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

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TFS 2015 Update 1 RC is Here

In The new Release cadence have Microsoft Developer Division the VS2015 update 1 CTP & TFS 2015 update 1 RC released . – download if you like –  http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=49192

Backlog looks Fancy and have more features that can be used on Planning meetings

Working with tasks directly on the Kanban board

Some of the my favorites that where in VSO for a while now are :

  • Version control: use Git and Team Foundation Version Control in the same project, history and getting started improvements on the web portal, social #ID in pull requests, commit details summary is easier to read, and an improved experience for cloning Git repositories.
  • Backlogs: multi-select on all backlogs, drag any item to an iteration from anywhere, Add panel on the iteration backlog, line on the burndown indicates actual capacity, configure settings directly, add/remove users in the sprint plan, and multiple activities per team member in planning capacity for a sprint.
  • Kanban boards: query on columns, card coloring, tag coloring, inline renaming of columns and swimlanes, reorder cards when changing columns, configure settings directly, and hide empty fields on cards.
  • Work items and tasks: tasks as checklist, link to branches and pull requests in work items, task board card coloring, and limit values shown for Work Item type in queries.
  • Build: improved access control for resources, improved source control integration, usability fixes in Build Explorer, and parity with XAML builds for label sources and client-side workspace mappings.
  • Testing: export test outcome for manual tests and test result retention policy improvements.
  • Dashboards: 100% customizable with new widgets and multiple dashboards.
  • SonarQube: works for Java programs built with a Maven task, SonarQube Analysis build tasks work with on-premises and hosted agents.

Sonarqube build tasks

 

you can read more about here- https://www.visualstudio.com/news/tfs2015-update1-vs

Silverlight 6 – NO Go from Microsoft Team

For few months has the Microsoft team the answer to  Visual Studio User Voice case .

Shortly described :

While Microsoft continues to support Silverlight, and remains committed to doing so into 2021, there will be no new development work except security fixes and high-priority reliability fixes.

Silverlight out-of-browser apps will work in Windows 10. Silverlight controls and apps will continue to work in Internet Explorer until October 12, 2021, on down-level browsers and on the desktop.

Our support lifecycle policy for Silverlight remains unchanged:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle/search/default.aspx?alpha=Silverlight&Filter=FilterNO

As was stated in this blog post, the need for browser extensions including ActiveX controls and Browser Hosted Objects has been significantly reduced by the advances of HTML5-era capabilities which also produce interoperable code across browsers. On the web, plugin-based architectures, such as Silverlight, are moving towards modern open standards, such as HTML5, CSS and JavaScript which are supported on a wide variety of browsers and platforms.

For future development, we recommend modernizing Silverlight applications to HTML5 solutions which provide broader reach across platforms and browsers. In addition to the solutions listed in the blog post above, there is a free .NET Technology Guide eBook to help with migration planning located at:http://download.microsoft.com/download/1/6/E/16E9FC39-0D61-4DB8-AADE-9F6950B8BF49/Microsoft_Press_eBook_NET_Technology_Guide_for_Business_Applications.pdf

How to Use TFS with Scaled Agile Framework

Using Team Foundation Server , Visual Studio,  to increase productivity and transparency into your application as well as increase the rate at which you can ship high quality software throughout the application lifecycle.

In the Following whitepaper is described How-TO: Using TFS to support epics, release trains, and multiple backlogs.

The Scaled Agile Framework, or SAFe, is  popular among organizations looking to scale Agile practices to the enterprise level. SAFe is a comprehensive framework, covering practices from portfolio level planning to release planning to coding practices.

While TFS does not provide full support for all SAFe practices, TFS can be used to implement many of the planning practices. This whitepaper also provides practical guidance on how to implement SAFe practices using TFS. It covers the following topics:

ALM_SAF_Overview1-4_Opt

The first two sections are conceptual and provide a quick overview of how TFS supports SAFe.The last two sections are guidance and provide detailed steps for the TFS Administrator to configure and customize TFS to support SAFe.

