March 2005 - Posts
Cory Smith is arranging a Pub Club-type event in D/FW. This is something that's been talked about for a long time in Dallas, and finally someone has stepped up and picked a time and place. Good job Cory! I plan on attending, and I am curious to see the turnout. The problem we have in Dallas is that it's so spread out that there is no place that is central enough to account for everyone's preference for a location.
I subscribe to Rob's blog, and saw his latest posting. Just looking at the picture, my first thought was good for him - a new baby! The second thought was - oh no! Maybe Rob won't have the time to be so helpful now! Then I read the text and realized it was his brother's newborn - WHEW! -- Ok, ok, that's a bit self-centered. I'd still be very happy for Rob if it was his baby - and check out the MS skullcap.
I'm not sure what Rob's job officially requires of him, but he is essentially the online evangelist for Team System - whether that's in the job description or not. He has helped me a lot in finding answers to my own questions as well as those asked by students in my classes. He's the main man behind the AskBurton blog (which seems to be slacking lately). The majority of the Q&A I have on my blog was made possible with his help - many of the answers are actually his answers (edited to remove the MS viewpoint - hopefully he won't sue me for plagiarism). So if you find any of my Q&A useful, it's thanks to Rob's hard work. If you have your own Team System questions, submit them on AskBurton, or in the online newsgroups. Microsoft has Rob and other members of their team doing a great job with helping people out - keep up the good work!
Okay, I'm a bit slow, and I haven't even sent off all the questions, but here's some questions that people asked in my recent travels and Team System Trainings and the related answers:
Q: Can you restrict who can change the FxCop rules on a project - if so, how?
A: No, this is not possible. (Chris comment - bummer)
Q: Does code that is generated via the typed datasets, etc. pass FxCop?
A: This is tough, I got some feedback that the generated code for typed datasets will have attributes to suppress FxCop errors (post Beta 2). I'm not sure how that works, but it should allow a check-in policy. It will be interesting to see if this is done in all generated code.
Q: Is anyone working on guidance for Project Server? It is known that it doesn't sync with work items- so what are the suggestions about what features of project server should be used, etc.?
A: There will be a white paper on this sometime this summer.
Q: Do work item associations stay for future checkins? The idea would be if I check out a file that was checked-in previously, that I would know about that relationship.
A:If you are asking whether the work items listed in the Pending Checkin tool window, the answer is no, they don’t remain checked. Once the checkin occurs, the work items contain links to the changeset and the changeset details dialog also provides those links. But checking out a file that was previously checked in with some work item association doesn’t result in that work item becoming associated again. It sounds like you are sort of after the work item history of a file. You can get that today with a little effort by simply browsing the changesets listed in the history for that file. Bring up Source Control Explorer and right click on the desired file. Choose History. For each changeset (row in the GUI) shown in the History tool window, double click it to get the changeset details dialog. Click on the work item channel. You can do the same thing from the command line using history dialog displayed by the history command.
Q: Can check-in policy be based on file type? Specifically, a students wants to force a code review scenario (not supported out of box) to only force the review for .CS files, not for XML, HTML, etc.
A: The policy plugin can do this for you, but currently there is not a mechanism to do this in the policy framework. It is a common request, though.
Q: How to handle exceptions in unit tests?
A: There is an ExpectedException attribute
I've been seeing a lot of people complaining about the recently announced Team System pricing - I've been one of them. Eric Bowen is concerned about not getting a version to just play with to test out the product. I think its early to assume MS won't have some sort of trial version for this very purpose. In addition, I've seen the pricing for Team Foundation (I have no idea why that wasn't in the press release), and it's not that huge of a price and you only need one server for your team (or teams). For companies that already have MSDN Universal, adopting Team System will be relatively inexpensive, as the upgrade path is quite nice. The key thing is to be sure you don't ever pay retail price - retail price is expensive. If you work for a smaller company, you'll want to try and get into one of the Volume License plans that is most appropriate, as that will save you a lot of money. The per developer retail pricing is frightening, but it looks like even for smaller teams 10 people or so, that this might be pretty affordable.
BTW, my Team System article is online now at http://msdn.microsoft.com/msdnmag/issues/05/04/teamsystem/default.aspx let me know your thoughts. I originally wrote it back in October, so there is quite a bit that is stale, but hopefully it will give a good overview for those just getting started.
Dave McKinstry has started digging into customizing process templates in Team System. This actually helped me a ton, as he was able to take this and make a walkthrough that I used as an add-on lab for my Team System training that I just wrapped up in S. Africa - he even prettied it up a bit and I plan on using it again next week in Milan. Now that I've followed in Dave's footsteps, this stuff doesn't seem that hard. Of course, there were little bits of things that are easy as documented, but I have no idea how he figured some of it out to start with... good stuff!
For companies that have looked at CMMI, this could be really huge. If you haven't looked at CMMI, it might be worth taking a look to see what the buzz is about. BTW - Team System is awesome...
I recently did some presentations on VSTS and these were some of the questions that came up, along with the cooresponding answers:
Q. If I shelve something - can I restrict who has access to the shelved code?
A: You can’t in terms of having those permissions be different than the permissions on the underlying item. So when I shelve my changes, for example, everyone with access to the files involved can see my changes as well. The permissions are enforced according to each item’s permissions. This means that if you don’t have read access to one or more of the items involved, you won’t be able to see the changes in the shelveset.
Q: What's available for distributed profiling? (running the profiler on my app, my webservice box, etc. - and monitoring it all)
A: Microsoft does not support any kind of distributed scenario.
Q: Does the source control API in VS2005 conform to SCC standards?
A: I’m assuming they meant MSSCCI. MS chose a deeper integration with VS that they couldn’t get with MSSCCI today. MSSCCI is built on top of VSIP SCCI. Team Foundation version control goes straight down to VSIP SCCI, bypassing MSSCCI.
Also, I'm currently delivering a Team System training class in South Africa and I'll post the Q&A here as well once I figure out all of the A's.
Verizon BroadbandAccess - I've had this for a week now. For the most part, I'm VERY impressed. I've used it in Dallas, Pittsburgh, DC, Philly, and am currently in the Atlanta airport doing this blog entry. I previously used an AT&T wireless laptop card, and paid my early termination fee to switch. Best move ever. Most people think the $80/mo. is too expensive, but for as mobile as I am, it's a great value-add.
My only complaint (hoping someone else has seen this problem - HELP!), is that when I connect up, and load outlook (which I use with RPC over HTTPS), it takes FOREVER to actually sort itself out and get my email. FOREVER = 10minutes +
Web outlook is speedy, I can surf the web with outstanding performance, but my MS Outlook just doesn't seem to get going. It eventually will, and once it does, I don't notice any further problems, but to just do a quick "sync" is nearly impossible.
I uncovered this nice feature when writing a load test lab not too long ago. One slick feature of the testing framework in VSTS is that all tests are pretty much the same. Web tests are distinct from load tests; if you want to put stress on a web server, you simply tell a load test to run some web tests over and over again. The cool thing is, you don't have to run a web test. You can have a load test run a unit test (or multiple unit tests) repeatedly under load as well. This could prove useful for profiling, or for putting stress on a database. One thing I forgot to check out was whether you can run a manual test with a load test. If that is there, then you would also have the ablity to put stress on your testers ;-) - ok, really bad joke - I admit it... But honestly, I do intend to go check that out and see if it's there - would seem odd if it is.