Steve Lange @ Work

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

  • 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!

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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!)

     

    .

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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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    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!

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    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!

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    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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    VS/TFS 2012 Tidbits: When to Use the Feedback Client

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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!

    When to Use the Feedback Client

    FeedbackOne of the “new” new features of TFS 2012 is the addition of the Microsoft Feedback Client for collecting feedback from stakeholders, end users, etc.  This tool integrates with TFS to provide a mechanism to engage those stakeholders and more seamlessly include their insights in the lifecycle.

    Several of my customers however, perhaps with brains overloaded with the possibilities of this capability, have asked me, “So when exactly do I use this? When do I request feedback?”

    Well, the answer, as it often times is, is “it depends.”

    First, if you aren’t aware of the two ways to use the Microsoft Feedback Client, check out (shameless plug) my previous post covering this.

    The more I play around with this tool and talk about it with customers, the more scenarios I find in which this new 2012 capability adds value.

    Now back to that “it depends” answer.. The key thing to remember for using the feedback capability is that there is no hard and fast rule for when you should use it.  But here are three main scenarios:

    • Voluntary, Unsolicited Feedback – When a stakeholder/end user has something to say, let them say it with the Feedback Client.  Instead of an email, entry on a spreadsheet or SharePoint list, using the Feedback Client leverages the goodness of Team Foundation Server (not to mention proximity to the actual development team) to log, manage, relate, and report on the stakeholder’s insights. If a business analyst or project manager likes the feedback provided, it’s just a few clicks to get a backlog item created from the feedback and shoved onto the backlog.  The feedback then becomes a supporting item for the PBI, helping address any questions as to why the PBI was added to the backlog.
    • User Acceptance Testing (UAT) – When a new feature has been developed and made available for UAT, request feedback from one or more knowledgeable stakeholders to get sign-off.  Linking the feedback request to the PBI/task/bug being tested for acceptance not only gives additional traceability in validating sign-off; but it provides the team additional “clout” if a stakeholder later voices a concern about a feature completion (“You said you liked it, see?”).
    • Checkpoints/Continuous Feedback – Feedback doesn’t have to be just at the beginning and end of a sprint. Any time there’s something new that QA’s already had a run at, why not involve a stakeholder? While you can, you don’t have to wait until a sprint’s over to get feedback.

     From MSDN, “Planning and Tracking Projects”:Planning and Tracking Projects

    What other scenarios can you think of where you could leverage the new feedback capabilities in VS 2012?

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    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.

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    Want More VS 2012 ALM Training? You Got It!

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    VS_Purp526_rgbOur friends at Northwest Cadence are offering a FREE two-event series in August.  These online events cover four individual sessions:

    • Session 1: A Lap Around Visual Studio 2012
      An introduction to the major new features and improvements in Visual Studio 2012. Expect to see the new enhanced User Interface, Agile Planning Tools, Requirements Gathering Tool, Stakeholder Feedback Tool, Updates to the Developer and Tester Experience, Version Control Improvements, and DevOps Integration. The list goes on but the ride starts here, so buckle up and join us for this lap around Visual Studio 2012.
    • Session 2: Visual Studio 2012 for Agile Teams
      Getting the tool out of the way and letting you stay in the zone is a big part of Visual Studio 2012. Come experience the new developer experience and workflows for work items, version control, unit testing, and code reviews. Visualizing your current work and updating status is almost effortless, version control is much more flexible, continuous testing made possible by a new unit testing interface, and a true code review workflow is available for collaboration and feedback.
    • Session 3: Storyboarding and Feedback Manager
      Bringing people with the good ideas into the software development process! Storyboarding and Feedback Manager can dramatically improve the quality of your requirements, and provide the voice of the customer to your development team. Storyboarding allows you to leverage the familiar features of PowerPoint to drive a completely new requirements-gathering experience. Feedback Manager provides a clean, intuitive interface to provide video, voice and image feedback. Both allow for powerful interaction between stakeholders, business analysts, developers, and testers, smoothing out the handoffs to ensure continuous delivery of customer value.
    • Session 4: Leveraging your Microsoft and Northwest Cadence Benefits for Visual Studio 2012
      Join Northwest Cadence as we provide you with an overview of the three (3) DTDPS offerings. We will explain how to activate  and strategically utilize these benefits to enhance your software deployment planning. In addition, we will review how you can connect DTDPS to other Software Assurance benefits within your agreement to ensure you gain the highest return on your investment.

