Visual Studio Online License Changes on the Way…

ChangeAheadBrian Harry announced today some exciting changes coming to the set of Visual Studio Online licensing plans. Long story short, they (Microsoft) will be adding a new Stakeholders license license for Visual Studio Online – and, making this an even better announcement, the Stakeholders license will be completely free!

Here is the list of features that will be supported by the Stakeholders license for Visual Studio Online (once available – currently planned for mid-August, 2014):

  • Full read/write/create on all work items
  • Create, run and save (to “My Queries”) work item queries
  • View project and team home pages
  • Access to the backlog, including add and update (but no ability to reprioritize the work)
  • Ability to receive work item alerts

Some features that are explicitly excluded from this license include:

  • No access to Code, Build or Test hubs.
  • No access to Team Rooms
  • No access to any administrative functionality (Team membership, license administration, permissions, area/iterations configuration, sprint configuration, home page configuration, creation of shared queries, etc.)

In addition to the new Stakeholders license, Brian also announced that the Test Hub functionality will become available in the Visual Studio Online Advanced plan. This will alleviate the need to purchase Visual Studio Test Professional for many scenarios.

The following table lets you compare the features available across the various Visual Studio License offerings (click the image to view a larger version):

Visual Studio Online Plan Feature Comparison

Read the full details on Brian’s blog here.

Posted in Visual Studio, Visual Studio Online | Leave a comment

Visual Studio “14”–CTP 2 Available

Today, Microsoft released the 2nd CTP for Visual Studio “14”. According to Brian Harry, there will be “tons” of CTPs between now and the final release (expected sometime next year).

Without going into a lot of detail here’s a short list of what’s new in this CTP (from the Visual Studio Blog):

  • Save and Apply Custom IDE Layouts. You can now save and apply custom layouts for tool windows in the IDE. The Save Window Layout and Apply Window Layout commands are under the Window Menu and you can also rename, reorder, and delete layouts from Manage Window Layouts.
  • Light Bulb Editor Adornment. Light Bulbs are an extensible editor adornment to identify and help you fix issues in your code. To use them, place the caret on a line with an issue or hover over an issue and you’ll see a light bulb that lists actions you can take to resolve the problem and even a preview of proposed solutions.
  • Editor Touch Support. The Visual Studio Editor now supports touch gestures for scrolling, pinch-to-zoom, tap-and-hold for context menus, double-tap for word selection, and line selection by tapping in the margin.
  • VC++ Property Pages and Editor Enhancements. We updated the Configuration and Platform dropdown values for VC++ Property Page dialog to remember the last user selection when the dialog is closed. We also added Move Function Definition (move the body of a function definition to source or header/in-class definition) and Implement Pure Virtuals (quickly create definitions for a class that inherits constructs ([abstract] class, struct, etc.) containing pure virtuals). We also updated Create Declaration/Definition to include Code Peek and improved Find in Files to enable subsequent results to be appended to previous results (“append mode”). Checkout the VC Blog for details on these enhancements.
  • ALL CAPS. Last week with the RC for Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 we added an option to sentence case menus; in this VS “14” CTP we changed Menu Bar styling to Title Case for everyone to help us get feedback on the change. We’ll use the feedback we get to help determine if we keep it as it is in this preview, make it an option under the Tools/Options menu, or take some other path.

You can view the full details of the CTP here and you can download the bits here.

NOTE: It is recommended that you do not install this CTP along side any other version of Visual Studio. If you don’t have a spare development/test machine lying around or you don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up a new virtual machine, you can always run the new Visual Studio “14” CTP 2 on Azure.

If you run across any bugs in the CTP and/or have any suggestions, please submit them on Microsoft’s Visual Studio Connect site.

Posted in Visual Studio, Visual Studio "14" | Leave a comment

Enterprise Architects User Group–Omaha

The next (2nd) meeting will be held Tuesday, July 8th at BCBSNE offices (1919 Aksarben Drive) from 6:30-8:00pm. This meeting will focus on how different organizations are executing Enterprise Architecture. Aside from general information sharing the goal of this meeting is to use this information to gauge interest in deeper dives for future meetings.

We will have two presenters to share their organization’s EA practice:

Aaron Long – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska
Jeff Bramwell – Farm Credit Services of America

Dinner will be provided at 6:30pm along with a networking time and the presentations will start at 7:00pm. The meeting is held in the Aksarben conference room which is located in the main lobby.

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Visual Studio/TFS 2013 Update 3–Release Candidate

Microsoft released today Visual Studio 2013 (and Team Foundation Server) Update 3 Release Candidate (RC).

