Brian Keller

Director of ALM Evangelism for Microsoft

October, 2006

  • Brian Keller

    New Tag for Discovering Team System Videos on Channel 9


    We recently started tagging new Visual Studio Team System-related content on Channel 9 with a VSTS tag to make them easier to discover. I also just finished tagging all of the older Team System-related content as well. There were several great videos out there, including some that I had never even seen before!

    There are several types of videos you will find which carry the VSTS tag. Here are some examples:

    • Demonstrations of features from the Visual Studio Team System family of products such as the Application Designer (part I & part II), how to use the Code Profiler (part I & part II), or a lap around the source control management capabilities of Team Foundation Server.
    • Interviews with people from the Team System team such as Rick LaPlante discussing pricing and licensing (part I & part II), Grace Francisco and Doug Neumann talking about source control, or the "DataDude" Team showing off the latest Team System family member.
    • Videos showcasing add-ons, power toys, and other goodies related to Team System. Some examples include CodePlex (which is built on Team Foundation Server) and FASTDash (an MSR research project which offers a new view into who is doing what in your Team Foundation Server source tree).
    • Team System-related Screencasts. Screencasts are narrated demos which offer an in-depth look at how to use certain features in the tools. Note that the Screencasts show up in a different RSS category than the Channel 9 Videos do - see below for the respective RSS feeds.
    • And some videos which are hard to categorize, but I felt they deserved to be tagged as VSTS. One example is a tour of the new patterns and practices lab. Many people may not realize that the patterns and practices team is now a part of the overall Team System team here at Microsoft. They are delivering guidance which is already integrated with Visual Studio Team System today, and they are working on even more guidance for future releases of Team System. In the tour video, we see how Microsoft is practicing Agile development not only through the support which Team System provides for process standardization, but all the way down to the way we design our buildings.

    We are also working on bringing even more Team System content to Channel 9 so you may want to subscribe to the RSS feeds to stay current. Note that the Videos and the Screencasts have different RSS feeds.

    • VSTS All [ Web

    I hope you enjoy watching these as much as I do. If you have requests for new videos you would like to see don't hesitate to let me know!

  • Brian Keller

    New Video: Erin Geaney on the Team Foundation Server Power Toys


    If you follow Brian Harry's blog then you've probably heard of the Team Foundation Server Power Toys (TFPT). Last month the team refreshed the TFPT bits and added four new Toys to the bundle which Brian blogged about here. I also wanted to capture some demos on Channel 9 so I headed over to Erin Geaney's office (she's a developer on the Team System team) to get a closer look at some of these tools. That video is now available in case you haven't had a chance to play with those Power Toys yet - they are pretty slick.

    Just a reminder in case you missed my post on Friday that you can now follow all Visual Studio Team System-related videos on Channel 9 by watching for videos (and screencasts) which have the "VSTS" tag. [NOTE: Unfortunately the Channel 9 tagging system seems to be experiencing some technical difficulties today, but I've notified the team. I can only guess that it must be due to all of the Team System users who are now hitting that page? <g>]

  • Brian Keller

    Adding Custom Controls to a Work Item Type


    Last week I posted about the availability of the Visual Studio 2005 SP1 beta. I mentioned that the ability to add custom controls to a Work-Item Type was perhaps my favorite feature added in SP1. Well it looks like Naren Datha has already posted a tutorial which explains how to take advantage of this new functionality. Sweet!

    Naren has listed some great ideas I hadn't thought of yet for using this functionality. Another one I heard (via Eric Lee) would be to add a custom Windows Media Player control which could be used to playback test repros or even requirements storyboards. I really can't wait until SP1 is officially released...! Please don't forget to log your feedback about the SP1 beta if you find bugs or have suggestions. You can log your feedback using the Connect site, which also happens to be the place you can download the beta from.

  • Brian Keller

    Team Foundation Server Migration Toolkit

    Matthew Mitrik, a PM on the Team Foundation Server, blogged about the TFS Migration Toolkit that his team is building. As more and more customers make the switch to Team Foundation Server, we've been seeing some serious demand for tools to help customers migrate to Team Foundation Server from their legacy source control management tools. We already have a pretty good tool to help you migrate off of Visual SourceSafe which is the most popular source control management solution out there. But past SourceSafe, the rest of the market adoption is spread amongst dozens of commercial and open source tools. Since it would be infeasible to create a specific migration toolkit for each of these tools, Matt's toolkit will provide a "generic" set of interfaces which can then be configured to help customers migrate from virtually any tool over to Team Foundation Server. If you have specific ideas in mind for what a good tool would look like, or specific tools you're considering migrating off of, head on over and leave Matt a comment with your feedback.
  • Brian Keller

    So you think you can code?


    Every year Microsoft runs a worldwide student coding contest called The Imagine Cup. (Yes, there is actually a real cup involved just like in many sports.) The competitions kick off with regional events held in many countries and culminate in a final event which will be held in Seoul, Korea this year. I've had the opportunity to meet several of the finalists for the past few years and it's truly amazing to see the types of solutions which get developed during this competition.

    Students who are interested in competing should visit to find out how to get started in your region. For the U.S. and Canada, the North American Software Design Invitational rules are described here:

    I'm actually pretty jealous that I am not eligible to compete - the competition looks like it is going to be a good challenge! From the Web site:

    "Each round of the competition will provide a series of Challenges that you will need to solve. Every Challenge includes a specification, which is a reference document that defines the properties, methods, and events that your class library must implement. Specifications will be provided in the Microsoft HTML Help format and follow the template used by MSDN Help. Your responsibility is to implement your class library exactly as it is defined in the HTML Help specification. In other words, think of the HTML Help specification as the complete documentation of your class library."

    I used to love these sorts of challenges back in school. If you happen to be a student reading this I would strongly encourage you to look into the competition. Who knows - you may find yourself on the way to Seuol? The worst that could happen is you participate and pick up valuable skills which can land you a killer job.

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