    To reserve your space in an upcoming series, please choose a date:

    For more information, please email Rick.Flath@nwcadence.com

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    VS/TFS 2012 Tidbits: Using SkyDrive/OneDrive with Team Foundation Service (or Server)

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    April 2014 Updates:

    • SkyDrive is now OneDrive
    • Team Foundation Service is now Visual Studio Online

    Team Foundation Server has always had a great integration with SharePoint by allowing organizations to leverage the goodness of SharePoint’s web parts and document libraries.  TFS can surface reports and other statistics to SharePoint so roles that are on more of the periphery of the lifecycle can still check in and see how the project is progressing.  For teams that use document libraries in SharePoint, these libraries can be accessed directly from Team Explorer, allowing developers to stay in Visual Studio (or whatever development tool they’re using) while still consuming supporting documents such as vision documents, wireframes, and other diagrams.

    And in TFS 2012, this integration continues.  However, if you’re using Team Foundation Service (AKA TFS Preview - think TFS in the cloud), it does not currently support SharePoint integration.  So this shortens the ability for teams to leverage document collaboration. 

    This is very applicable to the new Storyboarding with PowerPoint capability in TFS 2012.  You can associate storyboards with any work item in TFS; but to follow those associations and access the artifact on the other end of a link in TFS, that artifact needs to be accessible to people on your team.  Which means that your docs should be somewhere in the cloud or on a public share somewhere on your network.  If you’re using the TF service in part because your team is distributed, a public share may not be viable.  Which leaves the cloud.

    Enter SkyDrive.  SkyDrive is a great way to easily store, access, and share documents online (I share every customer presentation I deliver on SkyDrive).  And with TF Service, you’re most likely using a Live ID/Microsoft ID for authentication, that account gives you at least 7GB of space to play with for free.

    Now, you can use SkyDrive for all sorts of artifacts; but for this post I’ll be doing storyboards.  So consider my basic product backlog below (again, on my TF Service instance): 

    Sample product backlog

    Let’s say that I want to create a storyboard to support and better define “Sample PBI 4”, the second item on my backlog.  Effectively what I need to do is put my PowerPoint storyboard on SkyDrive and build the link between the PPTX and my PBI work item.

    The first thing you need to do is set up a folder (or folder structure) on SkyDrive to support all the documents you will want to associate with items in TFS.  You can create this structure either via the SkyDrive app or on the SkyDrive website as well.  For this example, I created a “TFS” folder in my “Documents” default folder, then added subfolders to store “Documents” and “Storyboards”.  Here is what it looks like:

    SkyDrive folder structure

    Regardless of how you create your structure, you’ll need to go to SkyDrive via the browser and grant permissions for others on your team to view/edit the root folder (in my case “TFS”) and its contents.  Select the root folder, choose the “Share” action, and either have SkyDrive send an email to your teammates or grab the View & Edit link and send it yourself.  Be sure to send it to your teammates’ Live/Microsoft email addresses that are associated with their TF Service account.

    There are two ways to do this, and the best path for you really just depends on if you use the SkyDrive app/client on your local computer.  I’ll describe both ways to do it below; but the end goal is to get your PowerPoint document open from SkyDrive and not your local computer.  This ensures that when you actually create the link from it to the work item in TFS, that the path that’s inserted in the link is a SkyDrive path and not a local one.

    With No SkyDrive App/Client

    If you don’t have it, or don’t’ want to use the SkyDrive app, that’s fine.  It’ll just take you a couple extra steps.

    • On the SkyDrive website, go to the folder in which you want to store your storyboard(s) (in my example TFS\Storyboards).
    • Select Create, then PowerPoint presentation

    Creating a PowerPoint presentation on SkyDrive

    • Specify a name for your storyboard.

