23 May 2006

Team Foundation Server Build Clean-up Service

Mitch Denny has posted a new TFS build clean-up service that will clean up your TFS build files throughout the day (at some pre-configured interval). If you find that you occasionally go in to manually delete old build files, this utility could be of use.

There are certain rules that must be met before the utility will remove the build files, including:
  • Has the expiry date for the build been reached?
  • Does the drop location exist?
  • Has the build actually completed?
  • Has the build been abandoned?

Read the full details in Mitch's post.

Add Intellisense to SQL Server

Have you ever wished you could have Intellisense when writing queries in Visual Studio's Server Explorer, SQL Server's Query Analyzer, or SQL Server 2005's Management Studio? Well, now you can! red-gate is currently offering their SQL Prompt product for free until September 1st, 2006.

SQL Prompt gives you the power of Intellisense for SQL. Here are a list of features:
  • Table/View name completion
  • Column name completion
  • Stored procedure name completion
  • USE completion
  • JOIN/JOIN ON completion
  • Auto-uppercasing of keywords
  • Auto-popup after keywords
This utility is a great time saver. Get it while it's free!

19 May 2006

Team Foundation Server Dog Food

Brian Harry has posted an article on how Microsoft has started eating their own dog food by implementing Team Foundation Server within their own ranks. He details several of the issues they have ran into so far - most of which are related to the sheer size of their various projects. For example, one of the statistics he posts is the number of files and folders currently in their TFS system - 13,137,178 files and 1,677,668 folders. That's a lot of files although, according to his post, it will be a lot more than that by the time they're through.

Brian also goes on to state that they've fixed several bugs and performance issues internally within Team Foundation Server that they will be making publicly available (presumably sometime later this year).

It is a very interesting read to see how Microsoft is making use of their own tools.

Planning a Team Project

I came across a nice document today on Microsoft's MSDN site that helps with planning new Team Projects. Although this document has probably been around for a little while, this was the first time I had seen. It provides a nice flowchart-like approach to planning Team Projects (e.g. do you create a new project or add to an existing project?).

Before creating a team project, you should carefully plan the scope of the project and consider the future path for the modification, growth, and maintenance of the team project. This topic presents a list of questions you must answer to determine whether you may want to create a new team project or expand an existing project. This list of questions is presented as a starting point for your deliberation and is not intended to be exhaustive or definitive for all software development projects.

This is definitely a good read if you haven't done so already. This document is a sub-topic of Creating and Managing Team Projects within MSDN. So, there is a lot of other useful Team System information at this site.

16 May 2006

Microsoft Launches CodePlex

Microsoft has launched a beta version of its new community software project development site - CodePlex.

CodePlex is an online software development environment for open and shared source developers to create, host and manage projects throughout the project lifecycle. It has been written from the ground up in C# using .NET 2.0 technology with Team Foundation Server on the back end. CodePlex is open to the public free of charge.

Since CodePlex is based on Team Foundation Server you can connect to the CodePlex site via the Team Client which will then display all projects for which you are a member.

You have to request approval to get a new project added to the site but they also state that if you create a gotdotnet project first, then your chances will be improved (assuming your gotdotnet project is active).

Word has it that Microsoft's current plan is to launch the final version of CodePlex at the Open Source Business Conference in London in late June.

15 May 2006

Tech-Ed 2006 - Boston Sold Out

It's official... Tech-Ed 2006 in Boston is now officially sold out! Luckily I was able to register early on so I'll be there. If you were not able to register and would still like to attend, you can sign up for the waiting list.

See you there!

Team Foundation Server Installation Guide - Updated

Per Rob Caron's post, the Team Foundation Server installation guide has been updated to include bug fixes and covers installing SQL Server 2005 SP1.

The updated installation guide can be downloaded here.

12 May 2006

Class Designer PowerToys

Although the PowerToys for the Visual Studio 2005 Class Designer and Distributed System Designers have been around for a while now (last release was December 1, 2005) I have just recently started to use them. There is some very useful functionality built into these PowerToys. Actually, there is surprising amount of functionality built in and I've only started to make use of some of it.

You can download the source code and the installer from the gotdotnet workspace.

Here is a list of features:

Design Tools Enhancements

  • Diagram Search
  • Formatting Commands
  • Floating Property Grid
  • Pan/Zoom Window (a personal favorite)
  • Design Surface Scrolling Improvements
  • Create Comments with Double-Click
  • Design Surface Grid

Class Designer Enhancements

  • Export Diagrams for Web (a personal favorite)
  • Display Xml Comment Command
  • Documentation Tool Window
  • Filtering Appearance
  • Filtering Lines
  • Filtering Members
  • MSDN Help on System Types
  • Fast Navigation
  • Interface Lollipop Labels Commands
  • Inheritance Visualization Commands
  • Show Type Command
  • Association and Inheritance Line Dongles
  • Create Tests Command
  • Type Creation Commands
  • Add Member Commands
  • Synchronization with Code Definition Window
  • View Class Diagram Command Improvements
  • Creating Custom Add-ins

05 May 2006

INDC Talk: Top Ten Tips for Team Foundation Server

Martin Woodward blogs about his list of Top 10 Tips for Team Foundation Server. There is some very good information in these tips as well as links to other useful Team Server related information. He also inlcudes a link to his PowerPoint presentation.

04 May 2006

Consolas Font Pack for VS 2005

Microsoft has released a set of monospaced ClearType fonts, called Consolas, intended for use in programming environments (e.g. VS 2005). In the past, I've not been a huge fan of ClearType fonts (they tend to look a little fuzzy to me). However, I've been using the Consolas fonts for about a day and, so far, I like it. I did have to bump my original font size up to 11 (from 10) to get rid of most of the "fuzziness". Per the Consolas download page:

Brief Description
Optimized for Microsoft ClearTypeThe Microsoft Consolas Font Family is a set of highly legible fonts designed for ClearType. It is intended for use in programming environments and other circumstances where a monospaced font is specified. This installation package will set the default font for Visual Studio to Consolas.

Consolas is intended for use in programming environments and other circumstances where a monospaced font is specified. All characters have the same width, like old typewriters, making it a good choice for personal and business correspondence. Optimizing the font specifically for ClearType allowed a design with proportions closer to normal text than traditional monospaced fonts like Courier. This allows for more comfortable reading of extended text on-screen.

The package will change the default text face in Visual Studio to the Consolas family.

This package is only intended for licensed users of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005.

New Sidekicks

A while back I blogged about the Workspace Sidekick from Attrice. They have released a new version of Workspace Sidekick as well as a brand new sidekick called Status Sidekick.

Status Sidekick allows you to view pending changes for your Team Projects in a hierarchical format. The best feature of this utility is that it allows you to unlock one or more locked files/folders and/or undo pending changes on files/folders. Very handy if you don't want to break out the command line documentation :-)

Check out the Sidekicks page for more details.

02 May 2006

The Semester is Over!

This semester marked the first time I've ever taught at the college level - an introduction to programming class using C#. It has been a fun semester and I've learned a lot - hopefully the students learned even more ;-).

Tonight was the final exam for the class so it is officially over until next time (actually, it's not over until I finish grading the exams - but close enough :-). I'm looking forward to having some of my evening hours back for other projects (home projects, software projects, movies, etc.).

Having been a contractor for eight years (not a contractor any more) I have done a lot of mentoring and one or two day sessions. However, I must admit that I like teaching in a classroom setting even more.