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Visual Studio 2013 Current Status

  • The Ultimate Visual Studio Tips and Tricks Blog

    Technical Articles for Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management


    Just came across these the other day and wanted to share below is the information verbatim from



    Welcome to the technical articles for Application Lifecycle Management! These technical articles provide additional resources for you to use when supporting your development efforts with Team Foundation Server. Some provide in-depth technical information about unique scenarios that involve Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management. Others provide insights into development processes and philosophies from industry experts that you might want to consider when developing your software or working as a team on a software project. These articles represent the viewpoints, opinions, and experience of their individual authors.


    Agile Principles

    • Agile Principles and Values, by Jeff Sutherland. Jeff Sutherland provides an overview of the Agile principles as defined in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development.

    • Ten Year Agile Retrospective: How We Can Improve in the Next Ten Years by Jeff Sutherland. Ten years after the publication of the Agile Manifesto, Jeff Sutherland describes the successes of Agile and pinpoints four key success factors for the next ten years.

    • Done and Undone by Ken Schwaber and David Starr. Delivering a done increment is critical to being successful with agile software development. Using both real-world and theoretical examples, the authors demonstrate the difference between perception of "done" and the reality of "done," and how that affects the success of a project. Using these examples, the authors go on to demonstrate tools and strategies that can help teams start with a definition of done that makes sense for them, and methods to help teams communicate dependencies, status, and the meaning of "done."



    Agile Practices

    • Building and Managing the Product Backlog by Mitch Lacey. A good product backlog is at the heart of any well-functioning agile team. In this article, Mitch Lacey explains the importance of a product backlog, describes what makes a good backlog, and provides some best practices for creating and maintaining your backlog.

    • Prioritization by Mitch Lacey. In this article, Mitch Lacey discusses three methods that have proven very beneficial for many Agile teams: the Kano Model of Customer Satisfaction, a series of Innovation Games by Luke Hohmann, and Karl Weigers’ Relative Weighting model. He describes how any of these methods can help you move from rough prioritization of your backlog to a precise ordering that satisfactorily weighs risk, importance, and customer satisfaction.

    • Estimating by Mitch Lacey. Mitch Lacey discusses the difficulty surrounding software project estimation, and provides tips and tricks for using two agile software estimation techniques when teams are estimating projects.

    • Sprint Planning by Mitch Lacey. Sprint planning does not need to be challenging. In this article, the author provides examples and strategies for keeping sprint planning focused and effective, and detail potential solutions to common problems teams encounter when planning a sprint.

    • Effective Sprint Retrospectives by David Starr. Going beyond techniques, this article offers ways to maintain and improve the practice and results of Retrospectives.

    • Distributed Scrum by David Starr. Distributed teams often struggle with consistent, timely, and effective communication. In this article, David Starr explains how Scrum offers a container in which different types of distributed teams can improve and succeed.

    • Enterprise Agile: Using TFS to support portfolio backlogs across multiple teams by Gregg Boer. Learn how TFS can be configured to support a portfolio of backlogs which provides automatic roll-up and management insight into work across multiple teams.



    Lean and CMMI

    • Lean Software Development by David J. Anderson. David J. Anderson describes Lean Software Development, its history, and how it can be used by software development project teams.

    • CMMI Principles and Values by David J. Anderson. The concept that an organization can be appraised at a particular maturity level and that this is an indicator of capability to deliver reliable work to the government is a matter of ongoing debate. In this article, David J. Anderson makes a case for Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) and describes how it provides valuable insights for managers, process engineers and all external stakeholders including customers, investors, governance bodies and auditors.

    • The Lean of Scrum by David Starr. In this article, learn about the inherent Lean qualities of the Scrum framework along with various ways to help Scrum Teams improve using Lean Thinking.



    Development Approaches

    • Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) Overview . In this article, learn about the Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF), an adaptable approach for successfully delivering technology solutions faster, with fewer people and less risk, while enabling higher quality results.

