20 October 2009

Visual Studio 2010 – Links for Getting Started

If you are venturing to try out the latest Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 release then you may be looking for as much information regarding this release as you can.  There is too much information available to condense into a single post so here are a few links to help get you started:

Links & Downloads

  • Visual Studio Home – this is the official Visual Studio home page.  You will be able to view information specific to each SKU, as well as download the latest beta, once the site is updated (hopefully tomorrow).
  • Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 can be downloaded from the MSDN Subscribers download site.  General availability is expected to start on Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 on the Microsoft Downloads site.
  • Team Foundation Installation Guide for Visual Studio Team System 2010 – use this link to download the CHM file for the TFS installation guide (beta 1 and 2 guides are currently available).  This guide is also included in the Team Foundation Server 2010 download (in the root folder).
  • Compare the various Visual Studio 2010 SKUs here.


If you’re looking for documentation for Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2, then you can find (hopefully) everything you need on the MSDN site.  Click here for the Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 documentation.

Client Compatibility

If you’re going to be running Visual Studio 2010 side-by-side with older clients and/or Team Foundation Servers (e.g. 2005 and/or 2008) then there are some compatibility issues that you will need to take into account.  This blog post covers these in great detail.


Along with the Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 announcement came details regarding the new SKUs that will be available.  Brian Harry has posted some highlights regarding these changes.  Buck Hodges has also posted a few details here.

Learning More

Here are some links to miscellaneous posts and videos regarding some of the new Visual Studio 2010 features:

BLOGs to Watch

Reporting Bugs

If you happen to discover any issues (i.e. bugs) with Visual Studio, please report them on Microsoft Connect.  This is the site where you can search for existing issues, create new issues, and follow them as they move through Microsoft’s development life cycle.

19 October 2009

Visual Studio 2010 – Beta 2 Released

Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2010 – Beta 2 is now available for download on the MSDN subscribers download site.  This is a milestone release for Microsoft for several reasons:

  • This release (Visual Studio 2010 – Beta 2) is generally considered to be feature complete (barring any loud feedback concerning some missing feature that just can’t be left out)
  • It comes with a “Go-Live” license.  This means that you can use Visual Studio 2010 and/or Team Foundation Server 2010 to produce production systems and the upgrade to the RTM version will be supported.
  • The Visual Studio 2010 SKUs have been modified to (hopefully) reduce confusion – specifically, the confusion between Visual Studio and “Team System”.  The moniker “Team System” is no longer used with Visual Studio although the ALM tools are still very much part of Visual Studio.  In fact, all of the Visual Studio 2010 SKUs that include and MSDN subscription include a full Team Foundation Server (TFS) license for production use as well as one CAL.  This is an exciting change because it makes TFS a much more affordable solution.

The official list of Visual Studio 2010 SKUs include:

  • Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2010 Professional
  • Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2010 Professional with MSDN
  • Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2010 Premium with MSDN
  • Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2010 Ultimate with MSDN
  • Microsoft® Visual Studio® Test Elements 2010 with MSDN
  • Microsoft® Visual Studio® Team Foundation Server 2010
  • Microsoft® Visual Studio® Team Lab Management 2010
  • Microsoft® Visual Studio® Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010

The “Express” editions are not included in the above list as they have not changed.

Also, you will be seeing the “Ultimate Offer” promotion from Microsoft that will bump your MSDN subscription up to the next level based on your current MSDN subscription status at the time Visual Studio 2010 is launched (which is scheduled for March 22nd, 2010).  So, if you currently have an MSDN subscription, make sure you check out the details of this offer (details in a later post) prior to the launch date.

There are a ton of other details regarding this release that are too numerous to list right now (e.g. new MSDN subscription benefits as well).  Expect to see (lots) of posts regarding the changes in Visual Studio 2010 in the near future.

For now, if you are running Visual Studio Team System (2005 or 2008) you may want to download the new beta and try out the new features.  In fact, you can even use it for your production development if you like.

If you happen to discover any issues (i.e. bugs) with Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2, please report them on Microsoft Connect.  This is the site where you can search for existing issues, create new issues, and follow them as they move through Microsoft’s development life cycle.

For further information, check out these links:

16 October 2009

Heartland Developer’s Conference – Day 2

Today was the second and final day of the 2009 Heartland Developers Conference.  I was able to stick around through all the sessions today so I was able to take in a lot more content than yesterday.  Much like yesterday, I found the non-technical sessions the most interesting – which seems to be a little counter-intuitive for a developers conference.

Here’s a quick run down on some of the sessions I attended today:

Smithying in the 21st Century - Neal Ford – This keynote was a discussion about predicting the future and how to ensure you don’t go the way of the dinosaurs.  Although you may not be able to predict the next “big thing”, you should at least pay attention to technological trends and needs.  This was not a technical keynote address but it did invoke a lot of thought which makes for an enjoyable talk.

