Build Status Badge for TFS and Visual Studio Online

With the new Markdown support in Visual Studio Online you can easily create a great project Wiki with information relevant to your team. One nice thing to have there is the build status(es), which for instance the AppVeyor build system provides as a small image – a build badge. Here’s how that could look in a Wiki page:

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Adding the build badge is done by simply including an image element in the Markdown page:

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I really like how easy it is to create mashups of different services to visualize data for the team using Markdown.

As for the build badge I think this is something that would be nice to have included in the product, if you think so too, vote on the following UserVoice suggestion:

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But until that eventually happens we can always solve it ourselves. So what is needed to do this? It’s actually really simple, just write a service that looks up the build status and returns an image containing the badge.

In this example I’ve solved it by implementing a standard ASP.NET MVC application. I’ve used a controller that accepts a team project and build definition name as query string arguments:

http://<server>/build/badge?teamProject=<team-project>&buildDefinition=<build-definition>

for example;

http: //s-labtfs.cloudapp.net:9000/build/badge?teamProject=FeaturesInc&buildDefinition=FeaturesInc.CI

This request will return a .png image like this:

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Ok, so how did I do this? Let’s look at the code.

To make it easy to generate the badge I’ve created 150×30 px images to draw the image. The Images folder contains a couple of images like the one below, which we’ll then draw the status text on.

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The code to generate a badge image is implemented as a MVC controller action. The code below gets the details from the latest build, draws the badge image and finally returns it as an image/png stream as the result:

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GetBadgeDetails is a small helper function to give us the data to render on the badge image:

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Finally the DrawRoundedRectangle renders the bounding rectangle for the badge:

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To get the build data we need a couple of references to TFS:

  • Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Build.Client.dll
  • Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Client.dll

The code to get the TFS build details is as simple as this:

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That’s all. Build and deploy to your favorite IIS server and you’re ready to start serving build badges for your team!

Download the complete sample here.

Use Visual Studio Online + Markdown as your Wiki

With the latest deployment of VSO a bunch of great improvements for content editing was released. Take a look at http://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/news/2014-dec-17-vso for the complete list of additions.

The feature I’m most excited about in this update is the “Quick code editing” tools. With these changes we now have decent in-place editing capabilities in the VSO Web UI. It’s easy to add (new or upload) and edit files.

One thing I’ve been waiting for is the ability to use VSO for my team documentation in a Wiki-style way. Now the enchanced editing tools and the fact that VSO supports Markdown files I can finally do this in a good way. All my content is conveniently stored in version control, which makes authoring (using any tool) very easy. And I’ve got complete tracability as well, something that can be very useful when managing this kind of dynamic content.

Here is a quick walk-through just to show how easy it is to get started.

Add a welcome page

First we need to create a start page. Switch to the Welcome page on the VSO home page. Initially you will get a default page with an instruction on how to get started.

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Click the Edit button and you will switch to the Markdown editor for the README.md file. In the example below I’ve added some initial content, including a link to the backlog for the team.

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Use the preview tool to check out the layout before saving.

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When you are happy with the page, save it and the README.md file will be added at the top-level in your repository.

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Add content

Now with the start page in place it’s easy to add more content. If you add links to sub-pages you will get the option to automatically create them just like the welcome page.

Note: it’s a good idea to create a structure for your documents, in this case we’ll add the dev-handbook.md in the docs folder in source control.

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Saving the README.md file now gives you a link to a page that doesn’t yet exist.

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Click the link and you can add the page the same way as we did for the welcome page. When you have saved the file it also creates the folder structure for you:

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Add images

Another nice feature in this VSO deployment is the ability to add files to version control directly from the web UI. This allows us to quickly add additional content, like for instance images, to the page. Select the node to add content to, right-click and select Add Files…

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Next you can add new or existing items to that folder, in my case I’ll be adding a logo to our wiki.

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I want the image on the welcome page so next I’ll edit the README.md file again and add a Markdown link to the image I’ve just uploaded to the repository.

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Save the file and look at how nice the wiki looks with the image inplace.

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Using external tools

If you want a richer editing experience then you can use any Markdown tool to author the content. The only big difference is that you need to sync the files in the repository yourself. But if you are a developer then using a TFVC or Git client is nothing new so that shouldn’t be a challenge. In the example below you can see what it looks like editing using MarkdownPad.

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Happy editing!

TFS Work Item Tags Admin Tool

With the latest updates to TFS and Visual Studio 2013 it’s pretty conventent to use Tags on work items. But there are still a few quirks, like for instance that there is no tool to rename or delete a Tag in the UI (yes, there are APIs for it but obviously not a great option for managers, stakeholders and the likes). Unused tags are automagically removed from the list after a few days so for the patient user at least there’s an option.

But to help us with less patience I’m happy to see that fellow MVPs Tarun Arora and Utkarsh Shigihalli have built a Visual Studio extension that’s now been released to the Visual Studio gallery.

Get the extension here.

Tech Days 2014 – Continuous Delivery (SWE)

Tack ni som kom på min presentation på Tech Days! Det var kul att se det stora intresset för Continuous Delivery, något som jag känner är ett av de mest intressanta tillskotten inom software engineering eller utvecklingsprocesser under senare år. Rätt tillämpat kan det göra stor skillnad i hur snabbt man kan leverera sin produkt med bibehållen (eller förbättrad!) kvalitet.

Presentationen från sessionen finns nu uppe på SlideShare här.

För er som var intresserade av koden från projektet jag använde som demo så kan ni ladda ner den här.  Det är en komplett lösning med de olika komponenter och script som jag använde under presentationen. Jag kommer skriva en post här inom kort som går igenom lösningen steg för steg och visar hur man kan sätta upp en CD process som bygger, paketerar, deployar och testar.

PodCast: Vad kan man göra i Visual Studio Online? (SWE)

Förra veckan hade jag och Joachim Rossberg förmånen att vara med i Dag Königs Podcast-serie. Ämnet? Såklart något ALM-relaterat, denna gång pratade vi om Visual Studio Online (VSO) och vad denna molntjänst erbjuder oss som utvecklar mjukvara. Lyssna in på http://www.buzzfrog.se/index.php/2014/11/dev-cast-88-vad-kan-man-gra-i-visual-studio-online/ så får du höra vad vi kom fram till.