    Naming your storyboard

    • After your PowerPoint document is created, it will be opened (blank) in the Microsoft PowerPoint Web App Preview

    PowerPoint Web App Preview

    • Select “OPEN IN POWERPOINT” at the top right.  Allow/confirm all prompts that come your way.

    image

    image

    • This will launch PowerPoint on your machine and open the storyboard you initialized on SkyDrive.

    Skip down to “Once You Have Your Storyboard Open From SkyDrive..”

    With the SkyDrive App/Client

    If you have the SkyDrive app, it’s even easier

    • Open your SkyDrive folder from your file system.
    • Right-click and select to create a new PowerPoint document.

    Creating a new PPTX from the file system

    • Give it a name.
    • Double click on you new PowerPoint document to open it.

    Alternatively, you can also launch PowerPoint, create a new presentation, and save it to your SkyDrive folder. 

    image

    You’ll just want to be sure to save it to SkyDrive before you create any links back to TFS.

    Once You Have Your Storyboard Open From SkyDrive..

    There’s a very quick and easy way to double-check that PowerPoint has opened your document from SkyDrive. Look at the “Save” button and see if it has a smaller “refresh”-looking overlay on the icon.

    Save button detecting an online document.

    Now move on and build your storyboards.

    • When you’re ready to associate it with a work item in TFS, on the Storyboard tab/ribbon, click “Storyboard Links” in the “Team” group.

     

    Selecting the Storyboard Links button

    • Create your link by connecting to your TF Service instance, finding and selecting your work item.  Again in my example, work item #138, “Sample PBI 4”.

    image

    • Save your document (always a good measure, right?)
    • You should now be able to open the associated work item and see the link to the storyboard (by default, the Product Backlog Item work item type has a tab to just show storyboard links.  If you don’t have such a tab, go to the All Links tab and you should see it there.  You can quickly verify that the link to the storyboard is an online link/URL and not a local path (if you see a local path, you didn’t open the PPTX from SkyDrive).  Notice in my example the long HTTPS link to my storyboard that contains docs.live.net and trails with my SkyDrive path (Documents/TFS/Storyboards..).

     

    image

     

    That’s it!  My instructions are probably more detailed than you need, but you’ll see that it’s remarkably easy to do.  The most important thing about linking work items to documents (storyboards, files, whatever) is to make sure that the location passed to TFS for setting up the link is an accessible one.

    Hope this helps, and enjoy!

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    Content from Denver VS 2012 Launch Roadshow

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    thank you signUPDATE:  I just posted the content for the Denver and Lehi roadshows.  The link can be found on my previous post here. http://aka.ms/VS2012Roadshow

     

    First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who attended the roadshow event yesterday in our office.  We really appreciate your attendance, feedback and interaction!

    As I mentioned yesterday, I’ll be posting all the content from the sessions to this blog…. just not quite yet.  The exact same content is going to be delivered in a few additional cities over the next couple of weeks, so in order to not spoil it for others I’ll post the content publicly after a few more stops on this roadshow are complete.

    That said, if you have a pressing need to get the content earlier, contact me directly (stevenl@microsoft.com) and we can work something out!

    Thanks,

    Steve

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    Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 Installfest - Denver (October 9, 2012)

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    My colleague (and ridiculously knowledgeable) Harold Wong will be hosting a Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 Installfest in Denver next week.  I highly encourage you to attend if you have an interest in getting a solid start on these platforms.  In his own words:

    “With the recent RTM of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, I am hearing a lot of interest from people who really want to start kicking the tires of these two new flagship products from Microsoft. If you are interested in getting an evaluation version of Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 installed onto you machine to start playing with, I can help you. I will have bootable thumb drives with Windows 8 Enterprise 90-Day Eval (RTM) and Windows Server 2012 Evaluation (RTM). In addition, I will also provide VHD files that have Windows Server 2012 Evaluation and Windows 8 Enterprise RTM 90 Day Evaluation preinstalled so that we can configure your machine with Boot to VHD (no repartitioning required and keeps your existing OS intact). I will show you how to build your own VHDs so you are armed for the future.”

    This is an informal event where you can come and go at any point during the event window.

    To register, sign up here:  http://hwdenverinstallfest2.eventbrite.com/# (The registration page also lists prerequisites for your laptop, as well as some other stuff to have ready/downloaded prior to arrival).

