Steve Lange @ Work

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

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Hey Slange, where have you been?


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

    My newest little guy, Caden Jax

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    The Visual Studio 2010 & .NET 4 Launch is Here




    Join us for a free, in-person event you won’t want to miss
    Join a select group of developers for an event near you and get hands-on experience with Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2010.
    Learn about the rich application platforms that Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 supports, including Windows® 7, the Web, SharePoint® 2010, Windows Azure, and Windows Phone 7 Series. Visual Studio 2010 is packed with new and enhanced features that simplify the entire development process from design to deployment. From all new multi monitor support to SharePoint and Silverlight tools out of the box, there’s a lot to love in 2010.
    Attend presentations, demos, and training from Microsoft engineers, evangelists and partners and see for yourself the power of Visual Studio 2010:

    • Learn how Visual Studio 2010 helps drive tighter team collaboration across the entire software development lifecycle.
    • See how quickly you can build rich websites with ASP.NET MVC 2 and Dynamic Data.
    • Learn about the powerful capabilities of the new Windows Phone 7 Series application platform and the familiar tools experience that Visual Studio 2010 provides for developers.
    • Find out how easy it is to leverage your existing code and move to the cloud with Windows Azure.



    Denver, CO

    Tuesday, April 20

    LA (Costa Mesa), CA

    Tuesday, May 18

    San Francisco, CA

    Thursday, May 20

    Seattle, WA

    Thursday, May 27

    Get session details >>

    Can’t make the dates above? Register for our half-day, in-person events featuring      
    Launch 2010 highlights in a city near you.



    Fort Collins, CO

    Wednesday, April 21

    Phoenix, AZ

    Thursday, April 22

    San Diego, CA

    Monday, May 3

    Albuquerque, NM

    Tuesday, May 4

    Salt Lake City, UT

    Wednesday, May 5

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuesday, May 11

    Sacramento, CA

    Wednesday, May 19

    Portland, OR

    Wednesday, May 26

    Boise, ID

    Thursday, June 3

    Mountain View, CA

    Tuesday, June 15

    We’re looking forward to seeing you at one of these events! If you prefer I not send you these types of communications, just let me know. To learn how to manage your contact preferences for other parts of Microsoft, please read our Privacy Statement.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Released: Visual Studio Performance Testing Quick Reference Guide (Version 2.0)


    vs2010logo A great new updated reference from the VSTS Rangers group!

    This guidance is a collaborative effort by VSTS Rangers, Microsoft Services, and VSTS Product Team.
    VSTS Rangers.  This guidance was created in a VSTS Ranger project. VSTS Rangers is a special group with members from the VSTS Product Team and Microsoft Services. Their mission is to provide out of band solutions for missing features or guidance.

    What is in the package?

    This version of the QRG is a PDF file with a total of 160 articles (93 of these are either new or updated from the previous version) that are all meant to provide quick information about various aspects of performance testing with Visual Studio. Here is a list of categories that these articles pertain to:

    • How It Works
    • Items new to VSTT 2010
    • Configurations and Settings
    • Networks, IP Spoofing, Test Startups
    • Performance Counters and Data
    • Performance Counter Considerations on Rigs with slow links
    • Data and Results
    • Errors and Known Issues
    • Troubleshooting
    • Extensibility
    • Items not specific to the VSTS testing platform

    You can get the guidance in its full glory from it’s project site on CodePlex.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Interested? March Architect Innovation Cafe Webcasts


    In case any of this interests you, there are a couple of great webcasts coming this way during this month.  See below!


    March 25, 2010 at 1:00pm – 2:00pm EST

    Title: Extending Your Sites Reach with IE8 Add On Features

    Abstract Today's users are getting more sophisticated and they expect more features from the sites and services they use. In this session learn about how to implement low effort, high value add-ons that expand your sites reach and bring value to your customer base .

    Link to Register:

    Jim Cirone
    Architect Evangelist, Microsoft

    Jim Cirone is an Architect Evangelist with Microsoft's Developer and Platform Evangelism team. He joined the DPE team 3 years ago after spending 10 years in Microsoft's services group architecting and delivering complex solutions. In his current role he is focused on new and emerging web technologies.


