Radio TFS Episode – Chatting about Lab Management



I had a good time yesterday with Greg & Martin chatting about Lab Management in the latest episode of Radio TFS.  If you don’t subscribe to the Radio TFS podcast series, I would definitely recommend it.  They are roughly 30-minute episodes and are an easy listen that you can fit into your weekly routine.

Download Radio TFS Episode

Radio TFS Logo

Let me know if you have any questions about any of the topics we discussed during the episode!

Ed Blankenship


In this episode we chat with Ed Blankenship about his new job at Microsoft as a program manager on the Test & Lab Management product team.

Before recently joining Microsoft, Ed was a Microsoft MVP for TFS and Visual Studio ALM in which he has been involved & using since the very beginning of the products nearly seven years ago. He worked as the Practice Technical Lead for the ALM/TFS Consulting Practice as Imaginet (formerly Notion Solutions). Ed was also voted as the Visual Studio ALM & Team Foundation Server MVP of the Year for 2010 by his group of peers in the MVP Community.

He is also an author of the Wrox Professional Team Foundation Server 2012 and TFS 2010 books. You can follow Ed via is blog at http://www.edsquared.com/ or via twitter @edblankenship

Links from the show:

For feedback contact radiotfs@gmail.com or call +1 425 233-8379.



TechEd North America 2012



TechEdLogoWow – I just wrapped up my first week at Microsoft and I’m amazed at a lot of the things that the Developer Division is doing.  Several things were announced this week while I was in Redmond for New Employee Orientation but I bet the keynotes will have more next week at TechEd North America 2012.

I hope you will be attending TechEd this year and if you are, there are some really great booths going to be available in the Expo hall.  I will be working at the Visual Studio ALM booth most of the week so stop by if you want to say hi & chat!  I would also love to setup side meetings so let me know.  Here’s my booth schedule:

  • Monday, June 11, 2012
    • 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
    • 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday, June 12, 2012
    • 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Wednesday, June 13, 2012
    • 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Thursday, June 14, 2012
    • 10:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Also be sure to add each of the Visual Studio ALM, Testing, and Team Foundation Server sessions to your TechEd Calendar.  There are some great speakers coming in both from the product group and the great group of Microsoft MVPs.

See you next week!

Ed Blankenship

Posted in Community | TFS | VSTS


Awarded as Microsoft MVP for 2012



Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) LogoI’m really happy to have been awarded again for 2012 as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in Visual Studio ALM & TFS!  This will be my fifth year as a Microsoft MVP and it’s always an honor to work with each of my colleagues in the MVP community.  Very much looking forward to the MVP Summit coming up next month and continuing to help out where I can in the ALM community.  Thanks to everyone who have helped me in the past few years and congratulations to all of the other new & repeat awardees of the Microsoft MVP award for this year.

I wish everyone a great new year in 2012!

Ed Blankenship



Blog Site Theme Update



For the folks that are using an RSS reader, you might not have noticed the quiet update on the EdSquared.com site’s blog theme.  It sure does make your day that much better when things are feeling a lot better on your site.  A fresh & new blog design is one way you can brighten your day!

I just wanted to mention that Jeremy Kratz does some really great work and was very much a pleasure to work with.  His portfolio includes some other great work like Stack Overflow and Scott Hanselman’s blog site.

Some of the large goals I had were mainly around:

  • Great Reading Experience for Mobile Devices
  • New Standards-Compliance
  • Looking the Same Across All Modern Browsers & Versions
  • Ability to Easily Make Modifications for Static Content in the Future

One of the side effects of this work is that those heading to the site using Internet Explorer 6 have a horrible experience.  I’m okay with that.  IE6 users probably know that they need to be getting over to a modern browser already. Smile  Thankfully – I don’t have that many folks using IE6 so thank you for making that decision easy.  According to recent metrics, it’s not even in the top 10 and it’s only 0.66% of page views.

EdSquared - Browser Version Percentages

EdSquared - Browser Version Percentages Pie Chart

Hope you end up liking it!

Ed Blankenship



Free ALM Roadshow Events in 2011



I’m pretty happy to be heading out in a few weeks to lead a few ALM Road Show Events around the US.  There’s actually several more that are going to be led by others on the Imaginet ALM team (Dave McKinstry & Anna Russo) so find one that’s close to you and bring your questions!  I’ll be leading the ALM Road Show events in:

  • Boston, MA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Dallas, TX
  • Houston, TX

Here’s the full list of the Roadshow Events:

Visual Studio 2010 ALM Tools Live Roadshow
October 27,2011
Microsoft Corporation
St.Louis, MO

Visual Studio 2010 ALM Tools Live Roadshow
October 28, 2011
Microsoft Corporation
Columbus, OH

Visual Studio 2010 ALM Tools Live Roadshow
November 2, 2011
Microsoft Corporation
Salt Lake City/Lehi, UT

Visual Studio 2010 ALM Tools Live Roadshow
November 3, 2011
Microsoft Corporation
Irvine, CA

Visual Studio 2010 ALM Tools Live Roadshow
November 8, 2011
Microsoft Corporation
Presenter:  Ed Blankenship
Waltham, MA

Visual Studio 2010 ALM Tools Live Roadshow
November 9, 2011
Microsoft Corporation
Presenter:  Ed Blankenship
Alpharetta, GA

Visual Studio 2010 ALM Tools Live Roadshow
November 29, 2011
Microsoft Corporation
Presenter:  Ed Blankenship
Dallas/Irving, TX

Visual Studio 2010 ALM Tools Live Roadshow
November 30, 2011
Microsoft Corporation
Denver, CO

Visual Studio 2010 ALM Tools Live Roadshow
December 1, 2011
Microsoft Corporation
Presenter:  Ed Blankenship
Houston, TX

If you can’t visit us at the local ALM Roadshow events, try out some of the ALM Webcasts we are doing!  Dave McKinstry has a full write up of each of them available here:  http://weblogs.asp.net/dmckinstry/archive/2011/10/13/upcoming-free-vs-alm-webcasts.aspx

Test Management in Agile Teams
October 24, 2011
Free Online Workshop
1:00-2:00pm (CST)

Manual Testing in Agile Teams
October 26, 2011
Free Online Workshop
1:00-2:30 (CST)

Testing in an Agile Team
November 1, 2011
Free Online Workshop
1:00-2:30pm (CST)
Automated Load and UI Testing for SharePoint Projects
December 6, 2011
Free Online Workshop
1:00-2:30pm (CST)

Testing with SharePoint Projects
December 12, 2011
Free Online Workshop
1:00-2:30pm (CST)

Using Lab Management with SharePoint Development
December 13, 2011
Free Online Workshop
1:00-2:00pm (CST)
Automated Load and UI Testing for SharePoint Projects
December 20, 2011
Free Online Workshop
1:00-2:30pm (CST)

 

Take care and hope to see you there!

Ed Blankenship

Posted in Community | Speaking | TFS | VSTS


Speaking at Austin TFS User Group – Customizing TFS Builds



I’m pretty excited about being in Austin this week (one of my favorite cities) and while I’m here, I’m going to be speaking at the Austin TFS User Group this Thursday night.  Here are some more details:
Special Event: TFS 2010 Build Customization with Ed Blankenship

Date: Thursday, August 4th, 6:30 to 8 PM at Overwatch Systems, 5301 SW Parkway

To attend please register at: http://tfsaustinbuild.eventbrite.com/

Don't miss this one-time event and deep dive on "Customizing the Build Process with TFS 2010 Build and Workflow Foundation." In TFS 2010, the automated build infrastructure has been revamped to use Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) instead of MSBuild. Ed will present and answer questions on how to customize the default build process template and how to leverage multiple aspects of the workflow implementation for TFS 2010 Build.

Location:

Overwatch Systems, 6:30 to 8 PM

NOTE: park in the parking garage, signs will direct you to the meeting

5301 Southwest Parkway

Austin, TX 78735

 

Looking forward to seeing everywhere in the area there!

Ed Blankenship



First Release of Community TFS Build Extensions



Wow – I’ve been seeing the discussions in the last few weeks from the team members but I’m happy to announce that they have done a great job and released the first release of the Community TFS Build Extensions on CodePlex!  There have been several months of effort put into putting this collection together and you’ll see some of the best contributors that are available.   You’ll find all sorts of custom build activities and there are many more included on the backlog.  Be sure to vote for you favorite.  The best part of this CodePlex project is that the source code is fully available for your use internally.