    • Application Analytics: What Every Developer Should Know by Sebastian Holst. In this article, Sebastian Holst discusses the objectives and advantages of application analytics.

    • Exploratory Software Testing by James Whittaker. In this article, an excerpt from his book Exploratory Software Testing: Tips, tricks, tours and techniques to guide test design, James Whittaker discusses goals, advantages, and approaches to exploratory software testing.


  • The Ultimate Visual Studio Tips and Tricks Blog

    Visual Studio 2013: Matching Braces


    This next feature only applies to C++ and C# just so you know. There are four things I want to talk about: highlighting, moving, selecting, and defining matching braces.



    If you have any code with matching braces:

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    You can put your cursor to the left of any brace and it will highlight the matching one:

    5-17-2012 11-27-24 AM





    If you want to move the cursor from one brace to another simply press CTRL+] (close bracket) to jump, forward or backward, between them:

    5-17-2012 11-29-09 AM





    If you press CTRL+SHIFT+] (close bracket) then it will not only jump to the matching brace but will highlight everything between the braces as well:

    5-17-2012 11-30-50 AM





    Lastly, the definition of “brace” is very loose and applies to square brackets, curly braces, and parentheses:

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    So feel free to use this feature set with just about any type of brace.

  • The Ultimate Visual Studio Tips and Tricks Blog

    Visual Studio 2013: Insert a Line


    This is another quick but useful feature. Let’s say you have some code:

    5-17-2012 11-37-10 AM


    And you need a line, either, above or below the line your cursor is on. Not a problem! Just press CTRL+ENTER for a line above:

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    Or CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER for a line below the current line:

    5-17-2012 11-40-47 AM

  • The Ultimate Visual Studio Tips and Tricks Blog

    Visual Studio 2013: IntelliSense


    I’m back! Vacation was great but now I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. I thought we would get things going again with a look at two features of IntelliSense: Pascal Case and keywords.



    Pascal Case

    This is one of my favorite features! Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to use IntelliSense to get a method but there are a TON of methods that start with same word and you have to type almost the entire method name:

    5-17-2012 10-19-20 AM


    Let's say you want the SetWindowSize Method but really, really don't want to type it out or even scroll down to get the method.  IntelliSense supports Pascal Case.  All you have to do is type "SWS":

    5-17-2012 10-51-08 AM


    This is true in a number of areas within Visual Studio now so feel free to try this in other areas (i.e. the search dialog in Solution Explorer).





    To show you the new feature, let’s take a look, way back, at VS2008 IntelliSense.  Notice when I type Console.Key what happens:



    IntelliSense used to be this huge alphabetical list and would just show you whatever begins with the keyword you were typing at the time. In this example, it takes me to the “key” area in the list. Notice that it then continues into the “L” and “M” and so forth. That’s great but what if I don’t know what I am looking for but I know that it has the word “key” somewhere in it?  Well, I can go search in the Object Browser, of course or I can use keyword feature that was introduced with IntelliSense for VS2010.  Watch what happens when I do the same thing in the VS2013 editor:

    5-17-2012 10-14-39 AM


    It now shows only those items that have the word “key” in them AND doesn’t care where the word is in the name of the member!  So not only do it get items that begin with “Key” but I get ANYTHING that has the word “key” in it.





    There are some great hidden gems in the editor and these are just a couple of them. Stay tuned for many more goodies to come.

  • The Ultimate Visual Studio Tips and Tricks Blog

    On Vacation


    Folks I will be on vacation until 8/5. See you all in a couple of weeks :)


    p.s. Unfortunately I’m not going to the great place shown in the picture…

  • The Ultimate Visual Studio Tips and Tricks Blog

    Visual Studio 2013: Reference Highlighting


    5-16-2012 12-02-27 PM


    This one is absolutely one of my favorite tips because you don't have to do anything to make it happen!  By default in a code file in the editor, when you click a symbol, all instances of the symbol are automatically highlighted in the current document.  Highlighted symbols may include declarations and references, and generally anything else that Find All References would return. This includes the names of classes, objects, variables, methods, and properties.


