ALM Rangers Lab Management Guide v1 Released!

This week there’s been lots of celebration for the Visual Studio ALM Rangers! Today the project site for the Lab Management Guide went live, which is really exciting. Now there’s finally a comprehensive document available that describes the many details of using the TFS Lab Management tools. Having worked with the project and the product for a good while I’m really happy to see this guidance come out.

So head over to the Rangers Lab Management Guide at Codeplex and take a look!

The v1 release contains the following:

The content is packaged in 3 separate zip files to give you the choice of selective downloads. The default download is the first of the listed packages:

  • Guidance, which includes scenario based practical guidance and frequently asked questions.

  • Hands-on Labs (HOL), which includes the HOL documents that provide walkthroughs of the technology, based on the guidance

  • HOL Package, which includes a HOL environment setup package which allows you to setup the HOL environment in your own environment

The Epics included in the guidance are:

  • Epic – Visualisation of the guidance using quick reference posters
  • Epic – Advanced golden image management using the VM Factory for Lab Management
  • Epic – Provide guidance on setting up Test environments with respect to pre-defined personas
  • Epic – Provide Guidance to enable large and small teams to setup and configure both automated and manual tests
  • Epic – Provide practical guidance for managing and maintaining a Lab Management environment
  • Epic – Provide practical guidance to enable teams to quickly setup and configure their lab management environment

Just Released: ALM Rangers Build Customization Guide

The Visual Studio ALM Rangers, which I’m a proud member of, today released v1.0 of a new set of guidance for TFS 2010 Build Customization. This is a project that has been under development for quite some time and includes lots of great material related to build management using the TFS 2010 build system. We’ve tried to focus on real-life scenarios so I think this guide will contain stuff interesting to anyone working with TFS builds.

If you just want to go and get the release then get it from the Rangers Build Customization Guide at Codeplex.

And for those interested in more about what’s in the release, here’s the overview from the project site:

The solution is divided in separate packages to give you the choice of selective downloads. The default download is the first of the listed packages:

  • Guidance contains scenario based practical guidance, frequently asked questions and quick reference posters
    • Selected PDF contains guidance and quick reference posters in PDF format only.
    • Complete contains guidance, quick reference posters and localization files in all available formats.
  • Hands-on Labs (HOL) includes:
    • HOL documents that provide walkthroughs of the technology, based on the guidance
    • HOL Package contains a HOL environment setup package allowing you to setup the HOL environment in your own environment
    • BRDLite Build Process Reference Template walk-through.
  • Samples contains sample build process templates used by the team as part of the guidance.
  • Videos which showcase the guidance in quick 5-10min videos.

The Epics included in the guidance are:

  • Practical guidance and tooling to simplify the customization of Team Foundation Build
  • Practical guidance to use Team Foundation Build process templates to automate build and non-build scenarios in Microsoft environments
  • Practical guidance to enable simple and flexible deployment of applications and their data stores
  • Practical guidance for Activities to empower developers and build engineers
  • Quality hands-on labs that complement the guidance and effectively guide the user through the features
  • Visualization of the guidance using quick reference posters

How to create a new project for the TFS Build Extensions

If you’ve been working with TFS 2010 build workflows you might have come across a community-developed set of custom activities on Codeplex called the Community TFS Build Extensions. This is a great add-on to the built-in activities but the documentation is still under development so starting to work with the activities can be a bit more work that necessary.

The steps below should help you get create a new .NET project for developing custom build templates with the TFSBE activities:

  1. Download and extract the latest Community TFS Build Extensions release.
  2. Create a new Workflow Activity Library.
    clip_image001
  3. Make sure target framwork is set to .NET Framework 4
    clip_image002
  4. Add a reference to System.Drawing
  5. Add references to Microsoft Team Foundation Server assemblies:
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\ReferenceAssemblies\v2.0\Microsoft.TeamFoundation.dll
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\ReferenceAssemblies\v2.0\Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Build.Client.dll
    • C:\Windows\Microsoft.Net\assembly\GAC_MSIL\
      Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Build.Workflow\v4.0_10.0.0.0__b03f5f7f11d50a3a\
      Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Build.Workflow.dl
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies\Microsoft.TeamFoundation.TestImpact.BuildIntegration.dll
    • C:\Windows\assembly\GAC_MSIL\Microsoft.TeamFoundation.TestImpact.Client
      \10.0.0.0__b03f5f7f11d50a3a\Microsoft.TeamFoundation.TestImpact.Client.dll
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\ReferenceAssemblies\v2.0\Microsoft.TeamFoundation.VersionControl.Client.dll
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\ReferenceAssemblies\v2.0\Microsoft.TeamFoundation.VersionControl.Common.dll
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\ReferenceAssemblies\v2.0\Microsoft.TeamFoundation.WorkItemTracking.Client.dll
  6. Add references to TFS Build Extension components.
  7. Make a copy of the default build template and add it to the project.
  8. The completed solution should look something like this:clip_image003
  9. Open the template and add a new Tab to the Visual Studio Toolbox
  10. Select the new tab and choose to add new toolbox items
    1. Browse to the TFS Build Extension component you want to use and add the activities to the toolbox tab
  11. The new toolbox tab should list the selected activites:
    clip_image004
  12. Now you are ready to extend the workflow by adding new TFS Build Extension activities to the template!
    clip_image005 

A sample project with the above references added can be downloaded here: TFSBE.Template.zip.