Release Notes

  • This is our first Stable release providing in the region of 100 Activities / Actions
  • This release contains assemblies and a CHM file.
  • We anticipate shipping every 2 to 3 months with ad-hoc updates provided to the documentation.
  • We welcome your candid and constructive feedback and look forward to improving the quality with and for you.
  • Please use the Discussion and Issue Tracker tabs for providing feedback.

The Visual Studio ALM Rangers have also released a set of guidance documents for customizing builds in TFS 2010 including the use of the Community TFS Build Extensions.  Check out more details here:  http://blogs.msdn.com/b/willy-peter_schaub/archive/2011/06/17/toc-build-customization-guide-blog-posts-and-reference-sites.aspx

If you are looking for a book with information about how to customize build definitions, check out Professional Team Foundation Server 2010 as well which goes through one example which uses an activity from the Community TFS Build Extensions to stamp the version number on assemblies.

 

Ed Blankenship



Speaking at TechEd North America 2011 - TFS and Project Server ALM Integration



Really excited to announce that Christophe Fiessinger and I will be speaking at TechEd North America 2011 about the new ALM integration between Team Foundation Server and Project Server!  Here is the session details so be sure to add it to your conference schedulehttp://northamerica.msteched.com/topic/details/OSP203?fbid=8_iz7QOIYNT#showdetails

 

OSP203 Application Lifecycle Management: Microsoft Project Server 2010 and Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010, Better Together

Session Type:  Breakout Session

Level:  200 – Intermediate

Track:  Office & SharePoint

Speakers:  Christophe Fiessinger, Ed Blankenship

The Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 and Project Server Integration Feature Pack further strengthens the Microsoft Application Lifecycle Management Solution by bridging the gap between Project Portfolio Management and Application Development. By bringing the best of these two worlds together, it creates a win-win situation that enables developers and project managers to use the tools and processes of their choice and collaborate at the granularity they desire. Bi-directional data synchronization between Team Foundation Server and Project Server allows the PMO and Development teams to share project information transparently and provide management with insight into resource utilization, portfolio execution and alignment with strategic objectives. This session provides an overview and demonstrates the Team Foundation Server and Project Server Integration feature pack.

Product/Technology:  Microsoft® Visual Studio® Team Foundation Server

Key Learning:  How to bridge the gap between agil/scrum and waterfall teams by facilitating better coordination

 

Ed Blankenship

Posted in Community | EPM | Project Server | Speaking | TFS | VSTS


Book – Professional Team Foundation Server 2010 from Wrox



tfs2010_book

I am really pleased to announce that we have finished our new book for Team Foundation Server 2010! I really want to thank all of the authors (Martin Woodward, Grant Holliday, and Brian Keller) as well as all of the technical editors (Mickey Gousset and Steve St. Jean) for all of their hard work that was put into this book over the past ten months. I also wanted to thank Brian Harry for his help by writing a great foreword for the book. We would love for you to get a copy and let us know what you think! It’s really not so much for the royalties but more to let our publisher know that you are interested in future books about Team Foundation Server.

I have some additional information below about the book and I’ll come back and update this blog post as I get even more information.

ISBN: 978-0470943328

Availability

TFS2010Book_QRCodeTFS2010Book_Directions

Paperback http://bit.ly/TFS2010Book Now!
imageDRM-Free PDF http://bit.ly/TFS2010BookPDF Now!
Amazon Kindle http://bit.ly/TFS2010BookKindle Now!
Apple iBooks TBD TBD
Google Books http://bit.ly/TFS2010BookGoogle Now!

Promotional Code

Web commerce_40percent_64 We are also pretty excited to announce that Wiley has put together a promo code that will allow you to order either the printed copy or the DRM-free PDF copy of the book for 40% off. Here are the details for that promo code: To purchase, call 1-877-762-2974 and mention promo code WPTFS, or go to www.wrox.com (http://bit.ly/gwnw9G) and upon checkout, enter WPTFS in the Promotion Code field. Click the “apply discount” button and finish the checkout process. Offer valid until May 31st, 2011.

Source Code Downloads

We have put together a source code download package and it is available from here: http://www.wrox.com/WileyCDA/WroxTitle/Professional-Team-Foundation-Server-2010.productCd-0470943327,descCd-DOWNLOAD.html

Sample Chapters

Wrox will have two chapters available to download for free.

Book Description

Authoritative guide to TFS 2010 from a dream team of Microsoft insiders and MVPs!

Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (TFS) has evolved until it is now an essential tool for Microsoft s Application Lifestyle Management suite of productivity tools, enabling collaboration within and among software development teams. By 2011, TFS will replace Microsoft s leading source control system, Visual SourceSafe (VSS), resulting in an even greater demand for information about it. Professional Team Foundation Server 2010, written by an accomplished team of Microsoft insiders and Microsoft MVPs, provides the thorough, step-by-step instruction you need to use TFS 2010 efficiently so you can more effectively manage and deliver software products in an enterprise.

  • Provides a broad overview of Team Foundation Server for developers, software project managers, testers, business analysts, and others wanting to learn how to use TFS
  • Gives TFS administrators the tools they need to efficiently monitor and manage the TFS environment
  • Covers core TFS functions including project management, work item tracking, version control, test case management, build automation, reporting, and more
  • Explains extensibility options and how to write extensions for TFS 2010
  • Helps certification candidates prepare for the Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010 certification exam (Exam 70-512)

The clear, programmer-to-programmer Wrox style of Professional Team Foundation Server 2010 will soon have you thoroughly up to speed.

Authors

  • Ed Blankenship is an ALM consultant with Notion Solutions and the Microsoft MVP of the Year (Visual Studio ALM & Team Foundation Server)
  • Martin Woodward is a program manager on the Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server product team and a former Microsoft MVP of the Year (Visual Studio Team System & Team Foundation Server)
  • Grant Holliday is a program manager on the Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server product team and a former Microsoft MVP (Visual Studio Team System & Team Foundation Server)
  • Brian Keller is a senior technical evangelist for Microsoft, specializing in Visual Studio, ALM, and Team Foundation Server

Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Brian Harry
  • Introduction
  • Part I: Getting Started
    • Chapter 1: Introducing Team Foundation Server 2010
    • Chapter 2: Planning a Deployment
    • Chapter 3: Installation and Configuration
    • Chapter 4: Connecting to Team Foundation Server
  • Part II: Version Control
    • Chapter 5: Overview of Version Control
    • Chapter 6: Using Team Foundation Version Control
    • Chapter 7: Ensuring Code Quality
    • Chapter 8: Migration from Legacy Version Control Systems
    • Chapter 9: Branching and Merging
    • Chapter 10: Common Version Control Scenarios
  • Part III: Project Management
    • Chapter 11: Introducing Work Item Tracking
    • Chapter 12: Customizing Process Templates
    • Chapter 13: Reporting and SharePoint Dashboards
  • Part IV: Team Foundation Build
    • Chapter 14: Overview of Build Automation
    • Chapter 15: Using Team Foundation Build
    • Chapter 16: Customizing the Build Process
  • Part V: Administration
    • Chapter 17: Introduction to Team Foundation Server Administration
    • Chapter 18: Scalability and High Availability
    • Chapter 19: Disaster Recovery
    • Chapter 20: Security and Privileges
    • Chapter 21: Monitoring Server Health and Performance
    • Chapter 22: Testing and Lab Management
    • Chapter 23: Upgrading from Earlier Versions
    • Chapter 24: Working with Geographically Distributed Teams
    • Chapter 25: Extending Team Foundation Server

Bulk Orders

If you are purchasing in bulk, feel free to contact me using the Contact Me link on my blog and I can get you the details for purchasing bulk orders directly from Wiley.

Ed Blankenship



Red Gate to Monetize .NET Reflector



Wow! – If you are waking up this morning you might have noticed some news in the .NET community.  Red Gate has announced (official press release) that they will no longer be offering a free version of .NET Reflector after February 2011.

image

Red Gate mentioned when it acquired .NET Reflector from Lutz Roeder that they intended to keep it as a free tool for use by the entire .NET community.  At the time, I was (and still am) a Friend of Red Gate and I couldn’t really figure out how they would go about making that commercially viable.  I figured it had something to do with driving folks to their site and then being able to monetize by making those visitors aware of their other great products.  (BTW – Truly great products.  Quite polished as in they work correctly, easily updatable, sends error reports back to the developers, etc.  You know what I’m talking about…)  From what it sounds like, whichever approach they originally intended to make, it didn’t pan out in the past 2.5 years.  That’s really unfortunate and leaves the company with the choice that they announced today. Sad smile  Looks like their co-CEO has a quick question & answer video response on YouTube available now as well.

