October 26 2011 Update: The beta has been replaced by v1 of this release. Please visit this page.
I’m pleased to announce the beta of the OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010 is now available!
What is OData? OData exposes a way to work with data over the web. If you’re new to OData, I suggest spending a few minutes at http://www.odata.org/ reading about this evolving standard. It uses interfaces similar to REST, so that you can programmatically consume and manipulate data from any device or application stack which supports HTTP requests. DPE has been working with several organizations (such as PayPal, Facebook, and Netflix) and product groups to enable OData where it makes sense to do so. Team Foundation Server was an obvious choice since it not only allows developers to extend TFS in new and interesting ways, but it also allows us to further showcase support for this evolving standard with the developer community at large.
Can I see a demo? Of course! I filmed a video for Channel 9 which shows you how to get started using this service. When you’re ready to get started, just download the beta which includes full documentation. The service can be easily hosted in Windows Azure to front-end your own Team Foundation Server instance, or if you want to use this with CodePlex we’ve already hosted this service for you at https://codeplexodata.cloudapp.net/. As long as you have contributor rights on any CodePlex project backed by Team Foundation Server 2010 you can start making OData calls immediately. We also have included a sample Windows Phone 7 application, and WebMatrix Helpers, which show you how to get started building applications which consume this service.
(ignore the blank stare on my face in the screen grab above – this is really far more exciting than the picture implies!)
So this is a beta – when will the official release happen? That all depends on the type of feedback we get, but we’d like to release v1 of this service in the next few months. We are asking users to email their feedback to TFSOData@Microsoft.com. We’ll do our best to incorporate all feedback into the final release. But the license permits you to take this now (even in beta) and begin using it for real projects. All of the source code is available so you are free to customize it and make it your own. This project is provided as-is and is not officially supported.
If I build an application using this service, will users need client access licenses (CAL’s)? In most cases, they will. Connecting to Team Foundation Server via OData has the same licensing implications as connecting via Team Explorer, the web, or any other client. But there are a few exceptions where users working with Team Foundation Server don’t need CAL’s. Please refer to the Visual Studio 2010 licensing whitepaper for all of the details.
I hope you enjoy this – if you build something interesting please be sure to drop us a line and let us know!
***April 17, 2013 update: A new version of this VM is now available which showcases the integration between Team Foundation Server 2012 and Project Server 2013.
**Update: There is a 4-part video series on Channel 9 which demonstrates each of these scenarios as a video screencast.
Last month we officially released the Team Foundation Server 2010 and Project Server Integration Feature Pack. This integration enables the Project Management Office (PMO) to see a consolidated view of the progress and resource availability across all software development projects in Team Foundation Server 2010. Software teams using Team Foundation Server 2010 can choose to manage their projects using a formal process or an agile process and flow their status and schedule updates into Project Server and Project Managers can preview changes as they flow in, track the work at a high-level and provide live updates to their stakeholders.
To help people evaluate and demonstrate the capabilities of this integration, we have published a virtual machine which is pre-configured with this integration along with sample data and several walkthroughs (which can either be used as self-paced hands-on-labs, or demo scripts to present these capabilities to others). Unfortunately, the virtual machine download contains 20+ files weighing in at over 10GB. The good news is that once you have the virtual machine there’s not much left to configure; you can open it up in Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and begin exploring this integration using the guided walkthroughs. The following instructions should make it easier for you to batch download all of the files required for this release.
Downloading the virtual machine and associated files: I suggest using a download manager for these files since they are very large. My download manager of choice is Free Download Manager. You can use your own favorite download manager, but you may need to adapt the instructions below as appropriate.
Once you have download the release, extract it to a directory by running the EXE. The document “Working with the Project Server 2010 and Team Foundation Server 2010 Integration Virtual Machine.docx” (included in the list of files to download above) provides more details about how to load this virtual machine within Hyper-V, and how to activate the operating system to get a full 180 days of usage from this virtual machine. After 180 days from the time you first boot the virtual machine it will expire. If you need additional time you can re-extract a fresh copy of the virtual machine, or restore to a Hyper-V snapshot if you took one at a time prior to booting it up for the first time.