The Natural User Interface: Multi-Touch and Beyond Nathan Moody – this was a great overview of natural user interface (NUI) design in a multi-touch form factor.  Nathan discussed various multi-touch technologies as well as common issues that need to be addressed when designing for multi-touch interfaces.

How to Kill a Project and Deflate a Team – Surviving a software death marchMike Benkovich – in this talk, Mike covered various aspects of successful projects and teams.

An Introduction to .NET RIA ServicesAdam Grocholski – in this talk, Adam introduced us to the .NET RIA Services framework.  The main purpose of the .NET RIA Services is to streamline the development of n-tier applications in Silverlight by simplifying many of the common tasks that are required when writing software partitioned across multiple tiers.  This was my favorite technical session of the day.

How NOT to give a talk!Kent Tegels – a self-proclaimed “bad presenter”, Kent gave a great session on the habits of bad presenters as well as tips for correcting them.  Tidbits such as interacting with the audience; not relying on PowerPoint slides; practicing, but not over-practicing the talk, and others.  Overall, a useful session for anyone aspiring to present for their first time or anyone looking for tips on improving their presentation skills.

There were a couple of other sessions intermixed throughout the day but I don’t recall what they were off the top of my head.

This year’s conference was without a doubt a great use of my time.  I picked up a few technical tips that I will take back to the office with me next week for further investigation (e.g. .NET RIA Services, jQuery, etc.).  However, like I mentioned above, it’s the non-technical sessions that will give me the most food for thought (and debate fodder with co-workers) for the next few weeks.  I will look forward to next year’s event!

15 October 2009

Heartland Developers Conference – Day 1

This year marks the sixth year for the Heartland Developers Conference.  This is a great technology conference that has only gotten better with each year (Joe always does a great job!).  In previous years, the HDC has been primarily focused on Microsoft-related technologies.  This year, that focus is gone in favor of a more platform-neutral event.  For example, this year’s conference includes not only .NET-based technologies, but also topics covering Adobe, Ruby, Apple (e.g. iPhone), etc.  As always, the event is backed up with a great representation of top-quality speakers from all across the country.

Although I had to leave the conference early today, I was still able to attend a few great sessions, including:

VS 2010 for the Code WarriorScott Guthrie – this was the first keynote address for the conference where the “Gu” spent most of his time (and about 15 minutes of the next set of presenter’s time :-)) showing off demos of the up-coming version of Visual Studio 2010.  Some of the highlights include:

  • Multiple monitor support – great for those of us lucky enough to have more than one monitor attached to our developer machine
  • Historical Debugging – another great feature that will help with the debugging of complex scenarios.
  • Miscellaneous Refactoring Features – block-selection-replace, Highlighting References, Call Hierarchy navigation, etc.
  • Consume-First IntelliSense – allows you to tweak IntelliSense in Visual Studio to help support development processes like Test Driven Development (TDD).  Using this feature, along with the ability to generate class and method stubs based on usage, you can practice TDD much more effectively in Visual Studio 2010.
  • TFS 2010 - “Basic” – Team Foundation Server for SourceSafe (and other) users.  You will now be able to acquire TFS 2010 Basic “at least as easy and cost effective to get as SourceSafe has been” and even install it on your Windows Client PC (e.g. Vista or Windows 7).
  • Improved JavaScript IntelliSense
  • More…

jQuery 101 Rod Paddock – Before today, I had only heard of jQuery but had no idea as to what it was.  Based on the name alone, I had assumed it was a JavaScript library for querying data (in some form or another).  Attending Rod’s session, I learned that it’s more for querying the DOM and acting upon the results of those queries (i.e. “selectors”).  This looks to be a very useful library for manipulating not only the look and feel of web pages on-the-fly but also on how they behave (e.g. by manipulating events).  This is a library that I will be spending a little more time with in the near future.  Another great feature is the on-line documentation.  It’s actually useful!

Rethinking “Enterprise”Ted Neward – although the other presentations were great, this was easily my favorite presentation of the day.  The interesting part is that it wasn’t even technical.  There was no code, no IDEs, just some seemingly difficult math problems, some not-so-well-known facts about Woodrow Wilson, and various other historical tidbits about things like J2EE, etc.  Oh, and the incessant Windows Update dialog that seemed to consume most of Ted’s CPU cycles.  The gist of his presentation is that we are all wired from the time we start school as a child to think in a certain way.  This brings along with it certain presumptions that affect how we might approach a given problem.  The point of the presentation is to make us aware of this condition and to step outside the box and question assumptions and explore multiple possibilities.  Although this session was only an hour long, It will provide me with food for thought for weeks to come :-)

With any luck, I will be able to attend the entire day tomorrow and finish off the conference with a day full of great sessions.  See you there!