    March 26, 2010 at 1:00pm – 2:00pm EST

    Title: Windows Azure Design Patterns

    Abstract: One of the challenges in adopting a new platform is finding usable design patterns that work for developing effective solutions. The Catch-22 is that design patterns are discovered and not invented. Nevertheless it is important to have some guidance on what design patterns make sense early in the game.

    This webcast attacks the problem through a set of application scenario contexts, Azure features and solution examples. It is unique in its approach and the fact that it includes the use of features from all components of the Windows Azure Platform including the Windows Azure OS, Windows Azure AppFabric and SQL Azure. In this webcast you will learn about the components of the Windows Azure Platform that can be used to solve specific business problems.

    Link to Register:

    Bill Zack
    Architect Evangelist, Microsoft

    Bill Zack is an Architect Evangelist with Microsoft. He comes to this role after serving as a Solutions Architect in the Financial Services Unit of Microsoft Consulting Services. His experience includes developing, supporting and evangelizing .NET/SOA based frameworks used to jump-start development projects for financial services companies.

    Stay Connected:

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  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta – Thank you and goodnight!


    Last Saturday I had the opportunity to present two sessions at the Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta in downtown Denver.  The event itself was incredibly well-attended, with well over 400 people showing up early on a Saturday morning.  What a successful day!

    Dave and Julie Yack involved me in the keynote as well (probably against their better judgment, but it was fun all the same).

    I had mentioned earlier that I’d be doing two sessions, the second of which was entitled, “TFS: Team Development on Crack”.  About 40 people showed up, so it either must’ve been the outside hope of actually getting crack swag, or that there were no other intriguing sessions at that time.  But I had a blast presenting on Team Foundation Server 2010 with a “crack-centric” slant.

    Here is my presentation on SlideShare (for some reason, embedding isn’t working too well, so you get a link instead):


    To those of you who attended, thanks for stopping by!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Support for VS 2010 from Micro Focus


    VS 2010 LogoVisual Studio 2010 is packed with capabilities.  If you’re still yearning for more and have some of the below products, this may interest you!

    The folks at Micro Focus have announced four product integrations with Visua Studio 2010, which are planned to be released before the end of May.

    If you don’t remember, Micro Focus last year acquired Borland Software and Compuware’s testing business.  They’re doing something with their new assets!

    For additional info, check out:

    Micro Focus logo (from following products are expected to be released with Visual Studio 2010 integration before the end of May:

    • Visual COBOL 2010 is Micro Focus’s world-class COBOL environment. The product includes support for both native and managed code (full support for multi-targeting & .NET 4.0); new lighter-weight COBOL syntax that permits COBOL programs to be written in a style similar to Visual Basic.NET; includes new features in Visual Studio 2010, such as editor adornments. This product will also form the basis of the new managed code mainframe migration offering, which is scheduled for a July 2010 announcement at the WPC.
    • SilkTest integration permits tests authored using Borland SilkTest to be integrated with Team Foundation Server build processes, and managed through Microsoft Test Manager in Visual Studio Test Professional 2010. Micro Focus plans to offer the SilkTest integration add- free of charge to existing SilkTest customers on maintenance.
    • Micro Focus DevPartner provides additional static and run-time analysis capability within Visual Studio, enhancing the quality & reliability of both managed and native applications. It is in use currently by a number of internal Microsoft development teams.
    • Analyzer Express is a first offering of the Modernization Workbench technology acquired from Relativity Technologies. It provides enhanced code understanding such as data flow analysis and code slicing.
  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Developer Evangelist Needed in Phoenix! (+ a couple other openings)


    My team (Developer & Platform Evangelism) is looking to hire a Developer Evangelist based out of Phoenix.  You can read all about the job HERE on Microsoft’s Careers page.

    Know of anyone, or interested for yourself?  If so, either apply for the job directly or ping me if you have any questions!

    But wait, that’s not all!  We have other openings on my regional team:

    Scott Kerfoot has posted all three jobs on his blog, along with a brief FAQ.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Power Tools are Available for TFS 2010 RC


    Yup, they’re here!  We didn’t know if there would be any as the team preps for the impending launch, but…


    Quick Tip:  If you have any other 2010 TFS Power Tools installed remove those first (if you have 2008 tools, you should be fine).


  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Ready for a Read? VS 2010 Licensing White Paper is Available


    So you’ve probably heard me talk about it before – VS 2010 is simplified from VS 2008 in terms of SKU choices, MSDN subscriptions, prices, etc.

