Visual Studio 2017 Launch event

March 15, 2017

Last week on March 7, Microsoft officially launched Visual Studio 2017 and the Visual Studio User Group (VISUG) in Belgium organized a livestream event to watch the keynote together at the local Microsoft office in Belgium.

After the keynote, I did an extra presentation to cover the evolution of VSTS & TFS in the last couple of months.

Ever since the VSTS Product Team has started working in 3 weeks sprints to deliver new features to the product, it has been a real eye-opener to witness how fast the product is evolving and how many new features has been introduced since the beginning of Team Foundation Service, Visual Studio Online and now the current name of the product: Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS). In this demo-heavy session we will have a quick look at some of the new interesting features that were added in the last couple of months.

My slides are available on SlideShare.

The evolution of Microsoft’s solution for Application Lifecycle Management: Team Foundation Server – Part VI

November 25, 2013

Part I: Introduction

Part II: Diving into the basics of ALM and how did Microsoft start with an ALM solution?

Part III: Heterogeneous Software Development

Part IV: A fully integrated testing experience with TFS 2010

Part V: TFS 2012 and Continuous Value Delivery

Part VI: TFS 2013 and Visual Studio Online

The latest release of Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server (Visual Studio 2013) will empower development teams to live up to the demand of a new breed of applications, to develop and manage modern software that provides the best experience across multiple screens and devices, always-connected services. The wave of extra ALM features will help to become more productive and eases the collaboration between team members with improved support for agile development practices: Agile Portfolio Management, Team Rooms, Test Management from the browser, Work Item Charting, on-premises support for Git repositories, Code Health Indicators (CodeLens), Cloud Load Testing via Team Foundation Service, the connected IDE experience across all your Visual Studio instances …



An important trend which continued to be reflected in the 2013 release is the improved integration towards other Microsoft products (for example System Center and Windows Azure). In that respect we will probably also see some upcoming modifications in the integration with InRelease, a release management solution from InCycle. Microsoft reached an agreement to acquire InRelease on June 3, 2013. The solution allowed software development teams to automatically deploy and track applications (from Team Foundation Server) as a whole to multiple environments – up to production – based on a business-approval workflow.


While the official release of Visual Studio 2013 was planned on November 13 with the Launch Event, the RTM bits were already made available on October 17, 2013.

Before the official release, the public could experience already the more tight integration with Windows Azure. For example:

Visual Studio Online

But, important new announcements were made at the official Launch Event. Team Foundation Service became Visual Studio Online in the perspective of broadening the complete offering to indicate that Visual Studio Online will become the services component of the developer tools for the future.


Visual Studio Online, formerly Team Foundation Service, is the home for your project data in the cloud. Get up and running in minutes on our cloud infrastructure without having to install or configure a single server. Set up an environment that includes everything from hosted Git repos and project tracking tools, to continuous integration and an IDE, all packaged up in a monthly per-user plan. Connect to your project in the cloud using your favorite development tool, such as Visual Studio, Eclipse or Xcode.

Visual Studio Online is now running in Commercial Preview mode (paid usage is enabled and price plans have been announced) and will shift to General Availability somewhere in 2014, after all billing services have been put into place. Until that time, everyone may still freely use the system as an early adopter. Cloud Build and Cloud Load Testing as described above are already part of the released features of the service, while 2 new preview features have also been announced at the Visual Studio 2013 Launch event: Application Insights and Monaco.

Application Insights, Build-Measure-Learn

This Visual Studio Online feature now provides a 360 degree view of running applications by collecting, processing and displaying a wide variety of telemetry in three areas: performance, usage and availability.


Without any effort during the development lifecycle (seamless integration experience), development teams will benefit from the extensive set of collected diagnostics to analyze what’s going on in their deployed applications. With these valuable insights, future (to-be-developed) improvements can be more focused and impactful. Application Insights will be able to deliver the required metrics to adopt validated learning and to move into a real Build-Measure-Learn cycle.

Monaco, Visual Studio in the browser

In an attempt to bring the client development experience in Visual Studio to the cloud, Microsoft released a preview of Monaco which immediately enables the development of Windows Azure Websites directly from any modern browser on any device. It complements the Visual Studio desktop IDE as a low-friction entry point that will help any developer to get started or make quick changes to an existing cloud service. It has support for C#, VB.NET, HTML5, JavaScript applications and PHP.


