoming Leadership Events: Azure, Agility, and Automation

    • 0 Comments

    Our partner, Northwest Cadence, has been hard at work to build some great new content focused on effective software delivery in the Enterprise.

    Intrigued? Steven Borg gives a sneak peek into Continuous Delivery with Azure, Automation, and Agility (video)

    Here is the full abstract:

    Join Steven Borg and Cheryl Hammond as they deliver a Leadership Roundtable breakfast event with exclusive content designed to help leaders take a practical approach to reaching continuous delivery. Steve and Cheryl are recognized industry experts in enterprise agility and lean/agile transformations. What does that have to do with Continuous Delivery with Azure, Agility, and Automation, you ask? Plenty! Enterprise agility is much more than self-organizing teams and delivering code in short increments. It is also about putting the right technical foundations in place to support those teams for an ever faster delivery cadence.

    This 3-hour Leadership Roundtable will be interactive and fun! Join Steve and Cheryl as they cover Azure, Agility, and Automation –tie them all together – and sheds light on the next steps you can take to deliver code faster.

    AzureAzure: Azure plays an important role in modern continuous delivery practices, as it supports extremely rapid development cycles, near-infinite scaling, and dramatically reduced up-front costs. DevOps and DevTest become accessible to mere mortals when Azure infrastructure and platforms are used. Not only that, but Staging and Production environment management becomes trivial, allowing new releases to be tested in a near clone of the production environment prior to release.
    Agility: Agility is enabled through leadership, and creates the right mindset and processes that support rapid delivery of value.
    AutomationAutomation: Automation is key to delivering at the speed of market. It not only removes human error and speeds work, it can actually transform the team. Once key processes are automated, teams behavior changes. Since small units of functionality can now be delivered quickly, teams begin to shift their thinking and actions in subtle ways that reinforce agility and more frequent deliveries. They even start to decompose requirements more granularly so they can be released in smaller chunks!

    At the end of this Roundtable event, you will leave with a clear understanding of why Azure, Agility, and Automation are key to enterprise agility. You will also have a plan around how to take the next steps with your team.

    Schedule (for any updates, be sure to visit the Northwest Cadence events page):

    Date Location (click to register)
    Sept 3, 9AM-12PM Bellevue, WA
    Sept 8, 9AM-12PM Eagan, MN
    Sept 9, 9AM-12PM Tempe, AZ
    Sept 10, 9AM-12PM Denver, CO
    Sept 11, 9AM-12PM Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept 11, 9AM-12PM Portland, OR
    Sept 16, 9AM-12PM Irvine, CA
    Sept 17, 9AM-12PM San Diego, CA
    Sept 18, 9AM-12PM Palo Alto, CA

    If you have any questions, please contact Rick Flath: rick.flath@nwcadence.com

    I hope to see you at one of these events!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Webcasts: MSDN, Meet Azure. Activate your Benefits

    • 0 Comments

    Active Your MSDN Azure Benefit

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

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

    How?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Now, use it!

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

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

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

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Denver Event: Professional Scrum Development with Visual Studio

    • 0 Comments

    Professional Scrum Development with Visual Studio

    Delivered by Accentient

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

    Where:

    Microsoft
    7595 Technology Way
    Suite 400
    Denver, Colorado 80237

    Registration: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/professional-scrum-development-with-visual-studio-tickets-10727705857

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

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

    Specifically, we will cover these topics:

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

    Complimentary lunch will be provided.

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

    Register here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/professional-scrum-development-with-visual-studio-tickets-10727705857

  • Steve Lange @ Work

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

    • 0 Comments

    ALM Symposium

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

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

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

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

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

    So REGISTER NOW!

    AGENDA

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

    Registration is free, but space is limited.

    REGISTRATION

    Wednesday, April 30th

    Hyatt Regency La Jolla

    3777 La Jolla Village Drive

    San Diego, CA 92122

    Space is limited.

    REGISTER HERE!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 is Here!

    • 0 Comments

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

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

    Work Item Tagging updates

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

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

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

    New CodeLens Indicator: “Incoming Changes”

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

    Git Improvements

    The list is impressive!

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

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

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

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

    There are several other notable improvements, including:

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

    Enjoy!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Visual Studio Online: Migrating from TFS on-premise

    • 0 Comments

    We’ve been providing means to migrate your data from VSO to an in-premise TFS, but not the other way around.  Until now!

    We just announced a new integration service from OpsHub that allows you to migrate your data from your on-premise Team Foundation Server implementation to Visual Studio online.  Full details can be found here, in the Visual Studio Gallery.

    From http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/28a90a17-d00c-4660-b7ae-42d58315ccf2

    While you’re at it, take a look at the other capabilities that OpsHub offers.  They have an amazing line-up of ALM systems that they can integrate with their Integration Manager solution.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Already here: Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 CTP 1

    • 0 Comments

    Yep!  Fresh on the heels of the RTM of VS 2013 Update 2 (I just finished delivering “What’s New” presentations on Update 2 a couple weeks ago), the first CTP for Update 3 is available!  CTP 1 means it’s early, and may not be completely production-ready.  But heck, it’s at least worth checking out!

    Mary Jo Foley mentioned some of the key targets for Update 3; but check out this KB article for the full run-down of features.

    VisualStudio-Logo

    Here is the short list of my favorites:

    • You can use Windows PowerShell or the Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) feature to deploy and manage configuration data. Additionally, you can deploy to the following environments without having to set up Microsoft Deployment Agent:
      • Windows Azure environments
      • On-premise environments (Standard environments)
    • CodeLens authors and changes indicators are now available for Git repositories.
    • You can drag binaries from the Windows file explorer to a code map, and then start exploring binaries by using Code Map.
    • You can skip straight to the details of performance events that are exported from Application Insights to IntelliTrace.

    My absolute favorite piece is the added flexibility to customize test plans and test suite artifacts.  Full details here.

    Enjoy!

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