27 October 2008

VSTS 2010 + .NET Framework 4.0 CTP

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 Community Technology Preview (CTP) has been made available for download (as of 26 Oct 2008).  You can get the latest bits here.

It is about a 7.5 GB download so be prepared for it to take a little while, especially since it was just released.

There is a ton of new functionality in VSTS 2010, far too much to enumerate in this post.  However, you can check this previous post of mine as a starting point for getting more details.

Download VSTS 2010 .NET 4.0 CTP

17 October 2008

VSLive! Las Vegas - Day 3

Well, the "regular" conference sessions are now over.  All that is left is the post-conference session which includes an all-day hands on lab for LINQ.  I will spend part of the day in this session until it's time to head to the airport.

Once again, I spent the last session day in ALM sessions related to Team Foundation Server.

The first session of the day was mine, "Using Team Foundation Build in the "Real" World".  I thought the session went very well (I suppose the feedback will tell the real story :-).  There was great attendance and a lot of great questions being asked.  I really enjoyed presenting at VSLive! and hope to do it again in the future.

The remaining sessions covered implementing cross platform/language builds using TFS, migration vs. integration of TFS, and programming the TFS object model.

Although the sessions were great, I enjoyed talking to the other attendees and speakers the most.  It's always nice to meet other people facing the same issues as you and that have the same interests.  Because of the sessions I attend and the people I talked to, I have a lot of new information, techniques, and practices that I can take back with me and apply to my daily work.

All in all, it's been a great week at VSLive! Las Vegas.  I may have even set some kind of world record while being here - I'm not much of a gambler and, in fact, I may be the first person ever to stay in Las Vegas for five days without gambling a single cent :-)  I did enjoy a lot of other attractions while here in Las Vegas, however.  I attended a show (the Phantom of the Opera), spent time swimming (don't get a chance to do that much at home), walked the "strip" countless times, watched a battle between two pirate ships, and spent an average of $20-$25 on just about every meal I ate :-)  Speaking of food, the lunch meals provided during the conference were second to none.

If you're interested in the slides from my presentation, you can get them here.

TFSInfo Updated for TFS 2008 SP1

The TFSInfo utility has been updated for TFS 2008 Service Pack 1.  This update includes the following changes:

  • UPDATE: TFSInfo will correctly report TFS 2008 SP1 when it is installed.
  • UPDATE: TFSInfo now displays the TFS installation folder.
  • FIX: TFSInfo now finds the TFS installation folder when it has been installed in a non-default location.


You can see from the screen shot which information is displayed.  In case you can't see the image, the following information is displayed by TFSInfo:

  • AT Server Name
  • AT Version
  • AT Edition (e.g. Standard, Workgroup, or Trial)
  • TFS Installation Folder
  • DT Server Name
  • DT Server Version (not available for TFS 2008)
  • SQL Server Version
  • Reporting Server URL
  • TFS Installation Date
  • TFS Product ID

You'll notice in the list above that the Data Tier schema version is not available for TFS 2008.  This is because the column that's used to determine the schema version in TFS 2005 does not exist in TFS 2008.  I haven't had any luck locating the schema version in any other table in the set of TFS 2008 databases.  If I am able to determine how that information is stored (assuming it is) I will release an update.  Another update will be released shortly following the next Visual Studio 2010 CTP (due out in the next couple of weeks during the PDC).

The new version can be downloaded here.

NOTE: The Team Explorer Client 2005 or 2008 needs to be installed for TFSInfo to work.

Click here to view the original post.

16 October 2008

VSLive! Las Vegas - Day 2

Day 2 is now a wrap and the conference continues to go strong.  As you may have suspected, I spent my time in the ALM sessions around the subjects of TFS Work Item Tracking, Team System Add-Ons, and Branching Strategies.  All the sessions I attended were very good although I didn't attend every session because I spent a little time polishing up my slides and demos for my talk on Thursday morning (Using Team Build in the "Real" World).

I would have to say my favorite talk of the day was the one on Branching Strategies by Jeff Levinson.  There was definitely some good information coming out of this presentation that can be applied today on our projects.  I'll be picking Jeff's brain over the next few months attempting to learn everything he knows about branching (if that's possible :-)

15 October 2008

VSLive! Las Vegas - Day 1

The first day of VSLive! Las Vegas is now in the books.  This is my first time attending a VSLive! conference so I wasn't sure what to expect.

The keynote was given by Stephanie Saad, the Group Program Manager for Visual Studio Team Foundation Server.  She discussed the use of Team Foundation Server throughout Microsoft and some of the challenges they ran into while using the product.  The scale at which they make use of Team Foundation Server is somewhat staggering in comparison to the seven developer teams at the company I work for.  Along with one of her co-workers, I don't recall the name (sorry), they also presented some of the new features that will be available in VSTS 2010 - mostly around the tracking and reporting of project-related data in Microsoft Excel.