04 October 2009

VSTS 2010 Beta 2 – Almost Here

According to this post by Brian Keller and another by Brian Harry, VSTS 2010 Beta 2 is “just around the corner” and will ship with a “Go Live” license which means:

  1. You can use VSTS 2010 Beta 2 for production development
  2. The upgrade path to VSTS 2010 RTM will be supported

Brian Keller also provides links to a Microsoft Word document and a PowerPoint presentation that can assist you in planning for the VSTS 2010 upgrade.

02 October 2009

Team Foundation Server for the Masses

Early last year, I posted 10 Reasons for TFS with Small Teams that listed 10 reasons for using Team Foundation Server even if you thought your team may not be big enough to get any benefit from it.  I still stand by those 10 reasons.  However, reality has a way of overturning even the best of reasons.  For example, cost of software licenses and hardware carry a lot of weight when it comes time to calculate ROI (whether real or perceived).

Yesterday, Brian Harry announced some major changes coming in TFS 2010 that will go a long way in bring Team Foundation Server to the masses – a new feature called Team Foundation Server “Basic” Installation.

Brian covers three aspects of this in his post:

  1. Price - Although he doesn’t disclose the licensing options and/or price, he does go so far as to say it will be as easy and cost effective to get as Visual SourceSafe has been in the past.  This is very exciting as cost seems to be one of the top (if not the top) reason against bringing Team Foundation Server into a small shop – i.e. those same small shops that use Visual SourceSafe today.
  2. Pre-Requisite Hardware – TFS 2010…
    • Can be installed on a domain controller, which is great if you’re a small shop and that is the only server hardware you have.
    • Can be installed on not only server OSes but also client OSes.  Supported operating systems include: Windows Vista, Windows 7 Home Premium, and above.
    • Supports 32-bit and 64-bit so no matter what type of server you’re running, TFS will work for you.
  3. Installation Experience – the installation experience for TFS 2010 has been drastically improved.  The TFS installation wizard has three options: “Basic” (the main point of what I’m writing about here), “Standard”, and “Advanced”.

So, what does the “Basic” installation option get you?  Pretty much everything the “Standard” installation of TFS provides with the exception of SharePoint and Reporting capabilities.  This means you have the following features:

  • Version Control
  • Bug Tracking
  • Build Automation

And, as Brian mentions in his post, the nice thing about the “Basic” installation option is that you can always reconfigure the installation down the road as your needs grow.

Read more about this announcement in Brian’s post here.

01 October 2009

TFS Work Item Manager/Dashboard

A few days ago, Telerik announced the availability of two new free products built to provide an informational view into your Team Foundation Server projects.  These products are TFS Work Item Manager and TFS Project Dashboard.

TFS Work Item Manager highlights:

  • Work Item grid filtering, grouping, and aggregation
  • Area and Iteration filtering using single and multi select modes
  • Filter query results using a tree of areas or iterations
  • *Unique Task board view of work items independent from any process template
  • Print work item cards for the board in your room
  • Iteration schedule
  • Paste clipboard contents into a work item
  • "New Query by example” saves your query for other team members
  • Search the title and description of query results as you type
  • Built with RadControls for WPF

TFS Project Dashboard highlights:

  • Displays workload data within various widgets
  • Shows important indicators in real time, at a glance including:
    • Build history
    • Recent check-ins
    • Assigned tasks
    • Bug history
    • More

The following TFS process templates are supported out of the box: CMMI Process Improvement, MSF for Agile Software Development, and Agile Software Development with Scrum.  Custom process templates are also supported.

I have to admit that my current favorite feature of these tools is the Task Board view.  This view represents your work items as “sticky notes” that you can drag from one status to another.  In our case, we are projecting onto an interactive Panaboard which allows us to physically move a work item from one status into another by pointing and dragging with our fingers.  Very cool!

If you’ve been looking for another view into the information buried within your Team Foundation Server then these tools are worth checking out.

Another Year as a Team System MVP

It was exactly one year ago today that I found out I was awarded with the Microsoft MVP status for Team System.  Since then I have had the opportunity to interact with many of my fellow Team System MVPs as well as many of the VSTS Rangers and have learned a great deal.  My first year as a Microsoft Team System MVP has been a great experience.

Earlier today, I found out that my MVP status has been renewed for yet another year.  My thanks goes out to Microsoft for their support of this program.  I look forward to the next year, broadening my technical horizons, interacting with the community, speaking at various events, interacting with other Team System MVPs, and meeting people passionate about technology.