Upgrading our Developer Training Machines

Unless you have already taken a course from ObjectSharp in the past on "our machines", you may not be aware that "our machines" means modern Dell notebooks. Our classroom at 1 Yonge Street is well equipped, but sometimes, companies want the coruse on their site. Our entire class hardware is portable in 2 rolling travel trunks. For students, if they want to take their machine home with them in the evenings, then this is a great option to catch up on labs, play around with stuff, etc.

We pride ourselves on having good hardware. We typically train on the latest & greatest software, so the same standard applies to our hardware. Our current machines are less than 2 years old on average and were top specifications when they were acquired. As we've started to use more and more VPC's for our classes, 1Gb has started to be a bit of a strain, particularly on BizTalk 2006 and VSTS courses that use Team Foundation Server.

By comparison, Microsoft sets the standards that Certified Partner, Learning Solutions (CPLS, formerly CTECs) are required to provide. Microsoft provides standards for levels 1-4. Levels 3 & 4 are the minimum for a course that uses Virtual PC. The top level 4 spec, typically used for server training is as follows:

-Pentium II, 700 Mhz
-16Gb Disk
-1Gb Ram
-4mb Video Card
-Super VGA resolution (800x600)

Today I signed the death sentence for our current machines which are the following specification:

-Pentium 4 Centrino 3Ghz,
-40-60Gb Disk
-1Gb Ram
-32mb Video Card
-1280x1024 resolution

By comparison, the machines we are getting rid of actually dwarf the CPLS highest standard. I'm not sure who thinks you can run a Biztalk or VSTS course on that specification....regardless of what the courseware is. I really pity the student who has to sit through a biztalk course with 800x600 resolution - on a P2, 700Mhz :(

Our next set of classroom machines will be here in 2 weeks and all new "Vista Capable" hardware.

Dell Inspiron 6400
-Centrino Core Duo 1.83ghz
-15.4" WSXGA+ 1680x1050 Ultrabright Displays
-2Gb Ram
-80gb SATA hard Drives
-128mb Intel 950 Integated Graphics, Aero Glass Capable

I've been using a dual core notebook for a few weeks now and they put a noticeable snappiness in everything. These new classroom machines are going to really rock. Not only will the performance rock, but drawing Biztalk Orchestrations or Visual Studio Class Diagrams on 1680x1050 will be so comfortable. I'm also going to be pushing for secondary external monitors so students can have the full dual-monitor experience.

I'm curious to see how the new wide-screen form-factor machines fit our trunks. I'm also going to be doing some perf testing using parallels, VMWare, and Virtual PC/Virtual Server to see how well they fair with the new dual core cpu.

The bottom line though is that I'm quite happy that we are able to make sure we have the latest and greatest hardware in our classroom on a 2yr refresh cycle. This is just one thing that goes into making a great learning environment for students.

Visual Studio Team System and Team Foundation Server Seminar across Canada

In November, 2005, Microsoft launched Visual Studio 2005, a major new release of its developer tools environment, and the foundation of Microsoft platform development for the next few years. In addition, this marked our entry into the lifecycle tools market, with the addition of Visual Studio Team System and the Team Foundation Server, to support end-to-end system development scenarios. We are bringing the tools we have been using for years internally to market to help address customers need to more rapidly develop and deliver solutions that meet the business performance, scalability and end user requirements.

Visual Studio Team System adds significant new capabilities and value to the suite of Microsoft developer tools, with advanced end-to-end role collaboration, real-time reporting and analysis, and a host of new tools covering architecture, development, and testing.

Many of you may have already transition to one of the individual role based offerings in Visual Studio Team System, but are still learning all the new tools and benefits of the offering. This session is intended to provide an introduction to Visual Studio Team System, highlight the new functionality and business value in each offering, and outline the transition steps for existing Visual Studio and MSDN customers. We will also demonstrate Visual Studio Team System in action.

This is your opportunity to attend a free education session and fast track your knowledge and use of Visual Studio Team System.


