26 July 2007

Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 - Released

As of a short while ago, Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 was released.  This also includes the .NET Framework 3.5 Beta 2.  Silverlight 1.0 RC is expected to be released within the next couple of days.

Also, these releases (Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2, .NET Framework 3.5 Beta 2, as well as Silverlight 1.0 RC) come with a "go live" license that allows you to start development now and not have to worry about a supported upgrade path when the final versions ship later this year.

Here's a list of the installation disc images that can be downloaded:

  • Visual Studio 2008 Standard Edition Beta 2
  • Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition Beta 2
  • Visual Studio Team System 2008 - Team Suite Beta 2
  • Visual Studio Team System 2008 - Team Foundation Server Beta 2
  • Visual Studio Team System 2008 - Test Load Agent Beta 2
  • MSDN Library for Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2

    Also, there are a couple of VPC images that can be downloaded as well:

  • Visual Studio Team System 2008 - Team Suite Beta 2 VPC
  • Visual Studio Team System 2008 - Team Suite & Team Foundation Server Beta 2 VPC

    The Visual Studio Express Editions can be downloaded from here.

    The Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Beta 2 can be downloaded from here.

    You can read more about these releases from Soma, Rob, Brian, and Scott.  I'm sure there will be lots to write about over the next few weeks as everyone gets into the nuts-and-bolts of Beta 2.

  • 24 July 2007

    TFSInfo Updated

    Just a quick post to let everyone know that the TFSInfo utility has been updated to also report the version number of the Team Foundation Server's data tier schema (per this post).  TFSInfo now reports the TFS version based on the Application Tier as well as the Data Tier.

    You can read more about it here.

    18 July 2007

    Vista Sidebar Gadget for Team Builds

    Jim Lamb has released a Windows Sidebar Gadget that allows you to view completed and failed team builds.  The current version is compatible with Visual Studio 2008 Beta 1 (i.e. "Orcas") and should also be compatible with beta 2 once it's released.

    You can read more about it and/or download the gadget here.  Jim also provides a short video demonstration of the gadget on his blog page as well.

    16 July 2007

    Refreshing TFS Version Control Status Icons

    I've seen a some posts lately related to the version control status icons that are displayed in the Solution Explorer within Visual Studio 2005 Team System.  The problem with these status icons is that they do not automatically update to reflect the current status when a file is checked out or back in.  Even refreshing the Solution Explorer does not refresh the status icons.  To see this in action, open a solution in Visual Studio and have someone else check one of the solution files out.  Refresh your Solution Explorer by right-clicking on a project and selecting Refresh.

    There is a way to refresh the status icons - by clicking on File-->Source Control-->Refresh Status.  This will update the status icons to reflect whether a file is checked in or out.  If you're like me and prefer to use the keyboard when possible, you can easily assign a hotkey to this command by:

    1. Click on the Tools-->Options menu item within Visual Studio.
    2. Click on the Environment-->Keyboard node.
    3. Enter "tfsrefreshstatus" into the Show commands containing textbox.
    4. Select the entry "File.TfsRefreshStatus".  This is the command that is executed when you click on File-->Source Control-->Refresh Status.
    5. Enter a shortcut by clicking in the Press shortcut keys textbox and pressing Ctrl+R, Ctrl+S (or any other command sequence you wish) and click on the Assign button.  See the screen shot below for an example:

    Visual Studio Options

    Although I'd rather see the status icons update automatically, this is an easy workaround.

    12 July 2007

    Exposing TFS with the Hamachi VPN

    I am currently working on a project that has developers distributes across two sites.  We wanted to make use of Team Foundation Server but didn't want to expose the server to the "world".  There are a couple of options available to us and we chose to go down the VPN route for two main reasons:

    1. Cost - by utilizing the LogMeIn Hamachi VPN (more on that in a minute) we had to spend only $39 rather than the hundreds of dollars an SSL certificate would have cost us.
    2. Ease - setting up the VPN was very simple - both on the server as well as the client.

    What is the LogMeIn Hamachi VPN you might ask?  Here's what they have to say on their web site:

    LogMeIn Hamachi is a VPN service that easily sets up in 10 minutes, and enables secure remote access to your business network, anywhere there's an Internet connection.

    It works with your existing firewall, and requires no additional configuration. Hamachi is the first networking application to deliver an unprecedented level of direct peer-to-peer connectivity. It is simple, secure, and cost-effective.

    Once I downloaded and installed the VPN software it took me less than 10 minutes (as advertised) to get everything setup and running.  Once I had the VPN configured on the Team Foundation Server machine, an external developer installed the same software on his machine and was accessing TFS within a few minutes.

    We did run into one snag during our initial setup.  The external developer noticed that he could access documents via SharePoint but little red X's were appearing next to the Documents and Reports folders in Team Explorer.  It turned out to be a name resolution problem.  He just added the TFS machine name to his hosts file (along with the server's IP address) and everything was good-to-go.

