Plunging into .NET Development

Weblog Pieter Gheysens
Microsoft .NET Development - C# - Enterprise Library - Visual Studio 2005 Team System - Compuware DevPartner - ...

Thursday, January 31

VSTS / TFS Best Practices

This evening I delivered an internal presentation for Compuware Belgium about VSTS / TFS Best Practices. Practically all .NET people at Compuware are nowadays working with Visual Studio Team System and Team Foundation Server (2005/2008 release).

IMHO it's currently the best solution to deliver quality enterprise software in a controlled way. Whether you are a 5 person enterprise or a 1000 person enterprise, Team Foundation Server can help by making collaboration and communication easier than ever. You need good people in a software development team, but you also need the right tools and processes in place for your people to do their best work. That’s where Microsoft Visual Studio Team System comes into play. It’s an integrated Application lifecycle Management (ALM) solution comprising tools, processes, and guidance to help everyone on the team improve their skills and work more effectively together.
  • If you are working on your own, or as part of a small team (5-person or less), than Team Foundation Server Workgroup Edition may be the right choice for you. Note that Team Foundation Server Workgroup Edition is included free of charge when you purchase any of the Visual Studio Team Edition. The only limitation is that Team Foundation Server Workgroup Edition is limited to 5 members.
  • Teams who number from 5 to 3500 are best served by the full Team Foundation Server product.
In a number of upcoming posts I would like to share some best practices about using Visual Studio Team System and Team Foundation Server. Tips & tricks to make us more productive is what we all want not? Team System can be used out-of-the-box, but the product cries for customization and that's where we all need some guidance. We should adopt Team System to fit into our process and not the other way around!

So, stay tuned for more! And if you would still wonder - a confession to make : yes, I love this product!

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Wednesday, January 30

Heroes Happen {here}

Today I registered for the Launch Day on March 11 and for the TechDays (former Dev & IT Pro Days) on March 12 & March 13. As a VIP Community member I received a free Technical VIP Community access pass for the conference. Great! Like last year, the event takes places in Ghent (ICC). The VISUG will again have a booth, so don't forget to drop by!

I'm looking forward to the event because of several reasons :
  • A time to look at the new products Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008. So far I was only interested in the new release of Visual Studio and I didn't find time to check out the CTPs of the other products
  • Watch my colleague Yves Goeleven present the VSTS Application Lifecycle management
  • Attend interesting technical sessions on the latest technologies
  • Connecting with the VISUG Community
  • VISUG Geek bowling on March 12
  • ...
Last but not least - not officially confirmed - Steven Wilssens will probably come back to Belgium for the first time after his departure to Redmond in October 2006. He will most likely deliver two sessions on TechDays. So, the chances are really big that a small party will be kicked off after the sessions. It has been a while since we've met and we need to catch up on all the things that happened up till now. I think I'll have to book a hotel in the neighborhood to be on the safe side. Ghent : here we come! He will certainly have missed the Belgian beer and the great food over here ...

What's your reason to attend the TechDays?


Monday, January 28

running classic asp on IIS 7 (Vista)

It's not that easy anymore (certainly not an out-of-the-box experience) to run classic asp on IIS 7. Yeah, just when you think you won't need the legacy asp anymore ...

Anyway, I found a good blog post on how to set it up for IIS 7 on Windows Vista and using a Microsoft Access Database. It might save you some time when you need it, but hopefully you won't need to go back to asp scripting again!

From Wikipedia :

Active Server Pages (ASP) was Microsoft's first server-side script engine for dynamically-generated web pages. It was marketed as an add-on to Internet Information Services (IIS).

ASP has gone through six major releases:
  • ASP version 1.0 (distributed with IIS 3.0) in December 1996
  • ASP version 2.0 (distributed with IIS 4.0) in September 1997
  • ASP version 3.0 (distributed with IIS 5.0) in November 2000
  • ASP.NET version 1.0 (part of the Microsoft .NET platform) in January 2002 (the pre-.NET versions are currently referred to as "classic" ASP)
  • ASP.NET version 1.1 in April 2003
  • ASP.NET version 2.0 (released on November 7, 2005)
  • ASP.NET version 3.5 (released in November 2007)


Tuesday, January 22

TFS MCP Exam 70-510

Today, I passed the MCP Exam 70-510 : Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server. A while ago I made a commitment to do the exam anyway : prepared or unprepared. Well, yesterday evening I felt some pressure because I was somewhere in the middle. On the one hand I'm using Team Foundation Server for quite some time now and I should already have learnt a lot of advanced features + tips and tricks on-the-job, but an exam still requires some extra (theoretical) knowledge of topics you haven't practiced a lot or not at all. So I decided to browse the MSDN pages on TFS a bit to improve my TFS weaknesses and it turned out to have pulled me through! There you can find interesting sections for Team Foundation Project Members, Project Leads and Administrators. Exactly the stuff I was looking for!