    Too good to be true?  Kinda.  While the product and licensing model became more simplified, the licensing white paper became longer (up from 11-13 pages to about 30).  Personally, I blame font size, margins, and lots of example scenarios.

    That all said, the Visual Studio 2010 Licensing White Paper is now available on Microsoft Downloads.

    This white paper provides an overview of the Visual Studio 2010 product line and the licensing requirements for those products in common deployment scenarios.

    For volume licensing customers who need a definitive guide to licensing terms and conditions, they should reference the Microsoft Licensing Product Use Rights (PUR) and applicable licensing agreements. For retail customers the license terms are specified in the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) included with your product.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Happy Valentine’s (Early): Visual Studio 2010 RC is Available


    vs2010logo The Release Candidate (RC) for Visual Studio 2010 is now available for download and exhaustive tinkering.  :) 

    You can grab it off of MSDN Subscriptions site today, or get it from the public VS 2010 site on Feb 10th. 

    Start here:

    I’ve received a few questions from customers asking why we’re doing an RC so close to the (April) launch of VS 2010.   While we received a lot of positive customer feedback on VS 2010 and .NET 4, the performance of the IDE, especially around loading solutions, building, and debugging, wasn’t as great as expected.  So we took that feedback and worked more on Beta 2 from a performance perspective.  The result?  The RC release.

    So while you won’t find many new features in the RC (again, the predominant focus was on performance), there are a couple niceties in the testing tools (Microsoft Test Manager) that I think you’ll like:

    • Compose Environment from running VMs (Lab Manager)
    • Links list in Test Plan properties (Test Manager)
    • Create any new work item (Test Manager)

    We’re not exactly done with the feedback, either.  We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions (both bad and good) about this RC so we can make the finished/launched VS 2010 product everything you hope it to be.

    Want to learn more?  Check out S. Somasegar’s Blog and Jason Zander’s Blog for more technical details about the RC.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Reminder to Register for the Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta


    As I mentioned before, the Rocky Mountain Tech Tri-Fecta is coming at the end of this month!  Last year saw several hundred attendees, and this year promises to be even bigger and better.

    .NETWhat is the Tri-Fecta?  It’s effectively 3 camps in 1 (and this year, it may be 5 camps in 1!).. a Code Camp, PASS Camp, and ITPro Camp.  Plus this year, a SharePoint Camp and Beginner Camp.  (whew, that’s a lot of camping!)

    In case you didn’t know, here’s the skinny:

    When:  Saturday, February 27th, 2010 | 7:30am-5:00pm

    WhereMetro State College in Denver


    SharePointThere are several tracks for the day, including:

    • .NET
    • SQL Server
    • Windows
    • SharePoint (new this year!)
    • Beginners (new this year!) 

    SQLServer 2008Register today!  You won’t be disappointed.

    And not that this will motivate you to come any more, but I’m currently slated to deliver two sessions:

    • BoF:  Team Foundation Server “Free-For-All”
    • Session:  Team Foundation Server:  Team Development on Crack

    Visual Studio 2010Check out sessions from my teammate Daniel Egan as well!

    There will be various other Microsoft folks hanging around, as well as many other community leaders and industry partners.  If you see me wandering around, stop by and say hello..  Just don’t heckle me in my sessions.. :)

    I hope to see you there!  Don’t forget to register!  If you didn’t notice, it’s FREE.. :)

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    It’s Official: VS 2010 Branding & Pricing


    Microsoft just announced final branding and pricing for the Visual Studio 2010 lineup!  Here’s what it looks like (you can call this either the stadium or Lego view):



    There are three minor changes to product names, listed below:

    Old Name New Name

    Microsoft Visual Studio Test Elements 2010

    Microsoft Visual Studio Test Professional 2010

    Microsoft Visual Studio Team Lab Management 2010

    Microsoft Visual Studio Lab Management 2010

    Microsoft Test and Lab Manager*

    Microsoft Test Manager 2010*

    * Not available as a separate product for purchase.


    Below is the suggested pricing (USD) for each of the 2010 products.

    With 1-yr MSDN Subscription
    Product Buy Upgrade Buy Renew
    Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate - - $11,899 $3,799
    Visual Studio 2010 Premium - - $5,469 $2,299
    Visual Studio 2010 Professional $799 $549 $1,199 >$799
    Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 - - $2,169 $899
    Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 $499 $399 - -
    Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 CAL $499 - - -
    Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 (1000 Virtual Users) $4,499 - - -

    * Subscription contents vary by purchased product.

    A couple things to note:

    • TFS 2010 and a TFS 2010 CAL are included with every MSDN subscription
    • The above prices are suggested list price.  Companies buying development tools licenses usually go through volume licensing which usually result in lower prices.

    Not sure what product has what?

    Visual Studio 2010 lineup - from the Rangers 2010 Quick Reference Guide

    Here’s another angle:

    Visual Studio 2010 lineup 

    For more details on each feature, you can view a matrix here.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    The “Ultimate” Event: Visual Studio 2010 & Team Foundation Server 2010



    Join us for a sneak peek of Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2010, which will be a landmark release of the premier development toolset for Windows®, Web and Cloud development.
    The Ultimate Event is your exclusive opportunity to hear about Visual Studio 2010 from experts before the product is launched this year. Microsoft has made significant investments to and improvements of Modeling and Testing/QA tools in Visual Studio 2010. At this event you’ll get a comprehensive overview of Visual Studio 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010, which is the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) core of Visual Studio. We’ll present enhancements in version control, reporting, project management and build management. 
    Spend the day with us to learn how to take software development to the next level with Visual Studio 2010!


    Time Topic
    8:30 AM-9:00 AM Registration, Welcome
    9:00 AM-10:30 AM Lap Around VS 2010
    10:45 AM-12:00 PM Agile Management with TFS
    12:00 PM-12:30 PM Lunch
    12:30 PM-1:45 PM No More "No Repro"
    2:00 PM-3:15 PM Architecture for Everyone

    I hope to see you there!


    Date Location Event ID


    Bellevue, WA



    San Diego, CA



    Los Angeles, CA



    Mountain View, CA



    Irvine, CA



    Phoenix, AZ



    Salt Lake City, UT



    Portland, OR



    Denver, CO



    San Francisco, CA


  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Event: SharePoint as a Development Platform


    Maximize Your SharePoint Investment: Leverage It as a Development Platform!

    Join us at this in-person event that will assist your agencies and organizations in further realizing the return on your existing SharePoint investment via Enterprise SharePoint Development. Enterprise Application Development on the SharePoint Platform enables a multitude of SharePoint benefits to be coupled with the power of the .NET platform. This combination allows the creation of flexible, integrated and secure line-of-business applications to be built in a fraction of the time of traditional development. So join us at a city near you as we explore Microsoft’s current and long term strategy for the Microsoft SharePoint Platform and supporting Development Tools. Seize this opportunity to immerse yourself in the exciting world of Enterprise SharePoint Development!




    8:30 AM–9:00 AM


    9:00 AM–10:00 AM

    Keynote: Taking your SharePoint Investment to the Next Level with Visual Studio 2010

    This keynote session will provide an overview of the new platform capabilities in SharePoint 2010. You will also be among the first to see Visual Studio 2010’s tightly integrated experience for application developers building and deploying SharePoint solutions.

    10:00 AM–11:00 AM

    Realizing SharePoint as a Development Platform

    This session will focus on how SharePoint Products & Technologies can contribute to the acceleration of the solution development process by taking advantage of out-of-box capabilities in order to deliver composite business applications for your organization.

    11:00 AM–12:30 PM

    Unleashing the Power of SharePoint Apps with Visual Studio 2010

    This demo-oriented session will provide a deeper look at SharePoint Development concepts, techniques & best practices. 

    12:30 PM–1:00 PM


    1:00 PM–2:30 PM

    Managing the SharePoint Application Development Lifecycle

    The final session of the day will provide a look at strategies and best practices for Team based SharePoint development

    Who Should Attend

    Developers, Architects, Web Designers and technical managers and stakeholders who wish to gain a better understanding of the long term vision of SharePoint as a platform and the benefit of developing for SharePoint.

    Attend for your chance to win a 16GB Zune HD!


    Phoenix, AZ

    February 9, 2010

    Event ID: 1032439113


    Denver, CO

    February 10, 2010

    Event ID: 1032439113


    San Diego, CA

    February 18, 2010

    Event ID: 1032439116


    Portland, OR

    February 23, 2010

    Event ID: 1032439115


  • Steve Lange @ Work

    New Virtual Images for you (yep, Happy Holidays!)


