28 May 2008

Omaha Team System User Group

Well, the 2nd Omaha Team System User Group meeting is, as they say, in the books!  We had a great turnout with about 25 attendees that showed up to listen to Mike Douglas speak about TFS build automation and the coolness factor of incorporating (authentic) stoplights into the build process.

Mike also demonstrated his latest CodePlex contribution - Team Deploy.  Team Deploy is a set of custom MSBuild tasks that provide functionality for deploying MSI files as well as controlling X10 devices (e.g. stoplights, lava lamps, etc.).  Some of the tasks included are:

  • Install Task - installs an MSI on a remote machine.
  • Uninstall Task - uninstall an MSI from a remote machine.
  • Kill Process Tasks - kills a process on a remote machine.
  • Deploy Task - utilizes a deployment script to automate the installation of MSIs on a set of remote machines.  This is the most common task to be used in the collection.
  • Start Service Task - starts a Windows Service on a remote machine.
  • Stop Service Task - stops a Windows Service on a remote machine.
  • Device Controller Task - allows you to control X10-enabled devices from your builds.

Once again, our meeting was sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America which provided pizza, pop, a great place to mingle prior to the presentation, and an excellent meeting room for the presentation.

You can download the PowerPoint slides here.

14 May 2008

VS 2008 & .NET 3.5 SP1 Beta

The beta release of Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5 is now available for download.  There are a ton of changes in this update.  Some of the high-level changes include:

  • Performance improvements for WPF-based applications (with no code changes)
  • Improved designers for building WPF applications (can't wait to see this!)
  • Full support for SQL Server 2008
  • The introduction of the ADO.NET Entity Designer (very cool!)
  • Improvements to Team Foundation Server
  • Improvements for web development
  • Improvements to the C# and VB.NET experience in the IDE

For example, one of the interesting improvements on the client side is the introduction of the ".NET Framework Client Profile".  This option is set at the project level and allows the use of .NET Framework binaries that are commonly used by client-side applications (e.g. Windows Forms, WPF, and WCF).  It does not include the ASP.NET binaries, for example.  This option allows you to build client-side applications that can make use of the smaller .NET Framework Client, which is smaller, and therefore quicker to download and install.

There are also a ton of modifications relating to Team Foundation Server (which is where a lot of my personal interests are focused).  One of the (many) changes include version control of unbound files.  While this may not seem all that exciting to some, how many times have you opened a TFSBuild.proj file and stared typing only to realize that the file is not automatically checked out like other files that make up a solution?  Although I haven't tried this beta out (yet) I would hope this feature would resolve this issue.

There are a lot of features to test out so I hope to blog about some of these in the near future.  You can read the full details on the the Team Foundation Server updates here from Brian Harry.

To see what exciting changes are included in Visual Studio and the .NET Framework, check out this post by Scott Guthrie.

You can read Microsoft's official release regarding the beta release here.

The expected release date of the Visual Studio/.NET Framework 3.5 SP1 is summer, 2008.