    In Visual Basic it will also highlight certain control structures:

    5-16-2012 12-12-02 PM





    All you have to do is click in any symbol and it will automatically highlight any references in the current document.  You can navigate through the highlights by using CTRL+SHIFT+DOWN ARROW (forward) or CTRL+SHIFT+UP ARROW (reverse). 




    Turning it off

    So what if you don't like this feature?  Well, you can always turn it off by following the instructions below:

    VB:  Go to Tools | Options | Text Editor | Basic | VB Specific.  Uncheck the "Enable highlighting of references and keywords" option.

    5-16-2012 12-14-44 PM



    C#:  Go to Tools | Options | Text Editor | C# | Advanced.  Uncheck the "Highlight references to symbol under cursor" option.

    5-16-2012 12-14-20 PM

  • The Ultimate Visual Studio Tips and Tricks Blog

    Visual Studio 2013: Quick Launch


    In the past, finding things deep in the IDE has been a challenge. Visual Studio 2012 introduced Quick Launch (CTRL + Q) which specifically addresses how to dig inside Visual Studio to find features you need. Let’s take a look.


    Quick Launch: Basic Use

    You can find Quick Launch in the upper right corner of the IDE:

     5-16-2012 12-20-04 PM


    The most basic scenario for using Quick Launch is finding an item that you have forgotten (or don’t know) the location of. Let’s say you are interested in something deep in the menu system like viewing your white space. You know what it’s called but can’t remember where it is at. Just press CTRL + Q and enter the word white:

    5-16-2012 12-21-38 PM


    All searches are contains operations so the results will show anything that has the word white anywhere in it. The results are grouped into categories and you simply either select the item from the list using your keyboard, mouse or, if there is a keyboard shortcut listed, take advantage of the shortcut. In this case, you could press CTRL+R, CTRL+W to show the white space and then go on with your work.





    There are five categories that your results will fall into when using Quick Launch. Let’s take a look at each of them.


    Most Recently Used

    Pretty self-explanatory; this category is at the top of the dialog and will show up to the last 5 most recent items that match the current search criteria. Pay attention to the last part of that sentence. Only if it (a) was used by you before from this dialog and (b) matches the current search criteria will an item show up in the MRU list:

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    You can search just your Most Recently Used items by preceding any search with @MRU (case doesn’t matter):

    5-16-2012 12-28-15 PM




    This obviously refers to menu items. So if I type in option for a search term the menus section shows menu items that contain the term:

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    You can filter results to show only commands by preceding any search with @MENU (case doesn’t matter):

    5-16-2012 12-30-48 PM




    The Options category does what you might expect--it shows items that can be found by going to Tools | Options on the Menu Bar:

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    As with the other categories, you can filter your search to just options by preceding any search with @OPT:

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    The only real limitation to keep in mind is this type of search doesn’t go beyond the categories and the description the team has put in for any given area. For example, if I type the word document here is the result in the options category:

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    If I go to the second choice which corresponds to Tools | Options | Environment | Documents (and Tools | Options | Text Editor | C# | Advanced as well):

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    Take a good look at this result. It appears to be searching the entire Options area but it’s just an illusion. If I look for the word directives (which is on the right-hand side in the last option of the image above) I don’t get anything:

    5-16-2012 12-39-30 PM


    What the team has done is put in a ton of keywords to make the right-hand side “searchable” but it really isn’t indexing the text on that side.