All this to make clear that you don't need to be afraid of taking exams too early - trust on the skills you've acquired already on-the-job and improve your weaknesses if needed. If I would have failed the exam today, I would now have known what knowledge I still missed to pass the test ... Taking the exam (too) early is certainly a calculated risk if you know that you have a second shot for free. A precise and full preparation for an exam is excellent, but don't let it come so far that you will never take the exam because you will never feel 100% prepared! You sometimes just need to take the plunge and see where you get ...


Monday, January 7

How to delete a label in TFS 2005 / 2008

A label is a marker that you can attach to a set of unrelated files and folders in the Team Foundation source control server to simplify their retrieval to a workspace for either development or build purposes.
Applying labels to files/folders in TFS source control is quite easy and can be done via the right-click menu, but deleting labels in TFS 2005 is more hard work. You actually have two options :
  • Tf command-line utility
    use the label command of Team Foundation Source Control. (The tf command-line utility is located in :\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE and is available from the Visual Studio 2005 Command Prompt and you must have the Read permission set to Allow for all files or folders to which the specified label is attached.)
  • Source Control Explorer
    • Right-click file/folder and select Get Specific Version ...
    • Select version type Label in the dropdown (A textbox will appear together with a button (...))

    • Click the (...) button to have the find label form displayed

    • Find the specific label in your project and delete it
    • Close form and cancel the get action
Note : You still need to do this like this in TFS 2008. No other way possible. With the TFS 2008 Power Toys, you will be able to set a Quick Label : an easy way to apply labels to a a given selection of files and folders in the Source Control Explorer.


Saturday, January 5

Skype add-on disabled to prevent IE crashes

Skype hampered me already once in the past, but now they did it again ...

From time to time I was experiencing hanging (not responding) problems with Internet Explorer 7 on my Vista pc and I could not always reproduce this. First I decided to run Internet Explorer without add-ons and that seemed to work fine (go to Start > Programs > Accessoires > System Tools). No crashes anymore!

So, there must have been a problem with one of the add-ons of Internet Explorer. I disabled all loaded add-ons in IE7 (Tools > Manage add-ons) and figured out by trial-and-error (enable one by one again) which one caused the problem. The culprit was the add-on of Skype (v3.6.0.216) : Skype add-on (mastermind).

Disabling the add-on was an option, but I also tried to Upgrade/Update Skype and indeed that solved my problem too. No more IE crashes anymore with Skype v. ...


Thursday, January 3

Always run VS2008 as an administrator on Vista

As you might know, it's required to run Visual Studio as an administrator on Windows Vista to get everything working as expected. For example you won't be able to debug a web application when running Visual Studio as a non-administrator. There are a lot of other things that simply won't work as a non-administrator.

Apparently a lot of people don't know that you can set the option on a shortcut to always run as an administrator. Very useful if you forget to right-click -> Run as administrator from time to time!

What to do :
  • Right-click your Visual Studio shortcut and select properties
  • Click on the advanced button
  • Check the Run as administrator checkbox


Wednesday, January 2

TFS Power Tools for TFS 2008

The first version of the TFS 2008 Power Tools was released on December 21, 2007. They contain many great features/updates for Team Foundation Server. Be sure to check them when you start working with Team Foundation Server 2008.
  • MSSCCI Provider
  • Build Notification Tray app
  • Process Template Editor
  • Best Practices Analyzer
  • Status Search and Wildcard Search
  • Navigate to Windows Explorer
  • Quick Label
  • Work Item & Work Item Type Destroy
  • New configuration command
  • Check-in policy pack
Read more about this release of the Power Tools on the blog of Brian Harry.

Download TFS 2008 Power Tools