There is a great video on Microsoft’s Channel 9 site covering many of the features and enhancements in Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 RC. If you don’t have the time (or desire) to watch the video right now (it’s about 50 minutes in length) then keep reading…

Here is a summary showing some of what’s new in Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 (RC):



Probably the biggest change with CodeLens is that it now supports Git-based repositories. Since it works against a local Git repository, it doesn’t matter if your repository is sourced out of Visual Studio Online or any other Git repository (e.g. GitHub). It’s worth noting, however, that TFVC-based repositories hosted in Visual Studio Online are not yet supported by CodeLens (this will be coming in a future update).

Here’s a quick screenshot of CodeLens showing a commit for a particular method:


Code Map

Various enhancements including a better zoom experience, link styling and additional usage of color.


Visual Studio IDE

This is either a small change or a huge change, depending on your perspective. There is now an option within Visual Studio to offer Mixed Case menu bar items.

Previously, you had to rely on a manual registry change to modify the menu casing. Now it’s as simple as checking a checkbox to revert to the old-style menu text. Also, this setting will roam with your other Visual Studio settings (assuming you haven’t disabled roaming).


Test Case Management

You can now customize Test Plan and Test Suite artifacts, including the ability to add custom fields and workflows.

Release Management

You can now deploy apps using Desired State Configuration (DSC) or Chef. Nice!

PowerShell   ChefDeployer

Application Insights

Application Insights is now included in Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 RC without having to add the Visual Studio Extension that had to be manually installed in previous versions.



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Application Security Chalk Talk

ITSecurityAt Farm Credit Services of America, where I am employed, we go through great lengths to ensure our development teams have plenty of training opportunities to help ensure we can develop the best possible user experience for our customers. These opportunities might come in the form of local or national conferences, self-paced learning – such as with Pluralsight – or in-house training – some of which is taught by employees and others taught by outside experts.

Starting this week, we have the pleasure of bringing in two top-notch security experts from TrueSec to provide application security training to all of our developers – Hasain Alshakarti and Fabio Viggiani. While here, they have graciously agreed to host an Application Security Chalk Talk for anyone interested in attending. This chalk talk is not specific to .NET-based development but applications development in general. If you know of anyone else that might be interested in attending, please forward this along.

We will be hosting the chalk talk this Thursday, June 19th, at Farm Credit Services of America starting at 6:00pm (CDT). If you have an interest in learning more about application security then we’d love to see you there! Click on the link below for further details and to register.

More about the trainers…

Hasain Alshakarti

Hasain Alshakarti is an acknowledged security expert and computer industry speaker. He has spoken at TechEd North America, TechEd Europe, and TechDays, as well as other events and conferences across the world. Besides being a very popular instructor for the last 16 years, Hasain is specially focusing on Security Assessment, Network Security and PKI, and helping customers understand and implement security measures. Hasain has a background as a developer and works closely with developers to help them understand security demands and realize them in applications and systems without losing functionality and usability. He is a member of the TrueSec Security Team and a recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award in Enterprise Security. Facebook: Twitter: Blog:

Fabio Viggiani

Fabio Viggiani is a leading web application and penetration testing expert at the security power house TrueSec. Fabio has a broad experience from penetration tests of banks, agencies and all sorts of enterprise customers around the globe.

His main focus is web application hacking, but he also has deep knowledge in more generic infrastructure hacking on both Windows, Linux and other platforms.

Fabio has a unique capability when it comes to getting an overview of an entire target environment and identify its vulnerabilities down to every detail.

Click to Register

Posted in Security, User Group | 1 Comment

Running Visual Studio 2014 CTP on Azure

imageYesterday, I posted about Microsoft’s recent release of Visual Studio 2014 CTP. Whereas most developers are eager to download, install, and try out new software releases, there was one caveat mentioned in this post that is worth paying attention to:

NOTE: It is recommended that you install the CTP on a machine that has no other version of Visual Studio installed.

In other words, don’t install this on your primary/production machine!

Since we can’t (shouldn’t) install the CTP release on our primary machine, a common approach would be to setup a virtual machine (VM) with Visual Studio 2014 CTP installed along with any other tools you typically make use of. Depending on what you use to manage your VMs, this might take several minutes or it could take hours (e.g. if you had to manually install the guest operating system, Visual Studio 2014 CTP, etc.).

There is an easier way… Microsoft Azure.

One of the many features of Azure is the ability to create virtual machines. In fact, there is a virtual machine gallery whereby you can choose from one of several preconfigured VMs. As of now, the gallery contains an image for Visual Studio 2014 CTP. Sweetness!