    This event is also listed through the Colorado Microsoft Developers Meetup group here:  http://www.meetup.com/ColoradoMicrosoftDevelopers/events/82056702/

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    New Office Hours for this Spring

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    As you may or may not know, my primary geography of responsibility is basically the entire western United States.  Scaling to support thousands of customers involves a lot of prioritization, packed travel schedules, and “breadth”-type activities.

    While I think I’m pretty good about replying to email and phone calls (let me know here), I’m always looking for other manners to be more accessible to customers.  To this end, I’ve set up virtual office hours for this spring (running through June 2013).  I’ll be holding office hours every Friday (well, most Fridays ;)) for 1 hour (and will add more time if this becomes at all popular) in the mornings (9AM Pacific, 10AM Mountain).

    To do this, I’m following the lead of some of my peers and using OHours.org to manage online office hours.  Per that site, here’s how it works:

    • Each office hours session is broken into 4 15-minute segments
    • Anyone can RSVP for a 15-minute session
    • Upon RSVP, I’ll send Lync and phone info to you

    I think the advantage to using this process is that I’ll know if anyone plans to show up.  There’s no point in sitting on a Lync call if no one plans to join!

    Here’s the link to view and sign up for my office hours:  http://aka.ms/SteveLangeOfficeHours

    Please feel free to sign up and join me for a chat one of these Friday mornings!

    Let's Meet!

    My Office Hours
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    Upcoming Coffee Talks from Northwest Cadence

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    Here are some upcoming webcasts from our ALM partner Northwest Cadence!  Simply click on the links in the “Code” column to register!

     

    Coffee Talk: Northwest Cadence – A Lap Around Visual Studio 2012

    Summary: An introduction to the major new features and improvements in Visual Studio 2012. Expect to see the new enhanced User Interface, Agile Planning Tools, Requirements Gathering Tool, Stakeholder Feedback Tool, Updates to the Developer and Tester Experience, Version Control Improvements, and DevOps Integration. The list goes on but the ride starts here, so buckle up and join us for this lap around Visual Studio 2012.

    DATE

    TIME

    CODE

    September 28, 2012

    October 12, 2012

    October 26, 2012

    8:30 AM –9:30 AM PST

    8:30 AM –9:30 AM PST

    8:30 AM –9:30 AM PST

    nwclaparound928

    4171027656

    4171109902

    Visit http://nwcadence.com/events for a full list of upcoming events.

    Coffee Talk: Northwest Cadence – Leveraging your SA Benefits

    Summary: Join Northwest Cadence as we provide you with an overview of the three (3) DTDPS offerings. We will explain how to activate and strategically utilize these benefits to enhance your software deployment planning. In addition, we will review how you can connect DTDPS to other Software Assurance benefits within your agreement to ensure you gain the highest return on your investment.

    DATE

    TIME

    CODE

    October 8, 2012

    November 12, 2012

    9:00 AM –10:00 AM PST

    9:00 AM –10:00 AM PST

    4184219112

    4184237166

    Visit http://nwcadence.com/events for a full list of upcoming events.

    Coffee Talk: Northwest Cadence – Introduction to Kanban

    Summary: 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.

    DATE

    TIME

    CODE

    October 10, 2012

    October 24, 2012

    8:30 AM –9:30 AM PST

    8:30 AM –9:30 AM PST

    162401

    162402

    Visit http://nwcadence.com/events for a full list of upcoming events.

    Coffee Talk: Northwest Cadence – Migrating Without Fear: Visual Source Safe to the new TFS2012

    Summary: Moving code from one repository to another has never been the hard part of migrating from VSS to TFS. It’s fast, it’s safe, you keep backups, so what’s the holdup? If your developers have been pushing back because they’re afraid TFS will totally disrupt their daily coding practices, you’re not alone! (And they weren’t entirely wrong.) Local Workspaces in TFS 2012 may be just the thing you need to change the conversation. Learn more about these and other first-class code management features and get your team ready to make the leap!

