Installing the Kanban Process Template


I am working on material on using Kanban in TFS, largely to examine its feasibility in a project I am working on at this time. TFS 2012 already has some Kanban visualizations and a board, if you install Update 1 (Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 can be downloaded here). Please note that TFS 2012 is a full install package. Both can also be pulled down from MSDN Subscriptions.

I will follow this blog entry with other entries on Kanban in VIsual Studio and TFS (primarily 2012).

Connect to Team Foundation Server

If you are already running off TFS, this step will already be completed. Click on the TEAM menu and then Connect to Team Foundation Server.

image

For your local box, the option should already show up. If not, the default is http://{machinename}:8080/tfs. This brings up a dialog where you can select a server. If you have to add, click the servers button and add using the format above.

image

Click connect.

Add the Process Template

In this case, I am adding the template from the Visual Studio ALM Rangers. It is found at http://vsarkanbanguide.codeplex.com/. You download the Rangers_vsarkanbanguide_vs2012_AllSamples.zip package (or the everything package) and unzip the process template(s). There is one for VS 2010 and one for VS 2012.

To install, you need to open the package manager. Here are the instructions in VS 2012, but the screens are the same in VS 2010.

First, open the package manager by clicking on TEAM, then Team Project Collection Settings and then Process Template Manager.

image

This brings up the manager:

image

You will then click Upload button and choose the folder where the ProcessTemplate.xml file is located. \

image

Click Select folder and it should start installing.

image

You will get this message when it is complete.

image

And Microsoft Kanban 1.0 will be installed.

image

And that is about all it takes. You can now create a new team project.

Create a Team Project

To create a team project, there are some differences in VS 2012 and 2010. In 2012, the Team Explorer automatically pops to the front when you attach to TFS with the option of creating a new project up front. You can then click on Create New Team Project and start the wizard.

image

In VS 2010, you have to right click on the top team explorer node and choose to create a project:

image

The wizard asks you to name your project.

image

Click next and choose the Microsoft Kanban 1.0 template:
image

If you are using Visual Studio 2010 and TFS 2012, you will have to patch 2010 to work with TFS 2012. The Update is located here. If you are using TFS 2010, make sure you install the Dev 10 version of the template and you will be fine.

But Doesn’t Microsoft Have Kanban Now?

Glad you asked. Yes, there is a Kanban board in TFS 2012, if you have installed Update 1. It is part of the standard MSF for Agile Software Development Template. Not sure whether or not it can be used in the Scrum template. Either way, you will have to use the team project portal to use all of the features of the template. I will cover both these features and the ALM Rangers template in future posts.

Summary

This is a brief intro to Kanban in TFS focused on installing the template from VS ALM Rangers. Keep in touch and I will cover more of the features and how to implement them in a real world scenario. The best way to keep notified is to follow me on twitter, as I post my blog entries there.

Peace and Grace,
Greg

Twitter: @gbworld

Performance Improvements in Visual Studio 11


I have been playing with Visual Studio 11 in my work lately and I am fairly impressed with the product. In line with Microsoft’s push to move most of the Framework bits to asynchrony, the VS 11 IDE now uses async throughout its stack. This greatly improves the apparent performance for many common tasks.

The greatest performance improvement seems to be when working with Team Foundation Server (TFS). In our environment, we have large projects stored in TFS that often take more than a minute to load before you can do any work. In VS, the initial load appears very fast. But, the intitial load and being able to work on files is a different story, so the performance increase is not quite what it initially appears. Please understand that I am not complaining, as the UI reacts much faster, giving me more time to be productive … but I do say you should take the apparent stellar performance with a grain of salt, as asynchronous does not mean you can start coding while the tasks run in the background.

Another nice feature is a smaller footprint. On startup, devenv consumes 80 MB instead of 220 MB. With our solution loaded, the memory footprint is also smaller, but only by about 15%.

When I get some time to actually instrument some of this, I will post some more information.

Peace and Grace,
Greg

Twitter: @gbworld

Visual Studio 11: Project Backwards Compatibility


As you are probably aware, Visual Studio 11 is currently available in beta (find it here). The release is at a point where Microsoft is confident enough it is solid they are providing a “Go Live” license, meaning there will be a supported update path from the beta to the RTM version and your code today will be supported so it works once the.NET 4.5 Framework is released as RTM. Over the next few weeks, I am going to dig into Visual Studio 11 and the .NET 4.5 Framework. Today, I want to talk about project compatibility.

Solution and Project Compatibility

If you have been in .NET for a while, you probably remember moving from one version of Visual Studio to another and having both your solution and project files converted. In cases where the project file was updated via a wizard, it was a one way street. For the solution file, there were some instances where simply changing the number in the solution file solved the problem.

I remember this most vividly moving from VS 2005 to VS 2008, as the core framework team migrated, but the UI team was unable to migrate due to a time crunch. Hindsight being 20-20, we should have delayed the entire organization updating. The solution was to have two sets of project and solution files.

I don’t remember the same pain for solutions in VS 2010. While the solution file number did increment, I don’t remember the solution breaking things (perhaps a slip in memory?). I do, however, remember the project files requiring update.

Visual Studio 11 to the Rescue

The problem is solved in Visual Studio 11, as both the solution file and the project files are compatible. You still cannot introduce .NET 4.5 features into a project and expect users of Visual Studio 2010 to be able to compile. But, if you keep the framework version set to 4.0 or earlier, you can use VS 11 while the rest of your team uses VS 2010, with no issues.

Project backward compatibility (VS 11 to VS 2010) is a highly touted featured for VS 11. This makes it easier for larger IT organizations/departments to upgrade to VS 11 in groups.

But there is a Gotcha

There is one issue with the upgrade: Database projects still require updates. For many of you, this is probably a non-issue, as you have no .dbproj files to contend with. If you use database projects, however, this is a big issue. Here is a shot of Visual Studio asking if you would like to upgrade; If you choose yes, you will end up with a .sqlproj file (more in a bit).

Fortunately, there is a workaround to the problem, and you can do something about it today, months before your teams start upgrading. The new database project uses a .sqlproj file for the project. This may not fire off any recogniztion, but the current tooling that uses this project type is SSDT, aka the Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools. You can see information on the project here.

If your database projects can be converted to use SSDT, the .sqlproj project file will roundtrip between the VS 11 beta and VS 2010 SP1 (SP1 is a necessity for SSDT). The download is through the web platform installer, found here, but you should read the brief release notes here prior to installation, especially if you have VS 2010 Pro or Ultimate and have not installed SP1 yet.

NOTE: If you attempt to open a data project in VS 11, it will prompt you to upgrade the project. You will have the option of ignoring, but this will exclude it from the solution. If you install SSDT prior to the attempted opening, you will be prompted to convert in VS 2010, as shown in the following screenshot (i.e. Same Result):

image

This request is to ensure you consider moving to the newer format so you can take advantage of the latest tooling surrounding data projects.

Summary

The good news is VS 11 is backward compatible to standard project types. The bad news is database projects are not compatible. But you should download the SSDT and upgrade your database projects anyway, so doing that now will help you avoid this snafu.

Peace and Grace,
Greg

Twitter: @gbworld