Time to wrap-up this article on the evolution of ALM/TFS in the final Part VII.

Part VII: Conclusion


MVP Summit 2011 – VS ALM stuff

March 9, 2011

Last week I was in Seattle for the MVP Summit where I was one of the present 78 Visual Studio ALM MVPs to explore the future of the Application Lifecycle Management platform.

On Sunday I already enjoyed a full day of interesting MVP to MVP sessions and I do want to highlight one particular session from Sven Hubert, a German Visual Studio ALM MVP. He did a nice talk on extended dependency management with Team Foundation Server. Many of us will certainly have been in the situation where a custom solution was required to manage internal/external dependencies, but this type of automated solution really rocks. Be sure to check out his blog article where he described his solution to manage dependencies with Team Foundation Server. If you understand German, you might also want to have a peek at the AIT TFS blog.

The other days were filled with a bunch of interesting sessions about the (near) future of Microsoft’s ALM offering, given by the ALM/TFS product team. Good to see that the people at Microsoft are really listening to the customer/community feedback. They are also extremely passionate about the new features they want to introduce in the product. I had a blast to be part in this gathering at Microsoft and made a few extra important connections.

Meanwhile, a few important releases have been made:

A few Visual Studio ALM MVPs and Microsoft people have been working hard to publish new ALM books:

Really exciting times to be involved in the ALM space!

Screencast Visual Studio Lab Management 2010

August 7, 2010

As announced at VSLive last week in Seattle, Visual Studio Lab Management will go RTM at the end of August 2010. On top of the general availability, the Lab Management capabilities will become available to all customers who have licenses for Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN or Visual Studio Test Professional with MSDN. This really rocks because it means that companies won’t have to pay additional licenses (as communicated in the past) for using Lab Management if they already have one of the above products.

I did setup Visual Studio Lab Management already twice in the past and after experimenting with it for a few months I must say this product has a big future. At many customers I have seen the pain of deploying and testing applications during the development phase. Many of these pains are properly addressed with Visual Studio Lab Management 2010.

To present you a small teaser of the product features I did prepare a 20’ screencast about the build-deploy-test cycle in Visual Studio Lab Management. The screencast is available at Channel 9. Note that the sound is a bit dusty during the first two minutes.


Summary of demo in the screencast:

The solution that’s used for the demo contains a web application project and a database project. Some automated UI tests with assertions are part of a dedicated Test Suite in a Test Plan with Microsoft Test Manager. A virtual environment has been created with 2 virtual machines (one will serve as the web server and the other will be the database server) in which a clean snapshot has been taken for deployment. The Lab Build will take the latest binaries of the solution and will deploy the web application to the web server (msdeploy) while the database project will be deployed to the database server.  After deployment the automated UI tests will run in the virtual environment.

[screencast has been recorded and edited with Camtasia Studio]

Sharing some extra links:

ALM Track at DevConnections in Las Vegas

April 13, 2010

This week I’m in Las Vegas (on invitation by IDesign) for the launch of Visual Studio at Devconnections. The Launch Day of Visual Studio 2010 was great but on Tuesday and Wednesday there’s also a promising Application Lifecycle Management track I want to follow.

  • Improving Your Software Development Processes with Visual Studio 2010 (Joel Semeniuk)
  • Defining and Managing Software Requirements with Visual Studio Team System (Joel Semeniuk)
  • Implementing Scrum Using Team Foundation Server 2010 (Richard Hundhausen)
  • Agile Database Techniques Using Visual Studio Ultimate 2010 (Richared Hundhausen)
  • Modeling and  Visualization in Visual Studio 2010 (Joel Semeniuk)
  • Team Foundation Server 2010—Migrate or Integrate? (Richard Hundhausen)
  • Lab Manager – The Ultimate “No More No Repro” Tool (Steven Borg)
  • Visual Studio 2010 Quality Tools for Developers (Steven Borg)

I will also be present at the IDesign booth to promote IDesign’s unique Training Classes in Europe. A training class that’s already announced is the Architect’s Master Class with Juval Lowy in Belgium in the week of October 11, 2010.