    I’ll let Brian Keller’s blog give you all the details, but we’ve got new Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 virtual images (now with sample data!) ready to go.  More here.

    And also, if you’re still monkeying around with VSTS 2008, you may have noticed that your current images are about to expire.  Here is a link to updated ones.

    These images are downloadable via several large files.  Be sure to use a download manager (Brian gives you instructions for how to use FDM)!

    Ready? Set? Go!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Update on VS2010 & .NET 4 Release


    I’ll let you read more details on ScottGu’s blog, but here’s the gist:  We’ve had tons and tons of terrific feedback about the current Beta 2.  Based on all that feedback, in order to make the RTM of this version of Visual Studio as stellar as it can be, the official release of VS 2010 and .NET 4 will be pushed back a few weeks.

    A Release Candidate (RC) is planned to be made available in February, which will give us all the opportunity to take one more test drive before RTM.

    So while it’s a slight bummer that VS 2010 is getting pushed back a little bit, I think it’s a good thing overall.  Personally, I’d rather get the product right, rather than “right now”.

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Check Out Bytes by MSDN


    Bytes by MSDNListen or watch many influential community and Microsoft developers interviewed at PDC 09 talk about Azure, Visual Studio 2010, Silverlight, Windows 7, and a variety of additional topics that they are passionate about.


    Check back every week, or subscribe to the RSS feed.  You can watch the interviews online, or download (in a variety of formats) for viewing at your leisure.

    Guests include Scott Guthrie, Andrew Brust, Time Heuer, David Yack, Scott Hanselman, Tim Huckaby, Loke Uei Tan, and many others!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    TFS 2010 Beta 2 Power Tools & BPA now Available


    Per the announcements on Brian Harry’s blog, there are some new downloads available for you to use with your TFS 2010 Beta 2 installation:

    • TFS 2010 Power Tools (Brian’s post):  Power Tools are “out of band” releases of new functionality to enhance your TFS experience.  Available are:
      • TFPT (Team Foundation Power Tools), which includes
        • Process Template Editor
        • Check-in Policy Pack
        • Alert Editor
        • Windows Shell Extension
        • PowerShell Support
        • TFPT Command line
        • TFS 2010 Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) Tool (Brian’s post):  The BPA tool helps you identify potential/existing configuration issues with on TFS servers, either pre- or post-install.
    • TFS MSSCCI Provider


  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Registration is Open for the 2010 Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta


    If you didn’t go last year, you probably regretted it, right?  Well, now’s your chance to redeem yourself!

    The 2010 Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta is officially open for registration HERE.  Go to the website for full details, but what you really need to know:

    • Date/Location: Saturday, February 27th, 2010 at Metro State College in downtown Denver.
    • What’s Covered:  .NET, SQL Server, and Windows – lots of sessions!
    • Cost:  FREE!

    This terrific event is organized by volunteers from the local Colorado .NET, PASS, and Windows Server User Group Chapters.

    I’ll be there, will you?

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Scrum For Team System Process Template Released for TFS 2010


    You probably know it as the “Conchango Scrum Template” for Team Foundation Server.  EMC acquired Conchango a little while back, and it’s great to see that the “Scrum for Team System” process template has not been forgotten!

    The latest release, V3.x Beta 2 (x86 / x64), is an updated template designed to work with TFS 2010 Beta 2.

    You can browse the discussion forum and download the template HERE.

    Also included:


    This Scrum template & process was also delivered as a session at PDC.  You can watch it on-demand here:


  • Steve Lange @ Work

    PDC 2009: Day 2 – silverlight, Free Laptops, and the Underground


    There were several exciting announcements today, but the one that topped the list (at least technology-wise) was the availability of Silverlight 4 Beta.  There’s a lot of new stuff going into Silverlight (I’ll let you read the full “What’s New”), but my favorites:

    • Webcam & microphone support
    • Full print support
    • HTML hosting
    • Full design surface in VS 2010

    While ScottGu wowed the crowd with these new capabilities, the loudest applause was bought.  Bought?  Yup, each PDC attendee was given a new multi-touch tablet laptop.  Wow!  (Imagine the line for that!)