    DATE

    TIME

    CODE

    October 31, 2012

    November 14, 2012

    8:30 AM –9:30 AM PST

    8:30 AM –9:30 AM PST

    162403

    162406

    Visit http://nwcadence.com/events for a full list of upcoming events.

    Coffee Talk: Northwest Cadence – Refactoring Without Fear: Architecture in the new Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate

    Summary: Refactoring a production application feels an awful lot like trying to swap out the hydraulics on a jumbo jet in the air. On the other hand, sub-standard hydraulics don’t sound so great either. That’s what refactoring is about: improving code to provide long-term stability and maintainability. Done right, it can reduce overall costs and dramatically increase user satisfaction, even accelerate new feature development. In this session, learn the basics of refactoring: what and why to refactor, when and how to work it into your team’s overall process, and key technical strategies like unit testing, automated build, and architectural verification that make technology renewal on-the-fly safer and simpler than ever.

    DATE

    TIME

    CODE

    November 7, 2012

    8:30 AM –9:30 AM PST

    162404

    Visit http://nwcadence.com/events for a full list of upcoming events.

    Coffee Talk: Northwest Cadence – Embracing Modern App Development with Visual Studio 2012

    Summary: Whether it’s Test-Driven Development, Test-First Development, or just plain figuring out whether your code does what you want it to do, unit testing is the standard for modern application development and a must-have for agile teams—but getting started can be a real challenge. What should you test? How granular should your tests be? How do you isolate code? How much code coverage is reasonable? If you’ve hit a wall, you’re not alone.

    Get straightforward, practical guidance you can use today to jump-start your team’s unit testing efforts and finally see for yourself what the big deal is.

    DATE

    TIME

    CODE

    November 19, 2012

    9:00 AM –10:00 AM PST

    162405

    Visit http://nwcadence.com/events for a full list of upcoming events.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Team Foundation Service is Live!

    • 0 Comments

    That’s right!  FKA TFS Preview has graduated to a fully-released service!

    For a graduation present, the official URL has been updated to http://tfs.visualstudio.com.

    TFS Preview will continue as a valid URL for a little while longer, but now that “TFS in the Cloud” is officially online and available, you can start using the new URL.  http://[youraccountname].visualstudio.com.

    The first real pricing option was also announced, the FREE one!  TF Service will be available for free for teams of up to 5 users, and includes all the bells and whistles that you know and love from TFS: version control, work item tracking, agile planning, feedback management, and more.  And not to mention there’s no limit on number of projects.

    Additional pricing plans will be announced as they become available, according to Brian Harry on the TFS news page.

    Enjoy!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    The Largest Hack-a-thon in the World is in Colorado!

    • 0 Comments
    clip_image002Build your one-of-a-kind Windows app at the free Gen Appathon event on November 9th. Join thousands of developers just like you on November 9, 2012 for the world's largest code fest – Gen Appathon. Here's your chance to get down to business and start building your dream app, or polish up the last lines of code on that app you've already started.

    This hackathon was renamed from WowZapp!

    This event is an open hackathon, where you'll put all your coding skills into practice. Code to your heart's content, with experts available for one-on-one consultation to guide you through every step of the process. And did we mention that it's free?

    There's never been a better time to build apps.

    Windows 8 has launched, hardware manufacturers are readying new devices, and millions of consumers are starting to upgrade. We can't guarantee your success, but releasing a first-of-its-kind app in the Windows Store can't hurt your reputation – or your bottom line.

    clip_image004This full-day event will be filled with coding, sharing, plenty of food, and the occasional Lightning Talk on topics determined by your apps and questions. Bring your own laptop (for recommended system specs, click on the city nearest you), your apps and your best ideas, and get ready to create!

    Prizes will be awarded for best Win 8 app, best Windows Phone app, and best use of Azure. Register today and join us for this fantastic (and free) developer opportunity.

    Bring your laptop and your brilliant ideas for that new Windows 8 app. We’ll help you code it. Gen Appathon is a free hackathon happening on November 9 in cities nationwide. It’s the perfect chance to build your dream app, or put the finishing touches on that app you’ve already started. Either way, you’ll get one-on-one support from Microsoft and community experts who can guide you at every step of the way. We’ll also award prizes for best Win 8 app, best Windows phone app, and best use of Azure. Register today and don’t miss this full day of coding, food, prizes and hands-on consultation.