If you’re not familiar with setting up a new VM in Azure, you can follow these steps.

Step 1. Logon

Logon to Azure at If you do not already have an Azure account, you can setup a free trial. Or, if you have an MSDN subscription, you could be eligible for some free usage credits as a perk of your subscription.

Step 2. Create a New VM

Once logged in, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Virtual Machines tab (on the left of the web page) and click “Create a Virtual Machine”


  2. Click “From Gallery”


  3. Select “Visual Studio” on the left and then select “Visual Studio Professional 14 CTP”. Then click on the right arrow at the bottom right of the page.


  4. Enter the required information and click on the right arrow at the bottom right of the page.


  5. Enter the required information for the creation of the cloud service – be sure to select the region you would like the VM to be created in (I’ve selected South Central US for this VM). Next, click on the right arrow at the bottom right of the page.


  6. Select any additional software that you would like to have installed on the VM. I am creating this one with the default settings. Then click on the checkbox at the bottom right of the page to complete the VM configuration.


  7. Your VM will be provisioned and started. This can take a few minutes to complete.


Step 3. Connect to Your VM

  1. To connect to your newly created VM, make sure it is selected and click on “Connect”.


  2. This will start the download of an .rdp file. Click on Open and click “Connect” on the dialog.


  3. Enter your logon credentials (specified in step 2.4 above) and click on “Yes” in the resulting warning dialog.


  4. This will launch your newly created VM, complete with Visual Studio 2014 CTP, in a remote desktop connection window.


Now you can play around with the new Visual Studio 2014 CTP without fear of messing anything up on your primary machine and it took only a couple of minutes to setup and configure!

Posted in Azure, Visual Studio "14" | Leave a comment

Visual Studio “14”– CTP Released

VisualStudio2Right on the heels of the Visual Studio 2013/TFS 2013 Update 3 CTP 1 announcement, Microsoft releases the first CTP for Visual Studio “14” (final name TBD). Although the final version of Visual Studio “14” isn’t likely to be released until next year, you can install the CTP now to get an early look at some of the changes going into the next version of Visual Studio.

NOTE: It is recommended that you install the CTP on a machine that has no other version of Visual Studio installed.

Although there a many features available in this CTP, some of the highlights include:

You can get more details on the new web features in Visual Studio “14” here and here.

If you run across any bugs in the CTP and/or have any suggestions, please submit them on Microsoft’s Visual Studio Connect site.

Posted in Visual Studio, Visual Studio "14" | Leave a comment

Extending TFS and Visual Studio Online eBook

imageLast week, at TechEd North America, Microsoft announced the availability of a new API being provided by Visual Studio Online. This API is based on REST, OAuth, JSON, and Service Hooks. While this new API is still in preview mode there is still a lot of functionality that can be taken advantage of by your custom applications.

While a great deal of documentation is being provided by Microsoft, I and Mike Douglas (a fellow Visual Studio ALM MVP) have started writing a book on this very topic titled “Extending Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Online”. The primary focus of this book will be to provide scenario-based examples on how to utilize the new REST-based APIs and Service Hooks. Based on our everyday experiences with TFS and Visual Studio Online, along with feedback from our readers, we plan to provide a book that will be simply indispensible for anyone wishing to extend TFS or Visual Studio Online using the new API.

Our intention is to release the book in stages, as we complete new chapters. As of this posting, we are officially making the initial version available with planned releases roughly every two weeks – until the initially defined table of contents has been completed. This model will also allow us to address changes and updates to the API as Microsoft moves from preview to release.

To accommodate the phased release, we will be publishing the book as an eBook in PDF, ePub, and MOBI formats. The initial cost of the book will be $1.99 and the price of the book will gradually increase as we release new content. Once you purchase the book, you will get all future releases at no additional charge. So, the earlier you buy in, the better the price!

The initial table of contents for the book is as follows (though subject to change):

    • Foreword
    • Introduction
    • Part I – The Basics
      • Chapter 1: Overview of Team Foundation Server
      • Chapter 2: A History of Team Foundation Server APIs
      • Chapter 3: A REST Primer
    • Part II – Using the Team Foundation APIs
      • Chapter 4: Our First REST API Call
      • Chapter 5: Work Items
      • Chapter 6: Team Foundation Version Control
      • Chapter 7: Git
      • Chapter 8: Build Definitions
      • Chapter 9: Builds
      • Chapter 10: Workspaces
      • Chapter 11: Team Room Management
      • Chapter 12: Team Room Activities
      • Chapter 13: Reporting and Charts
      • Chapter 14: Projects and Teams
      • Chapter 15: Service Hooks
    • Part III – Other Resources
      • Chapter 16: Using Fiddler
      • Chapter 17: Using OAuth
      • Resources

The chapters listed in bold have been at least partially completed and are included in the initial release of the book.

