Sunday, December 23, 2007

Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server MSSCCI Provider

The Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server MSSCCI Provider enables integrated use of Team Foundation Version Control with products that do not support Team Explorer integration. You can download it from here.

This version (1.2) includes:

  • Enable handling branched solutions in Visual Studio 2003.
  • Fixed issues to enable provider to support Toad for SQL Server 2.0.
  • Enhanced the "Choose Folder in Team Foundation Server" dialog.
  • Fixed bug which prevented Properties Dialog from displaying local path.
  • Work Items Query list in the Checkin Dialog is loaded and saved on the disk.
  • "Get" operation performance improvements.
  • Defect fixes

Download MSSCCI provider for VSTS 2008.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Team Foundation Power Tools for VS2008

Ed Hintz just announced the Team Foundation Power Tools for VS2008 are now available:

The Team Foundation Power Tools for VS2008 are now available here.  This is the first release of the Power Tools that work with VS2008.  We did not want to just deliver a warmed over version of the VS2005 Power Tools, so we included lot of new goodies in this release.

It includes:

  • Find In Source Control
  • Quick Label
  • Process Template Editor
  • Open in Windows Explorer
  • Team Build Notificationapplet
  • More commands...

Click here for download.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What Is Your TFS Configuration?

The VSTS team are working on some test planning for the next release of Team Foundation Server. One area they’re focused on is testing various possible configurations of TFS.

MS is trying to get a picture of the variety of ways that people have their TFS installations configured.  Read Chris's blog post on what they are doing and why. There is a short survey (10 questions) with no need to provide any sensitive data. Fill it out and help them to make sure that the configurations they test map to ones actually deployed ‘in the wild’. If you own or manage multiple TFS deployments, you can fill out the survey once for each.

So go and fill out the 10-question survey here for each deployment you have.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Recordings From Dev Academy 2 Available

If you want to see the sessions from Microsoft Developers Academy 2 you can do it. 



Sunday, December 16, 2007

No Scroll Bar In The Data Dude Schema View

You won't find it.

There's no horizontal scroll bar in the schema view window like there is in the solution explorer (or other views).

The problem relevant for VS 2005 as also VS 2008.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Custom Build Number In Team Build

Many users want to modify the default build number of Team System Team Build which looks like: <Build-Type-Name>_<Date>.XXX.

You can change it by writing a custom task and call it in the BuildNumberOverrideTarget target of the MSBuild file. In this example the task will generate a unique build number based on current time:

using System;
using Microsoft.Build.Utilities;
using Microsoft.Build.Framework;

namespace MaorDavidBlog.Samples.MSBuild
public class BuildNameGenerator:Task

private string _buildName;

public override bool Execute()

_buildName = DateTime.UtcNow.ToString();
return true;

public string BuildName

get { return _buildName; }


The attribute “Output” indicates that BuildName property is output of the custom task.

Then, register the task in TFSBuild.proj file.

<!-- Add using task line just after import statement - - >

<! -- Override the target towards the end of proj file - - >
<Target Name = "BuildNumberOverrideTarget" >
<Output TaskParameter="BuildName"


Next time you'll execute your build, you'll see your custom build name.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Copy WildCards With MSBuild

I got today hysterical message from a good friend that implementing in his company automatic build with Team System. The message was: "Maor, How can I copy wildcards With MSBuild? Please help!!!".

Okay. What you should do my dear friend is:

1. Create an item list if you have more than one file to copy. You can do it with the CreateItem task:

<CreateItem Include="$(MyDir)\*.*">
<Output TaskParameter="Include" ItemName="MyFilesToCopy" />

2. Copy!

<Copy SourceFiles="@(MyFilesToCopy)" DesginationFolder="$(MyPutputDir)" />

3. Execute your build script.

Ah, by the way, if you want to recursively copy files using the <Copy> task, read this post from MSBuild Team Blog.


Automatically Compare Data and Schema Using MSBuild and Data Dude

VSTS for DB Professionals (aka "Data Dude" or "VSDBPro") provides great tools for schema and data compare.

Like most Visual Studio-based project systems, the core tasks inside the VSDBPro project implemented as MSBuild tasks. The two core activities for Database Projects (.dbproj), “Build” and “Deploy” are implemented by two MSBuild tasks named “SqlBuildTask” and “SqlDeployTask.”

