27 February 2012

Useful Tools from MVP2MVP Day

Although the 2012 MVP Global Summit officially kicks off tomorrow, there were still plenty of Microsoft MVPs around today for various pre-sessions.  In my case, I joined the other Visual Studio ALM MVPs present for this year’s MVP2MVP day – a day where Visual Studio ALM MVPs are given 20 minutes to get up and present on various tips, tricks, neat projects, etc. to the rest of the group with the goal of sharing knowledge and learning new things.  There was a lot of useful information at this year’s MVP2MVP day so I thought I’d share a few of the tools that were brought up today (in no particular order).

  • DemoMate – this is a neat utility that allows you to build automated presentations (so to speak).  For example, you can build click-through demos, guided tutorials, etc.  The final results can be published in varying formats (including the web).  You can find out more here or watch a demo here.

  • Snoop – Snoop is a WPF spy utility that allows you to “spy/browse the visual tree and change properties... amongst other things.”  Snoop was utilized during one of today’s demos to provide enhanced features for Coded UI Tests (i.e. provide the ability to inspect properties of objects not normally exposed).

  • TFS Event Workflows – TFS Event Workflows allow you to define workflows based on Microsoft’s Workflow foundation which then will be executed on specific events triggered by your Team Foundation Server.  This is very helpful to implement scenarios like:
    • Aggregate status and/or efforts over your work item hierarchy
    • Trigger deployment when you change the Build Quality of a build
    • Implement advanced notification scenarios which cannot be achieved by TFS Alerts
    • Change status of a work item based on different rules (e.g. set to “In Progress” if the Assigned To field is filled)
    • Fill work item fields based on calculations or other complex operations you cannot build with work item rules
    • Trigger synchronization with external systems if a work item has been changed
    • Etc.

  • TFS Tools Suite – Fellow MVP, Neno Loje, demonstrated a suite of command-line utilities developed to aid in all sorts of situations for TFS.  Some of the utilities include:
    • PingTFS – used to ping a TFS server to determine if it is up and running
    • TfsExport – downloads files from TFS version control and sets the file’s last access timestamp to the file's last check-in date/time
    • TfsRefreshWarehouse – used to refresh the TFS Warehouse, Cube and Reports on demand
    • TfsSyncIdentities – forces TFS to sync with Active Directory
    • TfsWarehouseController – used to change the update frequency of the TFS warehouse/cube
    • Lots of others… to see the full list of utilities, check out this post

  • git-tfs - git-tfs is a two-way bridge between TFS and git, similar to git-svn.  If you prefer using a “git-like” command-line interface or are looking for a DVCS solution that will work with Team Foundation Server, then you will want to check this tool out.  Take a look at this blog post to get some great information on how to get started.

  • TeamCompanion – this is a commercial (i.e. non-free) utility that provides the ability to interact with Team Foundation Server from within Microsoft Outlook.  TeamCompanion “…empowers various project stakeholders, particularly business ones, to work on TFS based projects, using the one tool they use for the most of their daily tasks.”

There was a lot more information covered today than is listed here but these are some of the highlights.  If you have a favorite TFS-related utility feel free to list it in the comments section.