    Open Documents

    This category is somewhat interesting. It searches file names and paths of open documents for the search criteria but not the text inside the files themselves. There are plenty of tools that can be used to search inside files and the context for Quick Launch is at a higher level. This feature is useful for finding a file when you have several files open:

    5-16-2012 2-52-25 PM


    As with the other categories it, too, can be filtered to search just show open files by putting @DOC at the front of your search:

    5-16-2012 2-53-59 PM



    NuGet Packages

    The last category is new in Visual Studio 2013. It will search installed NuGet packages as well as provide an option to search online:

    5-16-2012 3-03-50 PM


    I don’t happen to have any packages installed in this example but if there were any installed they would show up and/or I could click the link to search online. Just like all the other categories you can use @NUGET to search just for NuGet packages.




    Turning Categories Off

    You can selectively turn off categories you don’t want to see by typing quick  in Quick Launch and selecting the result in Options:

    5-16-2012 3-07-55 PM 

    Note: For the old school folks this can be found at Tools | Options | Environment | Quick Launch


    Then deselect the special search providers you don’t want:

    5-16-2012 3-08-48 PM


    The next time you run a search it will not show the categories you have turned off in your result set.



    Large Result Sets

    As you may have noticed when playing with this feature it doesn’t show all the items in the initial results but does have a number indicating how many items it found:

    5-16-2012 3-09-59 PM


    Clearly not all 156 items in the Options are being shown but notice the message at the bottom of the list. If the results are too large to show we can just press CTRL + Q to show them all. Additionally, if you continue to press CTRL + Q it will cycle through showing all items in all categories and filtering by each category.




    Search Results from Previous Search

    By default the search term you use is not persisted between search sessions. So if you search on something:

    5-16-2012 3-12-08 PM


    Then place move the cursor outside the Quick Launch area and go back the search term has been cleared from the area:

    5-16-2012 3-12-53 PM


    Personally, I think this is very annoying to me and thankfully the VS team has a fix. Just go to the Quick Launch in Options area then select Show Search Results From Previous Search When Quick Launch Is Activated option:

    5-16-2012 3-14-01 PM


    The next time you run a search, leave the Quick Launch area, and come back it will retain the search term last used and show you the search results as well.




    Turning It Off

    If for some insane reason you don’t like the Quick Launch feature, you can always turn it off by going to Quick Launch in the options then deselecting the Enable Quick Launch option:

    5-16-2012 3-15-08 PM


    This will remove the Quick Launch area from the IDE:

    5-16-2012 3-15-58 PM


    To bring it back just go to Tools | Options | Environment | Quick Launch and select Enable Quick Launch.





    I absolutely love this feature! My passion is around helping people be more productive in the IDE and I think Quick Launch is probably one of the biggest steps forward for discovery of VS features that I have ever seen. I’ve been using it for a long time and am at the point now where I can’t imagine not having it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

  • The Ultimate Visual Studio Tips and Tricks Blog

    Visual Studio 2013 Preview: Navigate To


    You can use Navigate To to search for objects, definitions, or references (symbols) in a solution. If you happen to remember the old Navigate To dialog box then you know it was useful but blocked your view of the code:

    5-16-2012 12-25-54 PM


    The new Navigate To dialog is much less intrusive. Just press CTRL+,[comma] to see the new dialog:

    5-16-2012 12-33-33 PM


    The Navigate To experience will look one of two ways while you are using it. If the symbol is in any open document the relevant line will be highlighted within it:

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    If the symbol is not in an open document then it will show up in the Preview Tab:

    5-16-2012 1-01-17 PM


    There is only one search option when using Navigate To that will include (or exclude) external items:

    5-16-2012 1-14-47 PM


    At any time you can press ESC to close Navigate To and go back to your original code.

  • The Ultimate Visual Studio Tips and Tricks Blog

    Visual Studio 2013: Using Box Selection and Zero-Length Box Selection


    This is a collection of about 4 or 5 tips I wrote on using Box Selection for my book a while back. I think a lot of folks don’t know all the great things you can do with with this feature because they just don’t think about it much.


    What is Box Selection?