Mapping SAFe concepts to TFS concepts

  SAFe supports a portfolio view of multiple agile teams. SAFe illustrates how a portfolio vision is met by a hierarchy of teams, all of whom have their own specific objectives. This framework breaks down Epics into Features and Stories, which teams work on in Sprints and deliver through Program Increments (PIs) and Release Trains. Also, the portfolio backlog can track how deliverables map to Strategic Themes and associated budgets.

SAFe architectural overview © D. Leffing..

Image courtesy of Leffingwell, LLC.

The examples in this paper illustrate how to add the Epic WIT and backlog, configure a three-level team hierarchy, and map teams to their respective area and iteration paths. The examples build from the TFS Agile process template. However, the changes can be applied to any TFS process template.

TFS structure to support SAFe

SAFe Portfolios, Programs, and Teams map to TFS team projects and teams

Because TFS supports a hierarchical team structure, each team has its own view of their work which rolls up to the next level within the team hierarchy.

SAFe roles to TFS teams

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In the section, “Customize TFS process to support SAFe”, details the changes to our Scrum, Agile, and CMMI process templates which enable SAFe support. The goal is not to create a SAFe Process Template, but modify existing process templates to enable SAFe practices. This changes are minimal and don’t encumber teams who choose not to use SAFe.

Now, you have the following options to update the templates to include these changes :

  1. You can download the standard Scrum, Agile, CMMI process templates with changes for SAFe here.
  2. If you have customized process templates, you can follow the instructions in the guidance. Additionally, in this blog post shows how to automate the process with PowerShell.

This whitepaper assumes a familiarity with the Scaled Agile Framework. If you’re familiar with Scrum but not familiar with SAFe, Inbar Oren has published these great videos which explain the basic SAFe concepts quickly.

Have fun with the process!

.Net (4.0 up) Enterprise Caching Strategies & tips

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/paolos/archive/2011/04/05/how-to-use-a-wcf-custom-channel-to-implement-client-side-caching.aspx

Enterprise Library Caching Block is with version 6.0 Absolete , being replaced with MemoryCache or AppFabric.

We frequently get asked on best practices for using Windows Azure Cache/Appfabric cache.  The compilation below is an attempt at putting together an initial list of bestpractices. I’ll publish an update to this in the future if needed.

I’m breaking down the best practices to follow by various topics.

Using Cache APIs

1.    Have Retry wrappers around cache API calls

Calls into cache client can occasionally fail due to a number of reasons such as transient network errors, cache  servers being unavailable due to maintainance/upgrades or cache servers being low on memory. The cache client raises a DataCacheException with an errorcode that indicates the reason for the failure in these cases. There is a good overview of how an application should handle these exceptions in MSDN

It is a good practice for the application to implement a retry policy. You can implement a custom policy or consider using a framework like the TransientFault Handling Application Block

2.    Keep static instances of DataCache/DataCacheFactory

Instances of DataCacheFactory (and hence DataCache instances indirectly) maintain tcp connections to the cache servers. These objects are expensive to create and destroy. In addition, you want to have as few of these as needed to ensure cache servers are not overwhelmed with too many connections from clients.

You can find more details of connection management here. Please note that the ability to share connections across factories is currently available only in November 2011 release of the Windows Azure SDK (and higher versions). Windows Server appfabric 1.1 does not have this capability yet.

Overhead of creating new factory instances is lower if connection pooling is enabled. In general though, it is a good practice to pre-create an instance of DataCacheFactory/DataCache and use them for all subsequent calls to the APIs. Do avoid creating an instance of DataCacheFactory/DataCache on each of your request processing paths. 

3.    WCF Services using Cache Client

It is a common practice for WCF services to use cache to improve their performance. However, unlike asp.net web applications, wcf services are susceptible for IO-thread starvation issues when making blocking calls (such as cache API calls) that further require IO threads to receive responses (such as responses from cache servers).

