Friday, June 1, 2012

Visual Studio & Team Foundation Server 2012 RC

Yes, Visual Studio vNext or VS 11 has finally got a name.
Microsoft has dropped the release candidate for Visual Studio 2012 and Team Foundation Server 2012.

There seems to be quite a significant amount of changes, and I’m glad to see that a lot of them were requests and issues raised from the “community”.

For more information have a look at these:

Download the bits over here.

So much goodness, so little time…

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rename or Clone TFS 2010 Server

Ever been in the situation where you wanted to make a clone of a production TFS environment, or just needed to rename the server?
Well, I needed to do exactly that for a client recently and spent a couple of hours banging my head on SharePoint in particular.
SharePoint is a very problematic renamer, and I will need to cover that in a separate post, but the rest is fairly straight forward.

Note: I’m assuming that the the login used to perform these tasks is a administrator on the server..

MSSQL Server:

Open up SQL Server Management Studio (or your favourite SQL tool) and connect to the database server. You will notice that if you execute “select @@servername” it will return the “old” or previous server name.

To update this you need to execute the following (replacing the <<oldserver\instance>> and <<newserver\instance>> with your appropriate server names (and instances if applicable):

exec sp_dropserver ‘<<oldserver\instance>>’
exec sp_addserver ‘<<newserver\instance>>’, local

Reporting Services:

Open up “Reporting Services Configuration Manager” and connect to the server, then select “Database”.
Select “Change Database” to display the change wizard.

Select “Choose an existing report server database”, enter the new server name in the next page. Next select the “ReportServer” database and then “Next” until you can “Finish” after verifying settings and applying security scripts.

That should take care of SQL and Reporting Services

TFS 2010:

If you were to open up TFS Administration Console you would find something like this:

I must admit that I was surprised (after a bit of digging) that the only change needed to point it to a new server was in the web config file. So go to the TFS web services directory ( By default : %system drive%\Program Files\Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010\Application Tier\Web Services) and open up the web.config file. In the config file, find the <appSettings> and change the connection string for the “applicationDatabase” to point to your new server name.

Open up TFS Administration Console and you should see some values pulling through now.

The next step is to change the url’s for TFS. In the TFS Administration Console under “Application Tier” select “Change URL’s” and update accordingly.

Now we need to “fix” reporting services. Select “Reporting” in the tree view and click “Edit”. Go to the “Reports” tab of the edit dialog and change the server name. Select “Populate URLs” to reload the correct config.


If you do have “schema problems” with either the warehouse or analysis services database, you can change the name and TFS will re-create the databases for you.

Now all that is left to do is to make sure that the project collection’s SharePoint site bindings are correct and you should be A for away..

If this is too dodgy, the next option would be to create a new server from scratch and “port” your existing environment over. I can tell you from experience that is is also not as straight forward as you may think, after all “it is just SQL databases…” backup and restore – right?! …. wrong - but I’ll leave that for another post.…

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

VS 11 : Team Explorer

One of the many things that has received a redesign in VS 11 is Team Explorer.


(Notice the “Search Work Items”)

Yes – if you are sharp, you may have noticed that this is from the “dull” Visual Studio 11 Beta.

Now this is a tricky one to get to grips with. I’ve been using it almost daily for the last 2 or so months and I’m yet to get used to the navigation between the “pages” or views.

Where we were used to having everything in a tree view, things have changed a bit and everything is grouped into its own page.

Take the work item view for example:


One thing that I’m sure the TFS guys will still work on is the association between work items and the check in.
To associate a work item (if you do not know it’s id) to the check in you follow the following steps:

  1. Go to the work item view, select the query to run and display all the work items
  2. Navigate to the home page and select the “Pending Changes” option
  3. Drag the selected work item from the result view into the “Related Work Items” section

A bit laborious if you are new to TFS.
Now in all fairness, and after you figure out how to use it, there is (yet) another view that manages your “work” a bit better. It does work like a charm if you are using TFS and follow the conventions that the work item flow imposes on you.

One thing that I think is absolutely amazing is the code review functionality. Like I said before, I’ve been using VS 11 for a couple of months and primarily work in a distributed team environment. The code review works like a charm for us – especially when you are not available to do the review at the point in time that it is requested.

You go to the “Pending Changes” or your “My Work” view and select “Request Review” to open up the request view.


Select one or many reviewers from the team members assigned to the project and then submit the request.

This sends a request to the reviewer, and when he/she opens up the “My Work” view, the request is waiting. The reviewer can then accept the request and use the brand spanking new diff tool to perform the review, adding notes on a line or file level and finally send the resulting comments back to the requestor.


Behind the scene this process is achieved by using a mix of work items and shelve sets, and this was one of the big drivers that I had to adopt TFS 11.

I’m sure that there is still going to be some work involved and this is not the absolutely final version, but it sure does make me excited for when the RTM lands…

Monday, March 26, 2012

Words of wisdom…

Some words of wisdom that have become apparent to me in my ventures…

  1. Until you’ve been an employer, you cannot consider yourself to be a good employee
  2. Unless you’ve been awake at 2am worrying about how to run a business, in my opinion you can’t presume to know how a business runs

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

TFS For everyone…

Some really cool news from Brian Harry this week. The licensing model for Team Explorer Everywhere (TEE) has been changed to reflect Team Explorer’s model. This means that TEE is now freely downloadable (previously you had to purchase the software). All you need is a CAL for TFS (same restriction as on Team Explorer).

This really opens up the TFS environment to non Microsoft developers out there..

This licensing model combined with TFS Express means that you can setup an environment using VS Express and/or Eclipse with TEE connecting to TFS Express, free for up to 5 people.

Microsoft Analyst / Tester event in Cape Town

Anyone that is interested in an overview of managing and tracking requirements, bugs and test cases with Team Foundation Server, Visual Studio and/or Microsoft test Manager, I’ll be presenting an event at the Cape Town Microsoft offices next week.Check it out

Calling all Analysts and Testers: Improve the delivery and quality of your projects (CPT, 13 Mar,free)

This event is in CPT. The equivalent JHB event, which has been blogged about before, can be found here

Are you a tester or analyst on your team? Do you still track your requirements, test cases and bugs manually using Word, Excel and Outlook? Are the bugs you find difficult to reproduce and you have challenges on getting visibility on the quality and project status?

As software grows increasingly complex, quality assurance can no longer be an afterthought. An inefficient or isolated testing process can hinder software quality, reduce time to market and drive up costs. Microsoft is hosting an event to help your organization avoid these potential pitfalls by making testing and quality assurance an active part of the application lifecycle.

DATE/TIME: 13 March - 08:30: -10:30

VENUE: Microsoft South Africa, Golf Park 3 ,Engen HouseRaapenberg Road, Mowbray



see you there…