Sometimes, we also need to automate the schema and data compare processes. We can do it with new MSBuild dedicated tasks that shipped with Power Tools for Data Dude:(Currently available for VSTS 2005)

  • SqlDataCompareTask: allows you to compare the content of tables within two databases from the command line using MSBuild
  • SqlSchemaCompareTask: allows you to compare schemas between two database from the command line using MSBuild

How should you use it?

First, install the Power Tools. Download from here. (notice that the power tools requires Data Dude Service Release 1 installed).

After you installed the power tools you can use the tasks in your MSBuild script.


  <!--Import the settings-->
<Import Project="$(MSBuildExtensionsPath)\Microsoft\VisualStudio\v8.0

<Target Name ="DataCompare">
SourceConnectionString="Data Source=(.);Integrated Security=True;Pooling=False"
TargetConnectionString="Data Source=(.);Integrated Security=True;Pooling=False"
OutputPath = "$(temp)"
OutputFileName = "DataCompare.sql"/>

Notice that the task does not allow you to compare against the project right now. Same way you can use the SqlSchemaCompareTask.

<Import Project="$(MSBuildExtensionsPath)\Microsoft\VisualStudio\v8.0
<Target Name ="SchemaCompare">
OutputPath = "$(IntermediateOutputPath)"
OutputFileName = "$(TargetDatabase)SchemaCompare.sql"
IgnoreChecks ="true"

The properties exposed by the MSBuild tasks are documented via an accompanying XSD file located in:

%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Visual Studio 

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How To: Build Non-MSBuild Projects with MSBuild

Building non-MSBuild projects is possible. For example you have to build VS2003, Installer, C++, Delphi projects etc. How can you do it? It's simple.

The MSBuild has a built-in task: Exec task. This task calls cmd.exe instead of directly invoking a process and runs the specified program or command with the specified arguments. You can use it in order to build non-MSBuild projects.

For example, in order to build a Visual Studio 2003 Project you should modify the MSBuild file as:

   1:  <PropertyGroup>

   2:  <VS2003_Devenv>$(ProgramFiles)\Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003\Common7\IDE\</VS2003_Devenv>

   3:  <VS2003_SolutionName>$(SolutionRoot)\vs2003\VS2003Application\VS2003SLN.sln</VS2003_SolutionName>

   4:  <VS2003_Configuration>Debug</VS2003_Configuration>

   5:  </PropertyGroup>



   8:  <Target Name="AfterCompile">

   9:  <Exec Command="&quot;$(VS2003_Devenv)&quot; &quot;$(VS2003_SolutionName)&quot; /build $(VS2003_Configuration)"/>


  11:  <MakeDir

  12:  Directories="$(BinariesRoot)\$(VS2003_Configuration)"

  13:  Condition="!Exists('$(BinariesRoot)\$(VS2003_Configuration)')" />


  15:  <Copy

  16:  SourceFiles="$(SolutionRoot)\vs2003\VS2003Application\bin\$(VS2003_Configuration)\**\*.*"      

  17:  DestinationFiles="$(SolutionRoot)\vs2003\VS2003Application\bin\$(VS2003_Configuration)\**\*.* ->'$(BinariesRoot)\$(VS2003_Configuration)\%(RecursiveDir)%(Filename)%(Extension)')"

  18:  />

  19:  </Target>

Read here for more information about the target names and the MSBuild configuration file.

First declare some variables to use them during the build. (Lines 1 - 5) . Next in the AfterCompile target, use the MSBuild Exec task to build the VS2003 project by invoking the program (Lines 9 -10). After that make a directory (using MakeDir task) for the output (if not exists) (Lines 11 - 13). Finally copy (using the Copy task)the output files to the build binaries root (Lines 15 - 18).

Notice that this assumes VS 2003 is installed on the build machine.

Good Luck!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Data Dude: How to Select From Other Database Server

When you have a View or other T-SQL Select statement that referenced to other server (even Oracle) , the VSTS for DB Professionals returns TSD4001: Could not find server SERVER NAME. Now build and deployment of the SQL Server database are blocked.

