Dark Theme in Azure DevOps!

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A while back I was attending a local developer conference and I overheard someone say, "He's not a real coder; He's not using the dark theme." :-) Now, while I don't necessarily agree with that statement, I do prefer dark themes over light themes. Dark themes just seem to be easier on my eyes when I'm staring into millions of pixels for hours on end every day. While Visual Studio has provided a dark theme (as well as others) out of the box for some time now, and VS Code has had a dark theme from its start (as best as I can remember), Azure DevOps (formerly Visual Studio Team Services or, VSTS) has not had the same luxury. That is, until now! Microsoft announced the dark theme in Azure…
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Azure DevOps Launch Event

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Odds are, you've noticed by now that Microsoft introduced Azure DevOps yesterday. While there are a lot of details around this announcement, the short version is that Azure DevOps is an evolution of Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and introduces the following:     Azure Pipelines CI/CD that works with any language, platform, and cloud. Connect to GitHub or any Git repository and deploy continuously. Learn More >   Azure Boards Powerful work tracking with Kanban boards, backlogs, team dashboards, and custom reporting. Learn more >   Azure Artifacts Maven, npm, and NuGet package feeds from public and private sources. Learn more >   Azure Repos Unlimited cloud-hosted private Git repos for your project. Collaborative pull requests, advanced file management, and more. Learn more >   Azure Test Plans All…
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Hiding Unused Services within VSTS

Visual Studio Team Services
New Navigation (Preview) Last month, Microsoft announced some navigation UI changes coming to Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS). In short, the VSTS UI now places the primary navigation controls vertically, along the left side of the page. For example, once enabled, the default page for a project in VSTS might look something like this: The vertical navigation changes are still in preview*, so you will need to enable the preview to get the new behavior. To do this: Sign in to VSTS and click on your profile picture in the top, right-hand corner of the page. Click on the Preview features option. Click on the slider next to New Navigation to enable the preview feature. As an additional bonus, you might see some preview features that you didn't realize were…
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Mix-n-Match Microsoft, AAD (and other) Accounts in Firefox

Add-ins & Extensions, Tips
If you’re like me, you have no doubt collected many various accounts over the years. I have several Microsoft Accounts that are tied to Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and other offerings. I also have multiple Organizational (Azure Active Directory) accounts tied to Office 365, corporate accounts, etc.Until now, I’ve relied on having multiple web browsers, or “incognito/private” windows, to help me keep my various accounts separated. For example, on my work computer, I would use Firefox for anything that utilized my personal Microsoft Account (MSA), Chrome for anything that utilized my work-related MSA (e.g. for accessing VSTS) and Edge for miscellaneous other accounts. At home, I relied on a similar setup to keep my accounts separate.While this has worked for me for the past few years it has always…
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Base64 Encode/Decode Visual Studio Extension

API, Extensions, Visual Studio
If you’ve followed any of the API articles that I’ve published then you know that anytime we have the need to include a Personal Access Token (PAT) as part of the Authorization header we have to Base64-encode it first. While it’s pretty easy to jump into your favorite search engine and find an online Base64 encoder (Bing has one built into the search engine!) sometimes it’s nice to not have to leave the Visual Studio IDE. For this reason, I created a simple Visual Studio extension that can Base64 encode/decode text.The add-in is pretty easy to use and shows up as a tool window that you can dock wherever you like. In the screenshot below, I have it docked at the bottom alongside the Output and Error List windows.To use…
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Adding VSTS-Users to VSTS-Tools Samples

API, Visual Studio Team Services
It’s been about two years since I originally created the VSTS-Tools project on GitHub. The original release had two command-line tools included with it:VSTS-Get – CLI to download a single file or entire folder tree from VSTS (only Git is supported at this time). VSTS-Keep – CLI to set (or remove) the “Retain Indefinitely” retention flag for a given build. Not only were the tools meant to be somewhat useful (I used them then and still use them today) but they were also meant to act as yet another set of examples on how you might make use of the Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) APIs.Recently, I posted some examples on how to get a list of VSTS users via API calls. For the sake of completeness, I have now…
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PSA: New MSAs Can’t Use Org. E-mail Addresses

Tips, VSTS
I just finished the post, Get a List of VSTS Users with APIs, which was inspired by some work I’ve been doing to prepare for migrating my organization’s VSTS accounts to be backed by Azure Active Directory (AAD). The reason we are doing this now is a) because we’ve waited way too long to do it and, b) because Microsoft has now imposed a deadline of March 30th when it will no longer allow Microsoft Accounts (MSAs) to be created with an e-mail address that is also an organizational ID (e.g. a Azure/Office 365 account).Straight from Justin Marks’ announcement:On September 15, 2016, the Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) team blocked the ability to create new Microsoft accounts using email addresses in domains that are configured in Azure AD. Many VSTS…
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Get a List of VSTS Users with APIs

API, VSTS
So, I’ve recently been preparing to switch our organization’s VSTS accounts over to be backed by Azure Active Directory and I have a need to export a list of all VSTS users within our accounts. After getting some assistance from the Visual Studio product group (thanks!) I was able to make use of the Member Entitlement Management API for VSTS. Since it’s been a while since I’ve done a VSTS API post I thought I’d share how to get a list of VSTS users (and other related information) using this API.PostmanPreviously, I’ve used Fiddler to quickly test API calls. In this post, I will use Postman to do the same. While Fiddler has some great features I like the simplicity of Postman’s user interface. If you’ve not used Postman, I…
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Change Image Size in VSTS Wiki

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I came across this on a mail list a short while ago and thought I would share it out…If you’ve been making use of the Wiki feature within VSTS then you already know how useful it is for providing documentation, notes, etc. in a centralized location for your VSTS projects. If you haven’t tried the Wiki feature out yet, you really should!The Wiki utilizes markdown syntax to provide you with some basic text formatting features such as bold, italics, underline, bullets, numbered lists, etc. It also provides some basic syntax for visualizing images. For example, the following is markdown syntax for displaying an image:![api.png](.attachments/api-6c96846f-6a2f-4ad3-9a5e-5d96071cfbbb.png)[Side note: the GUID-looking image filename is due to me dragging and dropping an image file out of Windows Explorer directly into the Wiki.]When the image is…
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Roadmap to Enterprise Quality

Conferences, Quality
For the past few years I have attended the Farm Credit IT Symposium. This years’ symposium was held last week in Austin, TX where I had a chance to present on a couple of topics. One of my talks was titled Roadmap to Enterprise Quality. The description for the presentation is as follows:In this presentation you will learn how Farm Credit Services of America/Frontier Farm Credit transformed their quality practices and tooling to bring visibility and consistency to Enterprise Quality, including: testing as a team approach, creating an automated test architecture, measuring progress with dashboards and standardizing on a set of testing tools.If you’re reading this blog post there is a decent chance you are somehow involved in software development. One of the key concerns with software development is that…
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