    Regarding the $39 that we spent on the software... there is a free version of the software that we initially used to get everything setup and working.  However, the free version does not run as a Windows Service so we had to have an active session on the TFS server during our initial testing.  Once we determined the VPN would work for us, we spent the $39 to upgrade which let us switch to a Windows Service configuration with a single click.

    So, if you're looking for a simple, quick, and inexpensive solution for exposing your Team Foundation Server securely, you may want to check the LogMeIn Hamachi VPN out.

    10 July 2007

    Microsoft's Largest Launch - Ever!

    Microsoft announces today (July 10th) that Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008 (formerly code-named "Orcas") will be officially launched together on February 27th, 2008.  Although it appears that Visual Studio 2008 is still set for release later this year, I have to say I'm a little surprised (although not too much) by the release date.  I had the impression these tools would be available a little sooner than this since the 2007 PDC in Los Angeles was canceled with this message:

    We are currently in the process of rescheduling this fall’s Professional Developer Conference. As the PDC is the definitive developer event focused on the future of the Microsoft platform, we try to align it to be in front of major platform milestones. By this fall, however, upcoming platform technologies including Windows Server 2008, SQL Server codenamed “Katmai,” Visual Studio codenamed “Orcas” and Silverlight will already be in developers’ hands and approaching launch...

    At any rate, I will definitely be ready to start using Visual Studio 2008 as soon as it's available.  And, since Visual Studio 2008 is planned to be released along with a "go-live" license, I may start using it a lot sooner than that.

    You can read more here and here.

    07 July 2007

    How to Determine what Version of TFS is Installed

    There have been several posts out there to help out with determining what version of TFS is currently installed and when it was installed (e.g. here, here, and here). These suggestions require you to check out various file versions, poke around the registry, and/or query the data tier. To ease the process, I have put together a simple console-based utility, TFSInfo, that will give you some basic information (e.g. AT server name, DT server name, version - AT & DT, edition, reporting server URL, the TFS installation date, and product ID) for your TFS installation.

    Here is an example screen shot of the utility's output:

    To use this utility, download the ZIP file and extract TFSInfo.exe onto a machine that has the Team Explorer client installed. From a command console, run TFSInfo passing in the name of the TFS Server application tier.

    The version of the application tier is determined by querying the version of the file 'Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Server.dll'.  The version of the data tier is determined by querying the TfsVersionControl database (read more here).

    If you're running the utility directly on the application tier, you can leave the server name off and just run TFSInfo.exe.


    • If you run this utility on a machine other than the TFS Application Tier, you will need remote registry permissions as well as permissions to query the TFS Version Control system.
    • The data tier is queried using Integrated Security.  You will need access to the TfsVersionControl database in order to retrieve the data tier version.
    • Does not currently support TFS 2008. Support for TFS 2008 will no doubt be added in the near future.

    Please comment if you have any questions and/or suggestions.

    06 July 2007

    Installing Service Pack 1 for TFS and VSTS

    Although Service Pack 1 for Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio 2005 has been out for a while now, the installation process is not necessarily obvious.  Depending upon your configuration, there may be one or more files you need to install - and the order can matter.

    Team Foundation Server:

    1. If you're running Windows Server 2003, there may be issues when attempting to install large MSI files (the Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite SP1 is over 400MB).  See knowledge base article KB925336 for more information as well as a downloadable update to resolve this issue.  Install this update first if you plan on installing SP1 on a Windows 2003 server.  This is about a 1MB download.
    2. A pre-requisite to installing SP1 on the Team Foundation Server is the Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server Quiescence GDR.  There are (currently) two versions of this GDR.  If you have version one (VS80-KB919156-X86.exe) installed, then you'll need to download version 2 (VS80-KB919156-v2-X86.exe) and install it as well.  This is about a 4.5MB download.
    3. Install Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server Service Pack 1.  This is about a 46MB download.
    4. If you have any of the Visual Studio SKUs installed on your Team Foundation Server (e.g. to support unit testing, etc.) then you'll need to install the Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite Service Pack 1NOTE: Depending upon the number of SKUs installed, the service pack installer will run multiple times (once for each SKU) so be prepared for multiple dialogs.  This is about a 430MB download.

    Visual Studio Client:

    1. If you're developing on Windows Server 2003, see Step 1 above.
    2. Install the Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite Service Pack 1NOTE: Depending upon the number of SKUs installed, the service pack installer will run multiple times (once for each SKU) so be prepared for multiple dialogs.  This is about a 430MB download.
    3. If you're developing on Windows Vista then you'll need to install Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Update for Windows Vista.  This update (which shipped after the release of SP1) addresses areas of Visual Studio impacted by Windows Vista enhancements.

    As with any upgrade, it is highly recommended that you perform a backup of your TFS installation prior to updating to SP1.