    The traditional use of this feature is to simply have some text you want to get rid of. Let’s say I have multiple lines of code:

    5-16-2012 12-01-47 PM


    And I need to get rid of some extra text. I can simply hold my ALT key and my left mouse button to highlight a vertical selection:

    (NOTE: You can also hold the ALT key and use your ARROW keys to get the same result)

    5-16-2012 12-05-35 PM


    Now I can just press the DELETE key to remove the extra text:

    5-16-2012 12-07-32 PM


    While this is the traditional use of Box Selection there is much more here. Let’s take a look at some other things you can do.




    Zero-Length Box Selection

    Let’s say I want to change “bubba” to “cool” in the example code. Normally I would have to go to each line and replace the entries individually. However, in Visual Studio 2010, we introduced a feature called Zero-Length Box Selection. To use it, just go to where you want to start changing multiple lines of code:

    5-16-2012 12-14-25 PM


    Now you can use ALT+UP (or DOWN) ARROW to make a Zero-Length Box Selection:

    (NOTE: You could also use ALT+Left Mouse to do the same thing but it’s a lot harder)

    5-16-2012 12-17-25 PM


    This creates a multi-line cursor (the thin blue line) you can use just like you are editing a single line of code. In this example, just press the BACKSPACE key to begin changing this text:

    5-16-2012 12-19-36 PM


    As you can see, all the lines are changed at the same time! Continue to remove “bubba” and then replace it with “cool”:

    5-16-2012 12-21-27 PM


    Now you have a multi-line cursor you can use to modify several lines at the same time. I love using this feature!




    Replacing Text with a Box Selection

    There is actually a faster way we could have replaced “bubba” with “cool” than the example above. Let’s reset the code:

    5-16-2012 12-27-38 PM


    Now, using ALT+Left Mouse or ALT+ARROW keys, select all the “bubba” entries:

    5-16-2012 12-30-33 PM


    And just type the word “cool”:

    5-16-2012 12-31-26 PM


    The word “bubba” will be instantly deleted and you will get a multi-line cursor that allows you to put in the new text.




    Replacing the Contents of One Box Selection with Another

    Another thing you can do is replace one set of text with another.  Let’s say we have some variables:

    5-16-2012 12-36-40 PM


    And we want to replace “Int16”, “Int32”, and “Int64” with just “int”. No problem! Just select all the “int” entries and copy (CTRL+C) them:

    5-16-2012 12-40-07 PM


    Now select the destination:

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    And paste (CTRL+V):

    5-16-2012 12-42-11 PM


    It will replace the old contents with the contents you copied earlier.




    Paste a Single Selection into a Box Selection

    You can also use a single selection to replace multiple entries. If I have the following sample code:

    5-16-2012 12-46-59 PM


    I can copy the word “double” (CTRL+C):

    5-16-2012 12-47-48 PM


    Select all the “int” entries:

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    And paste (CTRL+V):

    5-16-2012 12-51-47 PM


    It will replace every “int” with the word “double” for every line! Another one of my favorites.





    As you can see there are a lot of things you can do with Box Selection and Zero-Length Box Selection. Give it a try!

  • The Ultimate Visual Studio Tips and Tricks Blog

    Team Foundation Server 2013 Preview - Upgrade FAQ


    For those that are installing TFS 2013, here is a FAQ from the team to help answer some common questions. The most notable is the Go Live license for this build.


    [Note: I added some extra spacing but the emphasis is from the original post]


    Now that the Preview has been out for a couple of weeks, we've started to get lots of questions about acquisition and upgrade.  This page provides useful information about the upgrade process for the Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2013 Preview.  If you're unfamiliar with the new features available in Visual Studio 2013, see this post for an overview.

    1.  Should I upgrade my production server to the TFS 2013 Preview?

    This release is a preview, so we do expect there to be some bugs in the product.  However, we have been using the Preview in our production environment for months and have had a handful of customers install it prior to release to provide feedback, so it has already been through some vetting.  If you feel comfortable upgrading your production server, we will support you.  The 2013 Preview is "Go-Live," which means you'll be able to upgrade your data to the next 2013 release when it comes out.