I’m not too upset about it though.  At times we have the best of intentions, but when those intentions are met with the realities of business and they become untenable, you have to find a different route.  Ultimately, Red Gate needs to make money.  There aren’t many companies who have extra budget to maintain, support, and invest in a free product unless it is driving revenue into other parts of the business.  I see .NET Reflector as one of the key tools in a .NET Developer’s toolkit and that requires recurring love & attention as the .NET Framework changes.  That’s good and very much needed for the .NET community.

At the end of the day, it looks like Red Gate is making the right decision however difficult it is to some developers.  I can only imagine the uproar that may come out of this decision but personally, I have wanted to see a good amount of investment in such a great tool and since there is so much that can be done with it.  I’m sure we have a ton of ideas of things we would do to improve Reflector.  By monetizing it, I think the development team at Red Gate will have the resources and continued interest from the .NET community to be able to do just that.  I’m pretty impressed with the new features that they have already announced for the next major version.  This is a step in the right direction and I have a feeling we will start to see more features that make us more productive and ultimately makes the ROI on such an inexpensive ($35) product worth it.  It’s reasonable and totally worth it.

 

I would be interested to hear your thoughts…

 

Ed Blankenship



Hiring ALM Consultants at Notion Solutions and Imaginet



Thankfully, the business at Notion Solutions and Imaginet has just been booming for the last couple of years with Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management, Team Foundation Server, and the legacy Visual Studio Team System products.  We have been hiring left and right over the past few months and still looking for plenty more ALM Consultants in the United States and Canada.  If you are interested, just shoot an e-mail over my way and I’ll be happy to answer any questions:  edb AT notionsolutions.com.

Here’s the official posting

Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) Consultant

Notion Solutions, Inc. is looking for a dynamic individual to join our team. For the past six years, Notion Solutions has been leading the way in implementing Team Foundation Server and the Microsoft ALM tools at companies across the country. We work with our clients to help them to define an improved software development processes for their organization and then help them implement that software process using the Microsoft tools and follow that up with mentoring on how to use their process.

We are looking for someone that enjoys a challenge and adapts to working in a rapidly changing environment. All applicants should have a strong interest in software development process and TFS. If you think of software development more as an engineering discipline, and less of an art - and would like to help companies become more successful at building software, then this could be the job for you. A knowledge of software process is a must, whether it's waterfall, SCRUM, Agile, CMMI, etc.  An understanding of Quality Assurance, Project Management, Business Analysis, and Development are all needed.

This position will work with clients nationally, your location is flexible.

Travel: Approximately 80%

Responsibilities:

  • Software Development Process Consulting
    • Project management
    • Risk management
    • Change management
    • Defect tracking
    • Developer workflow
    • Automated build
    • Automated Testing
    • Release management
    • Database management
  • Be self disciplined to learn new technology

Requirements:

  • Knowledge of Visual Studio Premium and Ultimate features and Team Foundation Server
  • Familiarity with a variety of software processes
  • Experience with automated build, source control and testing tools

Helpful Skills

  • Knowledge of .NET 2.0+ architecture and development practices
  • Knowledge of C# and VB.NET

Ed Blankenship

Posted in Community | TFS | VSTS


Microsoft MVP for Visual Studio ALM in 2011



Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) LogoI am really happy to announce that I received the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award again for 2011!  The award is for the Visual Studio ALM products which includes Team Foundation Server.  This will be my fourth year as an MVP and it has been truly an honor working with all of the great colleagues and the product teams that I work with pretty much every day!  I’m r.ally looking forward to going to the MVP Summit next month and handing off the MVP of the Year award to the next new awardee and for another exciting year!

 

Thanks to everyone who has helped support me with my developer community contributions!

Ed Blankenship

Posted in Community | TFS | VSTS


Raffle for Two MSDN Subscriptions with Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate at Charleston Bar Camp



Charleston Bar Camp Logo

Earlier this year following the Visual Studio 2010 release, I got a great package from Microsoft (MVP Program and Visual Studio Product Team) that included some complimentary Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN Subscription activation cards to give away.  I hadn’t found the right opportunity but this Saturday I will be attending (and have submitted a session proposal) the Charleston Bar Camp.  This should be a very interesting experience since it will be my first bar camp.  Anyhow, I have been looking for ways to contribute and foster our local software development community in Charleston and decided I would like to give two MSDN subscriptions out during the event.

What is Included?

Two winners will receive a prize package that contains:

Professional Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio 2010 Book Cover

One (1) copy of Professional Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio 2010 by Wrox

VS_2010_ALM_Book_2010111117313

http://bit.ly/VS2010ALMBook

clip_image001

One (1) MSDN Subscription with Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate (Not for Resale) Includes:

· Team Foundation Server 2010

· SQL Server 2008 R2

· Windows 7

· Windows Server 2008 R2

· Office 2010

· Office 2011 for Mac

· One-year of updates

Professional Team Foundation Server 2010 Book Cover

One (1) copy of Professional Team Foundation Server 2010 by Wrox

(When Released)

TFS_2010_Book_20101111185155

http://bit.ly/TFS2010Book

 

 Total Retail Value for Prize Packages: $24,007.96

 

Option 1 - Lab Management Session Attendees

Attendees to the Virtual Lab Management with Team Foundation Server 2010 session (if selected and scheduled) will have an opportunity to win one of the prize packages. Bring a business card with your name, company/occupation, city, e-mail address, and Twitter account. One lucky winner will be selected from the submitted business cards after the session has completed.

 

Option 2 - All Bar Camp Charleston Attendees

On the back of this page, write your “pitch” for why you think you should win one of the prize packages and what you would do with it if you were to win. The best pitch, as determined by the judge(s) will be selected to win the prize package. Bonus points are given for impactful local projects, giving back to the local developer community, or volunteering time & talents for a local non-profit organization.

 

Good luck!

Download Flyer

 

MSDN Subscriptions donated by the Microsoft MVP Program, Visual Studio Product Team, and...

MVP_FullColor_ForScreen

Ed Blankenship

Microsoft MVP of the Year, Visual Studio ALM
Co-Author, Professional Team Foundation Server 2010 by Wrox

 

Application Lifecycle Management & Team Foundation Server Consultant
Notion Solutions

Blog: http://www.edsquared.com
Twitter: @EdBlankenship
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/edblankenship
E-Mail: edb@notionsolutions.com

MCTS(rgb)_1390



Speaking at the Visual Studio ALM Virtual User Group about TFS 2010 Build



Recording AvailableView Recording
Recording Details
    Subject: VSALM UG - Customizing the Build Process with TFS 2010 Build and Workflow Foundation
    Recording URL: https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/usergroups/view
    Recording ID: H274M4

 

Okay… Let’s try this again.  Last time we had some issues with Live Meeting and needed to reschedule this user group presentation.  The cool part is that I already have slides and my demo created!  I have included my slides again below for future reference.

 

November 1st: Customizing the Build Process with TFS 2010 Build and Workflow Foundation

Date: November 1st, 2010
Times:

  • Central European Standard Time [CEST] - 19:00
  • UTC [without Summer Time] – 17:00
  • Eastern Daylight Time [EDT] - 2:00 PM
  • Pacific Daylight Time [PDT] – 11:00 AM

Add to Calendar: http://tinyurl.com/2vcue9n
Join meeting: http://tinyurl.com/37c4bh3

In TFS 2010, the automated build infrastructure has been revamped to use Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) instead of MSBuild. In this session, we will explore how to customize the default build process template and how to leverage multiple aspects of the workflow implementation for TFS 2010 Build.

We will cover:
• Explore the basics of Windows Workflow Foundation as it is used in TFS 2010 Build
• Review the high-level parts of the default build process template in TFS 2010 Build
• Adding new functionality to the build process using out of the box workflow activities
• Creating variables and process parameters that can be exposed to the end user
• Thoughts about designing & architecting your build process for reuse
• Building a custom activity for use in the build process template
• Deploying the custom activity to all of the build servers in the build farm

 

Slides

 

Ed Blankenship



CodePlex Team Web Access Site



I was looking through my blogging backlog and noticed that I never published this one!

 

I recently just finished up listening to the latest episode for the Radio TFS podcast and really enjoyed the discussion.  They had Jonathan Wanagel from the CodePlex team to talk about their use of TFS for the CodePlex site.  One interesting tidbit that I had never realized is that since they upgraded to TFS 2010, we all now have access to a load-balanced Team Web Access site as well!  Take a look below.