This issue is described in detail in the following KB article – The typical symptom that surfaces if you run into this is that when you’ve a sudden burst of load, cache API calls timeout. You can confirm if you are
running into this situation by plotting the thread count values against incoming requests/second as shown in the KB article.

4.    If app is using Lock APIs – Handle ObjectLocked, ObjectNotLocked exceptions

If you are using lock related APIs, please ensure you are handling exceptions such asObjectLocked ( and ObjectNotLocked (Object being referred to is not locked by any client) error.

GetAndLock can fail with “<ERRCA0011>:SubStatus<ES0001>:Object being referred to is currently locked, and cannot be accessed until it is unlocked by the locking client. Please retry later.” error if another caller has acquired a lock on the object.

The code should handle this error and implement an appropriate retry policy.

PutAndUnlock can fail with “<ERRCA0012>:SubStatus<ES0001>:Object being referred to is not locked by any client” error.

This typically means that the lock timeout specified when the lock was acquired was not long enough because the application request took longer to process. Hence the lock expired before the call to PutAndUnlock and the cache server returns this error code.

The typical fix here is to both review your request processing time as well as set a higher lock timeout when acquiring a lock.

You can also run into this error when using the session state provider for cache. If you are running into this error from session state provider, the typical solution is to set a higher executionTimeout for your web app.

Session State Provider Usage

You can find more info about asp.net session state providers for appfabric cache hereand azure cache here.

The session state provider has an option to store the entire session as 1 blob (useBlobMode=”true” which is the default), or to store the session as individual key/value pairs.

useBlobMode=”true” incurs fewer round trips to cache servers and works well for most applications.

If you’ve a mix of small and large objects in session, useBlobMode=”false” (a.ka. granular mode) might work better since it will avoid fetching the entire (large) session object for all requests. The cache should also be marked as nonEvictable cache if useBlobMode=”false” option is being used. Because Azure shared cache does not give you the ability to mark a cache as non evictable, please note that useBlobMode=”true” is the only supported option against Windows Azure Shared cache.

Performance Tuning and Monitoring

            Tune MaxConnectionsToServer

Connection management between cache clients and servers is described in more detailhere. Consider tuning MaxConnectionToServer setting. This setting controls the number of connections from a client to cache
servers. (MaxConnectionsToServer * Number of DataCacheFactory Instances *Number of Application Processes) is a rough value for the number of connections that will be opened to each of the cache servers. So, if you have 2 instances of your web role with 1 cache factory and MaxConnectionsToServer set to 3, there will be 3*1*2 = 6 connections opened to each of the cache servers.

Setting this to number of cores (of the application machine) is a good place to start. If you set this too high, a large number of connections can get opened to each of the cache servers and can impact throughput.

If you are using Azure cache SDK 1.7, maxConnectionsToServer is set to the default of number of cores (of the application machine). The on-premise appfabric cache (v1.0/v1.1) had the default as one, so that value might need to be tuned if needed.

            Adjust Security Settings

The default security settings for on-premise appfabric cache is to run with security on at EncryptAndSign protection level. If you are running in a trusted environment and don’t need this capability, you can turn this off by explicitly setting security to off.

The security model for Azure cache is different and theabove adjustment is not needed for azure cache.

            Monitoring

There is also a good set of performance counters on the cache servers that you can monitor to get a better understanding of cache performance issues. Some of thecounters that are typically useful to troubleshoot issues include:

1)     %cpu used up by cache service

2)     %time spent in GC by cache service

3)     Total cache misses/sec – A high value here can indicate your application performance might suffer because it is not able to fetch data from cache. Possible causes for this include eviction and/or expiry
of items from cache.

4)     Total object count – Gives an idea of how many items are in the cache. A big drop in object count could mean eviction or expiry is taking place.