    2.  Has the upgrade process changed since TFS 2012?

    The upgrade process has not changed significantly since TFS 2012.  One improvement to be aware of is that just like in the later updates for TFS 2012, the 2013 configuration wizards will persist your Application Tier and Build settings during in-place upgrades.  As of 2012.2, we also support upgrading databases involved in SQL AlwaysOn or SQL Mirroring.


    Please see our Preview docs on MSDN for instructions on how to perform in-place and migration upgrades.  If you need to clone your environment to walk through a practice upgrade, you may reference the TFS 2012 Rangers Upgrade Guide, as the process is still the same.  Remember to always take a current, full backup of your TFS data prior to attempting an upgrade!



    3.  What versions of TFS are upgradeable to the TFS 2013 Preview?

    You may upgrade TFS 2010 (with or without SP1) and any Go-Live version of TFS 2012 to the TFS 2013 Preview.  We no longer support upgrades from TFS 2008.  If you would like to move from TFS 2008 to TFS 2013, you will need to perform a two-step upgrade by first moving your server to TFS 2010 or 2012 (2012.3 is recommended), and then to TFS 2013.



    4.  Have there been changes to the system requirements since TFS 2012?

    Yes.  The TFS hardware requirements have remained the same, but there are new software requirements.  The most notable ones are that TFS 2013 now requires Windows Server 2008 R2 and higher as well as SQL 2012 SP1 (CU2 recommended) and higher.  We no longer support Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 R2, or SQL Server 2012 RTM.  If you use SharePoint, we now require SharePoint 2010 and higher.  For more details on the Preview's system requirements, see our guidance on MSDN.



    5.  Do I have to use the Visual Studio 2013 Preview client to connect to the TFS 2013 Preview?

    No, you don't.  You can continue to use Visual Studio 2012 clients with the TFS 2013 Preview.  The Visual Studio 2010 SP1 client is also compatible with the Preview if you install the 2012 compatibility GDR.  We no longer support integration with VS 2008 clients, except for very limited functionality through the MSSCCI provider.



    6.  If I upgrade my server to the Preview, can I decide to go back to TFS 2012 later?

    The short answer is no.  Every release of TFS fully replaces the previous installation of TFS on your server, so they cannot be removed like patches.  There is also no "downgrade" path from a later version of TFS to an earlier one.  You can roll back to your previous version of TFS using the backup you took of your data prior to upgrading, which is useful if you experience any issues configuring the TFS 2013 Preview.  However, it is not possible to revert any upgraded databases back to their original servicing level, so any work you do after upgrading your server will be lost if you roll back.  For more information on how to roll back your server, see the TFS 2012 Rangers Upgrade Guide.



    7.  Do I need to uninstall my previous version of TFS manually prior to installing the TFS 2013 Preview?

    It depends. If you are currently on TFS 2010, you will need to uninstall manually, but if you are on one of the TFS 2012 releases (2012, 2012.1, 2012.2, 2012.3), the TFS 2013 installation process will uninstall your existing instance automatically.  This is consistent with the auto-uninstall behavior we had in the TFS 2012 cumulative updates.



    8.  Can I install the TFS 2013 Preview side-by-side with TFS 2012?

    No, you cannot.  The installation process for the Preview will automatically uninstall TFS 2012 from your box.  Note that this behavior is different from the Visual Studio client, where the 2013 Preview CAN be installed side-by-side with the 2012 one.  If you want to try out the TFS 2013 Preview without getting rid of your TFS 2012 instance, you need to install it on a different server. 

    As always, we are interested to hear about any issues you encounter.  If you think you've identified a setup-related bug, please email tfcare a*t Microsoft d*ot com.  You can use our forums, Connect, UserVoice, or the "Send a Smile/Frown" feature in VS to give any other feedback. Happy dogfooding!


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