Visual Studio TFS Lab Management

One of my ongoing projects is to dive deeply into Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010.  TFS is pretty easy to get up and running, but as you get into some of the advanced features like Build Services and Lab Management, it gets kind of tricky.  Luckily there’s a fair bit of guidance from our favorite blue badged company.

On the Lab Management Team Blog there is a 4 part walkthrough on Getting Started with Lab Manager in TFS.  Since they are using the RC build of TFS, the walkthrough was pretty spot on to the RTM build.  Here is the walkthrough:


If you are looking for test code to try out deployments and testing check out part 3, as it contains a working project.

Testing Code Highlighting


For those curious, this is the only way I can figure to do a permanent redirect in ASP.NET 3.5 and lower.

using System;

namespace newtelligence.DasBlog.Web
    public partial class rss : System.Web.UI.Page
        protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
            Response.Status = "301 Moved Permanently";
            Response.AddHeader("Location", "/SyndicationService.asmx/GetRss"); 

VSTS Load Testing Deal of the Day: Why you need to buy a VS 2008 Load Agent before April 12th, 2010

There are important licensing changes happening imminently with VSTS as part of the transition from 2008 to 2010:

  • The current VSTS 2008 Test Edition can load test up to the limit of your machine. On a good day, this is 1000 users. That satisfies a lot of the cases where people need to do load testing. If it’s not, and you have multiple testers, you always all run load from your own machines, however you don’t get the same unified collection of statistics – that’s what the Load Agent & Controller software is for. It’s not a huge deal, and that is why most people don’t buy Load Agents.
  • If you did need centralized collection of statistics, you’d want to buy a number of load agents, one for each CPU, at least in the 2008 SKU. If you wanted to test 10K users, you’d probably want 10 licenses (at least).  But that is changing.
  • In 2010, load testing licensing is no longer done by the CPU, it’s done by the virtual users!
  • When you upgrade to VS 2010 Ultimate come April, your load testing ability changes to only 250 users from your workstation copy of Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate. If you want to test more, you’ll want load agents. The 2010 Load Agent SKU will give you 1000 virtual users. If your hardware is not up to snuff, or your web tests are intensive, you can install a single 2010 SKU on any number boxes, but you’re limited to a total of 1000 users per SKU that you purchase.

This all sounds rather terrible, but as part of the transition, MS is offering this:

If you have purchased a 2008 Load Agent with Software Assurance, as part of the upgrade to 2010, they will give you 5x1000 Virtual Users in the 2010 Load Agent SKU. Wow!

For your benefit of pricing, that means if you buy a 2008 Load Agent with SA today, for about $8,000 you will get 5000 users in 2010. That’s a very good deal. If you wait until after April 12th, you will no longer be able to buy the 2008 SKU and you’ll have to buy the 2010 SKU. At about $8,000 per 1000 users. So if you wanted to test 5000 users come April 12th and you didn’t take advantage to get in on this deal, it will cost you 5x$8000 = $40,000! I’d say that an 80% discount is pretty good – snap it up today.

If you need help purchasing a license prior to April 12th, drop me a note at bgervin @ and I can hook you up.

Visual Studio Pro to get Unit Testing in Orcas

One of the biggest wrongs in VSTS 2005 was that the Team Architect edition didn't have unit testing. Not only has that been rectified for the Orcas time frame, but this feature has been moved down into the Visual Studio Professional SKU for the next release in Orcas. Fantastic! [via VSTS Quality Blog]

My Recent Visit to MS Research

A couple of weeks back (sorry still catching up) I had the great fortune of being invited to visit a MS Research event called TechFest. MS Research hosts this event annually for fellow MS Employees and opens up their doors so they can see what they've been working on, and for the first time in their 15 year history, they allowed those of us without the trademark MS employee blue-badge to attend. The "exhibit hall" was very "science fair" full of academic research geeks and no marketing folks.

MS Product teams have been going through an era of transparency over the past few years and it was nice to see this principle infect MSR. A few quick facts that impressed me about MSR:

  • MSR has been grown from 0 to 750 researchers over the past 15 years. This is the equivalent of creating a new Berkeley CompSci Faculty...each of those 15 years.
  • MSR has researchers in facilities located in Redmond, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Cambridge, Beijing and Bangalore.
  • MSR runs the largest CompSci Ph.D. internship program. Currently there are 800 Ph.D. interns working worldwide in MSR labs. In the US last summer, MSR had 300 interns in their labs which is impressive considering that the US produces about 1200 CompSci Ph.D.'s annually

There was lots of interesting projects to learn about, some very space-age and cool, others kind of weird and hard to see any use for, and some that you wish were in a shipping product yesterday. Then there are some that caused attendees with certain allergies to get all stuffed up. Check out some of the videos here and here.

Toronto Association of Systems and Software Quality

A few weeks ago I attended the Toronto Association of Systems and Software Quality (TASSQ). It's refreshing to attend a user group outside of the MicroSphere. There was about a 100 attendees and I like the round table format over dinner with lots of opportunity for peer discussions.

This particular month the format was that of a moderated panel and despite being a new member, somehow I ended up as one of the panel members during the first part of the evening. There were a lot of questions and discussions around agile development, TDD and how that plays a part in the QA role. It was my pleasure to meet Scott Ambler and sit on the panel with him. He is an interesting guy who spends much of his time in the agile space.

It was obvious to me from watching and participating in the discussions that the TDD movement is perceived as a huge opportunity to assist Quality Assurance professionals. Unfortunately there is not a good understanding of how Test Driven Developers collaborate their work with the QA team. Not actually knowing what TDD or how to implement it is another common problem, but that's another blog post.

