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!
Thanks for bearing with me through the summer! Summertime at Microsoft usually involves a lot of planning, meaning I was either heads-down in an Office document or on vacation. :)
A lot has happened in the last couple of months! A quick recap:
If you’ve been hiding under a rock, you probably didn’t hear about the //Build conference in September in Anaheim, CA. It was at that conference that Microsoft took off some of the covers surrounding Windows 8; and more specifically the developer experience around Windows 8.
We released not only a Windows developer preview guide (PDF | XPS), but an ISO containing a preview build of Windows 8 and configured dev tools. Pick your poison here!
Also at //Build we announced the availability of the Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview for MSDN subscribers. Jason Zander’s post does a great job previewing some of the notable capabilities in Dev 11. Oh, did I mention this Team Foundation Server 11 is also available as an early preview? There is also a pre-configured VM for you to check out if you don’t feel like doing any heavy lifting.
And while we’re talking about TFS, another preview you should really take advantage of is TFS on Azure (yup, hosted TFS in the cloud). Brian Harry has more details.
Visual Studio LightSwitch 2011 released as well in July. LightSwitch is the newest member of the Visual Studio family and is the easiest way to build business applications (think “screens + data”) for both the desktop and the cloud. Read more in my post about it.
Here’s what’s coming up in October!
Windows Phone Camps – Coming soon to a city near you! Take advantage and learn everything you need to know about developing on the latest version of the Windows Phone OS, including tips for monetizing your application.
I want to end with a quick note about my role – it’s changing! Okay, not too much, but my focus is shifting in terms of territory and customer account alignment. Before, I was focused on larger accounts in our Southwest District. Now my role is taking me across the Western US (basically Colorado and westward) working with smaller and mid-sized customers. So it’s by no means a goodbye as I’ll most likely just be next door.. As always, if you’re not sure who your Microsoft developer tools contact is, just ping me and I can get you in touch with the right person.
Northwest Cadence and Microsoft are teaming up to bring you this free event!
During this seminar, we will cover two Agile topics, tying together testing and ALM inside an agile team. First, we will start with testing, highlighting the tools and techniques that can enable an agile test team that works tightly with the developers. Then we will broaden our vision to explore agility across the entire team. We will not only highlight the Visual Studio tools that can help you get to agility, we will directly address the difficult challenges teams have when adopting agile or lean principles. We will provide tips, tricks and cautions; case studies; and the key foundational reasons agile and lean techniques can work for your organization.
Morning Session: Agile Testing 10am – 12pm
Afternoon Session: Agile ALM 12:30pm – 4:30pm Agile methods have changed how the software industry creates applications. New best practices have emerged to embrace a faster team-based approach to the challenges inherent in software delivery. Every aspect of application development - requirements, estimation, development, test, and deployment - benefits from new ideas and techniques.
This seminar will help you understand how to lead software projects and move your team onto agile methods for greater productivity and higher quality applications. It will define the domain and terminology, methods for managing the effort, and how roles have changed across the team in the agile world.
For the already agile, here’s the User Story for the training: "As a leader or team member in the enterprise software development process, I want to leverage a small number of key techniques and principles to dramatically and measurably improve my development practices, so that my organization can deliver more customer value, at faster intervals, to my customers."
At the end of the event we will provide a quick walk through of what’s coming in Visual Studio vNext!
I hope you can make it! All you have to do is register:
For questions about this event series, contact Rick Flath at Northwest Cadence.
If you haven’t already noticed, the web marketplace for Windows Phone is now online and available. Now you can browse all the apps available for your phone and purchase (if they’re not free) them online – purchases will simply be charged against the credit card already linked to your Windows Live ID. The marketplace will then send you a text or email containing a link to your acquired application for you to directly download and install. Simple!
Fun, Free and For All
A free, full day event chock-full of everything you need to know to develop a Windows Phone application. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or just getting started with .NET development this full-day event is for you. Interested in profit? We'll also lead discussions on how to monetize your applications and generate profits with your apps.
Don't miss the new Windows Phone 7.5 (codename "Mango") features as well - with detailed sessions in the afternoon around Fast Application Switching, Multitasking, Live Tiles, Push Notifications, and more.
The day will be capped with an open lab hands-on session and prizes for apps completed. This is the perfect opportunity to begin work on your dream application, or finish that app you've already started, with Windows Phone experts there to guide you every step of the way. Bring your own laptop to join in the fun and show off your killer app!
