Brian Keller

Director of ALM Evangelism for Microsoft

September, 2006

  • Brian Keller

    FASTDash Video on Channel9


    Another Channel9 video I recently filmed is now on Channel9: FASTDash: A Visual Dashboard for Fostering Awareness in Software Teams

    This is a really cool Microsoft Research project being developed to help software teams gain a better understanding of what everybody is working on at a given time. It has other uses as well, such as allowing a developer to quickly request help from a peer who might have some spare cycles. I actually stumbled upon this application while I was preparing to film the p&p lab tour. The patterns and practices teams use FASTDash currently; even though their teams are co-located in the same room, they still rely on this application to discover what everybody is actively working on.

    FASTDash represents yet another way that a team can benefit from adopting Team Foundation Server. By utilizing a consolidated storage mechanism for coordinating source control, work items, builds, users, and other software project "objects" you can really begin to extract some interesting information which can help teams unlock new levels of productivity and gain insights about their projects. In this video Greg talks a bit about how easy it was to extract that information from Team Foundation Server. Cool stuff!

  • Brian Keller

    Video tour of the patterns and practices lab


    If you caught my earlier blog post I wrote about the new and improved Microsoft patterns and practices lab here on campus. I also promised that I would work on getting a video tour so you could get a better sense for their incredible new workspace. Peter Provost and Ed Jezierski were kind enough to grant us a tour which is now available on Channel9. You can check it out here.

    I have to add that it's an exciting time to be at Microsoft and witness all of the sweeping changes taking place which will allow us to continue to innovate. It's especially exciting when the ways in which we develop software get reflected in the ways in which we architect our buildings. Hats off to the Real Estate and Facilities group for partnering with the business groups to make this happen.

  • Brian Keller

    Visual Studio 2005 SP1 Beta Available


    The beta of Visual Studio 2005 SP1 is now available! This includes several fixes and enhancements to the Visual Studio 2005 development environment as well as Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server. Brian Harry detailed what this means for Team Foundation Server at his blog entry this morning.

    What's your favorite fix or enhancement? Personally I share Brian's enthusiasm for the WIT Custom Controls - it's going to be exciting to watch custom WIT's evolve to the next level. But you also can't dismiss the sheer number of performance enhancements and bug fixes which the team managed to get into this release. Team Foundation Server has come a long way in a short amount of time.

    To apply for and download the beta please visit Please also take the time to report your feedback via the Connect site to help the team on their way to the final release of SP1.

  • Brian Keller

    More Team Foundation Server Adoption Evidence: Telemar


    A new case study just went live which details how Telemar adopted Visual Studio Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Team Suite. Telemar's main challenge was that they outsource all of the programming for their software projects, but Telemar employees still must project manage everything centrally. They were looking for a solution which would enable better collaboration between Telemar employees and vendors, as well as a way to collect rich reporting and implement project governance to minimize project risk. They chose Visual Studio Team System and are in the midst of deploying the solution to thousands of developers. You can read more here.

    For a list of some other Visual Studio Team System case studies see Grace's blog.

  • Brian Keller

    Interpreting Team Test Load Test Results


    I just noticed a new article on MSDN which explains how to interpret the test results you get by running load tests with Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Testers (or "Team Test" for short).

    Article: Monitoring and Analyzing a Load Test Result

    If you are interested in improving the performance of your Web sites, these tools provide a great way for you to simulate user load and track down performance bottlenecks. I've spoken to several teams internally at Microsoft such as over in MSN and Live who are using the tools included with Team Test to identify and fix performance bottlenecks well before new code gets deployed to production servers. These teams are also reporting far better productivity actually writing tests, interpreting them, and issuing fixes than compared with their legacy testing tools.

    For more Team Test content including videos, whitepapers, and Webcasts, check out these training resources.