    Here’s the information

    Will I see you there?

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    December Webcast: Improve Quality, Collaboration, and Visibility into Your Projects with Visual Studio Premium 2012

    • 0 Comments

    Delivered by Imaginet

    VS_Purp526_rgb-smallMicrosoft Visual Studio 2012 Premium offers an array of tools for managing your entire software lifecycle, including: planning, development, building, testing, tracking, and deployment.  We will discuss and demonstrate how the Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 Premium Edition can take your software development to a whole new level that cannot be achieved with the Visual Studio 2012 Professional Edition alone.  Come join us for this free webinar!

    Register here: https://clicktoattend.microsoft.com/en-us/Pages/EventDetails.aspx?EventID=163437

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Upcoming Visual Studio 2012 ALM Webcasts from Imaginet

    • 0 Comments

     

    Imaginet is thrilled to provide you with exclusive invitations to our Winter Webcast Series covering a variety of new topics on Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2012 ALM Tools. 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!

     

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

    The newest release of Visual Studio 2012 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 Webinar!

    January 10, 2013
    1:00-2:30pm CT

    January 24, 2013
    1:00-2:30pm CT

     

     

    Top 10 Business Benefits of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)

    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!

    January 14, 2013
    1:00-2:00pm CT

     

     

    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.

    January 17, 2013
    1:00-2:30pm

    January 31, 2013
    1:00-2:30pm

     

     

    How Microsoft's ALM Tools Can Improve Your Bottom Line

    Improved efficiencies, enhanced productivity, reduction of wasted time and effort, and improved team collaboration. Each of these benefits that result from adopting a  successful ALM strategy will all help your bottom line.  Come find out how at this free webinar!

    February 4, 2013
    1:00-2:00pm CT

     

     

    Upgrading to TFS 2012: What You Need to Know!

    Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 brings a number of new features into the integrated ALM toolset.  With new features like PowerPoint Storyboarding, Integrated Code Review Features, Stakeholder Feedback, and a newly integrated Developer / Operations Workflow, you will quickly find many reasons to upgrade to Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server 2012!   In this webinar, we'll briefly discuss the breadth of new ALM features. Come join us for this free Webinar!

    February 7, 2013
    1:00-2:30pm CT

    February 21, 2013
    1:00-2:30pm CT

     

     

    Getting Started With Coded UI testing: Building Your First Automated Test

    This training seminar 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!

    February 14, 2013
    1:00-2:30pm CT

    February 28, 2013
    1:00-2:30pm CT

     

     

    Lean, Kanban, and TFS

    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.  We'll also describe how Team Foundation Server can be used as a foundation for your work visualization and work flow management.  Come join us for this free Webinar!

    March 7, 2013
    1:00-2:30pm CT

    March 21, 2013
    1:00-2:30pm CT

     

     

    Using Lean and Kanban to Revolutionize Your Organization

    With the introduction of Lean and Kanban into the software developments, teams are now starting to discover how to leverage these principles to revolutionize how they do business.  Come find out how you can use Lean and Kanban together with Microsoft TFS to make dramatic improvements in your organization!

    March 11, 2013
    1:00-2:00pm CT

     

     

    The Newest of the New with Visual Studio and TFS 2012

    By itself, Visual Studio 2012 included many compelling new features not available in prior releases.  But Microsoft hasn't stopped.  Since the production release in August 2012, Microsoft has continued to release more new capabilities. In this session we'll walk through some of the latest and greatest enhancements that you can use in your Visual Studio and TFS 2012 environment.

    March 14, 2013
    1:00-2:30pm CT

    March 28, 2013
    1:00-2:30pm CT

     

    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

    Finding What’s Out of Date In your Workspace

    • 0 Comments

    A couple of customers have asked me about this in the past couple of weeks:  “How can I tell in my workspace, how far out of date are my files?”

    TFS knows if your file is out-of-date and will tell you simply by showing you a “No” in the Latest column in Source Control Explorer:

    Source Control Explorer

    But what if you want to know how far out of date your file is?  You can see this by accessing the properties of the file (right-click, select Advanced->Properties):

    File properties

    As you can see in the above screenshot, I’m one version behind.

