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.…
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Connect(); 2017 – Day 1 Recap

Azure DevOps, Conferences, TFS, Visual Studio 2017, Visual Studio Code
Day 1Day 1 of Connect(); 2017 is in the books! If you didn’t get a chance to watch the live streaming event earlier today you can catch up on the various presentations and announcements here.There was a lot of exciting announcements made at Connect(); today. While I have no doubt missed several of them I have made an attempt to include most of the highlights below. If your favorite announcement isn’t in the list, please include it in the comments section below so we can all learn about it!Come back to the same location tomorrow at 11:00 AM EST to catch all the action of Day 2!AnnouncementsTFS/VSTS/DevOps Related Items (from Brian Harry’s blog)Team Foundation Server 2018 (final release). This release includes a lot of functionality, including:Mobile Work Item Experience -…
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Visual Studio 2017 – A lot of new goodness!

Visual Studio 2017
On March 7th, 2017, Microsoft officially launched Visual Studio 2017. There were a lot of new features announced in Visual Studio 2017 and several partner-related announcements as well. While this blog post does not cover everything announced (that would be a rather large post!) it does provide you with a taste of what is available. If you’re curious about everything else that was talked about, you can watch the keynote and other sessions online at the Visual Studio 2017 Launch site. One of the first things you might notice is that there is a brand new Visual Studio icon (as shown above). This makes it much easier to distinguish when you have multiple versions of Visual Studio pinned to your task bar. Plus, it’s always refreshing to see an updated…
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Connect(); 2016 – Announcement Recap

Azure, Azure DevOps, Conferences, Events, General News, TFS 2017, Visual Studio 2017, VSTS, Xamarin
The second day of Connect(); 2016 wrapped up today. While there is one more day left, it is dedicated to on-line training. This means that pretty much all the planned announcements have been, well, announced ;-)If you’ve been watching Connect(); over the past couple of days you have likely come to the realization that, wow!, there was a lot of stuff demoed and talked about and a TON of announcements! To help you sort through some of the announcements, I’ve attempted to capture most of the highlights and related links below. If you were too busy watching and digesting all the cool things Microsoft was demoing and talking about rather than taking notes, you’re in luck!While I doubt I was able to capture every single announcement in the list below…
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Visual Studio “15” Preview 5

Visual Studio, Visual Studio "15"
A little less than a week ago, Microsoft released Visual Studio “15” Preview 5. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the yet-to-be-named version of Visual Studio there are a ton of new features! While I’ve included the short list below you can check out the full list, including details, here.What’s New?New Installation ExperienceVisual Studio FeedbackVisual Studio IDELive Architecture Dependency ValidationDeveloper Command PromptDebugging and DiagnosticsVisual C++C# and Visual BasicF#R and Python ToolsJavaScript and TypeScriptXAML DiagnosticsVisual Studio Tools for Apache CordovaVisual Studio Tools for Universal Windows App DevelopmentXamarinNuGetDeveloper Analytics ToolsTeam ExplorerSQL Server Data ToolsOffice Developer Tools for Visual StudioVisual Studio Software Development KitAzure SDK for .NETWhile there are a lot of new features, the first difference you are likely to notice is the new install experience. In the new…
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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…
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Tulsa TechFest–Slides

API, Azure DevOps, Conferences, Extensions
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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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