On-Site VSTS Event Details & Registration:

City: Mississauga
Date/Time: February 22nd 2006 -- 3:00 to 5:00pm
Location: MS Mississauga Office MPR Room
Conference ID: 1032290174
TO REGISTER for this event click here

City: Vancouver:
Date/Time: March 2nd 2006 -- 9:00 to 11:00am
Location: MS Vancouver OFC
Conference ID: 1032290176
TO REGISTER for this event click here

City: Mississauga
Date/Time: March 21st 2006 -- 1:00 to 3:00pm
Location: MS Mississauga Office MPR Room
Conference ID: 1032290177
TO REGISTER for this event click here

City: Ottawa
Date/Time: Apr 19th 2006 -- 1:00 to 3:00pm
Location: MS Ottawa Office Glacier Room
Conference ID: 1032290179
TO REGISTER for this event click here

City: Calgary
Date/Time: May 17th 2006 -- 9:00 to 11:00am
Location: MS Calgary Office Bldg (*TBC) - registrants will be notified of location
Conference ID: 1032290181
TO REGISTER for this event click here
City: Toronto

Date/Time: June 21st 2006 -- 1:00 to 3:00pm
Location: Intercontinental Hotel on Front Street (*TBC) - downtown Toronto
Conference ID: 1032290183
TO REGISTER for this event click here
*TBC – To be confirmed

Alternative Registration Options:

  • By calling 1-877-673-8368 to reserve your place, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and quoting the event ID.
  • Register online at www.microsoft.com/canada/events by clicking on Search Event or Event ID in the left hand column and typing in the event ID.

How Do I Revert a Changest in Team Foundation Source Control?

This question came up in our VSTS for Developers Training Course in Toronto this week. One of my students wanted to know how to undo or rollback a checkin, something you could do in Visual Source Safe.

Unfortunately this feature was cut for V1 of Team Foundation Server. Buck Hodges and Brian Harry from Microsoft share how this was a painful cut to help get V1 out the door in this forum post. 

Update: James Manning (via the comments) points out that the Team Foundation PowerToy will do this for you. Great tool btw - check it out. Includes the following tools: Unshelve & Merge local changes, Rollback, Online (syncs offline changes to source control), Get Changset, and Undo Unchanged.

Deleting a Project from Team Foundation Server Update...

Thanks to Blair Leduc for pointing out that my Blog entry on Deleting a Project from team Foundation Server is already out of date. The blog entry shows you how to use the command line utility DeleteTeamProject.exe to remove projects from TFS.

This command line utility was renamed to TFSDeleteProject in Beta 3.

Hopefully that is the last time I have to update this post. :)

Hello 2.0

This past week we saw the final bits of SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 get shipped up to MSDN Subscriber Downloads. Next week we'll see the official launch of these same products to the rest of the world, ushered in with a rolling thunder of launch events and parties stretching into the rest of the month and beyond. Microsoft does a great job of fostering community with events like this.

Technically there is a lot to like about the updates to the platform and I share most of Joel's top picks. I've been building applications, consulting and teaching developers on this platform for 4 years now and it feels quite legacy, if not common place, to me now. However, in many peoples' eyes, this becomes a critical moment in time: .NET is no longer a 1.0 product. Of course I'm speaking about groups who are not developing anything significant in .NET today, and with this maturity milestone, allows them into this “new“ world.

We've been watching the adoption and market maturity of .NET closely for the past few years, and a bit to my surprise I'm starting to see a lot of groups come to .NET for the very first time with 2.0.

This coming Tuesday I have the great pleasure of being involved in the ushering in of this new era at the Toronto launch where we are expecting between 3,000 and 4,000 developers and IT professionals come together. Early statistics are showing that somewhere between 35-50% of these folks are new to .NET. Similar events are taking place all over the world during this week and stretching out into December and beyond. For Canada, Toronto is just the first stop in a long list of cities from coast to coast. Personally, I'll be presenting at Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax.