After you have successfully setup this virtual machine within your Hyper-V environment you can begin using the walkthroughs to learn more about the scenarios enabled by this integration. Those walkthroughs are also included in the list of files above as Word documents, and are numbered 1-4. It is recommended, though not required, that you complete these labs in the order they are numbered. You should also consider using Hyper-V snapshots prior to following the steps in a walkthrough so that you can roll back to an earlier snapshot if you would like to complete a walkthrough multiple times, or if you make a mistake.
Are you using Team Foundation Server, or are you considering it? Are you practicing Scrum-based software development (or do you want to learn how to)?
If the answer is YES to these questions then I can’t say enough good things about this book. Professional Scrum with Team Foundation Server 2010 will provide you with everything you need to know about Team Foundation Server 2010 to really unlock the power of using it for Scrum-based software development. Team Foundation Server 2010 is especially suited to this goal since it was built with such tooling in mind, such as the ability to decompose larger workstreams into smaller child tasks, to manage a common backlog of work and break this down into iterations/sprints, to calculate the capacity of your team and of individuals, and to generate burndowns and other interesting reports in real time.
I’m personally a huge fan of Scrum. I even had the pleasure of spending the day with Ken Schwaber last week (one of the two co-developers of scrum) and we spent the day talking about Scrum, its origins, and where it’s headed. I think that the real popularity of Scrum stems from its simplicity. In order for everybody on a team to work better together, they have to first be able to understand the process whereby everybody is going to work together towards a common goal; unless everybody can understand what the process is and what the common goal is, how can you work together? Scrum addresses this issue head-on by using simple, fun terminology and clearly-defined communications channels and methods that everybody on a team can easily understand.
But you don’t have to take my word for it… I’d suggest adding this book to your backlog.
It’s been less than two weeks since I released the beta of the OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010 and my inbox has been overwhelmed with positive feedback, suggestions for future enhancements, and people telling me how they are using this service in their own projects. Thanks to everybody who has taken time to share your experience with me!
Some of those projects are not yet public and I don’t want to steal the thunder from the teams working on them, but I did want to share two quick examples of how people are using this service.
First Windows Phone 7 app for Team Foundation Server in the marketplace Ordina Belgium built a really nice free Windows Phone 7 app called TFS Monitor. You can install the application from here if you have a Windows Phone 7 device and the Zune software installed, but be sure to read their installation instructions for how to enable this service with your own TFS server. I’m using this app with the public OData Service we deployed for CodePlex to monitor my projects. It works great! I especially like the notifications, offline support, and really nice UI that Ordina delivered with this app.
PowerShell Commandlets Doug Finke, a Microsoft MVP, created some really nice PowerShell commandlets which allow you to interact with your CodePlex projects via OData. Doug has published all of the source code here, so you could use this with CodePlex or even adapt it for use with your own private deployment of the OData Service.
Thanks to Ordina and to Doug for creating these great experiences. If you are working on a project which uses the OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010 I’d love to hear about it.
April 13, 2011 Update: This issue was fixed in a refresh of the beta that is now available for download.
If you’re using the beta of the OData Service for Team Foundation Server 2010 you might be hitting the following issue when you try to run the setup.cmd file for setting up your local machine with all of the components.
Notice the error on the Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010. The problem is that the Azure tools were actually updated within the last few days to be version 1.4, whereas the dependency checker is checking for either of the 1.3.x versions which were published within the last few months (which are no longer available for download).
This is a bug which we’ll address in the next release. Meanwhile, the workaround for this is easy. You can simply ignore this error message and download the latest version of the Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010.
Keep in mind also that you only need these tools if you want to optionally deploy your own OData Service endpoint to point to your Team Foundation Server instance. If you intend to use CodePlex with this service then you can just take advantage of the OData Service endpoint we are hosting at https://codeplexodata.cloudapp.net/.
Thanks to Girish Pillai and Mathias Olausson for reporting this issue. If you have feedback on the beta please send it to TFSOData@Microsoft.com.