30 August 2006

Team Build Sidekick Released

Those folks over from Attrice have done it again and released another useful utility in their line of Team Foundation Sidekicks - the Team Build Sidekick. This is an add-in for Visual Studio 2005 that adds a few new features to the context menu for Team Build Types.

If you've worked with Team Build Types then you already know how inconvenient it is to make modifications to them. First, you have to go to version control and locate the correct TFSBuild.proj file and check it out. Then you have to open it for editing to modify the XML. Although this isn't overly difficult, it does take you out of the normal flow of Visual Studio.

The Team Build Sidekick add-in simplifies this process by providing a "Check Out for Edit" option directly on the context menu when you right-click a Team Build Type. Selecting this option will check the TFSBuild.proj file out and open it for editing automatically. Much simpler than the previous process.

Once the TFSBuild.proj file has been checked out, you get three other (new) context menu options - Edit, Check In Changes, and Undo Changes. Very convenient.

You can also download the source code for this add-in as well as read an article describing how it was built.

This is a great time saver for anyone working with Team Builds in Visual Studio.

28 August 2006

TFS Continuous Integration Tool Released

A new (and free) Continuous Integration tool for Team Foundation Server has been released by Notion Solutions.

The installation files can be downloaded here and forum-based support can be accessed here.

Although I haven't tried it out yet it's nice to see a free and supported continuous integration solution for TFS.

Sandcastle - August 2006 CTP

The August 2006 CTP of Sandcastle is available for download. Here is a summary of new features:
  • Firefox support for Sandcasltle generated HTMs
  • 3 different link options (local, Index and MSDN) in sandcastle.config file.
  • /internal+- option in MrefBuilder enables documentation of private APIs to be produced for the internal consumption of development teams
  • Support for multi-dimensional arrays
  • Support for CHM Index and root node. Additional transforms are added to CHM generation process to accomplish this.
  • Support for all C# tags and html style elements in code comments
  • Abilty to use environment variables in config files
  • Changes to syntax for XSLTransform
Read more about it on the Sandcastle blog.

21 August 2006

New TFS RSS Feeds

As some of you may be aware, I've kept a list of useful (at least in my mind) links to various Team Foundation Server-related sites and utilities on our company's web site.  There are currently two links:

Although I feel this is a useful list I thought I would make it easier to access by providing RSS feeds to the content.  So now there are two more links:

This feed should be viewable by any news aggregator that supports the RSS 2.0 standard.

As always, if you've ran across a useful TFS utility or web site, let me know and I'll add it to the list.

19 August 2006

Sandcastle - Building API Documentation

For anyone who has ever had to generate documentation for their .NET projects, you know only too well how difficult and time consuming that can be.

There have been a few utilities available in the past that helped out in this area.  One example is NDoc.  NDoc generates some very nice API documentation in several different formats.  However, it doesn't work so well for Visual Studio 2005.  Also, the original developer of NDoc has recently announced that he is dropping future development for NDoc in favor of Sandcastle (as well as other circumstances - although the project may be picked up and administered by another volunteer).

Microsoft's Sandcastle project may not be as extensive as NDoc in some areas (e.g. support for custom tags - at least not yet) but it appears that it will support the majority of everyone's needs out of the box with the ability to be extended as needed.

If you follow the various examples on creating Sandcastle documentation you'll find that it's rather tedious to setup the initial scripting necessary to generate your final help file.  However, there are some nice tools out there to help with this task as well.

So far, my favorite tool has to be Sandcastle Help File Builder - an open source utility available at The Code Project.  This utility has a UI that looks almost identical to that of NDoc and works in a similar fashion.  It allows you to simply refer to the assemblies you wish to document, set some custom properties, and generate your documentation.  If you're looking for a UI to interface with Sandcastle, this is the tool to look at.

Here are some various Sandcastle links:

  • The July 2006 CTP of Sandcastle can be downloaded here.
  • The official Sandcastle blog.
  • A quick example for running Sandcastle.
  • Sandcastle Help File Builder - the utility mentioned above.
  • A UI for creating a Sandcastle BAT file.  A nice utility if you want to generate a batch file that can then later be scripted.

01 August 2006

TFS Sidekicks Release

A new version of the Team Foundation Sidekicks utilities has been released. Version 1.1 introduces a new History Sidekick as well as a new user interface where all Sidekicks are now available within a single UI.

The History Sidekick application pane provides the following features:

  • View version control tree with files and folders (similar to Source Control Explorer)
  • Search item (file or folder) by name and select found item in version control tree
  • View selected item history either for all users or filtered by user
  • Compare file versions selected in history
  • View selected item properties and pending changes
  • View selected item branches tree and selected branch properties
  • View selected item merge history; it is possible to view separately all merges performed with selected item as a merge target (merges to) or with selected item as a source (merges from)
  • Compare merge target and source file versions in history
  • View selected item merge candidates in a tree view; it is possible to select single merge source from the list
  • Compare merge candidate file version with latest version of target file
  • View selected item labels either for all users or filtered by user; the information displayed includes item version in label
  • Compare file versions between two labels

I have to say that I've been using the original Sidekick utilities for a while now and they just keep getting better and better. Thanks go to Attrice for providing these utilities.