25 January 2008

Omaha Team System User Group

The first Omaha Team System User Group meeting is, as they say, history!  The feature presentation, What's New in VSTS 2008, was presented by Bill Maurer (a Microsoft Developer Technology Specialist).  He also covered some of the new features coming in "Rosario".  The presentation was very interesting and information and was well received.

Our first meeting was held January 22nd and was sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America.  It was very well attended with 75 attendees.  Our next meeting has not yet been scheduled but I am looking forward to working with fellow Team System enthusiasts in the Omaha area.

If you happen to be in the Omaha area and have any suggestions for user group topics, please visit the OTSUG site and drop send me a message.


11 January 2008

TFS/MSBuild Sidekicks Updates

The Attrice corporation has been hard at work updating their set of Sidekick Utilities for VSTS/TFS 2008 (I know I'm excited!).  I've been using these tools for quite some time now and have been waiting for the upgrade ever since we updated to VSTS 2008 a month or so ago.

First in line are the Team Foundation Sidekicks which includes the following features:

  • History Sidekick - provides various functionality for viewing the history of items within version control.
  • Status Sidekick - (I use this one a lot) - allows you to search and view pending changes for items based on user name, project name, and/or a given date range.  Based on the current status of an item you have the option to undo a pending change or lock.
  • Workspace Sidekick - provides functionality for managing TFS workspaces - e.g. deleting, updating, or copying.
  • Labels Sidekick - provides functionality for managing labels within version control.
  • Shelveset Sidekick - provider functionality for managing shelvesets.
  • Code Review Sidekick - allows you to select and compare changesets and save the results for later use.  This also shows up in the context menu for the source code explorer (SCE) window in Visual Studio.  I haven't had a chance to use this Sidekick yet but it looks like a nice time saver.
  • Visual Studio Search Items Add-in - by default this option is turned off because there is now search capabilities built into VSTS 2008.  However, if you're still using VSTS 2005, this can be a real time saver (turn it on via Tools->Options->Team Foundation Sidekicks).
  • Visual Studio Build Type Add-in - this used to be a separate add-in BuildTypeMenubut is now part of the TFS Sidekicks package and is one of my favorite features.  This add-in gives you the ability to right-click on a build type within the Team Explorer pane (in Visual Studio) and select "Check Out for Edit..." which will then check out the build type's TFSBuild.proj file (or whatever it may be named) and open it for editing.  Accordingly, there are also menu options for checking the changes back in or rolling the changes back.

If you spend any time at all administrating a TFS server or editing build types then these tools are a MUST HAVE.  Even if you only use them once in a great while, they're still a huge time saver over the command-line utilities that ship with TFS - besides, they're free!

They also offer a product called Microsoft Build Sidekick which gives you various editors/views for your MSBuild scripts.  One of the coolest features of this tool is the "Targets Diagram" which gives you a graphical view (similar to something you might see in Microsoft Visio diagram or a class designer) of the targets contained within your MSBuild script (and how they related to each other).  This product is downloadable as a trial version that expires after 30 days.

These tools just keep getting better and better with each release.  You can read more about these great tools here: