20 June 2006

TFS Bug Snapper v1.0 Released

A handy little utility, Bug Snapper, has been created and released by Grant Holliday. This utility allows you to quickly and easily create a "bug" work item within a Team Project without having to go through the Team Explorer client. You can quickly type in a title and description, specify a ranking, and take a screen shot.

You can download the latest release here.

You can also download the source code here.

TFS Service Pack 1 in the Works

It looks like the Team Foundation Server Service Pack 1 is getting closer to its initial beta release. Based on a blog post by Brian Harry, there is no current (public) timeline set for release but he expects the beta to be available in the "not too distant future".

Here is a list of improvements included in TFSSP1:

  • Version Control, WorkItem Tracking and Datawarehouse performance/scale improvements - the majority of these have come from our continued internal deployment. You can read one of my earlier blog posts for more detail on what kinds of things we've hit and addressed. We're now seeing great results on our internal servers with these fixes.
  • "Extranet support" - We implemented an ISAPI filter that will allow the intranet to use NTLM and integrated auth while the extra net uses basic auth. This enables TFS to be more easily deployed in environments where people on the internet need to be able to access TFS without having VPN.
  • WIT Custom Control support - This is a cool new feature. It is a mechanism by which people can design work item forms that host custom controls. The data behind the controls can either be persisted in WIT fields or elsewhere. I'm hoping people go crazy with it and build some awesome custom controls.
  • Bug fixes for Office 2007 (Project and Excel - no Sharepoint 2007 support yet), Vista and the new WAP project support - These were all things that were pretty far from shipping when we shipped so it was not possible to work out all the kinks (bugs on both sides). Now that they are much closer and more stable we've been able to make them work well.
  • Bug fixes for Dr. Watson reports - We've been collecting and analyzing all of the crashes that have been uploaded through Dr. Watson. We fixed the top offenders that accounted for a significant majority of all crashes that customers have experienced/reported.
I'm definitely looking forward to some performance improvements and am holding out hope that the version control improvements includes a "get latest on checkout" feature.

12 June 2006

Tech-Ed 2006 is in Full Force

Tech-Ed 2006 is now in ful force in Boston! I arrived yesterday afternoon, checked in, received a bag full of goodies and attended the keynote address. I had a nice, long, descriptive post about the keynote but the hard drive in my tablet PC decided to go kabunk this morning (it made some really horrible sounds and finally "blue-screened" Windows). So, if I'm able to retrieve any data from my hard drive, I'll post about the keynote at a later time.

This morning (Monday) I attended the session "Building Modern Software Services, Workflow and Identity" by David Chappell. He was a very good speaker (the best I've seen here so far) - almost to the point of being a motivational speaker. He is very passionate about software services and technology in general. His closing words... "go paint your bridge". This was in reference to an analogy that the Golden Gate Bridge is constantly being painted. Basically, the painters start at one end, paint all the way across, and then go back and start over again. He likened that process to technological advancements and change. Nicely put :-)

I still have a couple of sessions to attend before the day is over and am looking forward to more as the week goes on. I only wish my hard drive didn't crash-and-burn on me.

07 June 2006

MSBuild Sidekick is Released

The developers from Attrice have done it again. They have released a brand new sidekick - the Microsoft Build Sidekick. The Microsoft Build Sidekick allows you to edit your MSBuild projects in a graphical, hierarchical format. You can also use this utility to modify your TFS build types. It can take a few seconds to open up a build file and have it displayed in the utility but once it's loaded, it is very easy to work with.

Here is a list of initial features:

  • Load and modify any file complying to MSBuild schema
  • View build project structure in a tree view that displays tasks used in build, property groups and properties, item groups and items, targets and targets tasks and imported build projects.
  • Show or hide presentation of imported definitions in a project tree view
  • View MSBuild project raw XML source as you modify the project
  • Modify project default targets
  • Add or remove tasks used in build project from external assembly
  • Add, remove or modify property groups
  • Add, remove or modify properties in property groups
  • Add, remove or modify item groups
  • Add, remove or modify items in item groups
  • Add, remove or modify targets
  • Add, remove or modify selected target's tasks, tasks order
  • Modify selected task properties (including output properties specification)
  • Import or remove external build projects
  • Open any imported project from the loaded project

This is a nice feature set for a "1.0" product. Here are a couple of features I have suggested be added to the product (we'll see if they get implemented :-)

  • Ability to connect to a TFS project and directly modify TFS Build Type projects - including the ability to check it out from version control.
  • Ability to view XML source and graphical view side-by-side (or rather, over-under). It would be kind of neat, and somewhat useful, to be able to see the XML source get updated as changes are made in the graphical view.

Also, a new blog dedicated entirely to the set of Team Foundation Sidekicks has been created. Click here to check it out.

Check out the Sidekicks page for more details.