Blog Categories


Posts Tagged ‘Visual Studio’

Azure DevOps: Scale Out Your Build System

Azure_LogoEvery developer knows that builds are an integral piece to the Application Lifecycle. Using an automated build and testing process will help speed the time to market for your application. Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server offers a number of features to help with this process.

To use Team Foundation Build for automated building and testing of your app, you must first set up a build server, add a build controller and a few build agents, and finally designate a drop folder. If you have a small start-up team working on a new project, you can probably deploy all these build system components on a single computer in a few minutes. As your team and your code base grow, you can expand your build system incrementally, with relative ease.

If you work on a small team with an on-premises Team Foundation Server, consider this topology: Read the rest of this post »

Ignite 2015 – DevOps Strategy, Visual Studio Online Announcements

ignite mainFor my first session at Microsoft Ignite Conference 2015, I chose DevOps as a Strategy for Business Agility by Brian Harry, Microsoft Technical Fellow and he serves as the Product Unit Manager for Microsoft Team Foundation Server. I must say, it was a great choice.

Brian kicked off this amazing session with only a few, very short slides, explaining the benefits of DevOps and apologizing that the title was not completely accurate. Brian did discuss the strategy and why DevOps is extremely important, however he understood his audience was much more interested in all things Visual Studio Online and Team Foundation Server.

(If you want to know more about DevOps and how it can help transform your business, email me)

As head of the TFS team, Brian is in a unique position to share how he manages his team and runs his development life cycle. Read the rest of this post »

Top 10 Announcements from Build 2015 Keynote on Day 1

The 2015 BUILD Conference kicked off today, and today’s keynote was packed full of TONS of announcements and new information. Some of these things are going to be released sometime this year, but some of it has also been released to be available today! Even though you can watch the Build 2015 Day 1 Keynote anytime online, I thought I’d compress it down to the points I think are the most significant.

Keep in mind, this isn’t a full list of everything announced. Honestly, you have to watch the keynote to get everything.

Visual Studio Code for OSX / Linux / Windows

Visual Studio Code Announcement
This is exactly what it looks like, a lite version of Visual Studio that runs on ANY operating system you want. As of today, Visual Studio isn’t only on Windows anymore.

Visual Studio Code can be downloaded today, here:

Windows Holographic Platform


The Windows Holographic Platform is the platform behind the hardware that is HoloLens; Microsoft’s Augmented Reality glasses/headset. This is some super innovative technology that has the potential to fundamentally transform the way we use computers. The HoloLens was first announced a few months back, but today Microsoft shed a little more light on the technology surrounding it:

  1. HoloLens applications are built as Universal Windows Apps and distributed through the Windows Store
  2. HoloLens is stand alone and doesn’t require a phone or PC to use
  3. Any Universal Windows App can be placed / overlaid on your wall, refrigerator, or what ever you want within your space

Universal Windows Apps = 1 Platform & 1 Binary


Universal Windows App will allow for developers to build a single application and distribute that application as a single binary that will run on any device that runs Windows 10; including: phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, Xbox, HoloLens and IoT (Internet of Things) devices.

Universal Apps built with Web, .NET, Win32, Java, C++ or Objective-C


This one is a handful of awesome! The tooling for building Universal Windows Apps will support the ability to write Universal Windows Apps with .NET, Win32, C++, Java, Objective-C and web technologies (html/javascript). You’ll be able to share code between Android and/or iOS with your Universal Windows Apps!

Web Apps as Universal Windows Apps

Web apps will be able to be registered in the Windows Store so that they run on Windows 10 as if they are a native Universal Windows App.

Android App Support

Windows 10 will have a Android based sub-system that will allow for Android apps to be packaged up and distributes through the Windows Store. This is to make it extremely simple to take an existing Android app or Android Java code and reuse it to target the Windows 10 Platform.

One thing to note about the Android sub-system is that it will run the apps within a sandboxed environment, so the system can be kept safe and secure.

Windows Store for Business


The Windows Store will be able to be customized by companies and schools who wish to customize the apps listed.

Windows Phone as Desktop Replacement

Functionality was announced with a demo of using a Windows 10 Phone as a desktop computer by connecting an HDMI monitor/tv with Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Universal Windows Apps run on the phone as normal, but when you connect a monitor/keyboard/mouse you can use the apps as if you’re on a desktop computer.

Microsoft Edge Browser


The Microsoft Edge Browser was announced as the official name of the new web browser from Microsoft that was formerly known as Project Spartan. This is a browser that is “built for doing” by integrating built-in note taking and sharing. The Edge browser will also include support for Browser Extensions built with standards based JavaScript and HTML.

