Editing Markdown in Visual Studio 2015

Add-ins & Extensions, Visual Studio 2015
It seems that every day I find myself editing markdown files more and more. I like the simplicity of markdown when it comes to creating documentation. While I realize that markdown isn’t nearly as flexible as full-on HTML I like that it forces me to keep my documents simple and clean.I’ve tried a LOT of markdown editors. I’ve tried on-line editors as well as editors I’ve installed on Windows. For me, personally, I prefer to have the editor installed on my machine in case I want to edit documents offline.Lots of Choices!For the past couple of years I’ve been using a tool called MarkdownPad 2. While this is a capable editor it doesn’t seem to be updated any more. If you want it to work on Windows 10 you have…
Read More

VSTS Build Agent Selection Demystified

Team Foundation Build, Visual Studio Team Services
One of the (many!) features I like about Visual Studio Team Services is that, while I can create my build definitions in the cloud-hosted service, I do not have to rely on the hosted build agents to run my builds. This is important because my builds might rely on specialized software that isn’t installed on the hosted agents. It’s also possible that my build processes rely on access to other resources on my local network that is not exposed to the Internet. In the case of the company I work for, we have several on-premises build servers each running multiple build agents.When we first setup the new build servers and agents and registered them with our VSTS account it didn’t take long for us to notice something a bit odd…
Read More

PSA: Hosted XAML Builds Ending Soon

Team Foundation Build, Visual Studio Team Services
Earlier this year, Microsoft posted/updated some information on the Hosted Pool (i.e. where you run your automated builds in Visual Studio Team Services – i.e. VSTS). One item of interest in that post is that the hosted XAML build controller is planned to be shut down sometime next month (September, 2016).For accounts created after on or after April, 2016, access to the hosted XAML build controller was never provided, so this should not be an issue. However, if you have XAML builds running in VSTS, or were planning on migrating XAML builds to VSTS, you should take note.Here is the excerpt I am referring to (emphasis is mine):I'm looking for the hosted XAML build controller. Where did it go?In September 2016 we plan to shut down the hosted XAML build…
Read More

Tulsa TechFest–Slides

API, Conferences, Extensions, Visual Studio Team Services
I first presented at the Tulsa TechFest in 2007, the second year for the conference. Since then I have only missed presenting one or two times (that I can recall). My oldest son (12) was able to attend this year as well and he really enjoyed the Gaming/Dev/Design track! The conference is really done well. I recommend you check it out next year if you’re in the area.This year, I had the pleasure to present two talks:Using REST with VSTS & TFSTeam Foundation Server (TFS) has been around for over a decade now(!) and Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) has been around for several years. One of the reasons TFS/VSTS has been successful for so many years lies in the extensibility model provided by Microsoft. VSTS/TFS provides a large set…
Read More

Markdown to WordPress Extension Published

Utilities, Visual Studio Team Services
While I will always be a developer at heart (have been more many, many years!) by day I lead an enterprise architecture team consisting of four enterprise architects and four enterprise applications developers (along with an assortment of other contractors that help out with various development and architectural "hygiene" tasks). One area I continually push my team to excel in is communication. One of the various conduits we make use of is a WordPress-based site (hosted internally within our organization). For various reasons I won't go into in this post, we chose WordPress over SharePoint as the repository for the various guidance documents our team produces. Along the way, several other teams have also adopted WordPress for their respective team blogs. While WordPress is a very effective platform for creating…
Read More

VS Code + Ctrl+Shift+S = Wat?!

Tips, Visual Studio Code
Like many of you out there, I’ve been using Visual Studio (literally) ever since there was a Visual Studio (and Visual InterDev prior to that). One of the keyboard shortcuts that has been burned into the muscle memory of my left hand for years now is CTRL+SHIFT+S which is a common shortcut for “Save All”. I can’t claim that this keyboard shortcut has consistently mapped to “Save All” for the life of Visual Studio but it has definitely been around for quite a while (if not its entire life).I also can’t claim that CTRL+SHIFT+S is a well-known universal key combination for “Save All”. However, taking a quick look at a few apps on my workstation (that supports multiple tabs/documents being open/edited), here’s what I found: ApplicationCTRL+SHIFT+S = “Save All” Visual…
Read More

Creating a File in VSTS with APIs

API, Visual Studio Online
Following along the same line as some of the previous API examples I've posted I thought I'd post an example on how to make use of the VSTS APIs to create a new file in a VSTS-based Git repo. This can be handy if you need to get a file into VSTS but don't want to mess around with calling out to the Git command line or making use of various Git libraries. If you're new to calling the VSTS REST APIs or you are new to this series of articles then I would recommend you check out the other articles in this series before getting started. For our example (of creating a new file) there are two VSTS APIs that must be utilized: the refs API and the pushes…
Read More

Custom Build Tasks in VSTS

Team Foundation Build, Visual Studio Online
[Updated 16 Jun 2016 to reflect name change from VSO to VSTS][Updated 28 Dec 2015 to reflect latest changes in command line interface]If you’ve been making use of the new Team Foundation Build technology in Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) or Team Foundation Server (TFS) 2015 then you might have wished you had the ability to create and upload your own custom build tasks. Well, that day is now here! You can now create a custom build task and upload it to your VSTS account for use across your build definitions. Caveat The ability to upload custom tasks is still considered to be in a “pre-release” mode so you might run into the occasional issue. However, if you do, Microsoft is committed to resolving any bugs/issues uncovered and will fully…
Read More

Why Should I Leave XAML Builds?

Team Foundation Build, TFS, Visual Studio Team Services
If you have been using Team Foundation Server for any amount of time (say, 2 years or more) then it’s likely you have a decent investment tied up in your XAML-based builds. It’s likely that you have spent a lot of time tweaking the XAML ever-so-carefully to get your automated builds to do your bidding. It’s also possible that you have utilized multiple custom build tasks for scenarios specific to your organization that are not supported out of the box.Along with this, you and/or your team has gained a good amount of knowledge in learning how to tie the various pieces of a XAML-based build together. So, with all that said, you might be wondering why your company should make the move to the new(‘ish) VSTS-style builds. Here are a…
Read More

VSTS-Tools ‘Keep’ Build Extension

Extensions, Visual Studio Online
If you are making use of Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) to manage your automated builds then you are likely already aware that completed builds are kept for a maximum of 10 days by default. You can increase the default up to 30 days but no longer (using TFS on premises gives you more control over the retention). If you want to keep your build artifacts longer than the maximum 30 days allowed, you must set the retention for the build to “keep forever”. There are some cases where it makes sense to automate this task – e.g. you’re calling out to a 3rd party deployment tool (e.g. Octopus Deploy) from your build definition and you want to set the retention to “keep forever” for production builds.Adding to the VSTS-Tools…
Read More