Arrival & Registration
Windows Phone 7.5 Overview for Developers
Building Windows Phone 7.5 Applications with Visual Studio
Building Windows Phone 7.5 Applications with Silverlight
Windows Phone 7.5 Fast Application Switching, Tombstoning, and Multitasking
Live Tiles and Push Notifications
Monetizing a Windows Phone 7.5 Application
Build Your App or Work on a Hands-On Lab
Be What's Next > Event Closing & Raffle
Register today! Simply select the event location below you want to attend and register from there!
Event Locations 10/13 – Costa Mesa, CA 11/03 – Phoenix, AZ 11/05 – Denver, CO 11/10 – Santa Monica, CA 11/12 – San Diego, CA 11/19 – San Francisco, CA 11/29 – Redmond, WA 12/01 – Portland, OR Events run from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Prerequisites Bring a notebook computer and identification. Also check out the APP HUB where you can get developer tools, learn about application features, understand common task for Apps and register and load your APP. Your chance to win* Don't miss a chance to win your very own Windows Phone (ARV $500) – plus many other cool prizes. No purchase necessary, but you must be present to win.
Notes: This event is brought to you by Microsoft and is free of charge. However, you are responsible for booking and paying for your own travel and accommodations.
Thanks to everyone who attended today’s Denver event focusing on Lab Management in Visual Studio 2010 (and thanks also to Sirk for presenting)!
I’ve put some of the questions asked today below with their corresponding answers. I hope you found the event worthwhile!
When I snapshot my virtual machine in Lab Management, can I also snapshot the database server as well?
When you snapshot in Lab Management, the entire environment (which is 1 or more virtual machines) is snapshot at the same time. So if your database server is included in the Lab Management environment, it will also get snapshot.
Are there keyboard shortcuts for marking test steps as pass/fail in Test Runner?
Yes. You can use Win+Ctrl+Q and Win+Ctrl+W respectively. Check here for a full list of keyboard shortcuts in Test Manager.
How can I import test cases/steps from Excel into Test Manager?
Your best bet is the TCM Import tool on CodePlex, called “Test Case Migrator Plus”.
How does a Coded UI Test (or Action Recording) find controls?
Is uses MSAA (Microsoft Active Accessibility) to find controls in an application. This means there is no screen-scraping or coordinate-mapping, which is a good thing. Your tests will still work if you move a control on the screen. If you rename a control, the DOM searching technology in the test framework will broaden its search to try and locate the control again. Because of this, not EVERY single framework in the world is supported. For a complete list of supported configurations, click here.
Why is IE9 not a browser type available when setting up a web performance or load test?
Probably because IE9 hadn’t been released when VS 2010 RTM’d. For a full list of available browser types, click here.
Where are the load test results stored?
The results are stored in a SQL server database of your choosing. You can store them in the same SQL Server as TFS, but it’s not recommended.
Brian Harry yesterday posted a preview of some of the key new capabilities in the upcoming August 2011 TFS Power Tools. I won’t steal any of Brian’s thunder (his post has more details and screenshots), but highlights include:
What are Power Tools anyway (in TFS terms – not construction terms)?
TFS Power Tools are a set of enhancements, tools and command-line utilities that extend or build upon existing functionality in Team Foundation Server. These pieces of functionality often are capabilities to be included in a future release of TFS that were either finished early, or pushed up the backlog due to high customer demand.
It’s also important to note that since these Power Tools are released “out-of-band”, they are not officially (yet) supported. That said, Power Tools are well-tested, and are supported via the TFS Power Tools & Add-ons discussion forum.
So keep an eye on the August Power Tools release on the Power Tools homepage, and get it when it’s available!
Woot! Visual Studio LightSwitch 2011 RTM’d today, marking a great day for the Visual Studio family.
Visual Studio LightSwitch is the latest edition of the Visual Studio family and is by far the simplest way to build business applications for the desktop and the cloud. This has benefits for both the “end user” developer and the professional developer.
For the end-user developer, you can quickly create professional quality business applications with minimal (or perhaps no) code. Think “screens over data”, LightSwitch allows you to easily construct line of business applications that not only just work, but are automatically built in a way that is scalable and maintainable.
For the professional developer, you can customize LightSwitch with your own controls, code, and extensions. (Not to mention that LightSwitch takes some of the “hey can you build this for me real quick” –type requests that come from the business off your plate.)
Looking for additional details? Read Jason Zander’s announcement post, or the notice on the LightSwitch Team Blog.
Still not sure exactly what LightSwitch is? Maybe this video will help:
If you have an MSDN subscription, LightSwitch is in your subscriber downloads area and is ready for you to grab. If you don’t have an MSDN subscription, take it for a test drive today (90 days).
