Best Feature of TFS 2015 Update 1

Shortly before Christmas 2015 was the TFS 2015 Update 1 released, within this release are some new features that bring more productivity to Team Development and DevOps.

Here are some of my favorites :

TFVC and Git in the same Team Project

Lots of my customers have TFVC (centralized version control) in TFS. When Git support came out, the only option they had if they wanted to switch to Git was to create a new “Git-based” Team Project and port source code over. Then they got into a horrible situation where work items were all in the TFVC Team Project, and the source code was in the new Git Team Project.

Now, you can simply add a new Git repo to an existing TFVC Team Project! Navigate to the Code hub in Web Access, click the repository drop-down (in the top left of the Code pane) and select “New Repository”:

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Enter the name of your repo and click Create. You’ll see the new “Empty Git page” (with a handy “Clone in Visual Studio” button):

imageThe Repository drop-down now shows multiple repos, each with their corresponding TFVC or Git icon:

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You can also add TFVC to a Git Team Project! This makes sense if you want to source control large assets. That way you can have your code in Git, and then source control your assets in TFVC, all in the same team project.

If you’re looking for alternatives to supporting large files in Git, then you’ll be pleased to note that VSO supports Git-LFS. Unfortunately, it’s not in this CTP – though it is planned for the Update 1 Release. As a matter of interest, the real issue is the NTLM authentication support for Git-LFS – the product team are going to submit a PR to the GitHub Git-LFS repo so that it should be supported by around the time Update 1 releases.

Query and Notifications on Kanban Column

Customizing Kanban columns is great – no messing in the XML WITD files – just open the settings, map the Kanban column to the work item states, and you’re good to go. But what if you want to query on Kanban column – or get a notification if a work item moves to a particular column? Until now, you couldn’t.

If you open a work item query editor, you’ll see three additional fields that you can query on:

  • Board Column – which column the board is in. Bear in mind that the same work item could be in different columns for different teams.
  • Board Column Done – corresponding to the “Doing/Done” split
  • Board Lane – the swimlane that the work item is in

image Not only can you query on these columns, but you can also add alerts using these fields. That way you could, for example, create an alert for “Stories moved to Done in the Testing column in the Expedite Lane”.

Pull Requests in Team Explorer

You’ll need Visual Studio 2015 Update 1 for this to work. Once you have Update 1, you’ll be able to see and create Pull Requests in the Team Explorer Pull Requests tile. You can also filter PRs and select between Active, Completed and Abandoned PRs. There are PRs you’ve created as well as PRs assigned to you or your team. Clicking a PR opens it up in Web Access:

 

  Team Board Enhancements

There’s a lot to discuss under this heading. If you’re using the Kanban boards, you’ll want to upgrade just for these enhancements.

Team Board Settings Dialog

The Board Settings Dialog has been revamped. Now you can customize the cards, columns, CFD and team settings from a single place – not a single “admin” page in sight! Just click the gear icon on the top right of a Backlog board, and the Settings dialog appears:

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Field Settings

TFS 2015 RTM introduced field customization, so not much has changed here. There’s an additional setting that allows you to show/hide empty fields – if you’ve got a lot of cards, hiding empty fields makes the cards smaller where possible, allowing more cards on the board than before.

Customisable Styles

You can now set conditional styling on the cards. For example, I’ve added some style rules that color my cards red (redder and reddest) depending on the risk:

image You can drag/drop the rules (they fire in order) and of course you can rules for multiple fields and conditions. You can change the card color and/or the title color (and font style) if the condition matches. Here’s my board after setting the styles:

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Tag Coloring

You can now colorize your tags. You can see the iPhone and WindowsPhone tags colored in the board above because of these settings:

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Team Board Settings

Under board settings, you’ll be able to customize the Columns (and their state mappings, Doing/Done split, and Definition of Done. Again you’ll see a drag/drop theme allowing you to re-order columns.

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The same applies to the swimlanes configuration.

As a bonus, you can rename a Kanban column directly on the board by clicking the hearer:

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Charts and General

Under “Charts” and “General” you’ll be able to configure the CFD chart as well as the Backlogs (opt in/out of backlogs), Working Days and how your bugs appear (Backlogs or Task boards or neither). These settings used to be scattered around the UI, so it’s great to have a single place to set all of these options.

Tasks as Checklists

If you use Tasks as checklists, then this is a great new feature. Each Story (or Requirement or PBI, depending on your template) card now shows how may child Tasks it has. Clicking on the indicator opens up the checklist view:

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You can drag/drop to reorder, check to mark complete and add new items.

Task Board Enhancements

The Task board also gets some love – conditional styling (just like the Kanban cards) as well as the ability to add a Task to a Story inline.

