Building with Microsoft Tools–For FREE!

Azure, Visual Studio 2013, Visual Studio Online
With two of Microsoft’s primary competitors (Apple and Google) offering their development tools free of charge (Xcode and Android Studio, respectively) have you ever wished you could develop on Microsoft’s platforms for FREE? Well… if you didn’t already know that Microsoft offers a good number of development tools and services for free, then read on Visual StudioAlthough it hasn’t been around long (it was announced at last year’s Connect(); event) Microsoft now provides, for no charge, Visual Studio Community 2013. This edition is essentially the same product as Visual Studio 2013 Professional – with a few restrictions placed on usage.Visual Studio 2013 Community edition is FREE for use in the following scenarios:Any individual developer can use Visual Studio Community to create their own free or paid apps. An unlimited number…
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Visual Studio Online Search–Get in Now!

Visual Studio Online
Most anyone that has been using a version control system for any amount of time has come to that point in their development career where they’ve asked the question – “I know I’ve seen that code before but where?” You don’t want to go through the hassle of having to recreate something you (or someone else) has already spent a great deal of time and effort building, testing and tweaking until it fits your needs perfectly. You just want to find it and reuse it!If your version control system happens to be Team Foundation Server or Visual Studio Online then you have likely done something like this before (or at least have thought about doing it):“Get Latest” (or git fetch) on all source code projects you want to search in.Wait…
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How/Is Visual Studio Online Protected?

Visual Studio Online
If you have been pushing your company, or even yourself, toward using Microsoft’s Visual Studio Online (VSO) cloud offering, you’ve no doubt been on the other end of questions such as: How does Microsoft project my data? How do I know it’s not going to end up in the wrong hands? What happens if a database fails? and on, and on, and…These are fair questions. If you are going to trust another entity with the very essence of the software solutions your company has put so much time, effort, money and, potentially, intellectual property into then you want to ensure your “bits” are in safe hands.A while back (October, 2014) Jeff Beehler (who runs the compliance team at Microsoft) put out a paper, Microsoft Visual Studio Online Data Protection. This…
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Visual Studio 2015 Tag Admin Extension

Add-ins & Extensions, TFS 2013, Visual Studio Online
If you are currently using Visual Studio 2015 Preview, and you make use of the Tag feature within Team Foundation Server (TFS) and/or Visual Studio Online (VSO), then you will want to give the Tag Admin for Visual Studio 2015 extension a go!This new extension is brought to you by the same folks that created the Team Rooms Extension for Visual Studio 2013 and supports both TFS (2013 Update 3 and greater) and VSO.The features enabled by this extension include:View Active TagsOnce you’ve installed the extension, click on the Tag Admin link on the Home hub of the Team Explorer pane:This will display a list of tags for the currently selected team project (in the above example, I have the “Moonspace Labs” team project selected):You will notice that I currently…
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Quick Edit in Visual Studio Online

Visual Studio Online
A couple of days ago, I wrote about the final VSO updates for 2014.  One of the new features discussed was the Quick Edit features in VSO. At the time of that post, the updates hadn’t been propagated across all VSO accounts. I still don’t know if the new features have hit all accounts yet, but it has at least hit mine :-) That said, here’s a quick run-through of the new Quick Edit features now available in VSO… Editing a File You can now edit a file directly with Visual Studio Online within your web browser. To do this, simply right-click on a file (e.g. UnitTest1.cs) and select the Edit menu option as shown here: This will display your file in a web-based editor where you can make the…
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Visual Studio Online/TFS Features & Roadmap

TFS, Visual Studio Online
If you’ve been using and/or following Visual Studio Online and/or Team Foundation Server, you’re likely already familiar with the Features Timeline published by Microsoft. For those not familiar, it is essentially a running history of features that have been delivered via successive sprints (roughly every three weeks). Not only does it list available features but also shows what version of TFS the features is in (e.g. 2013.4) or whether it is VSO only (e.g. Future update). Here is a partial screenshot of the current timeline: The features in today’s release are shown at the top for 17 Dec 2014. You will notice that they are flagged as “Future update” which indicates that they are available in VSO (once the rollout has completed) but not yet available in TFS (on premises).…
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The Final VSO Updates for 2014

Visual Studio Online
It’s nearing the end of 2014 (where’d the time go?!) and Microsoft has pushed out the final updates for Visual Studio Online for the year (the next release will be near the end of January, 2015). However, just because it’s the last push of the year doesn’t mean it isn’t a great update. In fact, there are several great things in this update. Here’s the quick rundown… Quick Edit – With this update, you can now make edits to a file in version control (Team Foundation Version Control or Git) directly from within your web browser. You can use the built-in “diff” view to see what changes you’ve made before committing them. For HTML and markdown files, you can also preview them. When you save your changes, the update is…
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Build v.Next–What do we know?

Visual Studio Online
As announced at Microsoft’s Connect(); event a couple of weeks ago, the company is working on several enhancements to their ALM stack. One of the changes announced is a major overhaul to their build system, currently referred to as Build v.Next. Although pieces of the new build functionality has been demoed on stage, we do not yet have access to the bits to try things out for ourselves. With that said, what do we know today about Build v.Next? DISCLAIMER: The details below have been gleaned from various Connect(); sessions and blog posts. The bits demoed are in an early, pre-release stage, and are subject to change before being released to the public. The screenshots shown below are sourced from Connect(); sessions. One of the first things you’ll notice with…
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Extending TFS and Visual Studio Online eBook–Update 1

eBooks, TFS, TFS API, Visual Studio Online
Back in May, I wrote about the initial release of Extending TFS and Visual Studio Online, an eBook that Mike Douglas and I have been working on. To reiterate, 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. Although our original plan was to publish updates every few weeks, the typical summer schedule has gotten in our way a bit (e.g. vacations, activities, nice weather, etc.) so it’s taken a little longer than originally…
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Visual Studio Online License Changes on the Way…

Visual Studio, Visual Studio Online
Brian 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…
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