If you have an interest in extending Team Foundation Server and/or Visual Studio Online, then this is (will be) the book for you. Purchasing the book now locks in all future updates for only $1.99!

You can read more about the book and purchase it here. Please utilize the feedback section on the book site if you have any questions and/or suggestions. We welcome any and all feedback – especially if it helps us to provide a better, and more useful, book for everyone.

Learn More

Posted in eBooks, TFS, TFS API, Visual Studio Online | 1 Comment

Windows Unplugged Events Coming Soon

How many times have you wanted 10 minutes with someone from the Microsoft Windows team to ask a question, share a thought, get a best practice or maybe just better understand a feature? Well here is your chance.

Many of you remember Stephen Rose as the previous owner of the Springboard Series. One of the many programs he lead were the Springboard Series Tours across the US, Canada, Europe and South America.
“I’m excited to announce our Windows Unplugged Tour. Windows Unplugged is similar to the Springboard Series Tours we did in the past but scaled down since it’s just me who will be presenting. The events will take place in 5 cities in the US where I’ll be walking IT pros through the latest Windows, Windows Phone, Devices as well as Windows management tools. I’ll be encouraging the audience to drive the discussions and I will take everyone’s feedback back to Redmond. I’ll have lots of demos so it will be a great event.”
“These events will take place in Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, and Chicago. I am hoping to visit a few more cities at a later date. We will feed and water everyone as well as give away some software, gift cards, and a maybe even a few cool Windows 8.1 devices.  If folks want to attend, just check out the registration info is below. We only have space for around 150 people per event so folks should sign up quickly.”

Windows Unplugged Event Dates and Registration

Date City Registration
Thursday, May 22nd Atlanta, GA Link
Tuesday, May 27th San Francisco, CA Link
Thursday, May 29th Los Angeles, CA Link
Monday, June 2nd Indianapolis, IN Link
Wednesday, June 4th Chicago, IL Link

If you plan to be in the area of one of these events, this is a great opportunity to get your questions answered and possibly even end up with a cool, new device!

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Build 2014–Quick Links

imageThe Build 2014 conference ended just over a week ago and many of us are still sifting through the various announcements and downloads. This post provides a list of some of the various links to sessions and downloads that you might find handy.


You can find the links to all the session videos and slide decks here.

Visual Studio / .NET

  • .NET Foundation – There were several open source announcements at this year’s Build event. The .NET Foundation will be the steward of a growing collection of open source technologies for.NET, Microsoft’s comprehensive development framework. Here is a snapshot of what’s currently available (completely open source) on .NET Foundation:


  • Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 Release Candidate – this is a “GO LIVE” version of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2. “Go Live” implies that the upgrade path to the final version will be supported.
  • .NET Native Developer Preview – .NET Native compiles C# to native machine code that performs like C++. You can read more about it in this blog post and/or view the .NET Native FAQ.
  • Rosalyn Preview – at this year’s Build conference, Microsoft open sourced their compiler technology known as Rosalyn. Read more here.
  • Application Insights Tools for Visual Studio – integrating Application Insights (currently in preview) with your apps couldn’t be easier. Download the tools and read more here to get started.
  • WinJS – this is a JavaScript library originally released as part of Windows 8 to aid in developing Windows Store apps in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. WinJS was released as open source during the Build conference.
  • Visual Studio Online – this is not a new service, though it was announced (on April 3rd) that Visual Studio Online is now generally available (i.e. no longer in preview). If you are not familiar with Visual Studio Online, I highly recommend you check it out. Among other things, it provides source code repositories (both TFVC and Git), integrates with all popular IDEs (e.g. Visual Studio, Eclipse, and Xcode), can be used to track backlog items, bugs, and tasks, as well as provides support for running automated builds within Visual Studio Online’s cloud infrastructure.
  • TypeScript – TypeScript 1.0 is included in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC but you can also download it directly here.

Windows Phone 8.1

NOTE: Windows Phone 8.1 likely won’t be released as an over-the-air (OTA) update for several months. However, it was announced at Build that developers would be able to get the update this month (April). The cool part is that you don’t actually have to be a developer to take advantage of an early upgrade… you simply have to sign in to the Windows Phone App Studio and, voilà, you’re a developer. You can read more about the entire process here.

Posted in Conferences, General News, Visual Studio, Windows Phone | Leave a comment