  • Brian Keller

    More Great Surfing Videos


    In my post titled "What's this 'DataDude' thing anyway?" I talked a bit about Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals and then went off on a tangent about my favorite surfing video, Step Into Liquid. Ironically I received more emails about my tangential topic than I did my original topic! Carter offered to take me surfing the next time I'm in California (sweet!), Mike sent me a recommendation for another great surfing video (Billabong Odyssey), my friend Aaron Cutlip suggested two more (Jack Johnson: The September Sessions and Riding Giants), and Grace added her favorite to the mix. Just when I was starting to make some progress against my Netflix queue now I've filled it up again with surfing movies. Oh well, I can think of worse problems to have. <g>

    And now for another tangent to bring it full circle the CTP5 Refresh of DataDude is available. Surf's up!

  • Brian Keller

    Joel Semeniuk Discusses Team System on DotNetRocks


    I just listened to this week's episode of DotNetRocks which features a great Team System interview: Joel Semeniuk Updates Us on Team System. Joel did a really nice job of providing an overview of Team System and interjecting his own experiences using and consulting on Team System.

    At 32:15 Joel talks about the VSTS Customization Toolkit he created which can be used to graphically edit process templates, work item types, and global lists. The out-of-the-box experience with editing these aspects of Team Foundation Server requires you to hand-edit the XML, so not surprisingly I've heard quite a bit of positive feedback from customers who have tried Joel's tool. You can download his toolkit for free.

    At 46:55 Joel discusses Team System's support for the CMMI development metholody. To supplement Joel's comments we do support CMMI Level 3 with Team Foundaton Server out-of-the-box and we even partnered with the Software Engineering Institute to help ensure we got the implementation right. We have even partnered with a few customers to extend their Team Foundation Server deploments to support CMMI Level 5. Yesterday I filmed an interview with David Anderson and we spent some time talking about Team Foundtion Server's support for CMMI, such as how our approach to CMMI is based on Agile techniques. Look for that video which should go live on Channel9 within the next couple of weeks. I'll also update my blog once it's live.

    Thanks for the interview Joel, Carl, and Richard!

  • Brian Keller

    Visual Studio 2005 SDK v3 Available for Download


    As James Lau points out, version 3 of the Visual Studio 2005 SDK is now available. This is a significant release for several reasons which James enumerated:

    • DSL Tools V1 RTM
    • IronPython web site and web project samples
    • Updated contents and samples for TFS extensibility and Team Test extensibility
    • Managed parser & lexer generator tools
    • Many more IDE integration samples
    • 5 new cool PowerToys, including Source Outliner
    • Much more!

    The Visual Studio SDK contains a wealth of samples and tools for customizing virtually all aspects of the Visual Studio family of products, including Team Foundation Server.


    It's also exciting to note that as of this release some of the licensing restrictions on the SDK have been eased. Specifically, you no longer need to register to download the SDK which means you can just download it from the Microsoft Download Center. You can also now (legally) use the SDK to extend Visual Studio to target non-Microsoft platforms as well, such as Java or Linux.

  • Brian Keller

    Team System "Chat" transcript now available


    It looks like the the transcript from our September 6th "Chat" on MSDN is now available. It was great meeting everyone who could make it - we had nearly 150 people during the live session which is simply incredible! Team System has become very popular in a relatively short amount of time, which is of course thanks to our customers. So THANK YOU for believing in the product as much as we do!

    For people who couldn't attend the live chat session the transcript is a good way of catching up on common questions related to Team System. There will be another Team System chat on October 4th - get the full chat schedule here:

  • Brian Keller

    What's this "DataDude" thing anyway?


    My colleague Grace Francisco just posted a humorous but insightful overview of the newest Visual Studio Team System family member, code named "DataDude." The official product name is Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Database Professionals, but Grace explains why we went with "DataDude" as the code name. So surf on over to Grace's blog to sea more and be sure to wave hello to Grace for me. </puns, I promise>

    But while I'm on the subject of surfing, Step into Liquid is one of my favorite movies and I highly recommend it even if you're not into surfing. Heck, I've only surfed one day in my life - I'm actually into boogie boarding right now - but this movie is inspirational and amazing in so many ways that you don't need a surfing background to appreciate. As the summer slips away from those of us in the northern hemisphere this is a nice way to reconnect with the sunshine.

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