CodePlex Team Web Access Sitehttps://tfs.codeplex.com/tfs/web

CodePlex TFS Team Web Access Site

We haven’t ever really needed a web access site since the CodePlex web software does a lot what we would need but just in case you have a use for it then it is completely available for you.

 

Ed Blankenship

Posted in Community | TFS | VSTS


Postponed: User Group Talk about Customizing TFS 2010 Builds and Slides Available



Recording AvailableView Recording
Recording Details
    Subject: VSALM UG - Customizing the Build Process with TFS 2010 Build and Workflow Foundation
    Recording URL: https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/usergroups/view
    Recording ID: H274M4

 

Thomas and I were sitting in the Live Meeting conference room for today’s user group presentation and waited for about ten minutes without any new attendees.  We decided to go ahead and postpone the meeting but unsure of the new date at the moment.  Stay tuned to the Visual Studio ALM User Group website for the details of the postponed meeting.

We ended up discovering, thanks to some on Twitter, that the attendees were in a completely separate Live Meeting room!  We’re unsure how that exactly happened but in the meantime, I went ahead and posted my slides which are available below.  (Visit this post’s page if you are reading this inside a blog reader.)  We apologize for the mix up!

Slides

Please forgive the formatting of some of the slides.  The conversion process doesn’t seem to work out too well with layout issues.

 

Ed Blankenship



Speaking at the Visual Studio ALM Virtual User Group about TFS 2010 Build



Recording AvailableView Recording
Recording Details
    Subject: VSALM UG - Customizing the Build Process with TFS 2010 Build and Workflow Foundation
    Recording URL: https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/usergroups/view
    Recording ID: H274M4

 

Tomorrow, I’ll be speaking at the Visual Studio ALM Virtual User Group European chapter about TFS 2010 Build.  The full details are below.  Hope to see you there with your questions!

 

October 7th: Customizing the Build Process with TFS 2010 Build and Workflow Foundation

Date: October 7th, 2010
Time: 19:00 Central European Standard Time [CEST] (17:00 UTC without summertime)
Add to Calendar: http://tinyurl.com/2wmsfgu
Join meeting: http://tinyurl.com/2v3u8at

In TFS 2010, the automated build infrastructure has been revamped to use Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) instead of MSBuild. In this session, we will explore how to customize the default build process template and how to leverage multiple aspects of the workflow implementation for TFS 2010 Build.

We will cover:
• Explore the basics of Windows Workflow Foundation as it is used in TFS 2010 Build
• Review the high-level parts of the default build process template in TFS 2010 Build
• Adding new functionality to the build process using out of the box workflow activities
• Creating variables and process parameters that can be exposed to the end user
• Thoughts about designing & architecting your build process for reuse
• Building a custom activity for use in the build process template
• Deploying the custom activity to all of the build servers in the build farm

 

Ed Blankenship



DevSmackdown Podcast Episode about TFS Migrations with Ed Blankenship



Awesome!    I found out over the weekend that the Developer Smackdown podcast show where I was a guest has been posted online!  Go check it out.  Clark Sell and Mark Nichols are the co-hosts for the show and it was a fun chat about migrating to Team Foundation Server from legacy systems.

Show: TFS Migrations with Ed Blankenship

image

Here is the list of sites and\or resources mentioned in this show:

When doing a TFS Migration make sure you think about some of the following items:

  • Are you a big TFS project or little TFS Project kind of guy?  Think about your organization and their reporting structures when considering "the size" of your TFS projects.
  • Think about how you would report on things?  What types of questions are you trying to answer with your reports?
  • Did you know that Branch Visualization doesn't work across Team Projects ( at least as of the time of writing this )
  • Treat the migration just like any other product development you would do.
  • 1 GB of source typically takes 24 hours to migrate.  That is execution time.  (Conservative Estimate)
  • How much history do you really need?  Was it worth the cost to migrate?

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Ed Blankenship



Proposed New Visual Studio ALM Stack Exchange Site



Stack Exchange Area 51 LogoSome of the Visual Studio ALM MVPs have gotten together to drive the creation of a new Stack Exchange site dedicated to the Visual Studio ALM family of products (which includes Team Foundation Server.)  We were able to get past the “Definition” phase and now need to enough people to “Commit” to using it so that we can get the site off the ground.  If you aren’t familiar with the Stack Exchange concept, it’s an interesting way to ask questions and help answer them as well.  One of the sites that has been around for a while that I have participated in from time to time is Stack Overflow.  You basically end up with high-quality answers because others can agree/disagree with the answer and provide feedback or more information.

Help us out by indicating that you are going to commit to contributing to the site whenever it gets created.  Thanks for all your help!

Link:  Commit to Visual Studio ALM at Stack Exchange

 

Ed Blankenship

Posted in Community | TFS | VSTS


Moved Web Hosting to ORCS Web



I apologize to everyone who experienced intermittent availability problems with my blog site for the past few months.  They ended up showing up whenever ASP.NET 4 was installed on the shared hosting server that I had over at Server Intellect.  I wasn’t ever able to figure out the root cause of it but really looking forward to a native ASP.NET 4 compatible build of dasBlog soon.

Anyhow, I’ve switched everything over to ORCS Web and thankfully I haven’t seen any of the recurring issues that I used to!  The servers even have ASP.NET 4 installed on them so I’m really not sure what was going on.  I do know that the ORCS Web team was extremely helpful during the transition and were super responsive anytime I had a support request.  If you are looking for a web hosting provider, you should consider ORCS Web.  Looks like they are a Microsoft WebsiteSpark provider.  They are even based pretty close in Charlotte, NC!

Again, I apologize for intermittent downtime of posts and please let me know if you happen to see any issues going forward.

 

Ed Blankenship



Speaking at the TFS Product Team All Hands Meeting



Once of the nice things about having moved to Charleston, SC is being relatively around the corner from half of the Team Foundation Server team in Raleigh, North Carolina.Microsoft Corporation Office in Raleigh North Carolina TFS Product Team  I get plenty of opportunities to talk with the TFS product team in Redmond, WA but rarely get the opportunity to talk with the side that’s in Raleigh.  It’s good being close now.

Yesterday, I had the privilege and honor of talking at the TFS Product Team’s All Hands meeting at the Microsoft Office in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Each quarter, the entire team split between Redmond, WA and Raleigh, NC get together to talk about different topics to review the last quarter and looking forward to the future about work they want to do.  It’s very similar to some “All Hands” meetings that each of our companies put together.  They have had a tradition in the past to invite a customer in to talk about how they have used TFS in their daily work and I imagine that gives the entire team some insight into how people outside of Microsoft are actually using the products they spend every day creating.  I was invited to be that customer for this quarter.

They also really like for you to spend some time talking about what your feature requests are for the product.  I had the opportunity to discuss some of my personal areas that I’d like to see some investment made.  Normally when going to events like the Microsoft MVP Summit or providing other private feedback, I take the approach of being objective and provide feedback on behalf of the people I took to and the customers that I help.  I rarely bring up anything that I personally would like to see since some of the things I want are things that most people would never even touch or appreciate.  However, this was my one time that I didn’t feel bad about being totally subjective and asking for my personal feature desires :)

I also had some time to spend talking with the Build team and Version Control team about problems areas that I think people will run into when TFS 2010 launches next month as well as discussing some of those things that some people really hate about TFS version control.  You know who you are on Twitter :)  It was a really great conversation about the problem scenarios really are that people face before arriving to frustration with the product.

I’ve said this before but I really admire and appreciate the team for the amount of effort they put into listening and acting on feedback.  I promise and can tell you that they’re listening.  There are plenty of features and changes even coming out in TFS 2010 that were things that I know that one of the MVPs, customers, or I had originally suggested.  That means they’re not only listening but they are doing something about it.

Anyhow, it was a very productive day and really enjoyed the time.  I’m so glad to be an MVP that is tied to such a great product group.

 

Ed Blankenship

Posted in Community | Speaking | TFS | VSTS


Microsoft MVP of the Year for VSTS & TFS



One of the most exciting parts of last week’s Microsoft MVP Global Summit was the surprise announcement that I was chosen as the MVP of the Year for Visual Studio Team System (Visual Studio ALM now) and TFS.  I can’t tell you how humbled I was to find out!  One of the special parts of this particular award is that each of the Visual Studio ALM MVPs nominated our peers for the award.  We have an exceptionally great group and to have been chosen from this great group is the most humbling part.  Thanks to each and every one of you for this honor!