More Activities Per Team Member

You can now set multiple activities per team member. I’ve always thought that this feature has been pretty limited without this ability:

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Now you have a real reason to use the Activity field on the Task! The Task burn down now also shows actual capacity in addition to the ideal trend:

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As a bonus, you can now also add new Team members directly from the Capacity page – without having to open up the Team administration page.

Team Dashboards

The “old” Home page (or Team Landing page) let you have a spot to pin charts or queries or build tiles. However, you couldn’t really customize how widgets were positioned, and if you had a lot of favorites, the page got a little cluttered. Enter Dashboards. You can now create a number of Dashboards and customize exactly which widgets appear (and where). Here I’m creating a new “Bugs” dashboard that will only show Bug data. Once you’ve created the Dashboard, just click the big green “+” icon on the lower right to add widgets:

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Once you’ve added a couple of widgets, you can drag/drop them around to customize where they appear. Some widgets require configuration – like this “Query Tile” widget, where I am selecting which query to show as well as title and background color:

imageHere I’m customizing the Query widget:

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You can see how the widgets actually preview the changes as you set them.

To add charts to a Dashboard, you need to go to the Work|Queries pane, then select the chart and add it to the Dashboard from the fly-out menu:

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Similarly, to add a Build widget to the Dashboard you need to navigate to builds and add it to the Dashboard of your choice from the list of Builds on the left.

Now I have a really cool looking Bugs Dashboard!

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Test Result Retention Policies

There is a tool for cleaning up test results (the Test Attachment cleaner in the TFS Power Tools) – but most users only use this when space starts running low. Now you can set retention policies that allow TFS to clean up old run, results and attachments automatically. Open up the administration page and navigate to the Test tab:

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Team Queries: Project-Scoping Work Item Types and States

If you have multiple Team Projects, and at least one of them uses a different template, then you’ll know that it can be a real pain when querying, since you get all the work item types and all the states – even if you don’t need them. For example, I’ve got a Scrum project and an Agile project. In RTM, when I created a query in the Agile project, the Work Item types drop-down lists Product Backlog items too (even though they’ll never be in my Agile Team Project). Now, by default, only Work Item Type (and States) that appear in your Team Project show in the drop-down lists. If you want to see other work item types, then you’re doing a “cross-Project” query and there’s an option to turn that on (“Query across projects”) to the top-right of the query editor:

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Policies for Work Item Branch

Now, in addition to Build and Code Review policies for Pull Requests in Git branch policies, you can also require that the commits are linked to work items:

imageYou can also just link the PR to a work item to fulfill the policy.

Labeling and Client-site workspace mapping in Builds

The build agent gets an update, and there are some refreshed Tasks (including SonarQube begin and end tasks). More importantly, you can now label your sources on (all or just successful) builds:

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Also, if you’re building from a TFVC repo, you can now customize the workspace mapping:

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And Stay tuned, because will come some other features in Update 2 that are in VSO now like :

 

Build widgets in the catalog

As Karen wrote about in the dashboards futures blog, one area we’re focusing on is improving the discoverability and ease in bringing different charts to your dashboard. With this update, you’ll see a new option to add a build history chart from the dashboard catalog, and you’ll be able to configure the build definition displayed directly from the dashboard.

Adding a build history chart from the dashboard catalog

Markdown widget with file from repository

The first version of the markdown widget allowed custom markdown stored inside the widget. You can now choose to display any markdown file in your existing repository.

Selecting a markdown file for display in the widget

Or add the file to any dashboard in your team project directly from the Code Explorer.

Displaying a markdown file in a dashboard

Check out all the January features in detail for Visual Studio Team Services:

https://www.visualstudio.com/news/2016-jan-25-vso

Azure Stack vs Azure Pack

Microsoft announced the Azure Stack at its Ignite event Last year , for running something like Azure on-premises, but how does it differ from the existing Azure Pack, which kind-of does the same thing?

This answer goes to the heart of how Microsoft is changing to become a cloud-first company, at least within its own special meaning of “cloud”. Ignite attendees heard about new versions of Windows Server, SharePoint, Exchange and SQL Server, and the common thread running through all these announcements is that features first deployed in Office 365 or Azure are now coming to the on-premises editions.

Why azure pack and azure stack?

We all living in cloud computing world now. IT people talk about “Cloud” more often. Microsoft Azure is in the top of the list providing proven stable cloud services. It includes IaaS (infrastructure as a service), PaaS (Platform as a service), SaaS (Software as a services) and lot more cloud related services. As we all know azure been very successful with availability, security, performance etc. But most of enterprises, businesses are already done lot of investment to build their infrastructure. This is much more valid for managed service providers. So instead of moving all the service to cloud, people are started to more interest on hybrid-cloud model. So some services will be using public cloud services and same time some services will be run from the datacenter.