TDD is all about adding quality from the inside out, but per se, not intended to assist the QA profession. But there are good opportunities here in the areas build verification, earlier functional testing, regression testing and code coverage. The end goal here should be to cost-effectively improve our software quality. With that in mind, if you are in the Toronto area on March 29, 2007, I'd like to invite you to our Software MAnagement RoundTable (SMART) breakfast to discuss these issues. Click this link to read more about the event and registration details.

DevTeach Conference in Montreal

I'm going to be heading out in a couple of weeks to DevTeach in Montreal. In addition to my regular session talk on Datasets, I'll also be participating in an architecture panel discussion as part of Groupe d’usagers Visual Studio Montréal, Software Architecture Special Interest Group's Special Software Architecture Meeting. The meeting is open to conference attendees, members of the user group, and anybody else for $5. Here's the details....

Speaker: Joel Semeniuk, Microsoft Regional Director, Winnipeg

Subject: Software architecture from the trenches


Architecture is the soul of our software. Software Architecture truly helps to define our success since if our architecture fails us, our software fails us. However, what makes a good architecture? What truly drives architectural decisions? Is one architecture better than another? In this session we will explore and discuss some of these questions while taking a close look at a few real-world examples. In each real-world scenario we will explore the resulting architecture and review the constraints the project faced both during design and during production and maintenance phases. We will also look retrospectively at each architecture presented and discuss ways that it could be improved upon with Microsoft .NET 2.0.


Joel Semeniuk is a founder and VP of Software Development at ImagiNET Resources Corp, a Manitoba based Microsoft Gold Partner in Ecommerce and Enterprise Systems. Joel is also the Microsoft Regional Director for Winnipeg, Manitoba. With a degree in Computer Science from the University of Manitoba, Joel has spent the last twelve years providing educational, development and infrastructure consulting services to clients throughout North America. Joel is the author of "Exchange and Outlook: Constructing Collaborative Solutions", from New Riders Publishing and contributing author of "Microsoft Visual Basic.NET 2003 KickStart" from SAMS. Joel has also acted as a technical reviewer on many other books and regularly writes articles for .NET Magazine and Exchange and Outlook Magazine on a variety of infrastructure and development related topics. Reach Joel by email at


Followed by a software architecture expert panel:

Beth Massi, Software Architecture MVP

Joel Semeniuk, Software Architecture MVP, Microsoft Regional Director Winnipeg

Barry Gervin, Software Architecture MVP, Microsoft Regional Director Toronto

Mario Cardinal, Software Architecture MVP

Carol Roy, Microsoft Canada .NET architecture specialist for the public sector


Well known Nick Landry (MVP .NET Compact Framework) will act as the moderator.


Come hear these experts talk about software architecture hot topics.  You'll also have the chance to ask questions and talk to the panelists.


Monday June 20th, 5:30PM to 9:30PM

Location: Sheraton Centre, 1201 Boulevard Rene-Levesque West

Cost: free for all the DevTeach attendees and the Groupe d’usagers Visual Studio Montréal members.  $5 for non members or non DevTeach attendees.

Note: this session will be held in English

More info: or


VSTS Architect's Boot Camp Next Week (Mar 29/31) in Ottawa & Vancouver

Next week I'm travelling to Ottawa (Tuesday) and then Vancouver (Thursday) to do some boot camp training on Visual Studio Team System. This 1 day hands on, gives folks a chance to play with the new modelling and testing features. I'll also be demoing the project management, process guidance, and integrated source control management features. If you are interested, there are still seats left. Click here for details and here for registration.

New Course! Architecting Applications with Visual Studio Team System (Bootcamp)

On March 17th in Toronto, I'll be teaching our first delivery of this new course. It's a one day hands on, instructor led - whirlwind bootcamp style course that gives you a lap around Visual Studio Team System - specifically with a Solution Architect's perspective. We touch a little bit on the project management stuff, testing and some of the developer tools, but primarily we'll spend more than half the day on modeling as we walk through the Whitehorse designers.

Now how can we teach a course on a product that's not even in beta you ask? Very carefully. A lot of people are evaluating if and how they'll use VSTS in their shops once it is released so by popular demand we're offering this course a little earlier than we would normally. This course probably needs to be 3 days to properly focus on best practices and true “architecture” but for the purposes of evaluating this technology and letting people make their own minds, we are focusing primarily on the tools provided. With that in mind, this abbreviated 1 day course is being delivered in 6 cities across Canada: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Quebec City. There is also a promotional price of $299 CAD. For more details, full schedule and registration, visit 



DevTeach June 18-22, Montreal and a $50.00 Rebate Code!

DevTeach is a really nice conference. I went to it for the first time last year and it's a very intimate and interactive conference. While smaller than your TechEd's and PDC's, it manages to attract a very good set of speakers....Kevin McNeish, Brian Noyes, Julia Lerman, Don Kiely, Patrick Hynds, Carl Franklins, Mario Cardinal, Ted Neward, Nick Landry, Etienne Tremblay, Sam Gentile, Jim Duffy, Guy Barrette, Eric Cote, Markus Egger, Kate Gregory and me too. I'll be doing a DataSet tips and tricks talk - but mostly just so I can get a free pass to go and see all the other great talks. This year it is being held once again in Montreal which is a beautiful city with a great night life.

And last but not least, here is a rebate code for $50.00 "TO000OBJSHARP". You can register at