Monthly Archives: July 2007

The Fog of Consulting

I am sitting on the sixth floor of the Rydges South Park hotel in Adelaide, on the corner of South Terrace and two other roads. I’ve been brought to Adelaide by a consulting engagement where the client would like me to perform a code and architecture review of an application that they recently released.

As I look out over the South Park my view is obscured by the fog which is kind of like consulting because you don’t really know until you get there what your day is going to look like or how you are going to help the client tackle the problems that they present to you.

Checking my work items from the airport.

Well, its Sunday evening and I am at Melbourne Airport about to hop on a plane to Adelaide. Since I’ve got half an hour before my flight boards I though I would take a quick look at the work items that are assigned to me in the TFS Now team project.

As part of our internal dog-fooding of TFS Now we decided to migrate a number of our internal DevCentre projects into the hosted solution. The TFS Now code base itself was actually part of that migration and that means that when I look at my work items here at the airport, I am actually connecting across the Internet to our own dedicated TFS server just like our customers will.

Mobility for development team members (project managers, testers, and developers) is actually one of the big benefits that we think TFS Now provides to customers. It is certainly very important for the TFS Now team because we are split between Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra.

Anyway – I need to triage my work items so I better hit publish on this blog post.

Announcing TFS Now, a hosted TFS service!

Do you want Team Foundation Server hosting? So did I, but when I looked around there was none to be found and at Readify we thought that it was such obvious service to provide to the .NET development community that we started taking steps to make it happen.

More than eight months later I am excited to announce publicly that on the 8th of August 2007 will officially launch its TFS hosting service to be known as TFS Now.

One of the things that excites me about TFS Now is that from a TFS users perspective it is actually the first commercial offering where I am not restricted to a certain set of license agreements and where I have access to the full capabilities of Team Foundation Server:

  • Work Item Tracking
  • Reporting Services
  • Version Control
  • Team Build Servers

We hope that those in the .NET community that haven’t been able to roll out TFS for various logistical reasons will look favorably upon this service. Over the coming days, weeks, months (years?) we will post this blog regularly about the directions that TFS Now is taking, but also about general happenings in the .NET developer and VSTS/TFS user communities.

If you are interested in using TFS Now in your organization or you have some questions you would like answered, please feel free to e-mail me, or if appropriate leave a comment on this blog.

Farewell Trackballs

I’ve been a long time track ball user. In fact I hate using mice, especially ones with cables, or ones with low batteries that never seem to work so well. Unfortunately I lost my last trackball at Tech.Ed 2005 on the Gold Coast and haven’t been able to find a replacement.

It was a Microsoft Trackball and my hopes of getting it replaced were dashed when I went to the Microsoft Company Store in Seattle earlier this year, and they no longer stocked them. That means that the sole remaining provider of trackballs in the market is Logitech.

Unfortunately the precise shape of the trackball matters and I’m not comfortable enough with any of the current Logitech designs to invest the money.

This general apathy for the current trackball designs, and my need to have a pointing device I can use to easily drive presentations drove me to purchase the Microsoft Wireless Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000 (gotta love those product names).

So far I’ve been generally impressed with the device, it is fairly accurate for a mouse. The real test is how well it works during a presentation as I stomp around the stage (I tend to walk around a little bit – maybe I should use a Wii controller as a pointer :P).

Fixing Team Project Creation issues after TFS migration.

For the last two hours I’ve been battling with a side effect from a Team Project migration. I actually did a hardware and domain move in one go (not really documented) and its been a bit hairy.

The main issue I came across was after I had everything setup I couldn’t create a new team project because it failed whilst trying to create the portal site.

Of course, because I was in undocumented territory I was making do with what the TFS team provided. In their instructions they say that you need to hook up the STS_Content_TFS database, however in my installation it was already there (because I am doing a 2 in 1 move presumably). Anyway, I decided not to delete and re-add it, and I simply went on to the next step after confirming that the settings they requested were the same.

Well it turns out that in the process of adding the STS_Content_TFS database it does some processing around correctly hooking up the sites for URL mapping (this is what I observed anyway).

I ended up going in and removing the content database setup and redoing it and suddenly everything started working. Phew!

Now I just need to decide whether I want to recommend this approach to the client. While everything moved across the implications of a domain move on a running development team are pretty serious I feel.