    Easy, right?

    But what if I want to know this for all the files in my workspace?  Using the built-in mechanisms, I’d have to look at the properties of each file that shows “No” in the Latest column.  That could take a while!

    As a side note, if I don’t care how far out of date I am, but I at least want to know all the files that are out-of-date, I could use the /preview switch on the command line tf get:

    command line

    Notice that a.txt and d.txt in the command line correspond with what’s shown as out-of-date in the first screenshot. (BTW, nothing actually happened because I specified /preview.  And the “Replacing” tells me that these files need to be replaced, or “caught up”.

    However, let’s assume I want to know the workspace and server versions for all my files that are outdated in my workspace.  There’s not a very convenient manner to do this without several clicks, but it’s surprisingly easy through the TFS API.

    Here’s a quick, full sample console application that:

    1. Connects to my TFS server (only works for “on prem” TFS, not TF Service (it will work, but not by using WindowsIdentity))
    2. Grabs your workspace
    3. For each file in your workspace, checks to see if the workspace version is different than the server version.
    4. Spits everything out to the console.

    The code isn’t anything special (I’m not a developer by trade), but it works.

    using Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Client;
    using Microsoft.TeamFoundation.VersionControl.Client;
    using System;
    using System.Collections.Generic;
    using System.Linq;
    using System.Security.Principal;
    using System.Text;
    using System.Threading.Tasks;
    
    namespace WorkspaceVersions
    {
        class Program
        {
            private const string _TfsUrl = "http://<myTFS>/defaultcollection";
            private const string _TfsProject = "$/<myproject>";
            private const bool _OnlyListOutOfDate = true;
    
            static void Main(string[] args)
            {
                Print("Connecting to TFS..");
                // Connect to the team project collection and the server that hosts the 
                // version-control repository. 
                TfsTeamProjectCollection tpc = new TfsTeamProjectCollection(
                   new Uri(_TfsUrl));
                VersionControlServer vcServer = tpc.GetService<VersionControlServer>();
                
                // Get workspace versions
                ListWorkspaceVersions(vcServer, _TfsProject);
    
                Print("");
                Print("Finished.");
    
                Console.ReadLine();
            }
    
            /// <summary>
            /// Silly convenience method for printing a line of text to the console.
            /// </summary>
            /// <param name="text"></param>
            private static void Print(string text)
            {
                Console.WriteLine(text);
            }
            private static void ListWorkspaceVersions(VersionControlServer vcs, string project)
            {
                Print("Getting workspace..");
                var workspace = vcs.QueryWorkspaces(null, WindowsIdentity.GetCurrent().Name, 
                    System.Environment.MachineName).First();
    
                Print("Getting working folder for the project..");
                var folder = workspace.Folders.First(f => f.ServerItem == project);
    
                Print("Getting local versions..");
                List<LocalVersion[]> items = workspace.GetLocalVersions(new[] { 
                    new ItemSpec(folder.LocalItem, RecursionType.Full) }, 
                    false).ToList<LocalVersion[]>();
    
                if (_OnlyListOutOfDate)
                    Print("NOTE: Only listing items which are out-of-date");
    
                foreach (LocalVersion[] locals in items)
                {
                    foreach (LocalVersion item in locals)
                    {
                        int serverversion = vcs.QueryHistory(
                            new ItemSpec(workspace.GetServerItemForLocalItem(item.Item),RecursionType.Full),
                            1).First<Changeset>().ChangesetId;
                        if ((_OnlyListOutOfDate && (serverversion != item.Version)) || _OnlyListOutOfDate == false)
                        {
                            Print(item.Item);
                            Print(String.Format("   Server: {0}, Local: {1}", serverversion, item.Version));
                        }
                    }
                }
            }
        }
    }
    

    If you are comfortable in the command line, this may work out well for you.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Event Series: Why Requirements Still Matter

    • 0 Comments

     

    image

    In the world of Scrum or Agile, do requirements really still matter that much? Well, if you want to compete in the world of the modern application, absolutely!