To address hybrid-cloud model Microsoft decided to bring the azure technologies to the public so companies can use same technologies used in azure in their own datacenters. So the result was “Azure Pack”.

According to Microsoft,

Windows Azure Pack provides a multi-tenant, self-service cloud that works on top of your existing software and hardware investments. Building on the familiar foundation of Windows Server and System Center, Windows Azure Pack offers a flexible and familiar solution that your business can take advantage of to deliver self-service provisioning and management of infrastructure — Infrastructure as a service (Iaas), and application services — Platform as a Service (PaaS), such as Web Sites and Virtual Machines.

Windows-Azure-Pack_452x298

This was big relief for the MSP as they can offer a portal to their customers to manage their resources efficiently.

Azure pack is mainly depending on the infrastructure which is running based on windows server and system center. It uses system center virtual machine manager to manage virtual machines. It uses system center service provider foundation service to integrate all the related operations between portals and services. Following are some great features of azure pack.

1.    Portal for tenants to manage their resources
2.    Portal for system administrators to manage cloud services, tenants
3.    Automation using runbooks
4.    Service bus feature to provide reliable messaging between applications
5.    Database Services (MSSQL, MySQL)
6.    Web site services to setup scalable web hosting platform
7.    Console connect feature to connect to VM remotely even physical network interface not available.
8.    Multi-Factor authentication using ADFS

Why Azure Stack?

Well azure pack was the first big step toward the path, but the technology keeps changing every day. With new version of windows server software defined storage, software defined networking will do revolution change. To face this new requirement solution is the Azure stack.Microsoft keep sharpening up the azure platform. With azure stack, it will bring same proven cloud capabilities to the hybrid-cloud.

Azure Pack was “an effort to replicate the cloud experience,” Microsoft’s Ryan O’Hara (senior director, product management told the press at Ignite. By contrast, Azure Stack is “a re-implementation of not only the experience but the underlying services, the management model as well as the datacenter infrastructure.”

In other words, there is more Azure and less System Center in Stack versus Pack, and that is a good indication of Microsoft’s direction. That said, Microsoft’s Azure Stack slide says “powered by Windows Server, System Center and Azure technologies,” so we should expect bits of System Center to remain.

According to Mike Neil, General Manager for Windows Server, Microsoft

Microsoft Azure Stack extends the agile Azure model of application development and deployment to your datacenter. Azure Stack delivers IaaS and PaaS services into your datacenter so you can easily blend your enterprise applications such as SQL Server, SharePoint, and Exchange with modern distributed applications and services while maintaining centralized oversight. Using Azure Resource Manager (just released in preview last week), you get consistent application deployments every time, whether provisioned to Azure in the public cloud or Azure Stack in a datacenter environment. This approach is unique in the industry and gives your developers the flexibility to create applications once and then decide where to deploy them later – all with role-based access control to meet your compliance needs.

Built on the same core technology as Azure, Azure Stack packages Microsoft’s investments in automated and software-defined infrastructure from our public cloud datacenters and delivers them to you for a more flexible and secure datacenter environment. For example, Azure Stack includes a scalable and flexible software-defined Network Controller and Storage Spaces Direct with automated sync and failover. Shielded VMs and Guarded Hosts bring “zero-trust” software-defined security to your private cloud so you can securely segment organizations and workloads and centrally control and monitor access and administration rights. Furthermore, Azure Stack will simplify the complex process of deploying private/hosted clouds based on our experience building the Microsoft Cloud Platform System, a converged infrastructure solution.

server-cloud-may4b-1

Inside of azure pack it was “depending” on system center services. But Azure Stack will not “depend” on system Center but it is possible to integrate it with operation management suite and system Center .

Despite this disparity, Microsoft’s general approach seems to be to evolve and optimize server products for Azure and Office 365, and then to trickle down features to the on-premises editions where possible. It therefore pays for developers and admins working on Microsoft’s platform to keep an eye on the cloud platforms, since this is what you will get in a year or two even if you have no intention of becoming a cloud customer.

This approach does make sense, in that characteristics desirable in a cloud product, such as resilience and scalability, are also desirable on premises. It may give you pause for thought though if the pieces you depend on have no relevance in Microsoft’s cloud. We have already seen how the company killed Small Business Server, for which the last full version was in 2011.

That brings us to Azure Stack, the purpose of which is to bring pieces of Azure into your data Center for your very own Microsoft cloud. The existing Azure Pack already does this, but this was essentially a wrapper for System Center components (especially SCVMM) that allowed use of the Azure portal and some other features on premises.

