Friday, 30 October 2015

Small touches I like in the TFS 2015 Update 1 Upgrade Wizard

Microsoft is always working towards improving the user experience of its products, and Team Foundation Server is no exception to this rule.

There are two bits I really liked in the Upgrade Wizard of 2015.1: the new Build Agent configuration and the Upgrade Progress monitoring page.

For the first, now it is totally clear what are the paths a Build Agent (referred to the new Team Build, of course) uses:


For the second, I can now monitor not only the step of my upgrade but also the elapsed time, and if there is any problem going forward.

tfs upgrade

At the bottom there is a very handy link to the logs, and if something happens during the upgrade, the Issues link brings you straight to the relevant log:



Again, they are all small touches, but very relevant regardless of how often you use them Smile

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Dashboards in Team Foundation Server 2015 Update 1

Another great new feature in TFS 2015.1 is the introduction of a real dashboard instead of a pre-built welcome page.

This is an example:


This is an upgraded Team Project by the way. There are a few out-of-the box widgets, but is there a Definition of Done widget? Of course not Smile

You now have the flexibility of creating your own widgets, including a markdown widget:


Everything is customisable – this is my markdown example:


You can also create multiple dashboards – this is extremely handy if you have different teams with different focus across the same Team Project:


Each dashboard can be totally different, they are independent with each other.

Eventually, there is a new Welcome page experience. This is Markdown as well:


and there is one page for each repository by default, as it is based off the file created into each repo.

This is really a very welcome addition to the platform, as it enables even more collaboration and information’s sharing scenarios as ever.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

TFVC and Git in the same Team Project: a revolution

TFS 2015 Update 1 is literally hot off the press, and I am already on it as the changelog is massive!

The #1 priority to me was to have a look at Git and TFVC in the same Team Project. This is a really important milestone for the future.

It means the Version Control storage become agnostic – you can have Git repositories in existing TFVC-based Team Projects (a legacy evolution if you want), but also the other way round, a TFVC storage into a Git-based Team Project.

The experience is as easy as it, you just need to go to the _admin page and under the Version Control tab you can manage that:



If you already have TFVC configured in your Team Projects, you can’t add another repository of the same type of course:


Why should I add a TFVC repository if I already use Git? Well, migrations, large file storage are two examples.

You need to run Visual Studio 2015 Update 1 (currently in CTP1) to fully access these new repositories - which obviously highlights that you have both the Version Control systems in place.

The next thing I will look at (across the weekend Smile) are the dashboards!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Problem solved! Git-LFS and VSO

One of the problems you might face with Git is the performance hit when you start storing binaries into the Version Control.

It is actually by design – Git takes content snapshots at every commit, and it can’t handle deltas on binary files like on text files.

Fair enough, it has lots of other pros (and cons too), but the inability of storing binaries in an easy and non-disruptive way hampered the need for a shared tool in an heterogeneous development teams. If you have people working on the UI of your applications and you want them to version the .psd files they use, you can’t use Git.

Well, you couldn’t. GitHub developed Git Large File Storage for sorting this issue, but it wasn’t by default and eventually you would need to pay for usage (over 1GB quota of free space and bandwidth). It isn’t a out-of-the-box solution.

But yesterday Microsoft announced Git-LFS support on VSO, and it is a game changer to me.

Firstly, it is enabled by default on all the Visual Studio Online’s Git repositories. What you need to do is to install the Git-LFS extension, and nothing else.

Then, it is free for unlimited storage, so you don’t have to worry about limits, quotas and usage. It’s there, use it (if it makes sense, obviously).

Eventually, it will be included in Team Foundation Server 2015 Update 1, meaning that you will get exactly the same experience on-premise.

That’s marvellous, really. It solves the aforementioned issue in an effortless and easy way, making Git even more approachable.