Martin Woodward was selected as the MVP of the Year last year so I hear we’re going to start the tradition of passing on the “MVP of the Year” belt buckle :)  That should be fun to hold on to for 2010.

23451_1385878770534_1338983185_31125576_7070668_n 

(Thanks to Sunder Raman for taking the picture!)

One of the exciting “features” of the award was an invitation to a dinner with Soma Somasegar, Brian Harry, Scott Hanselman, Brad Abrams, Chuck, Sara Ford, and the other top-notch MVPs selected from the other Developer Division MVP groups.  It was truly a great dinner and we had a lot of great conversation.  Ewald Hofman (another VSTS MVP) also joined us for the awesome amount of contributions to the VSTS MSDN Forums.

Ed Blankenship: MVP Of The Year Belt Buckle

Thanks again to everyone for the awesome honor!

 

Very respectfully,

Ed Blankenship

Posted in Community | TFS | VSTS


Slides Available for Lap Around Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate and TFS 2010



As promised, I have published the slides from my PowerPoint Deck for my talk on Saturday at the Columbia Code Camp.

Thanks to everyone I bugged during the week before to grab a hold of these slides! Contact me (using the contact form on the website) if you'd like to get a copy of the PowerPoint deck.

 

Ed Blankenship

Posted in Community | Speaking | TFS | VSTS


geekSpeak: Migrating from Visual SourceSafe to Team Foundation Server 2010



Tomorrow, I’ll be presenting in this month’s geekSpeak about migrating from Visual SourceSafe to Team Foundation Server 2010.  I’m sure we’ll get through the VSS content pretty quickly so with the time left we’ll talk about new branching & merging features, branch visualization, and gated check-in.

In this geekSpeak, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Ed Blankenship discusses migrating source code from Visual SourceSafe, including the history. There has not been a better time to migrate to the newest Microsoft source control offering, Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Team Foundation Server, because Microsoft Visual SourceSafe support is ending soon and Team Foundation Server will be part of Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscriptions in 2010. Ed discusses specific version-control features to help you become more productive like branching and merging visualization, annotate, shelving, and gated check-in. This geekSpeak is hosted by Glen Gordon and Brian Hitney.

Registration for the event available here:  http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?culture=en-US&EventID=1032438525

BTW – The end-of-life support date for Visual SourceSafe is mid-year 2011.  Don’t get stuck on an unsupported product :) especially one that’s holding your source code!

 

Update:  The recording of this presentation is now available on Channel 9 here:  http://channel9.msdn.com/shows/geekSpeak/geekSpeak-Recording-Migrating-to-Team-Foundation-Server-from-Visual-SourceSafe/ .  Sorry about the dropped call in the middle of the presentation.  Also, here’s some links that I mentioned during the talk:

 

Ed Blankenship



Speaking at Columbia Code Camp about Visual Studio Ultimate and TFS 2010



I’m going to be doing a session at the Columbia Code Camp about Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate and Team Foundation Server 2010 and really looking forward to it!  Looks like Cameron Skinner already beat me by speaking out in Charlotte earlier this week but hopefully I’ll still have some people who haven’t seen the new features just yet!

Check out the other 32 sessions in the Agenda and be sure to Register.  Already looks like a big crowd so I’m hoping it ends up being successful.  There’s a lot to get through for a one-hour overview session but I plan on sticking around to chat if anyone ends up having any questions that we can’t get answered during the presentation.

Columbia Code Camp 2010

Session:  Lap Around TFS and Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate

Time:  11:15 AM – 12:15 PM  (Right before lunch!)

Track:  Framework

Room:  Amoco Hall (1C01)

Location:  University of South Carolina, Swearingen Building, 301 Main St., Columbia, SC 29201

Cost:  Free!

 

Update: Slides are now available below.

 

Ed Blankenship

Posted in Community | Speaking | TFS | VSTS


TFS 2010 Branching Guidance



Thanks to the Visual Studio ALM Rangers, we have a new release of the TFS Branching Guidance!  Think of it like TFS Branching Guidance 3.0… it was developed specifically for TFS 2010 including tidbits on best practices using all of the new branching & merging hierarchy and visualizing change features.

I often talk about branching & merging strategies with my clients and it’s always great to have some diagrams and content to go back to and leave with them so that they can delve into Configuration Management a little more.

TFS 2010 Branch Hierarchy Visualization TFS 2010 Tracking Changes Merge Visualization

Head on over to their CodePlex site:  http://tfsbranchingguideiii.codeplex.com/

Project Description
The purpose of this project is to build some insightful and practical guidance around branching and merging with Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010. The new release focuses on Hands on Labs and includes lots of lessons learnt from the community Q&A.
Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Branching Guide 2010
Branching and merging of software is a very large topic. It is an area where there is a lot of maturity in the software industry. This Ranger solution focuses on applied and practical examples of branching that you can use right now. The 2010 release includes discussions around branching concepts and strategies but also focuses on practical hands-on labs.
Visual Studio ALM Rangers
This guidance is created by the Rangers who have the mission to provide out of band solutions for missing features or guidance. This content was created with support from Microsoft Product Group, Microsoft Most Valued Professionals (MVPs) and technical specialists from technology communities around the globe, giving you a real-world view from the field, where the technology has been tested and used.
What is in the package?
The content is packaged in 8 separate zip files to give you the choice of selective downloads but the default download is the TFS_Branching_Guide_2010_Complete_Package_v1 if you are interested in all parts.

  • TFS_Branching_Guide_Main_2010_v1.zip --> Start here
  • TFS_Branching_Guide_Scenarios_2010_v1.zip
  • TFS_Branching_Guide_Scenarios_2010_Poster_v1.zip
  • HOL_Quick_Start_Basic_Branch_Plan_2010_v1.zip
  • Lab_Files_HOL_Quick_Start_Basic_Branch_Plan_v1.zip
  • TFS_Branching_Guide_Q&A_2010_v1.zip
  • TFS_Branching_Guide_Diagrams_2010_v1.zip
  • TFS_Branching_Guide_2010_Complete_Package_v1
Team
Bill Heys, James Pickell, Willy-Peter Schaub, Bijan Javidi, Oliver Hilgers, Bob Jacobs, Sin Min Lee, Neno Loje, Mathias Olausson, Matt Velloso
How to submit new ideas?
The recommended method is to simply post ideas to the community or to contact the Rangers at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/teamsystem/ee358786.aspx.

Ed Blankenship



geekSpeak: Migrating from Visual SourceSafe to Team Foundation Server 2010



Tomorrow, I’ll be presenting in this month’s geekSpeak about migrating from Visual SourceSafe to Team Foundation Server 2010.  I’m sure we’ll get through the VSS content pretty quickly so with the time left we’ll talk about new branching & merging features, branch visualization, and gated check-in.

In this geekSpeak, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Ed Blankenship discusses migrating source code from Visual SourceSafe, including the history. There has not been a better time to migrate to the newest Microsoft source control offering, Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Team Foundation Server, because Microsoft Visual SourceSafe support is ending soon and Team Foundation Server will be part of Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscriptions in 2010. Ed discusses specific version-control features to help you become more productive like branching and merging visualization, annotate, shelving, and gated check-in. This geekSpeak is hosted by Glen Gordon and Brian Hitney.

Registration for the event available here:  http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?culture=en-US&EventID=1032438525

BTW – The end-of-life support date for Visual SourceSafe is mid-year 2011.  Don’t get stuck on an unsupported product :) especially one that’s holding your source code!

 

Ed Blankenship



Survey for Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server 2010 Beta 2



Over the past two weeks, I’ve really been hitting VS & TFS 2010 Beta 2 pretty hard.  I’ve found a few things and used Connect to report some suggestions & problems that I’ve found.  The product teams have been very active about responding to each of them and it’s been a very pleasant experience.

It looks like the product team wants even more feedback from everyone so if you could head over to the 2010 Beta 2 Survey and give your feedback, I know it will be greatly appreciated.  It’s pretty quick and easy with about 11 questions and about 3 optional free-fill questions that you can type longer responses in.

Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 Logo Feedback

Ed Blankenship

Posted in Community | TFS | VSTS


PowerPoint Slide Deck for Real World TFS Sessions



Just wanted to take a few seconds to post the slide deck I’m using for my Real World TFS sessions.  I’ll post a link to the recording of the MVP TV session earlier today when it’s made available!

