Controlling Preview Features in VSTS

Visual Studio Team Services
If you have signed in to Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) recently then you might have noticed a banner something like this one:In this case, it is letting you know that you can try out a new feature enabling an improved landing page experience for VSTS. If you enable this feature, you will get the new landing page experience the next time you navigate to the home page of your VSTS account.However, did you know that you can also disable preview features (while they are still in preview) as well as enable them? Adding to that, you can enable/disable preview features for your individual user account or all users within the VSTS account (assuming you have the appropriate permissions).To enable/disable features:First, click on your profile picture to display the drop-down…
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Connect(); 2016 – Announcement Recap

Azure, Conferences, Events, General News, TFS 2017, Visual Studio 2017, Visual Studio Team Services, 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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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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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