Friday, 30 August 2013

Team Foundation Server 2013 in production? With some help! TFS Upgrade Weekend

Microsoft scheduled a very interesting initiative for the 13-15 September: the Team Foundation Server 2013 Upgrade Weekend.

What is that? It is a weekend where organizations can upgrade their Team Foundation Servers to the 2013 release with the latest go-live prerelease, and get free support in case of issues by the Microsoft CSS.

I strongly suggest to join us (I am going to upgrade several instances as well, both personal and corporate), to do this you are simply required to register here so they can staff the appropriate people.

If you need to download the previews, here you can find what you might need!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

InRelease Components and Release Templates, what are they?

The most important parts of InRelease are Components and Release Templates, which enable deployments to be smooth and automatic.
You can package as a Component almost everything, but everything starts from a build:
You can define to get the Component in several ways: it can be built with the application, independently, or just by picking it up from a file share.
The next step is on defining how to deploy this Component. You must use an InRelease Tool, which could be just your own basic script as you can see.
Beside of that, you can define some variables to be replaced and, most important, the associated Release Templates.
The Release Template is the Release Pipeline’s core. It is built on Windows Workflow Foundation, and it defines the step-by-step deployment activities to be carried on.
Right there you are going to shape every single step with the related configuration variable (like for the Create Web Site activity, for example). You can add as much Components (like Call Center Site) or Activities (which are like Create Web Site) as you want.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Some basic concepts of InRelease

Despite it is tightly integrated with Team Foundation Server, InRelease is – as far as today –  a standalone product.
It is formed of three components: a Server, a Client and as many Deployers you might need, installed on the servers where you are going to deploy you application.
Everything is so granular, it reminds of a Russian nested doll.
You are going to create a Release. The Release is based on a Template which defines the stages and the actions of a deployment.


It is based on Windows Workflow Foundation, and it is very intuitive. You can find a huge amount of out-of-the-box actions and the InRelease Components, we are going to see in a separate post what are they and how to customize them.

In order to be able to deploy, the Template must feature Environments, containers for the target Servers running the Deployer component.
In my case, I created two Environments (Development and Production), each containing one server (dev.domain.tld and prod.domain.tld).
As you can see in the picture, for this sample the deployment pipeline is extremely easy: create a folder in the target server and copy some files into it.
Then the simplest release workflow is based on approvals: you must approve the deployment and the successful completion. It is possible to make approvals and rejection from both the Console or the handy web interface.

These are the basic concepts you might need to know about InRelease Smile

Monday, 5 August 2013

Letting System Center Operations Manager 2013 and Team Foundation Server 2013 Preview talk together

Despite TFS 2013 is still a Preview, it is fully compatible with the other Microsoft products.
For enabling the DevOps story, you need to follow the TechNet procedure as usual, but you need:
  • to install the TFS 2012 Object Model
  • restart the SCOM HealthService via PowerShell (restart-service HealthService)
  • after you successfully connect to the server with the wizard, you should get a TF223006 error regarding the command-line tools. Don’t worry. Save the configuration, and manually add the OperationalIssue_11 Work Item Type from the Operations Manager installation media.
and it works!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

A little, unnoticed feature in Visual Studio – Notifications Center

It is not something you go around shouting “This is a life changer!”, but IMHO it has its own dignity and it is going to gain more and more importance in the future releases.
I am talking about the Visual Studio Notifications Center. It is something which is based on the Connected IDE, maybe the first example of its integration into Visual Studio, together with the Roaming Settings.
It is a small icon on top of the IDE…
…which opens a Notification pane:
IMHO it is important because it could be the notifications’ hub for informative content (help installation, license expiration) but updates as well.