The overwhelming registration statics tics in all cities tells me two things: Firstly that .NET 2.0 is going to be adopted very quickly. Secondly, and more importantly, is that the software development industry in Canada is vibrantly growing and that indeed....Software Matters!

Consider two things:

  • Software costs a lot of money to design, build, test and deploy. Much more than it should.
  • Software projects fail at an alarming rate. Failure can be defined as any of the following: Late, Over Budget, Under Functionality, Buggy, Doesn't meet requirements.

Yet despite these two glaring issues, the business value of software is so compelling, that people are willing to keep investing in building software at increasing rates.

And then there is Visual Studio and SQL Server 2005:

  • One of ASP.NET 2.0's design goals was to reduce the number of lines of code in a typical application by over 50%.
  • SQL Server 2005 has been enhanced to be more reliable and secure, while at the same time bringing the 4GL productivity associated with C#, VB.NET and the .NET Framework into the database engine itself.
  • Visual Studio Team System 2005 was built from the ground up to help project's stay on track by integrating developers, architects, testers, project managers and other stakeholders into a common extensible repository known as Team Foundation Server.

Coincidence? I hope not ;)

A Lap around VSTS

On November 24th I will be presenting A lap around Visual Studio Team System at the Metro Toronto User Group meeting.

I did this for the CTTDNUG in September, and it was well received. This presentation is light on slides and heavy on Demo's.

I'll try to walk through as much of VSTS as I can without getting to deep into any one topic. If you have never seen VSTS or would like to know what it's all about come on out.

You can register here -> Metro Toronto User Group “A Lap around VSTS” 

Deleting a Project from Team Foundation Server

Have you wondered how to delete a project from Team Foundation Server? There is no way to do it from the Team explorer in Visual Studio. I think this is a good idea. There is however a command line utility called DeleteTeamProject.

DeleteTeamProject [/q] [/domain:] [/force]

    [/q]  - Quiet mode.  Do not prompt the user for confirmation.
    [/domain:] - The name of the domain.  Necessary in multi-domain environments.
    [/force]  - Indicates the program should continue even if some parts cannot be deleted.
    - The name of the project.  Use quotation marks if there are spaces in the name.

You of course require DELETE permission on the project.

Toronto Architect's Breakfast: Service Oriented Design Questions Answered

Bruce Johnson is hosting our next Architect's Breakfast in Toronto this Thursday. In case you haven't been to one in the past, here's a few points of interest.

  • This is more of an interactive event. Round tables of 5-8 have breakout sessions to discuss issues. Of course there are networking opportunities with your peers before, during and after.
  • The content is focused at an architectural perspective, in this session in particular, SOA design.
  • The meeting kicks off at 7:30am. (registration/breakfast begins at 7:AM).
  • The St. Andrew's club will feed you a lovely breakfast with a great view of Toronto at the top (27th floor) of the Sun Life Building.
  • You'll be done by 9:00am and back in the office in no time.
  • You'll get to meet some really smart and nice people.

You can view the outline and register here. Hope to see you there.

Integration VSTS with Project Server

This article on gotdotnet explains in 67 pages of detail how you can integrate VSTS with Project Server for two way automatic synchronization of work items. Nice.

Access VSTS information - from Unix, Mac, and Eclipse with Teamprise

This is often a common push back or at least concern with big shops whom are considering adopting Team Foundation. How do we integrate our Java Developers (or non .NET Developers) into the Zen of Team System?

Enter TeamPrise. This looks like a serious gap filler. On their site you can download a trial that works with the July CTP of the Team Foundation Server. Lastly, TeamPrise is a division of SourceGear.

UPDATE: Also check out devBiz X5 web client - work item tracking via the browser - everybody has been asking for this one, say for example to integrate customer change requests into the team work flow. It doesn't yet seem to allow you to only edit certain types of work item types (they really need that) or to have an external authentication scheme. [Eric Jarvi]