 

Ed Blankenship



MVP TV with Ed Blankenship on July 15



Also really excited about doing my first ever MVP TV set up by the Microsoft MVP program.  Hope to see you there!  We have an extra thirty minutes at the end so be sure to bring your questions.

MVP TV: Real World TFS: Tips for a Successful Team System Implementation

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | 9:00am – 10:30am (PDT, Redmond time) or 12:00pm – 1:30pm (EDT, New York City time)

Targeted: This Product Group Interaction is open to  all Developer MVPs in all Technical Expertise and  public audience.

So you’ve decided that Visual Studio Team System & Team Foundation Server is going to bring your organization added value (because it will :)) but what do you do now?  Please join Ed Blankenship as he covers the 2.5 years of successful implementation of VSTS and the experience of that journey at Infragistics, the world’s leading maker of software development tools.  The session intends to cover each phase of the implementation of all affected areas for a smooth adoption:  Version Control, Builds, Work Item Tracking, global deployment, moving multiple teams, training, automated testing, migration from legacy systems, and integration with other systems and TFS.  The goal will be to go through at a high-level of what it takes to make you successful by learning from the challenges and obstacles overcome.  We’ll also look in the future with VSTS 2010 and see how strategic planning will help make a successful adoption of the new features in the upcoming 2010 release.  The session is led by a Microsoft MVP (Team System) & Champ who has been in the trenches during the whole implementation.

Prerequisites:  A healthy attitude in learning from other peoples challenges and a strong desire to make real change within your organization!

About Ed Blankenship: Ed is a Microsoft MVP, Microsoft Certified Application Developer, and works as the Release Engineering Manager at Infragistics, makers of the world's leading presentation layer tools and components. His expertise consists of Microsoft Visual Studio Team System and Team Foundation Server. He is also a technical evangelist for Rich Client applications (primarily Windows Forms & Windows Presentation Foundation.) He has been a technical editor for several Silverlight books, an article author, and has spoken at various user groups, events, and conferences.

PJ Forgione has invited you to attend an online meeting using Live Meeting.
Join the meeting. (Link: https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/mvp/join?id=NP5FQZ&role=attend&pw=A49410Y0D )
Audio Information
Computer Audio
To use computer audio, you need speakers and microphone, or a headset.
Telephone conferencing
Use the information below to connect:
Toll-free: +1 (866) 500-6738
Toll: +1 (203) 480-8000
Participant code: 5460396

 

Ed Blankenship

Speaking at NYC VSTS User Group on July 28



While I’m up in New Jersey working at the Infragistics headquarters office, I’m going to have the privilege of speaking at the New York City VSTS User Group on July 28, 2009 at 6:30 PM.  Come see me if you’re in the area!  Because of security concerns at the building, you do need to register ahead of time if you’re planning to attend.

VSTS User Group

Real World TFS: Tips for a Successful Team System Implementation

Description:
So you've decided that Visual Studio Team System & Team Foundation Server is going to bring your organization added value (because it will :)) but what do you do now? Please join Ed Blankenship as he covers the 2.5 years of successful implementation of VSTS and the experience of that journey at Infragistics, the world's leading maker of software development tools. The session intends to cover each phase of the implementation of all affected areas for a smooth adoption: Version Control, Builds, Work Item Tracking, global deployment, moving multiple teams, training, automated testing, migration from legacy systems, and integration with other systems and TFS. The goal will be to go through at a high-level of what it takes to make you successful by learning from the challenges and obstacles overcome. We'll also look in the future with VSTS 2010 and see how strategic planning will help make a successful adoption of the new features in the upcoming 2010 release. The session is led by a Microsoft MVP (Team System) & Champ who has been in the trenches during the whole implementation.

Presenter: Ed Blankenship

Bio:
Ed is a Microsoft MVP, Microsoft Certified Application Developer, and works as the Release Engineering Manager at Infragistics, makers of the world's leading presentation layer tools and components. His expertise includes Microsoft Visual Studio Team System and Team Foundation Server. He is also a technical evangelist for Rich Client applications (primarily Windows Forms & Windows Presentation Foundation.) He has been a technical editor for several Silverlight books, an article author, and has spoken at various user groups, events, radio shows, and conferences.

Date/Time:  07-28-2009 6:30 - 8:00 PM

Location: Microsoft Offices in NYC at 1290 Avenue of Americas, 6th Floor

Click here to Register

 

Ed Blankenship



Going Down Under – New Opportunity with Readify



Dear Reader,

I have decided to accept a Senior ALM Consultant position with the premier Australian consulting company, Readify.Australia Flag

It’s always a tough decision to move on from a company you’ve really enjoyed being at.  I’ve really enjoyed the work that I have had the opportunity to do at Infragistics.  There are so many really great people at Infragistics that I truly will miss working with and hope to see in the future.  Some of my really good personal friends have been fellow colleagues at Infragistics which just shows you the type of culture that we have.  I’ve had an amazing team that I’ve worked with as the Release Engineering Manager and they have been truly able to make a positive change for the organization.  They’ve always been there to help make miracles and put in those really really long hours at release crunch time.  So really, I need to tip my hat to each of them for just being awesome:  Brian, Geoff, Kareen, and Jason.

 

I’m really excited about this new opportunity.  I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that I’d be living abroad but the idea grew more and more on me as this opportunity came up.  I hear Australia is a beautiful country with an amazing culture.  I’m not currently planning for this to be a permanent move whatsoever but everyone I talk to about it says that I’m not going to want to come back! :) 

I’ve heard about Readify for several years now as a Visual Studio Team System professional any time I hear about Australia & TFS/VSTS/ALM.  I’m really looking forward being able to visit multiple customer sites again and coming up with solutions to their ALM problems.  It’s been a while since I’ve been an ALM consultant so I’m looking forward to the variety.  Even more, as an MVP I’m looking forward to a whole new set of venues to get involved with the community on a new continent.  I think I’m going to have a busy schedule!

There are tons of different things for me to solve as an American citizen living abroad.  It’s interesting that Grant Holliday just made the opposite move almost a year ago and I plan on doing the same thing as he has and try to write about the differences between the two countries.  Hopefully you’ll find it as interesting as I did with Grant’s story.

I’m planning a really simple move:  packing up a few suitcases of clothes and jumping on a plane.  Hoping that works out well for me! :)

 

I have decided to continue working with Infragistics until the beginning of August to wrap things up and hopefully train my replacement.  I guess the cat is out of the bag with the official job opening announcement on our website listed under Research & Development.  That position is listed to be the back-fill headcount for my current position.  Finally – I’d like to ask you to help us out:  If you’ve heard about our TFS instance and VSTS implementation from some of my user group talks or the Radio TFS episode and are interested (or know someone awesome who might be) in continuing this exciting work, please let me know!  You can send me a quick note to ed at infragistics dot com or use any of the contact links from my blog website.

 

Take care!

Ed Blankenship



Radio TFS Interview – Using TFS at Infragistics with Ed Blankenship



I’m up really early this morning.  I’m about to head to the airport to spend my Independence Day weekend in the Carolinas for some much needed beach vacation and visit with friends.  Thankfully, I didn’t miss Martin Woodward letting me know that the latest Radio TFS episode was made available just a few moments ago that includes my interview about our use of TFS and Visual Studio Team System at Infragistics.  It’s a longer episode than normal so it’s perfect if you’re going to be spending some time at the beach like me and listen to a fun talk.  We both really enjoyed chatting for this episode so we hope you enjoy it as well!

Using TFS with Ed Blankenship

In this episode we sit down and chat with Ed Blankenship about the use of Team Foundation Server at Infragistics. Ed has had some interesting challenges and experiences in running their TFS instance.  Additionally they have done some fairly advanced integration work which we discuss in detail.  This is a double-length show, so hopefully plenty of stuff to enjoy if you are sunning yourself on a beach somewhere.

Ed is the Release Engineering Manager at Infragistics, makers of the world's leading presentation layer tools and components.  He is also a Microsoft MVP in Visual Studio Team System.

     Play Now: Using TFS with Ed Blankenship

As the Release Engineering Manager, he leads the Release Engineering Department which is responsible for automated builds, creating product installers, packaging source code for customers, source configuration management/version control, metrics, release management, work item tracking, licensing enforcement, and development of internal productivity tools.  The department also is responsible for TFS Operations & Maintenance.