    In fact, they matter more than ever. Shorter release cycles mean that typical impediments to value delivery impact the application lifecycle more than ever. The challenge of “getting requirements right” is crucial to getting the right thing out the door before your competitors do.

    Come join us for this half-day event where we’ll:

    • Examine the impact that these compacted release cycles have on the application lifecycle and how they apply to the world of requirements.
    • Explore how Microsoft Team Foundation Server can serve as the mechanism to manage your requirements as well as how they integrate with the rest of the lifecycle.
    • Showcase InteGREAT by eDev Technologies, a robust requirements lifecycle management platform that can help teams meet the ever evolving needs of the modern application world.

    We’re bringing this unique event to four (4) cities throughout the Western US.  Click on the city closest to you to register! (Oh, and this event is FREE!)

    I hope you can make it!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Build conference is coming!

    • 0 Comments

     

    image

    Microsoft’s Build conference is on its way to San Francisco June 26th-28th!  Come see all the goodness around developing great experiences around Windows, Windows Phone, Windows Azure, IE, Office 365, and Xbox!

    Registration opens at 09:00am PDT, April 2, 2013
    Early bird (first 500): $1,595 | Full: $2,095

    So don’t forget to register!  Oh, and you can follow Build on Twitter as well: Follow @bldwin

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Imaginet Visual Studio Workshops and Webinars

    • 0 Comments

    Check out the latest round of webinars from Imaginet! Click on the date/time to register..

    image

    Top Business Benefits of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)

    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!

    April 1, 2013
    1:00 - 2:00 pm CT

    June 3, 2013
    1:00 - 2:00 pm C
    T

    Quality Coding: What’s New in Visual Studio 2012

    The newest release of Visual Studio 2012 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 Webinar!

    April 4, 2013
    1:00 - 2:30 pm CT

    April 18, 2013
    1:00 - 2:30 pm CT

    May 9, 2013
    1:00 - 2:30 pm CT

    May 23, 2013
    1:00 - 2:30 pm CT

    Getting Started with Coded UI Testing: Building Your First Automated Test

    This training seminar 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!

    April 11, 2013
    1:00 - 2:30 pm CT

    April 25, 2013
    1:00 - 2:30 pm CT

    June 13, 2013
    1:00 - 2:30 pm CT

    June 27, 2013
    1:00 - 2:30 pm CT

    The How, What, and Why of Performance Testing Your Applications

    Verifying that a system works with a single user does not mean it will work in real-life scenarios.  Performance testing allow you to simulate real-world scenarios to verify your system will function and perform after real users start using it.  This session will demonstrate how Microsoft's Visual Studio 2012 can be used to perform both stress and load tests against a variety of technologies.  Come join us for this free Webinar!

    May 2, 2013
    1:00 - 2:30 pm C
    T

    Managing Test Labs Without Headaches

    In 2010, Microsoft released a bold new features 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.

    Now, with Visual Studio 2012 and standard environments, even small teams or groups that 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 formally available only with Hyper-V. Come join us for this free Live Web Workshop!

    June 6, 2013
    1:00 - 2:30 pm CT

    June 20, 2013
    1:00 - 2:30 pm CT

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Upcoming Webcasts from Northwest Cadence

    • 0 Comments

    Northwest Cadence has some webcasts in the hopper – check them out!

     

    Date and Time

    Title

    Registration

    4/8/2013

    9:00 – 10:00am PT

    Agile Development using

    Visual Studio 2012

    168884

    4/9/2013

    9:00 – 10:00am PT

    Not Just a Developer’s IDE: Testers Using the “Developer Testing” Tools in VS

    168885

    4/23/2013

    9:00 – 10:00am PT

    Not Just a Developer’s IDE: Testers Using the “Developer Testing” Tools in VS

    168886

    5/1/2013

    9:00 – 10:00am PT

    Introducing the New Git Integration with TFS 2012

    168887

    5/13/2013

    9:00 – 10:00am PT

    Storyboarding and Feedback Manager

    168888

    6/10/2013

    9:00 – 10:00am PT

    Unit Testing Without Fear

    168889

    6/17/2013

    9:00 – 10:00am PT

    A Lap Around Microsoft Test manager (MTM)

    168891

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