I spent most of the rest of my time in TFS-related sessions with speakers such as Benjamin Day and Brian Randell.  All in all, it was a great start to the conference.  So far, based on the size of the conference rooms, the number of attendees, and the speakers, I would have to say it's relatively comparable to the Heartland Developers Conference.

Being in Las Vegas for the first time, I decided I had to check out at least one show.  So, I decided to go to the Phantom of the Opera at The Venetian.  I've seen Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera in Des Moines and Omaha and thought I could use those shows as a basis for comparison.  I must admit, the show at The Venetian pretty much blew the others away!  In all fairness, the show at The Venetian has a dedicated stage and auditorium built solely for the purpose of The Phantom of the Opera.  This allows the effect to be top notch.  Although I'm not sure who was playing the parts of the Phantom, Christine, etc. the singing was phenomenal.  If the other shows in Las Vegas are of this caliber of quality, then there are indeed a lot of great shows in this town :-)

14 October 2008

Visual Studio 2010 Links

There has been a lot of information coming out over the past couple of weeks regarding Visual Studio 2010 so I thought I'd consolidate a list of links that provide some information about what may be included in the next release:

Informational Posts

PodCasts and Videos


There are a lot more blogs related to Team System than these listed below.  However, these are some of the blogs I read more often:

There is no doubt a lot of other information out there but this should help you get started if you're just now starting to take a look at what's coming down the road with Visual Studio 2010.

Team Foundation Build 2010

I just finished watching a great video from Jim Lamb on Channel 9 covering some of the new features for Team Foundation Build 2010.  The video is about 35 minutes long and is well worth the watch.  Here's a quick synopsis of what's covered in the video:

  • Team Foundation Build 2010 will support Windows Workflow 4.0.  This feature alone would make a worthy upgrade to Team Foundation Build.  The new Workflow UI being designed for the .NET Framework 4.0 will be included in the build type editor within VS 2010 providing a fantastic user experience for modifying build types (can you say "XML - not for me, thank you" :-).  There will be several Team Foundation Build-related Workflow Activities included out of the box with VS 2010 and I would imagine several 3rd party/open source activities will appear on the scene shortly after its release.
  • "Gated" check-ins will be supported.  This feature, when turned on, will ensure that a given build type successfully runs before any artifacts are checked into version control.  This will be a great enhancement for teams making use of continuous integration within Team Foundation Server.
  • "Private/Buddy" check-ins will be supported.  This feature is very much like "Gated" check-ins except that the check-in, and resulting build, are treated as a separate, private build associated only with the user who initiated the build.  You can even set distinct retention policies for "Private" builds.
  • Support for Symbol Server Integration.  With the integration of Symbol Server into Team Foundation Build, the debugger within Visual Studio will know how to navigate to the correct source code within TFS Version Control.
  • Build Controllers.  You will have the ability to configure "pools" of build agents which can then be associated with a build type.  The build server can then utilize the least active build agent when starting a new build.
  • Build Agent Tags.  You will be able to associate tags with build agents.  For example, you may tag a build server as "SQL Server 2008", meaning that SQL Server 2008 has been installed on that server.  Another build agent may be tagged with "MOSS 2007", etc.
  • "All Inclusive" Build Agent.  There is a desire to have the build services include support for MSTest and DBPro without having to install the Test or DBPro SKUs.  This will be a great convenience and something that I believe that should have been included from the first version.
  • Log Enhancements.  The Build Log has been improved tremendously and is much easier to read and navigate.  You can now, for example, click a link on an error in the build log and be taken to the exact location within source code where the error occurred.
  • Build Deletion Control.  When deleting build types, you will now have the ability to be more specific as to what gets deleted.  For example, you can choose one or more of the following (all are selected by default): Details, Drop, Test Results, Label, Symbols, or Build.  This can be done manually and/or specified within the retention policy settings.

The video goes into a little more detail about each of the above items as well as a few others that I haven't mentioned.  It is really nice to see that Team Foundation Build is getting some attention.  I think the current product is good but there is a lot of room for improvement and it appears that is the direction it's heading.

01 October 2008

Presentations, Races, and MVP!

Lately, I've been quiet because I've been busy working on my presentation for this month's VSLive! Las Vegas conference.  I'm looking forward to presenting on Team Build and meeting a lot of new people as well as catching up with some old acquaintances.  This will be my first time to Vegas so it should be a great time all around.

Along with that, I was also preparing for my first ever adventure race - the Berryman Adventure.  The race was held this past weekend, September 27th, and took us just under 13 hours to complete.  The disciplines included hiking/running, some swimming, canoeing, and mountain biking through the Ozarks in southern Missouri.  We did not come close to winning the race but we did complete it, which was a big accomplishment since it was our first race.  We enjoyed it so much that we plan on participating in as many as we can next year.

To top everything off, I received a message today informing me that I have been selected for Microsoft MVP - Team System!  Needless to say, I am excited, honored, and humbled all at the same time.  I've always enjoyed sharing knowledge and ideas with the developer community and now I have even more incentive than ever before.