Thursday, 26 November 2015

Endpoints in a Team Project: what shall I do with them?

If you roam around a TFS/VSTS Team Project Administration page you will surely come across the Services tab:


What am I supposed to do with these? Why is there “Endpoints” and “XAML Build Services”?


Let’s start with the first question – in VSTS or TFS you can connect external services to interact with various features, like Build or Release Management.

Azure is a great example in that regard, because you can link a subscription to a Team Project for deployment purposes, once you do so all the combobox related to Azure Deployment (ARM, Web App, Cloud Services) will be automatically populated.

But there is not only Azure:


The Generic Service Endpoint enables third party services like Perfecto to integrate with the platform – you need to provide a URL and some authentication.

Subversion? Yes, also SVN is supported on VSTS and TFS 2015.1. It is something new – the Java ALM team delivered this integration to enable Subversion as a repository for build definition. Kudos to them!

Jenkins is for the build engine as well, so you can use it in the OOB build tasks.

Now onto the second question – the separation between XAML Build Services and other Endpoints is because the former handles services in a different way.

But as it is more and more becoming something old and deprecated, only Azure is available for these. Moreover, the XAML Build Service Azure integration doesn’t support Service Principals out of the box so you need to customise it should you use them.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Shopping in the Marketplace with Visual Studio Team Services

With the rename, Visual Studio Online Visual Studio Team Services introduces the Marketplace for its extensions.


It is a very welcome addition to the platform, as it enables scenarios of customisation in a very easy way.

Once you are logged in your VSTS account, you can browse and choose an extension:


Each extension has its own page with all the details, and it is the entrypoint for the installation:


The amazing thing is that it is all on your service – clicking Install brings you to an installation page, where you need to select the VSTS account you want to install the extension in:


That’s it! Once installed, you can go back to your account and start using it!


It is transparent for the users, which will just see the extension working as a feature of VSTS. All the extensions are managed at account (hence Collection) level.


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Upgrading SonarQube to 5.2, my notes

Today I updated our production instance of SonarQube to the eagerly awaited version 5.2.

It is such an important release because it finally embraces a full client-server paradigm (whereas the runners had to talk straight to the database before of that), it introduces support for Integrated Authentication for its database, and more.

The documentation rightly suggests to not copy across the old file but to carefully cross-check the settings you are modifying – it is a very wise suggestion, as the strings are now different (albeit they look similar at first sight).

The JDBC driver for SQL Server is now different, it doesn’t use jTDS anymore so keep an eye on your connection string. And there is also support for SQL Azure, which is a very nice touch if you host SonarQube on it. If you want to run Integrated Security you have to fiddle a bit, downloading the SQL JDBC driver and manually copying it in the appropriate folder. Everything is documented though.

SonarSource introduced a wizard (a first, I think, in the Java world…) for the upgrade – but beware, the wizard will start only if all the connection and configuration strings are set in the right way.

All the runners scanners must be updated, pointing straight to the SonarQube instance instead of the database, and eventually another very minor issue – if you have a custom image (the top left one) in your SonarQube instance you need to reset it and set a width, as it isn’t preserved.