Stay tuned on – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog

Build your own Cloud with Azure Stack

Are many Cloud Platforms used to build Custom Hybrid Cloud Scenarios, like Cloud Foundry used quite often by different Infrastructure providers Like INTEL, EMC², VMware, Swisscom, since 2 days comes another one  from Microsoft –  Azure Stack , which is great for #hybrid #cloud .

Azure Stack

Microsoft has launched the public preview of Azure Stack, something that has been in TAP for several months now. You can find the download on MSDN right now or from download link.

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Azure Stack is a collection of software technologies that Microsoft uses for its Azure cloud computing infrastructure. It consists of “operating systems, frameworks, languages, tools and applications we are building in Azure” that are being extended to individual datacenters, Microsoft explained, in the white paper.  However, Azure Stack is specifically designed for enterprise and service provider environments.

For instance, Microsoft has to scale its Azure infrastructure as part of operations. That’s done at a minimum by adding 20 racks of servers at a time. Azure Stack, in contrast, uses management technologies “that are purpose built to supply Azure Service capacity and do it at enterprise scale,” Microsoft’s white paper explained.

Azure Stack has four main layers, starting with a Cloud Infrastructure layer at its base, which represents Microsoft’s physical datacenter capacity (see chart).

The Azure Stack software.

Next up the stack there’s an Extensible Service Framework layer. It has three sublayers. The Foundational Services sublayer consists of solutions needed to create things like virtual machines, virtual networks and storage disks. The Additional Services sublayer provides APIs for third-party software vendors to add their services. The Core Services sublayer includes services commonly needed to support both PaaS and IaaS services.

The stack also contains a Unified Application Model layer, which Microsoft describes as a fulfillment service for consumers of cloud services. Interactions with this layer are carried out via Azure Resource Manager, which is a creation tool for organizations using cloud resources. Azure Resource Manager also coordinates requests for Azure services.

Tools for Integration, Deployment and Operations you can find here – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/azure-stack-tools-paas-services/#

More About It also in released a whitepaper providing more information on key Azure Stack concepts and capabilities that should help you gain a much richer understanding of our approach

What you need to use Hosted TFS 2012 (Team Foundation Service)

 

You can connect to the Team Foundation Service Preview from a number of applications as well as visiting your account URL at tfspreview.com. In the following post we talk about the client software necessary if you want to connect your development environment to your new Team Foundation Server in the cloud.

  • Visual Studio 2010 SP1 or Microsoft Test Manager 2010 SP1
    To connect and authenticate with the Team Foundation Service Preview you need to install the compatibility GDR.
    Note: You must have Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2010 installed before installing the GDR above.
  • Eclipse
    For Eclipse 3.5 and higher (or IDE’s based on those versions of Eclipse) on any operating system (including Mac, Linux as well as Windows) you can install the TFS plug-in for Eclipse which comes as part of the Team Explorer Everywhere 11 Beta.
  • Build Server (Build Controller and Agent)
    To have a build server that talks to the Team Foundation Service Preview, you need to install the Build Service from the latest Team Foundation Server 11 Beta.
  • Visual Studio 11 Beta
    Also, don’t forget that the Visual Studio 11 Beta has all the bits built in to be able to make use of your Team Foundation Service Preview account. Not only that, some of the great new features of the Team Foundation Service Preview will only light up from the newest version Visual Studio. We are keen to get your feedback on this beta release so download it and give it a go from a test machine and let us know what you think.

Links are now pointing to the beta, you need to use the RC

I will speak on ADC2011 c++

 

I will hold 2 sessions about  Native Interoperability with web  services and Windows Azure.

It is in Germany – near Apls on Chiemsee on 05-06 Mai 2011, an keynote by Boris Jabes – Senior Program Manager im Visual C++-Team @ Microsoft .

Check the other details here http://cpp.adc2011.de/

Shaping Software – architecture patterns – means software Success

 

I was looking for Windows Azure application patterns, and just come along JD Maier’s site – www.ShapingSoftware.com , it is one of the microsoifties behind the patterns & practices group at Microsoft and I found quite interesting things, even if I have knowledge about software architecture, patterns, enterprise etc.

here are some of the free guidelines

Regarding Cloud Computing, – http://wag.codeplex.com/ 

Now that Windows Azure is a released service, many customers are looking for guidance on how to make the move to the new platform and make the most of it. patterns & practices has just now started a series of projects that target application design and development on this new platform.

The key themes for these projects are:
1. Moving to the Cloud
2. Developing for the Cloud
3. Integrating the Cloud