New Azure SQL Database Features


There are a few new features being introduced to Azure SQL Databases:


This was a very exciting day to kick start a very exciting week for Microsoft and the Windows platform! There is so much more in the Build 2015 Day 1 Keynote than I could list here. If you’re interested, I encourage you to go watch/listen to the full keynote over on Channel 9.


Image Credits: The images above were taken from screenshots of the keynote video.

SharePoint 2013 – Is Access 2013 the New InfoPath?

If you were at the SharePoint conference this year in Las Vegas, you probably saw the InfoPath Funeral procession through the vendor pavilion.  If not here is a clip:


We have known for quite some time Microsoft isn’t putting a large effort into InfoPath and in fact “… InfoPath 2013 is the last release of the desktop client, and InfoPath Forms Services in SharePoint Server 2013 is the last release of InfoPath Forms Services. The InfoPath Forms Services technology within Office 365 will be maintained and it will function until further notice.” according to this blog post by the Microsoft Office Team.

In addition, Microsoft is researching new technologies which will replace the current form technologies so they can provide a device independent platform.

But the question many of us have is “How do I choose the right tool” to create web based forms using technologies available right now?  Do we abandon InfoPath, and if so, what do we choose?

For the past few months I have been trying out all the InfoPath alternatives to nail down a definitive answer, and I have come to realize the answer is not quite as simple and it is the inevitable “ depends”.  The reality is, that even though InfoPath is at its end of life for new development, it will continue to be supported for at least the next few versions of SharePoint in its current form.

To date, I have found there are several options available, and the form platform you choose is going to depend upon your environment, requirements, and application lifecycle.

Option A – Just keep using InfoPath

InfoPath is a great tool which allows for quick customization of a lists’ look and feel.  At the current time, InfoPath will be supported until at least 2023, so we can be reasonably assured that using InfoPath to make list forms look pretty and basic offline editing of a form will be safe and upgradable to the next releases of the SharePoint / Office 365 platforms.

Be warned, I have found that on some occasions InfoPath forms do not render well on Mobile devices and InfoPath does not support adaptive HTML design.  Further, advanced InfoPath form development does not upgrade as cleanly as you might hope.  Keep to the “KISS” rule – Keep It (InfoPath development) simple and stupid.

Reading the tea leaves, if you will, I would carefully and thoughtfully reconsider using InfoPath for mission critical applications (a simple form is not defined here as an ‘application’) and steer away from all new development of InfoPath deployed forms via Central Administration.  There are other tools available which are easier to implement, provide better scalability, and work seamlessly across mobile devices.

Read the rest of this post »

Create cross platform apps in C# with Xamarin

Xamarin and Microsoft have teamed up to make all other development platforms irrelevant.  Xamarin is the creator of popular cross platform development tools that allow developers to create iOS, Android and Windows applications all in C#.  With the launch of Visual Studio 2013, Xamarin and Microsoft announced a partnership that will significantly improve the experience of developing, maintaining and updating apps written for any of the major popular platforms (iOS, Android, Windows).

xamarinSome of highlights of this partnership include Portable Class Libraries, Visual Studio integration, Azure Mobile Services integration and licensing discounts with free training for all MSDN Subscribers.

Portable Class Libraries (PCL) are libraries of code that can be used in any of your projects.  PCL’s have made cross platform development easier than ever before.  By using PCL’s you can keep the specific platform code within their respective projects and keep the bulk of your logic within the PCL.  Using this method will speed up development, code maintenance and bug fixing considerably.

Previous to the Visual Studio 2013 partnership Xamarin came with its own cross platform development environment, Xamarin Studio.  While still very functional it was no Visual Studio.  Developers not familiar with Xamarin Studio would still have to take the time to re-learn the tools that were available to them.  Now with full Visual Studio integration developers can continue to use the tools they are already comfortable with as well as using the powerful Azure utilities when developing apps that require mobile services.

Windows Azure has become one of Microsoft’s fastest growing platform.  It has been experiencing 100% year over year growth and just announced it has been gaining 1,000 new customers per day!  Microsoft has built templates specific for Xamarin iOS and Xamarin Android apps so developers can simply download project templates with sample code prepopulated and making API calls to Azure!  Creating mobile services has never been easier.  For more information on this process, please visit this link.

The final point is one I’m considerably excited about.  Along with the Microsoft partnership Xamarin also introduced Xamarin University.  For .NET developers that would like to learn more about mobile development Xamarin University is a great place to look.  It provides live online classes, tutorials, labs and a certification exam.  If you are an MSDN subscriber you have access to Xamarin University for free!  A value of over $1400!!!  So sign up while there is still space.  Class starts January 20th!