And this all happens in the Bellagio at Las Vegas! Looking forward to a great week here!

Feedback VS2010 Beta2?

November 6, 2009

So, you are playing around with VS2010/TFS2010 and you have some remarks, suggestions, bugs, … Please go the Microsoft Connect site for product feedback and bug reporting.

Today I filed a suggestion for the next release of Team Foundation Server: Build Definition History. Unfortunately it’s still not possible to view history of changes made to the Build Defintion: “Drop Location”, “Build Agent”, “Trigger”, … On the Microsoft Connect site, you can easily look up other wanted featured and vote for them … but first vote for my suggestion!

Since a few weeks, there’s also a feedback survey running on Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4 Beta 2. If you care about the product and want your voice heard, please take some minutes to complete this online survey!

New challenges with Sparkles

May 10, 2009

As from July 1, 2009, I will leave Compuware and start my own company Sparkles to head for some new challenges.

Sparkles wil offer high quality consultancy services on managing the Application Lifecycle with Visual Studio Team System and Team Foundation Server. Sparkles will also offer advanced training classes by international experts on software development.

Next planned exclusive seminars in Belgium (Crowne Plaza – Antwerp):

VSTS 2008 Database Edition GDR R2 released

April 23, 2009

A few days ago the GDR R2 was released of the VSTS 2008 Database Edition. One of the interesting features of this release is the fact that the Database Edition doesn’t require a physical SQL Server Database anymore on the development machine. It is no longer necessary to install an instance of SQL Express or SQL Server prior to using the Database Edition.

In my opinion the Database Edition is one of the most underestimated Team System Client Edition. It’s THE tool to manage database changes and to extend your team’s productivity and to improve collaboration with the database team. On top of the inner strength of the standalone edition, it’s now free if you already have a license for the Development Edition. Be sure to check it out if you’re faced with all kinds of custom work to manage your different database environments in your development lifecycle.

Visual Studio 2010 CTP Expiration

December 19, 2008

In case you didn’t know about the VS2010 CTP Expiration : now is the time to disable time synchronization under Virtual PC 2007! Otherwise, after January 1, 2009, you will no longer be able to launch the Visual Studio 2010 CTP …

Read more how to do this.

VSTS2010 : The Big Picture

December 8, 2008

Taken from the Microsoft Developer and Designer Tools 2008 Product Guide :

Microsoft Visual Studio Team System is an integrated Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solution comprising tools, processes, and guidance to help development teams improve their skills and work more effectively together. Visual Studio Team System enables your development teams to collaborate and communicate more effectively, ensure software quality, and gain visibility into the software development lifecycle.

What will be different in Visual Studio Team System 2010? VSTS 2010 will bring some new capabilities that make it easier for all contributors on the software team to participate throughout the life cycle; from the core developers and testers to the wider team of project managers, designers and business analysts.

The picture shows that there will be only 3 client editions of Visual Studio Team System. Hey, what happened to the Database Edition? Well, in VSTS2010, the feature set of the Development Edition and the Database Edition will be merged into 1 single product : the Development Edition. Read more on this in the press release of September 29, 2008. New is that there will now be support for working with Team Foundation Server in the Expression Tools. There will also be more support for SharePoint development and on the other side SharePoint won’t be required anymore to install Team Foundation Server. The Test Lab Managementproduct is a new server product that targets large organizations who want to test a variety of configurations in a virtual lab environment. With that new product you will get the ALM experience on top of virtualization.

In my journey so far to explore VSTS2010 I’ve seen a strong focus on the Team Architect Edition and the Team Test Edition. There are also some big improvements in the Team Foundation Server product. VSTS2010 can really be seen as a very big release : v2 of Team System after v1.5 in 2008 and v1 in 2005. Before the release of Visual Studio Team System in 2005, Visual Studio was only a tool for developers to write code. With the release of Team System in 2005, Visual Studio became an integrated collaboration tool for all stakeholders in the development process and that was a big change! With the upcoming release of VS2010, Microsoft continues to focus and invest in a solution for managing the entire application lifecyle.

Stay tuned for what’s new in the different editions of Visual Studio Team System!