What can you do in order to solve it? the best workaround is to make sure the scripts are using 4 part names (ServerName.DatabaseName.DatabaseOwner.TableName) and you add the linked servers to the design database server. After that, you should be able to get the error to go away and you might be left with a warning about the cross-server dependencies not being able to be verified, but that shouldn't block your build and deployment of the SQL Server database.

ADO.NET Data Services ("Project Astoria") CTP is Released

Earlier this day I wrote about the release of ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions Preview release . The ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions Preview is a new release that provides new functionality being added to ASP.NET 3.5 and ADO.NET in 2008. This release delivers a set of new features that target:

  1. Enabling High Productivity Data Scenarios - including MVC, Entity Framework, ADO.NET Data Services and dynamic data
  2. Supporting Test Driven Development - including a powerful and extensible MVC framework
  3. Creating the best server for Rich Clients - including Ajax history support and Silverlight controls for ASP.NET

This release also includes the first CTP of the production version of ADO.NET Data Services (aka "Astoria") .

ADO.NET Data Services

ADO.NET Data Services provide new services that find, manipulate and deliver data over the web using simple URIs. Benefits include an easy and flexible way to access data over the web, while enabling the separation of presentation and data access code.

Astoria team blog:

ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions Preview Released

The ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions Preview is a preview of new functionality being added to ASP.NET 3.5 and ADO.NET. The release includes an ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET Dynamic Data, Silverlight controls for ASP.NET, ADO.NET Data Services, Entity Framework runtime, and new features for ASP.NET AJAX.

HTML helpers pages: ASP.NET MVC Preview: Using The MVC UI Helpers

How to Unit Testing with MVC: TDD and Dependency Injection with ASP.NET MVC

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Team Explorer 2008 Download

To connect to Team Foundation Server, you must run a separate installer for Team Explorer. This installer is located in the [Drive]:\TFC\ folder on both the Team Suite 2008 media and the Team Foundation Server 2008 media.

Team Explorer 2008  is now also available to download.

Download Visual Studio Team Explorer 2008 (~384mb).

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GMAIL New Feature

Do you need help with keyboard shortcuts in Gmail? Just type ? (question mark) and you'll see a list of the most important keyboard shortcuts. To use it, you need to enable keyword shortcuts in the Settings before using them (the option is disabled by default).

I really like it!


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Pro LINQ: Language Integrated Query in C# 2008 - Early Review

LINQ I like LINQ and I posted about it in my blog.

In the last 2 weeks I have been reading the book Pro LINQ: Language Integrated Query in C# 2008  by Joseph C. Rattz, Jr.  | ISBN: 1-59059-789-3 which I have had access to via the Early Access Program as a PDF ebook.

This book provides superb coverage of LINQ where it shows the reader how to leverage all the new LINQ C# 2008 language features including extension methods, lambda expressions, anonymous data types, and partial methods.

The book refers to all kinds of LINQ including LINQ to Objects, LINQ to SQL, LINQ to XML, LINQ to DataSet. The book starts with an introduction of what LINQ is (the first and second chapters, "Hello LINQ" & "C# 3.0 Language Enhancements for LINQ") and builds this more and more throughout the book and the next chapters.  Even if you don't a proficient C# developer, you'll find the book useful. It provides a very good high level overview of all the sections, however goes deep into the inner works of LINQ.

The question whether to use LINQ or not is answered: the book gives you an in-depth understanding about LINQ when and where it is required. 

I like the writing style to Joseph: at eye level and very coherent.

If LINQ interesting you and you would like to know it well - I highly recommend you get this book. Once I get the final version of the book, I will give it another read.