There are several ways to get started:
If you played with any of the betas, you’ll notice several new, welcome additions to LightSwitch. One of my favorites is the inclusion of starter kits, templates to get you quickly ramped toward solving common business needs. These kits include templates for:
LightSwitch will give your team a leg up in enabling all breeds of developers to quickly and reliably build LOB applications for both the desktop and cloud. Welcome to the Visual Studio family, LightSwitch!
Microsoft and Sirk Technologies are proud to offer this half-day live event – during which we will demonstrate the testing and quality assurance lifecycle using Visual Studio 2010 and Team Foundation Server. Join us as we dive into the testing tools and testing process you can use to dramatically improve the effectiveness of your QA and Test efforts.
Attend this half-day event to discover:
Now come see it all. In action. Today.
This training event is geared towards QA managers, technical and non-technical testers, business analysts, and quality-conscious developers working on cross-functional teams.
Register for a date & location near you!
Welcome: 8:00 AM (Local Time) Seminar: 8:30 AM-12:30 PM (Local Time)
Seating is limited. Register online with Event Code or call 1-877-MSEVENT.
August 9, 2011
August 11, 2011
August 16, 2011
August 23, 2011
August 25, 2011
August 30, 2011
Mountain View, CA
[7/15 Update: This post's workaround doesn't apply for Windows Phone 'Mango', just the currently available retail version of WP7. OneNote section groups are fully recognized in 'Mango'.]
I recently came across this issue with Windows Phone 7 (once I got it in late May, thanks Verizon): I maintain a (what I consider to be) highly-organized OneNote 2010 notebook for interactions with my customers. I use a new feature of OneNote 2010: section groups. This allows me to structure my notebook like this:
(you get the picture)
This topology lets me have a full section for each customer. Using section groups to group customers by state is very helpful for me in that it logically organizes my notes based on where I’m traveling for a given week.
And having OneNote on my phone is really slick – I can quickly review notes for a customer before a meeting begins, or take quick notes on my phone to record impromptu tidbits of information. With my notes automatically syncing to SkyDrive, my notebook is always up-to-date, regardless of the device I’m using (phone, 2 laptops, or desktop). Nice!
But I ran into a snag. Remember my love for section groups? That feature isn’t supported in OneNote for WP7. When I open the notebook on WP7 I can only see the Summary section – section groups aren’t recognized – so I can’t see my customer notes!
In doing some searching online, I found this thread on Microsoft Answers in which a workaround was published:
This will open the section group as a notebook on your phone. While not ideal, it does give you access to the contents of your section group. So in my scenario, I emailed myself (in a single email) links to the section group for each state: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Other. Since each of these section groups have no nested section groups, I’m golden. It’s a little work, but you only have to do it once for each section group.
Now, when I go to OneNote on my phone, I see:
So what does it all boil down to? OneNote on WP7 doesn’t recognize section groups (OneNote 2010), but it can recognize them as “root” notebooks. So email yourself the link to each section group and WP7 will see each section group as a notebook. If you have nested section groups, you’ll need to pick and choose which ones you really want to have available on your phone and do the email/open process for each one.
I hope this helps someone out there!
Earlier this month, the ALM Rangers team released two newly-completed projects to CodePlex, the Rangers Lab Management Guide and the Rangers Build Customization Guide.
I expect you to find both guides valuable as you further your usage of Team Foundation Server 2010. Below are some details for each project. Selfishly, I’m especially fond of the second one (I was a contributing author):
This project has the primary goal of delivering scenario based and hands-on guidance for the planning, setup, configuration and usage of Visual Studio Lab Management, backed by custom VM Template automation for reference environments.
The content is packaged in 3 separate zip files to give you the choice of selective downloads. The default download is the first of the listed packages:
Guidance, which includes scenario based practical guidance and frequently asked questions.
Hands-on Labs (HOL), which includes the HOL documents that provide walkthroughs of the technology, based on the guidance
HOL Package, which includes a HOL environment setup package which allows you to setup the HOL environment in your own environment
The Epics included in the guidance are:
This project has the primary goal of delivering scenario based and hands-on lab guidance for the customization and deployment of Team Foundation Build 2010 activities such as versioning, code signing, and branching.
The content for this project is provided in individual packages to allow you to be selective in what you get:
For additional information related to this project, check out Willy’s post.
Like what you see? Check out the full list of Rangers projects. Also, be sure to read about who the Rangers are!