Ed has been a technical editor for the Wrox Silverlight 1.0, Silverlight 2 Developer's Guide, and Silverlight 2 Bible books, author of numerous articles, and has spoken at various user groups, events, and conferences.

Links from the show:

As usual send any feedback to radiotfs@gmail.com.

 

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions based on the Radio TFS chat.  I’m more than happy to get them answered for you!

 

Take care,

Ed B.



Speaking at the Team System User Group Virtual Edition – EMEA Meeting in June



Come join!  Here’s the website and the details.

Website:  http://www.tsug-ve.com/

JUNE EMEA Meeting
Meeting Date: Thursday, June 18th, 2009
Time: 10:00AM PDT/SLT (18:00 UTC)
Location:  Microsoft Island in Second Life

Real World TFS:  Tips for a Successful Team System Implementation

OK, you’ve decided that Visual Studio Team System & Team Foundation Server is going to bring your organization added value (because it will :)) but what do you do now?  This session will cover the 2.5 year successful implementation of VSTS and the experience of that journey at Infragistics, the world’s leading maker of software development tools.  The session intends to cover over each phase of the implementation over all of the affected areas for a smooth adoption:  Version Control, Builds, Work Item Tracking, global deployment, moving multiple teams, training, automated testing, migration from legacy systems, and integration with other systems and TFS.  The goal will be to go through at a high-level what it takes to make you successful by learning from the challenges and obstacles overcome.  We’ll also look to the future with VSTS 2010 and see how strategic planning will help make a successful adoption of the new features in the upcoming 2010 release.  The session is led by a Team System MVP & Champ who has been in the trenches during the whole implementation.

Prerequisites:  A healthy attitude from learning from other’s challenges and a strong desire to make real change at your organization!

 

Take care,

Ed B.

Posted in Community | Speaking | TFS | VSTS

Easy Assist – Little Known Feature for Live Meeting Account Holders



I’ll have to admit, the Easy Assist feature is not very discoverable if you have a Live Meeting account but it’s really really really useful!  So imagine you have a coworker or a mother who needs help but they’re not where you’re at.  There are a lot of different ways for people to do remote assistance support but if you have a Live Meeting account there’s another way that I’ve been using:  Easy Assist.  It’s the same app that lots of support professionals at Microsoft Product Support & Services use to help customers remotely.

BTW:  If you’re an MVP, you have received a complimentary Live Meeting account as part of your benefits!

Downloads for End-users who need support

Downloads for Support Agent

Easy Assist Launchpad

So the first thing you should do to help create support sessions quickly as a “support agent” is get the Easy Assist Launchpad installed so it sits in your tray and waits for you.  When you launch it for the first time, it’ll ask you to put in your Live Meeting credentials.  These are the same that you would use when you setup & configure the Live Meeting client. 

image

After you have finished that, the Launchpad will sit in your system tray and has a few options available for you:

image 

I’ve went ahead and chosen “Create Session” and I’m just going to put in something to let my Mom (and I) know this is for her session.

image

After, creating the session you’ll have the option to join the session yourself and also send the invite by e-mail (using your default e-mail application) to the person you’re trying to support.  Look at the URL… you’ll notice it’s very similar to a Live Meeting invite but instead it has the “joinEA?” inside of it.  This is important because this is what makes the end user experience better for the support agent and the person being supported because it will fire off the Easy Assist client instead of the full Live Meeting client.

image

Support Agent Features

Once you’ve fired off the Easy Assist support agent client, you’ll be able to see the other support agents that are attending as well as the person(s) you are trying to support.  You can request that they reboot, share their screen, share your screen, request to control their session, send files, and more.  Support agent screens:

image image

All the end user sees is a small window that’s out of view.  After the session, it even asks the end user if they would like to uninstall the Easy Assist client since it’s not needed anymore!  How nice?!  It even works if the customer has booted in safe mode.  Very handy at times.

CustomerViewEasyAssist    CustomerUninstallEasyAssist

 

You can see how it’s super easy to escalate a support call from a family member, an IM/e-mail from a co-worker, or even setting up a session for you to get help from a support agent who doesn’t have remote assistance provided by their employer.  Hope this is helpful to you!

Ed B.



Draining the Blog Topic Backlog



It’s been pretty quiet around this blog for quite some time now.  Just been busy traveling to TechEd North America and back to our office in New Jersey.  Lots going on!  However, no one ever has enough time to get everything done :)

I’m going to be a little more demanding on myself to get through my blog topic backlog that I’ve been keeping for a while.  I think I’m up to 19 at the moment so I need to get it flushed out!  I keep a list alongside my To-Do list in OneNote about different topics that I come across that I blog about.  Usually they are from problems that I see day to day that other people probably will want to solve at some point (I always archive the screenshots so I can use them in my blog posts later.)  Other topics that end up on the list are in response to something I’ve done while traveling.  For example, Martin Woodward and I had the chance to record a Radio TFS episode (not yet aired) where we talked about our implementation of Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Team System at Infragistics.  I think it was a great session and definitely looking forward to it getting out in the wild.  There were a few topics that we talked of stumbles we’ve encountered over the last two years and how we ended up solving them.  The goal for us was to get those out in the public since others may be experiencing the same hurdles and looking for resources on how to solve them.  It’s more along the lines of “hey, here’s our story so you can learn from our mistakes.”  I hope you find them useful.  On this blog, I’ll start talking about some of those points that we brought up in more detail since the radio show has to be reduced to a reasonable amount of time :)  Some of the stuff we talked about was just down-right cool!  More details to come…

 

So, dear reader, I am pledging to you to get through my current blog topic backlog by the end of June.  Let me know if you would like me to write about anything in particular!

 

Take care,

Ed B.

 

P.S.  I cross-post between my Infragistics Blog and my personal blog.  Some posts don’t end up on my Infragistics Blog site so be sure to check http://www.edsquared.com/ from time to time where my long-time colleague Ed Kisinger and I blog.  If you’d like to subscribe to that feed, the RSS address is:  RSS for Posts

Posted in Community | TFS | VSTS


MPT Talk at Dallas VSTS User Group



I had a really good time last night speaking to the Dallas VSTS User Group about the Microsoft Process Template.  If you want more information, I wrote a blog post shortly after the public release of the MPT.  I was really sick last month when I was supposed to speak so I’m really glad I got the opportunity to make it up.

One of the things I really enjoy about the group was the open session time after the scheduled talk to discuss problems people were facing with Team System and the group attempts to come up with possible solutions.  That’s really a great use of time for a specialized user group like this one.

As a fun extra, thankfully the Demo Gods were okay with me and saved this Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) until after I was finished using the VPC during my talk :)  Everyone insisted that I take a screenshot and share with the rest of the world so enjoy!

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Ed B.

 

P.S. As a side note, the experience whenever your evaluation license runs out in Windows Server 2008 has definitely improved.  It no longer gives you a BSOD.  I was using TFS 2008 SP1 installed in a Windows Server 2003 VPC for my demos.

Posted in Community | MPT | Speaking | TFS | VSTS


Microsoft Process Template



In December, I had the privilege to be the “MVP in Residence” with the Team System product group.  Chuck blogged about the experience at the beginning and end of the week.  I felt really good about the accomplishments at the end of the week.  The main project I worked on was packaging up the Microsoft Process Template (MPT) so that it could used by the public community.  I’m happy to announce that it is live on CodePlex now so feel free to download and use it!

Description

The Microsoft Process Template (MPT) is a Microsoft internal, end-to-end project management solution that maps to the Microsoft product development cycle and works with Visual Studio Team System 2008 (VSTS). The MPT offers an out-of-the-box solution and includes all the work item types (forms), queries, documentation, engineering best practices, and reports required for Microsoft development teams to get up and running on Visual Studio Team System. The Engineering Excellence* and Visual Studio Development teams worked together closely over the last year to create this template by compiling the lessons learned from other teams that have implemented similar templates, incorporating engineering best practices, widely socializing the concepts, and finally piloting this template with several product groups.
*The engineering excellence team is a Microsoft business unit that provides Microsoft business group employees with high-quality technical education, best practices and guidance.

Be sure to check out the Introduction and the Getting Started guides to dive in and get the background information for the process template.  One of the main things that people will notice is that the MPT simulates work item hierarchy through the the use of some daemon services.  There are several ways to simulate hierarchy in TFS 2008 so if you’re looking for a solution the MPT has the services source code and reports created for them.

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Here is a sample report that uses the hierarchy to rollup the progress by Feature:

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There are a few known issues with the process template which are listed in the Getting Started guide.  I’ll be sure to keep the guide updated if I hear of any other known issues.