5)     Total client reqs/sec – This counter is useful in giving an idea of how much load is being generated on the cache servers from the application. A low value here usually means some sort of a bottleneck
outside of the cache server (perhaps in the application or network) and hence very little load is being placed on cache servers.

6)     Total Evicted Objects – If cache servers are constantly evicting items to make room for newer objects in cache, it is usually a good indication that you will need more memory on the cache servers to hold
the dataset for your application.

7)     Total failure exceptions/sec and Total Retry exceptions/sec

Lead host vs Offloading

This applies only for the on-premise appfabric cache deployments. There is a good discussion of the  tradeoffs/options in this blog – As noted in the blog, with v1.1, you can use sql to just store config info and use lead-host model for cluster runtime. This option is attractive if setting up a highly-available sql server for offloading purposes is hard.

Other Links

Here are a set of blogs/articles that provide more info on some of the topics covered above.

1)     Jason Roth and Jaime Alva have written an  article providing additional guidance to developers using Windows
Azure Caching.

2)     Jaime Alva’s blog post on logging/counters for On-premise appfabric cache.

3)     MSDN article about connection management between cache client & servers.

4)     Amit Yadav and Kalyan Chakravarthy’s blog on lead host vs offloading options for cache clusters.

5)     MSDN article on common cache exceptions and Transient Fault Handling Application Block

New Versions on TFS Guidance are available (TFS Planning, DR avoidance and TFS on Azure IaaS)

what’s new?

Now we include practical, scenario-based guidance for the implementation of Team Foundation Server (TFS) on Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Also We guide you through the planning and setup, based on a real-world proof-of-concept production deployment and experience from the ALM Rangers “in-the-field”.

imageimageimageimageimage

here’s the stuff?

image5

BETA, why ?

The guides are feature and content complete, technically reviewed and therefore consumable as a BETA.

TFS 2012 Upgrade Guide updated and next version is on the way

We have just refreshed the v2.1 version of the Team Foundation Server Upgrade Guide which includes minor formatting changes and a fix for the following:

  • Issue: The Migration Based Upgrade section provides instructions for having both the new and the old installed servers running at the same time. For that scenario, you’d also need to change the server ID as described in the cloning section. Otherwise, you would have two servers with the same server ID, and that will confuse the clients (VS, tf.exe).
  • Resolution: When the upgrade is complete, we will now have two instances of Team Foundation Server, one of Team Foundation Server 2010 and another the Team Foundation 2012. You can now decommission the Team Foundation Server 2010 installation. If you wish to continue running both the environments you will have to run theTfsConfig ChangeServerID command on new upgrade farm.

What’s coming?

The team has also started working on the next version of the Upgrade Guide, targeting TFS 2013.
image

The core features of the next release include:

  • The TFS admin, I would like guidance with step-by-step Instruction on how to upgrade my existing Team Foundation Server environment
  • The admin, I would like to know the supported environments for TFS 2013
  • The admin, I would like to understand what’s new in Team Foundation Server Upgrade Process
  • The TFS admin, I would like to understand the supported Upgrade paths

How To Troubleshoot TFS Build Server Errors

Sometimes are some helpless situations where you think you have tried every possible suggestion on the search engines to bring the build server back but it just won’t work. Before hunting around for a solution it is important to understand what the problem is, if the error messages in the build logs don’t seem to help you can always enable tracing on the build server to get more information on what could possibly be the main cause of failure.

how to enable tracing on, TFS Client , TFS 2010/11 Server ,Build Server

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Enable TFS Tracing on the Client Machine
  • On the client machine, shut down Visual Studio, navigate to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common 7\IDE

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  • Search for devenv.exe.config, make a backup copy of the config file and right click the file and from the context menu select edit. If its not already there create this file.