    That evening, it was time for my regional DPE team to shine.  Many folks from all groups within my West Region had been working for months to put together the Underground at PDC – what has quickly become the definitive party for PDC.  The night didn’t disappoint, hosting over 1,200 people for a 6-hour party featuring repeat demos from PDC keynotes, a Bing search challenge, a technology showcase (I did lots of multi-touch demos with HP TouchSmarts) and lots of giveaways.  Oh, did I mention the actual party!?

    HP TouchSmarts - this was my post for the evening..

    HP TouchSmarts - this was my post for the evening..

     Joe Shirey & Erin Jacobs.  Two key parts of the night's sucess!

    Joe Shirey & Erin Jacobs.  Two key parts of the night's success!

     David Chou & Ned Curic.  Brilliant minds.

    David Chou & Ned Curic.  Brilliant minds.

     Is that THE Tim Huckaby?

    Is that THE Tim Huckaby?

     Do you think the PDC geeks were excited to see them arrive?

    Do you think the PDC geeks were excited to see them arrive?

     DSCN1130 DSCN1146

     DSCN1150 DSCN1154

    There were masses of tweets that night on Twitter, either mentioning @UndergroundPDC or hashtagging #UGPDC09.

    If you attended, thanks for coming and we hope you had a blast (it certainly seemed like you did!).  If you worked there that night, pat yourself on the back.  Everything ran incredibly well!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Day 1: PDC – Information Overload


    After hopping a shuttle bus from the hotel to the LA Convention Center, the official PDC “Day 1” started off with a flurry.  Ray Ozzie and Bob Muglia (along with several other demo helpers) kicked off the conference with several announcements.

    I won’t go in to full details, but the highlights:

    • Windows Azure is going into production on January 1st, and will start billing on February 1st.
      • There’s a current CTP of a connector which will help Azure applications to connect to databases behind the firewall.
    • Codename “Dallas”:  Exposing public data for purposes of innovation.

    Both can be read about in this eWeek article.

     Just 4,000 of my closest friends, waiting for the keynote to start.

    Waiting for the first keynote to start.

    Joe & Raj in a break area.

    Joe Shirey and Raj taking a break from the sessions.

     A sample container datacenter.

    A sample container from the Microsoft datacenters cropping up around the world.

    A henna tattoo.  It's the new MSDN logo.

    If you came by the VS 2010 area in the “Big Room”, you could get henna of some key logos & icons.  This one is of the new MSDN logo.

    I wrapped up my day with the US DPE customer dinner at The Palm restaurant downtown.  Great customers, friends, colleagues, and steaks!

    I had honestly hoped to write more about sessions and announcements, but it’s frankly too late in the evening.  That’s why you get the link to eWeek article, so you can read about it for yourself!

    More tomorrow!

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Watch the Underground @PDC Live!


    LIVE from the The Underground @ PDC 09! People are still talking about last year’s event at the Edison downtown.  Because not everyone can make it to Los Angeles or PDC, The Underground is going LIVE ONLINE! Tune in to see Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie, Corp VP of Microsoft’s .Net Developer Platform and much, much more.

    Wednesday, November 18 at 7:00 PM

    LIVE at

    Twitter: @undergroundpdc

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    PDC 2009: Day 0 – It’s All About Software Quality


    After my 2.5-hour flight from Denver (The entire Denver contingent of Microsoft Developer Platform & Evangelism was on my flight) to Los Angeles at the you-know-what crack of dawn this morning, I was excited to arrive at my first Microsoft Professional Developers Conference.  In my 4+ years at Microsoft, 2 of which were in Sothern California, it’s hard to believe that it took me this long to finally attend.  But I made it!image

    PDC doesn’t officially start until tomorrow, leaving today for “pre-cons” – workshops & team meetings.  For me, it was a deep-dive into the new QA/Testing tools coming out in VS 2010. 

    My highlight topics included:

    • Test Case Management
    • Manual Testing
    • Action Recording
      • Turning an action recording into a Coded UI Test
    • Lab Management
    • SCVMM, TCM, and other fun acronyms
    • Query-based test suites
    • Requirements-based test suites
    • Test Impact Analysis
    • Fast Forward Manual Testing

    It’s all goodness.  I’ll be honest – It’s a heck of a lot to learn as well, but these new capabilities are really going to hit home with a lot of people.  You just wait and see.  For those of your in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Denver – just let me know if you’d like a run through from me.

