Friday, 23 May 2014

Shared Parameters in Web Test Case Management

With the latest Team Foundation Server update (2013.2) we get a very useful feature in Web Test Case Management – Shared Parameters.

We had it in MTM, but not in the web. Right now instead I can write a generic Test Case and populate its values from the Web Access as well:



At execution time I am going to face multiple iteration of test cases, one for each line of parameters:


WTCM becomes cooler and cooler at each release!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The TFS’ Excel Reports won’t load after a SharePoint change – why?

I experienced a situation where the SharePoint instance used by a Team Foundation Server suddenly started raising errors while loading the Excel Reports inside a page.

The error was “An error occurred during an attempt to estabilish a connection to the external data source. The following connections failed to refresh: TfsOlapReport


But – if I tried to open them they were fine, after a refresh. What the heck?

The answer seems easy for a SharePoint expert but not for someone who tries to steer clear from it…:) basically the Secure Store Service is used to authenticate the requests TFS does using the SharePoint’s services.

Here is the issue – do not ask me why, but after a change on the SharePoint side (possibly due to a reconfiguration), the Authentication Setting for my report’s connection changed. In order to work, the report must use the “TFS”  SSS token – and not the user itself.


After resetting this, and double checking the SharePoint settings together with a specialist, everything worked as expected.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Why bringing evidences to the Sprint Retrospective meeting?

The most common question in all the situations of an average software development project is not “How?” but instead “Why?” – and in particular:

“Why did we do/act/decide that way?”

With the wealth of technologies available today it is not a matter of how anymore, because a new framework, a new tool comes up every week so we do not face the same technology challenges as twenty years ago – today is all about the why, because we can tackle the same problem in many different ways but each solution is going to have something special.

This is why I bringing evidences – when needed and possible, of course – to a Sprint Retrospective meeting becomes real value for the team.

During this sprint we did this because we found out that: …

Making this an habit improves the quality on the long term: if you enter this information throughout the development, ideally at each Sprint Retrospective, into a wiki it creates an informal and backed knowledge base which will surely be reusable in the future.

There is a high value behind this task: you are tracking all the decisions made during the project. It is also a basic form of Evidence-based Management if you wish, with all its pros.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Troubleshooting users’ issues with the Team Foundation Server Operational Intelligence

I tried to do something on the TFS but I got this error … Why?

Fairly common situation for every TFS Admin on this planet and beyond. How to quickly get grip with the problem?

As usual in this cases, the answer is one: with the TFS Operational Intelligence.

It is enough to go in the Activity Log page (http://mytfs:8080/_oi/_diagnostics/activityLog), selecting the Project Collection (or the server itself if needed, but this would be useful just in case of errors not related to the Project Collection itself) and filtering by user account.

From the results, whatever line has a status of –1 is the one which failed:


For instance, for my obscured user (you can see the PRO as part of the domain name, I had to remove it :) ) it is an error coming from the Team Foundation Build – he fails to list the builds.

If you open the Details for the error itself, you can get all the details about the issue:

image image

His PowerShell script is failing because it is probably trying to get a Build Template which doesn’t exist. A couple of questions (and ten minutes later) he was up and running again.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Review – Professional Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio 2013


After Professional Visual Studio 2013 it is now time to go a little deeper on Visual Studio ALM – Professional Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio 2013 is out!

The book itself confirms its aim – being the one stop guide to the Visual Studio ALM platform.

It has been fully updated, including Git, Visual Studio Release Management and Visual Studio Online. All the previous’ version chapters have been reviewed and revamped with the latest bits and everything is new.

Personally, I really liked the Chapter 4 – a quick introduction on Git, to let Visual Studio users being updated with the latest tool around. It is not easy, I am still digging into that as well, but Ch4 serves its role in a perfect way.

So, it is time to update the libraries folks! Smile