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  • Edit devenv.exe.config by adding the below code snippet before the last </configuration> tag
<system.diagnostics>
  <switches>
    <add name="TeamFoundationSoapProxy" value="4" />
    <add name="VersionControl" value="4" />
  </switches>
  <trace autoflush="true" indentsize="3">
    <listeners>
      <add name="myListener"
      type="Microsoft.TeamFoundation.TeamFoundationTextWriterTraceListener,Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Common, 
          Version=10.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a"
          initializeData="c:\tf.log" />
      <add name="perfListener" type="Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Client.PerfTraceListener,
           Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Client, 
           Version=10.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a"/>
    </listeners>
  </trace>
</system.diagnostics>
  • The highlighted path above is where the Log file will be created. If the folder is not already there then create the folder.
  • Start Visual Studio and after a bit of activity you should be able to see the new log file being created on the folder specified in the config file.
Enable Tracing on Team Foundation Server 2010/2011
  • On the Team Foundation Server navigate to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010\Application Tier\Web Services, right click web.config and from the context menu select edit.

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  • Search for the <appSettings> node in the config file and set the value of the key ‘traceWriter’ to true.

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  • In the <System.diagnostics> tag set the value of switches from 0 to 4 to set the trace level to maximum to write diagnostics level trace information.

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  • Restart the TFS Application pool to force this change to take effect. The application pool restart will impact any one using the TFS server at present. Note – It is recommended that you do not make any changes to the TFS production application server, this can have serious consequences and can even jeopardize the installation of your server.

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Enable Tracing on Build Controller/Agents
  • Log on to the Build Controller/Agent and Navigate to the directory C:\Program Files\Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010\Tools

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  • Look for the configuration file ‘TFSBuildServiceHost.exe.config’ if it is not already there create a new text file and rename it to ‘TFSBuildServiceHost.exe.config’

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  • To Enable tracing uncomment the <system.diagnostics> and paste the snippet below if it is not already there.
<configuration>
  <system.diagnostics>
    <switches>
      <add name="BuildServiceTraceLevel" value="4"/>
    </switches>
    <trace autoflush="true" indentsize="4">
      <listeners>
        <add name="myListener" type="Microsoft.TeamFoundation.TeamFoundationTextWriterTraceListener,
             Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Common, Version=10.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a" 
             initializeData="c:\logs\TFSBuildServiceHost.exe.log" />
        <remove name="Default" />
      </listeners>
    </trace>
  </system.diagnostics>
</configuration>
  • The highlighted path above is where the Log file will be created. If the folder is not already there then create the folder, also, make sure that the account running the build service has access to write to this folder.

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  • Restart the build Controller/Agent service from the administration console (or net stop tfsbuildservicehost & net start tfsbuildservicehost) in order for the new setting to be picked up.

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Other Info’s

Below are some Key resource you might like to review. I would highly recommend the documentation, walkthroughs and videos available on MSDN.

Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 Highlights with Chris Binder Live Stream

2012 is only in September last year appear final. There is the Visual Studio 2012 update 2 (VS 2012.2) as CTP will be available after the update 1 already. Tonight at 5 pm, Dariusz Parys and Christian Binder present their personal highlights of the second update in the live stream. There is also the opportunity to ask questions in the live chat to discuss.2012 is only in September last year appear final. There is the Visual Studio 2012 update 2 (VS 2012.2) as CTP will be available after the update 1 already. Tonight at 5 pm, Dariusz Parys and Christian Binder present their personal highlights of the second update in the live stream. There is also the opportunity to ask questions in the live chat to discuss.

More infos on Dariusz Parys Blog. Live Stream starts 17 h hier.

Why TFS 2012 rocks and what you need to know to scale out

 

Experiences from Microsoft Developer Division , Developer Division is running on TFS 2012 RC!

Back in the beginning, the DevDiv server was dogfood server for Microsoft Developer Division .  Then as all of the folks shipping products in Visual Studio, there were too many critical deadlines to be able to put early, sometimes raw, builds on the server.   So was dogfood TFS on a server called pioneer, as described here.  Pioneer is used mostly by the teams in ALM (TFS, Test & Lab Management, and Ultimate), and has been running TFS 2012 on it since February 2011, which was a full year before beta. Never before have we been able to use TFS so early in the product cycle, and our ability to get that much usage on early TFS 2012 really showed in the successful upgrade of the DevDiv server.