    That’s it for today.  I guarantee today will be the lightest day of the week.  Tues-Thurs will be providing keynotes, tons of geeky sessions, and some great evening events along the way (my team is hosting a dinner tomorrow night, and there’s of course the Underground at PDC event/party on Wednesday)!  I’ll also try to post some thoughts on Twitter as well (or follow all of the PDC tweets here).

  • Steve Lange @ Work

    Querying the TFS Database to Check TFS Usage


    Why would you want to know how many users are actually using Team Foundation Server?  Well, for starters:

    • You want to make sure that each user in your environment using TFS is properly licensed with a TFS CAL (Client Access License). 
    • You want to show management just how popular TFS is in your environment.
    • You want to request additional hardware for TFS, and want to show current usage capacity.

    But, what if your users are spread out all over the world, so you can’t just send a simple email asking, “Hey, are you using TFS?”

    One relatively straightforward way is to ask your TFS server’s database.  TFS logs activity in a database ‘TfsActivityLogging’, specifically in a table ‘tbl_Command’.

    NOTE:  It’s not supported to go directly against the database, so take note of 2 things:

    1. Be very careful!
    2. Be clear that this isn’t supported.  This process works, but only in the absence of a supported way to query TFS usage.  Just because I work for Microsoft, doesn’t mean you can get official support from MS on this.

    All that out of the way, the simple way to do this is to use Excel:

    Open Excel.

    Go to the Data tab and select ‘From Other Sources’ in the ‘Get External Data’ group, and select ‘From SQL Server’.


    The Data Connection Wizard will open.  Follow steps to connect to the SQL Server that’s used by TFS, selecting the ‘TfsActivityLogging’ database and the contained ‘tbl_Command’ table.


    Enter the SQL Server name that TFS uses.  For the below, my SQL server is at ‘tfsrtm08’.


    Select the ‘TfsActivityLogging’ database, then select the ‘tbl_Command’ table. Click Next.


    Click Finish.

    Select how you’d like to import the table’s data.  For this example, I’m choosing ‘PivotTable Report’.


    Now you’re ready to get the data you want:

    Listing All Users Who Have Touched TFS

    In the ‘PivotTable Field List’ panel on the right, select the ‘IdentityName’ field.  Your spreadsheet should look something like this:


    If you just want a list of users that have touched TFS, then you’re done (in my example, I really only have 2 accounts, and one is the TFSSERVICE account that actually runs TFS).

    However, if you want a little extra information about your users’ activities, you can do a couple extra things.

    List Users and Their Relative Activity Levels

    Add the ‘ExecutionCount’ field to the ‘Values’ section of the PivotTable, and you’ll see the number of commands each user has run against TFS (some minor, like gets, and other major, like changing ACL’s):


    List Users and Their Specific Activity Levels

    Add first the ‘ExecutionCount’ field to the ‘Values’ section of the PivotTable, then add the ‘Command’ field to the ‘Row Labels’ section:


    (Again, remember that some of these commands are less significant than others, but still indicate user activity.)

    List Users and Their Clients

    Add the ‘UserAgent’ field to the ‘Row Labels’ section of the PivotTable:


    List Users and Their Last Activity Time

    Add ‘IdentityName’ to the ‘Row Labels’ section of the PivotTable and ‘StartTime’ to the ‘Values’ section.  Then click ‘Count of StartTime’ (in the Values section) and select ‘Value Field Settings’.  Change the ‘Summarize the value field by’ value to ‘Max’.


    Click ‘Number Format’ and set the format to ‘Date’.  Click OK.  You’ll now see the last activity date for each user.


    I hope this helps!

    Other Tip:

    • You’ll probably see (like in my example) the built-in accounts and their activities (i.e. TFSSERVICE, perhaps TFSBUILD as well).  You may want to filter those ones out from your report.
    • I’ve heard conflicting reports about how much data the ‘tbl_Commands’ table retains (some say just the preceding week).  In my example, I queried the ‘Min’ start times for logged activities and went back over 5 months.  Just something to think about:  Your mileage may vary greatly.  (Apparently a clean-up job is supposed to run periodically which trims this table.)
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