You can download the first chapter for free:

Table of Contents

PART 1 Pro LINQ: Language Integrated Query in C# 2008
CHAPTER 2 C# 3.0 Language Enhancements for LINQ

PART 2 LINQ to Objects
CHAPTER 3 LINQ to Objects Introduction
CHAPTER 4 Deferred Operators
CHAPTER 5 Nondeferred Operators

CHAPTER 6 LINQ to XML Introduction
CHAPTER 8 LINQ to XML Operators
CHAPTER 9 Additional XML Capabilities

PART 4  LINQ to DataSet
CHAPTER 10 LINQ to DataSet Operators
CHAPTER 11 Additional DataSet Capabilities

CHAPTER 12 LINQ to SQL Introduction
CHAPTER 13 LINQ to SQL Tips and Tools
CHAPTER 14 LINQ to SQL Database Operations
CHAPTER 15 LINQ to SQL Entity Classes
CHAPTER 16 The DataContext
CHAPTER 17 Concurrency Conflicts
CHAPTER 18 Additional SQL Capabilities


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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Building VS 2008 projects with TFS 2005

When you try to build VS 2008 solutions with Team Foundation Build 2005 you get:

MSB5014 - File format version is not recognized.

I posted about it and one of the comments (by Eran Kampf) linked to Mitch Denny's approach. Customers ask me about it a lot and this is the best approach to deal with the problem.

Buck Hodges says that the best "workaround" is to upgrade to TFS 2008. But not all of you will upgrade soon to 2008. For you, Mitch's approach is the best.

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Team System Chat Summary

There is a copy of the evening edition of Team System Chat. You can find it here.

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Announcing Volta: Web Development Using Only the Materials in the Room

volta Just released from Microsoft Live Labs: Volta.

Volta is another codename project from Microsoft that aims at Web UI experience.


The Volta technology preview is a developer toolset that enables you to build multi-tier web applications by applying familiar techniques and patterns. First, design and build your application as a .NET client application, then assign the portions of the application to run on the server and the client tiers late in the development process. The compiler creates cross-browser JavaScript for the client tier, web services for the server tier, and communication,erialization, synchronization, security, and other boilerplate code to tie the tiers together.

See detailed architectural and fundamental description here.

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MVC or MVP? You've probably heard about Microsoft's new ASP.NET MVC Framework.

MVC methodology divides an application's implementation into three component roles:

  • Models
  • Views
  • Controllers.

MVP approach divides an application's implementation into:

  • Model
  • View
  • Presenter

What is the difference between the  MVC and MVP patterns?  Todd Snyder has an excellent explanation. This is summary by the key differences between the two patterns:

View is more loosely coupled to the model. The presenter is responsible for binding the model to the view Controller are based on behaviors and can be shared across views
Easier to unit test because interaction with the view is through an interface Can be responsible for determining which view to display
Usually view to presenter map one to one. Complex views may have multi presenters  


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Free Web.Config Editor

a nice tools which helps a lot in editing Web.Config and Application.Config files published at Microsoft Public Sector Developer and Platform Evangelism Team Blog.

You can download it from:

web.config editor

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Team Foundation Build 2008 New Features Video

There's a great new video on MSDN by Richard Hundhausen introducing the new features in Team Foundation Build 2008: How Do I: Learn the New Features and Capabilities of Team Foundation Build 2008?

The video covers the major new features and provides a great introduction to the product.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

VSTS Web Access Power Tool for Team System 2008 released

Today Microsoft released the final version of the Team System Web Access (TSWA) 2008 power tool!  Team System Web Access provides a web interface to Team Foundation Server 2008.

Here's a list of feature changes (the release also included bug fixed).

(List from Buck's post)

  • New direct links: Previously, you could construct a direct link to a work item (http://mytfs:8090/wi.aspx?id=123).  Now you can also construct direct links to more features, and the direct links no longer open the main TSWA page, making them more responsive.  Keep reading to find out how to use them.
  • Performance improvements: The code now uses server memory more efficiently, resulting in increased performance.
  • Custom work item controls: First introduced in the CTP, MS continued to refine support for custom work item controls in TSWA.  To take advantage of this feature, you'll need to implement web versions of your existing custom controls.  You'll find documentation for it in the SDK folder underneath the folder where you install TSWA.  The following examples have been added since the CTP, in addition to the samples for checkbox, a work item picker, and a multi-value selector.
    • How to validate a work item on the client-side (Javascript)
    • How to validate a work item on the server-side
    • How to design a control whose field depends on the values of other fields
    • How to design a control that changes other field values (such as the WI state) and saves the work item
  • Team Build 2008 support: Also introduced in the CTP, you can view the build queue and queue new builds, which are features that are new for TFS 2008.

Full details you can find at Buck's post:


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