DevDivision also  run TFS 2012 in the cloud at http://tfspreview.com, and that’s been running for a year now.  While that’s not a dogfood effort, it’s helped us improve TFS 2012 significantly. The other dogfooding effort leading up to this upgrade was Microsoft IT.  They upgraded a TFS server to TFS 2012 Beta, and we learned from that as well.

The scale of the DevDiv server is huge, being used by 3,659 users in the last 14 days.  Nearly all of those users are working in a single team project for the delivery of Visual Studio 2012.  Our branches and workspaces are huge (a full branch has about 5M files, and a typical dev workspace 250K files).  For the TFS 2010 product cycle, was not upgrade the server until after RTM.  Having been able to do this upgrade with TFS 2012 RC, the issues found will be fixed in the RTM release of TFS 2012!

Here’s the topology of the DevDiv TFS deployment, which I’ve copied from Grant Holliday’s blog post on the upgrade to TFS 2010 RTM two years ago.  I’ll call out the major features.

  • We use two application tiers behind an F5 load balancer.  The ATs will each handle the DevDiv load by themselves, in case we have to take one offline (e.g., hardware issues).
  • There are two SQL Server 2008 R2 servers in a failover configuration.  We are running SP1 CU1.  TFS 2012 requires an updated SQL 2008 for critical bug fixes.
  • SharePoint and SQL Analysis Services are running on separate computer in order balance the load (cube processing is particularly intensive).
  • We use version control caching proxy servers both in Redmond and for remote offices.

These statistics will give you a sense of the size of the server.  There are two collections, one that is in use now and has been used since the beginning of the 2012 product cycle (collection A) and the original collection which was used by everyone up through the 2010 product cycle (collection B).  The 2010 collection had grown in uncontrolled ways, and there were more than a few hacks in it from the early days of scaling to meet demand.  Since moving to a new collection, has been able pare back the old collection, and the result of those efforts has been a set of tools that we use on both collections (will be eventually release them).  Both collections were upgraded.  The third column is a server we call pioneer.

Grant posted the queries to get the stats on your own server (some need a little tweaking because of schema changes, and we need to add build).  Also, the file size is now all of the files, including version control, work item attachments, and test attachments, as they are all stored in the same set of tables now.

 

Coll.A                      Coll. B                          Pioneer
Recent Users 3659 1516 1,143
Build agents and controllers 2,636 284 528
Files 16,855,771 21,799,596 11,380,950
Uncompressed File Size (MB) 14,972,584 10,461,147 6,105,303
Compressed File Size (MB) 2,688,950 3,090,832 2,578,826
Checkins 681,004 2,294,794 133,703
Shelvesets 62,521 12,967 14,829
Merge History 1,512,494,436 2,501,626,195 162,511,653
Workspaces 22,392 6,595 5,562
Files in workspaces 4,668,528,736 366,677,504 406,375,313
Work Items 426,443 953,575 910,168
Areas & Iterations 4,255 12,151 7,823
Work Item Versions 4,325,740 9,107,659 9,466,640
Work Item Attachments 144,022 486,363 331,932
Work Item Queries 54,371 134,668 28,875

The biggest issue  faced after the upgrade was getting the builds going again.  DevDiv (collection B) has 2,636 build agents and controllers, with about 1,600 being used at any given time.  On pioneer, didn’t have nearly that many running.  The result was that was hit a connection limit, and the controllers and agents would randomly go online and offline.

The upgrade to TFS 2012 RC was a huge success, and it was a very collaborative effort across TFS, central engineering, and IT.  As a result of this experience and  experience on pioneer, TFS 2012 is not only a great release with an incredible set of features, but it’s also running at high scale on a mission critical server!