29 September 2007

TFS (2005) Power Tools Final Release

The latest and final release of the Team Foundation Server 2005 Power Tools have been released.  This release includes two new additions to the existing Power Tool set:

  1. TFS Work Item Templates - work item templates allow you to define templates for existing work item types with specific fields already filled in.  The work item templates are accessible via a Visual Studio add-in allowing easy access to your templates.  This can be a great time saver if you fill out lots of work items - especially if they have a lot of fields that tend to use the same default values each time.
  2. Team Foundation Server Best Practices Analyzer (TfsBpa) - this is a utility that a lot of people have been eagerly waiting for for some time now.  The TfsBpa can be used to check an existing environment prior to installing TFS 2005 to ensure all pre-requisite requirements are met.  You can also utilize the TfsBpa to troubleshoot existing installation that may not be working as expected.  This utility is going to save a lot of time in the near future for anyone installing TFS 2005 or troubleshooting an existing installation.  There are some installation issues that need to be reviewed prior to installing so be sure to check out the link below.

Brian Harry has posted more details on the above release here.  Brian states that this will be the final Power Tools release for TFS 2005.  I only wish they would have gotten the TFS Best Practices Analyzer out a long time ago instead of waiting until the product has been (for all intents and purposes) replaced by TFS 2008.  He does write, however, that the 2008 version of these tools should be out within a few months along with some new tools that aren't in the current release.

07 September 2007

Tulsa TechFest 2007

The second annual Tulsa TechFest is coming up next month on October 19th and 20th.  There are currently over 50 speakers geared up to present at this years conference with around 15 tracks.  Some of the current speakers include:

And, let's not forget myself :-)  I'll be presenting on What's New with Team Foundation Server 2008 on Friday at 1:00.  This will be my first time at Tulsa TechFest, although not my first time in Tulsa.  I grew up in Oklahoma about 60-90 minutes south-southeast of Tulsa and I also have a sister that currently lives in Tulsa so it will be fun visiting with her.

I'm looking forward to attending and presenting at this year's event and hope to see you there.

04 September 2007

Cool LINQ Utility

Like a lot of you out there, I've been spending a bit of time learning the new Language Integrated Query (LINQ) features available in the .NET Framework 3.5 (still in beta).  LINQ provides some very powerful capabilities for querying not only databases but other data types as well (e.g. XML, .NET collections, arrays, etc.).  Although the syntax is similar to SQL, it is not exactly the same which offers a bit of a learning curve.

I came across a utility called LINQPad a few days ago that has been helping me get over the learning curve with LINQ.  This utility offers functionality similar to the query functionality in SQL Enterprise Manager.  You create ad-hoc queries using the LINQ syntax and view the results in a hierarchical format (where applicable).

There is an interesting challenge on the LINQPad site that goes as follows:

  • Locate the shortcut for SQL Management Studio on your Start Menu and move it some place else.
  • In its place, insert a shortcut to LINQPad.
  • For the next week, perform all your ad-hoc SQL queries using only LINQPad.

I'm currently about 2 days into the challenge and I have to say that it's a completely different mindset.  I also have to admit that I've cheated at least once and used SQL Enterprise Manager to run some queries because I was under a time crunch and didn't have the time to figure out exactly how I could use LINQ to achieve a particular problem.  However, I suspect that after another week or so I should have a very good understanding about the LINQ syntax (at least for database queries).

You can download and read more about LINQPad here.  Also, here are a couple of good LINQ reference sites for anyone starting out with LINQ: