Saturday, 15 December 2012

Review – Professional Visual Studio 2012

This heavy, 1054 pages book is the reference for every developer approaching Visual Studio 2012.


If the review would be just one sentence long, this would be my review Smile but it isn’t, so here’s the thoughts: the book is huge, wrote by Bruce Johnson (Visual C# MVP) and provides an analytic insight inside the new Microsoft IDE.

As it is focused on the IDE itself, it doesn’t do deep dives on ASP.NET MVC or WPF, just to say, but it provides some technology samples to quickly start up beginners. Every tech sample is in both VB and C#.

You might think it’s just for beginners: that’s wrong. It’s a deep dive on the IDE feature set, and it’s not targeted at providing code apart from the related one. It’s useful as well for experienced developers.

A notable example: the Visual Studio Extensibility chapter is really complete and provides several samples regarding the model, guiding step-by-step the reader from the bottom-up.

Completing the field, the book provides some separate chapters for Visual Studio Ultimate and its exclusive features, and Team Foundation Server, making them fit inside the Microsoft’s ALM family of products.

I really liked it, and I strongly suggest it to all the developers working with Visual Studio 2012.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Workspace Templates: a useful helper for non-VS users

If you have a user which doesn’t use Visual Studio (reasons may vary: designers, stakeholders, analysts, etc.) but uses the Windows Explorer Integration brought you by the Team Foundation Server Power Tools, this user must go through the Team Explorer at least for setting the workspace.

Letting them use the Team Explorer is a shocking experience, from a users’ point of view: they are not used to the complexity of Visual Studio, and this can lead to errors and problems.

In order to fix that, we can use the tf workspace command-line tool, with the /template switch.

It’s extremely easy:

tf workspace /new /template:myworkspace;TFSAdmin /collection:http://server:8080/tfs/Collection

It takes a myworkspace linked to the user (in my case, TFSAdmin) and it creates for the current user a copy of it. So the project is already mapped, and the user can start using the Windows Explorer Integration alone.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Batched Gated Check-ins

A subtle new feature in Team Build 2012 is the possibility of batching the gated check-ins workflow, which enables you to “sum up” your check-ins and let the Team Build elaborate them together.

It’s available under the Gated Check-in trigger in the Build Definition configuration:


Then, what happens if one of the queued builds fail? No problem, they are going to be sequentially reinitialized and individually elaborated, in order to avoid further problems.

It’s a feature which finds its fit just inside big teams, I admit it…but it can still be useful even in other scenarios.