Other MPT Resources

Gregg Boer, Principal Program Manager on the TFS product group, wrote an excellent series of blog posts of how Microsoft uses the MPT internally along with an overview of the process around tracking progress throughout the release.

· How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS - Chapter 1 (Our Process)

· How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS - Chapter 2 (Feature Crews)

· How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS - Chapter 3 (Implementing the Process)

· How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS - Chapter 3 (Addendum)

· How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS - Chapter 4

· How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS - Chapter 5 (Tracking Progress)

· How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS - Chapter 6 (Tracking multiple projects)

· How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS - Chapter 6 (Addendum)

· How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS-Chapter 7 (Tracking Risk)

· How Microsoft/DevDiv uses TFS-Chapter 8 (Tracking Quality Gates)

· How Microsoft/Dev Div uses TFS - Chapter 9 (Transparency in Reporting)

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Jeff Beehler and Brian Keller also put together a video of how Jeff uses the MPT & TFS to monitor progress of the release cycle. Take a look on Channel 9: http://channel9.msdn.com/posts/briankel/Better-Project-Management-with-Team-Foundation-Server/

 

I really want to thank you to everyone that helped getting it packaged up for the public!  Also, thanks to Chuck for organizing the week, working logistics, and of course giving me a place to stay!

 

Ed B.

Posted in Community | MPT | TFS | Tools | VSTS


Azure User Group in Dallas



I just found out about this group from an MSDN Flash. Check them out; there is a meeting tonight.

Azure User Group Website

The website is home for many Azure User Groups from around the world.

 

Ed K.



Team Build at Tulsa TechFest 2008



TulsaTechFest 2008

I’ve been in the middle of a lot lately and completely forgot to mention Tulsa TechFest 2008!  This will be my third year speaking and interestingly I have the only Team System talk this year.  If you’re around the area be sure to come by to learn more about automating your build & packaging process using Team System.  I’m going to do my Team Build talk that I did earlier this year at the Dallas VSTS User Group but we won’t go into as much depth since we only have 1.5 hours.  Looks like another great year with almost.  Infragistics has been a proud & regular sponsor of this event and I’m honored to have been invited again!

[Update]

Wanted to be sure I posted my slides and then also made the link to the awesome build lifecycle poster done by our friends in South Africa.  Thanks for keeping me honest!

 

Ed B.



Development Community Volunteer Week



I didn't get to read my RSS feeds yet today but I got a hint to go read them and I discovered that Chuck wrote a nice blog post about volunteer work and me.  I guess the cat's out of the bag now :)  Thanks Chuck for the kudos - I really appreciate it.  I'm looking forward to making a really good use of that time.

There are so many people in the development community that spend countless hours of their volunteer time.  Especially in the VSTS community.  People are working volunteering time:

  • developing and supporting open-source projects & tools,
  • speaking at events and conferences (this takes a considerable amount of time to prepare for,)
  • leading local user groups,
  • writing blog posts, technical articles, & books,
  • answering community questions in the MSDN Forums,
  • giving feedback, enhancement requests, & reporting problems of Microsoft products to improve them, and
  • all of the other ways people volunteer time that I can't even begin to think of.

I personally know several people (and more) who really focus on trying to make the entire development community better off with these time & knowledge contributions.  (Infragistics as a company has been really supportive in all of our efforts to help the community.) I hope you get as much out of it as I do from learning from everyone.  Microsoft has done a great job in recognizing those individuals by creating the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award.  I'm honored to have been awarded this award earlier this year.

I've really not been able to blog as much as I have liked to or participating in the MSDN Forums answering people's questions.  I have focused the volunteer time that I have had in other areas.  I had a really great time at the MVP Summit earlier this year and came back with so many different ideas.  I really love the VSTS MVP & Champs group - truly a great group of professionals!  This brings me to my idea for this year.

I feel like I haven't had time this year to really provide anything meaningful to the community.  So, I want to dedicate a work week and do something meaningful for the VSTS community.  There are plenty of places that we could all use help so I think that would be something meaningful and useful.  I'm planning on doing this time locally in Redmond so that if I need background information on a project, I can get it quickly.  I need to meet with some people about Infragistics stuff and really take some vacation time in that area (since it is so beautiful) so I think it's beneficial to be local during that week.

 

What should I work on?

 

Chuck mentioned a few ideas that we have so far but the one I personally love is being able to release the gigantic amount of work that Microsoft has done with their internal process templates & reports.  Have you seen them?  They are awesome!  Reports are so tricky to do and take a good chunk of time to be done correctly.  The Microsoft internal reports need to be scrubbed for external consumption which is my initial idea for volunteer work.

Or should I work on a productivity tool?

Don't let me taint your opinions though.  What do you want/need that would be valuable for VSTS?  Go to Chuck's blog post and give us suggestions about what you would like to see me work on.  No car washing or details though :) unless it's for a good charity organization then I'll consider it.

 

Ed B.

Posted in Community | TFS | VSTS


New Team System MVP



Microsoft MVP Horizontal Logo Speaking of Team System, I found out last week that I have been officially inducted into the Team System MVP group.  Earlier this year, I was awarded as an MVP in the Client Application Development competency.  Don't get me wrong, I still love WPF & Silverlight development and will continue to be involved in that community in the future.  I'm even working on finishing up the technical editing of a Silverlight 2 book right this minute. Or actually I'm procrastinating writing blog posts :)

Being part of the Team System MVP group, I'm really joining one of the most awesome groups ever.  I spent all of my time earlier this year at the MVP Summit at all of the Team System sessions and they truly are one of the best product teams at Microsoft.  They truly value our feedback and the Team System MVPs really love and care for the product just as much and want to see it grow by leaps and bounds.  And when I say love and care for the product, you don't even understand! :) This is definitely a good fit and I'm honored to officially join the group.  So when do I get to learn the "secret handshake?"

 

Ed B.

Posted in Community | TFS | VSTS


Happy New Year - Microsoft MVP & New Location



I was just reminded this morning by an old colleague that Ed K. and I have been slacking tremendously since we haven't had any blog posts since November :)  I want to wish everyone a happy new year and share some news.  Last week, I moved back to Dallas and will be working remotely from home.  It's new for me so I'm still trying to get into the groove of things.  Scott Hanselman's latest posts about being a remote worker have been extremely interesting to me.

It's been a little hectic in the last few weeks.  I needed to wrap a few things up before I went on vacation at the office.  Also, we had our final NJ .NET User's Group meeting for the year which turned out to be terrific.  Since it's a new year, we also had announced a new leader - Jess Chadwick.  It has been a privilege to serve as a leader of the group for 2007.   I really want to thank Jess, Tony, Ambrose, Kathleen, and Peter for the help during the year in leading the group.  I'm looking forward to rejoining the Dallas .NET community and also the newly formed Dallas VSTS Users Group (How exciting!)

From there, there was:  packing, cleaning, movers picking up, cleaning, driving, getting the new place, movers dropping off, unpacking, getting new furniture, setting up the new office, having out-of-town guests, whew... and getting ready to host a party!

After waking up from a very long but extremely fun night on New Year's Eve (which ended up being my housewarming party as well since all of my friends were in town,) I was surprised to find an e-mail in my inbox:

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2008 Microsoft® MVP Award!MVP_FullColor_ForScreen

Oh I was/still am pretty excited! :)  It's exciting to be working at Infragistics for many reasons.  They have been the most supportive company that I have worked for when it comes to being involved in the developer community which is one of the primary reasons I came aboard a year ago.  Describing Infragistics as "community-friendly" would be putting it mildly!  There's a total of SEVEN MVPs now at Infragistics which is a testament to the quality of people that I have the privilege to work with every day.  We really do have the best people in every department around the company.

There are so many people who really have been extremely helpful to me.  I want to specifically thank Ambrose for his mentorship as my coach for the majority of 2007.  He has been very influential in my career and cared about my professional growth.  Thank you!  So many people deserve Kudos:  Ed K., Jess, Tony, Jason B., Peter, Grant, Kathleen, Devin, Josh, Tim, Caleb, Omar, Fraser, Jason T., Chuck, Mel

I'm still working on getting my profile to get it all set up with my information so for now it's a work in progress:  My MVP Profile

All in all, I'm looking forward to the new year and what exciting things are in store both at Infragistics and with my continued involvement with the developer community.  It's going to be an awesome year!

 

Ed B.