Visual Studio 2013 Release Candidate available

A little over a year since the release of Visual Studio 2012 (VS2012) and we already have a release candidate for Visual Studio 2013. If your interested in the Virtual Launch keep up to date on the event page, you can also download the Release Candidate. You can install it over the preview and along with VS2012. Along with this you can also download the Windows 8.1 RTM.

Visual Studio already has a lot of integration with Windows Azure. Though there are a few new features as well. A new Cloud Business App template utilizing LightSwitch that can work with Office 365. Integration with the Windows Azure Mobile Services. Additional diagnostics to measure energy consumption.

What do you think of the rate of release for Visual studio and other products?

By the way, if you need a Windows Azure subscription, here is the link for a free trial.

Previews on Windows Azure

The velocity of release for Microsoft development and infrastructure products can be at times overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to keep up. Microsoft has done something to help reduce the time to get the new offerings up and running. On Windows Azure they provide several pre-configured images to allow you to get started using the new offerings in minutes.

Read the rest of this post »

Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 Released to MSDN

It’s a very exciting day for Microsoft today as they release the RTM versions of both Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 to MSDN – Official communication came from the Windows App Developer Blog, here. Both releases are pivotal to Microsoft’s core business and will truly change the way that people interact with their desktop… I’m sorry device. As well as the way that developers create software.

Microsoft has bet the farm on Modern UI (the UI formerly known as Metro) and for good reason. The refreshed UI is not only beautiful and functional it separates Microsoft from its competition. No other platform developers are changing such key functionality like the Start Menu (Windows Button?) something users have known since 1995. Nothing is safe in this day of change and Microsoft recognized that just because something works, does not mean it is the right answer. The new UI may take a little getting used but after you use Windows 8 for a few hours tell me you miss that dated Start Menu and I’ll make sure to find Clippy to help you navigate Windows 8.

Joking aside, it’s a new day and it’s time for a new way to interact with your device. The next few months will be exciting as the new UI is released to the masses. I know that this release will go down in history for positively impacting the way that we interact with our Microsoft devices – desktops, laptops, PC, phones, and tablets.

Installation and Verification steps for SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services in Tabular Mode


If you are new to SQL Server 2012 like me, you might run into some issues when you are trying to create some Tabular Model projects.A Tabular Model is simply a new type of server mode in SQL Server 2012. It utilizes a new storage mode known as the Vertipaq storage engine that enables higher compression rates by storing and compressing data across columns. The columnar compression enables faster response times when the data is less variable in a given column as oppose to the variability that is present in rows.

A Tabular Model can be created using various data sources inside Visual Studio to create a single model for all end user experiences.


It can then be deployed to SQL Server Analysis services database and utilized for reports in PowerView in addition to the traditional Excel, PowerPivot and SQL Server Reporting services.

However when I first installed the application and tried to build a Tabular Model I received an interesting error, you might encounter this error as well:


The error read, “You cannot open the BIM file.Reason:The workspace database server “localhost” is not running in VertiPaq mode.”

Essentially we are all used to installing SQL Server 2008 R2 with only one option for Analysis Services. Primarily this mode is used for Data mining and Multi-dimensional OLAP cubes. When installing SQL Server 2012 I encountered this issue because I failed to realize that the new version requires us to install the Analysis services component in “Tabular Mode” in addition to the traditional Data mining and OLAP mode as a separate installation.

I simply had to insert the installation media and follow the same steps.However, when it came to the portion where I install Analysis Services I chose “Tabular Mode” this time.


After completing that step I simply went into my Project and was now able to create a model file successfully.

Another way I was also able to verify my installation was successful was by logging into SSAS using the instance name for my installation on SSAS Tabular Mode (PBTABULAR) and see the databases which are built as part of the model creation in SQL Server Management Studio.


Email Received Event Receiver Requires a SharePoint Timer Reset

While working with a couple different types of event receivers in Visual Studio 2010, I noticed an inconsistency between the ‘item added/adding events’ and the ’email received’ event receiver in terms of deployment from Visual Studio.When deploying from Visual Studio via the F5 key everything worked as expected with the item added/adding events.This is also true for the latter, but only upon the very first deployment.I made a few minor changes to my code, redeployed the event receiver (which includes an automatic IIS reset), and discovered no changes had been made.The original code from the first deployment of the ‘Email Received’ event receiver was firing instead.

After doing some researching I learned that the ‘SharePoint 2010 Timer’ contains it’s own cached copy of the original dll. An IIS reset alone will not update the Timer’s cache.The solution is to restart the SharePoint 2010 Timer service after each IIS reset. This will refresh the timers cache with the most current assembly.

The blog below contains some great tips on debugging SharePoint Timer jobs.


Posted in News and Events