If you have a Web application that will receive even moderate traffic, you should probably perform some load testing. Load testing can help identify what your maximum operating capacity is, as well as any bottlenecks that might prevent you from reaching that capacity. Now I’m not going to do a deep-dive into load testing, but instead I’m going to show you how to use Team Foundation Service to perform that testing in the cloud.

I’m only going to use a couple of tools here. First, I’m using Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate. If you don’t yet have it, you can download a trial here. Second, I’ll be using Team Foundation Service. If you haven’t yet signed up for this, you should. There is a free offering (for up to five users) and the sign-up is quick and painless.

Since I don’t already have a project with load tests, I’m going to quickly step through creating one that we’ll use for our demo. Read More…

Today I want to talk about a process we created for building out machines using Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) as part of our daily build process within Team Foundation Server (TFS).

As part of our nightly build process, we actually recreate the entire environment from scratch. We don’t use snapshots; we actually delete and provision a series of VMs. This may sound like overkill and I’ve seen other approaches that use snapshots and revert each night…and I think that’s great. Use what works for you. However, we wanted something that could not only exercise our code base, but also our scripts that we use for building our environment. In a way, this allows us to test both pieces at the same time.

At this point I should throw in the disclaimer that this blog post builds on one written by my colleague David Baber: Driving PowerShell With XML. We use the same XML-driven framework to build out our machines. In reality the process of removing and creating VMs is treated as just one “step” in our build-out process. Executions of other steps obviously follow, but this post is primarily concerned with standing up that environment. What happens next is up to you. Read More…

At AIS, we work with clients to help define the overall vision, scope and detailed requirements for the applications they want to build. I recently had the opportunity to work on a project where a client wanted to reach a new set of users through a Windows Store app that was based on an existing iPad app.

We had a very short timeline and limited budget to work with. That was the bad news… The good news was that we were able to use Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) — in this case the TFS 2010 version — in conjunction with Visual Studio 2012.  This gave us the opportunity to leverage new PowerPoint 2013 storyboarding stencils for defining the app’s User Experience (UX), and TFS for efficiently creating and managing our product backlog.  We also used Visio 2013 for visually defining the overall functional scope and high-level release plan for the app.

In this post, I’ll share how we used these tools to rapidly define the requirements for the app, and talk about some topics related to converting the iPad app information architecture to a Windows Store app information architecture. Read More…

On Dec 6th, Brian Keller published an updated version of his very useful virtual machine and the corresponding hands-on-lab / demo scripts for Visual Studio 2012 Update 1.

This virtual machine includes existing (but upgraded) labs from 2010, as well as labs based on new features (see screenshot below).

I thought it would be nice to simply upload the VHD directly to Azure Blob Storage and provision an Azure PersistentVM based on it. This is surely the easiest way to try all the new ALM features.  And it almost worked! Except that the firewall on the virtual machine is turned on. As a result, I could not RDP into the Azure-based machine.

Read More…

I have been trying lots of new things since I got on board with AIS. From MDX to PowerShell to MVC. My newest endeavor was Azure. I was initially intimidated by the amount of time I would have to spend getting to know the setup before I could do something simple on it, but I have to say it was about the easiest thing I’ve tried so far. Congrats to the folks at Microsoft for creating something so useful that “just works,” even if you are the person who always tries to make things too difficult (me).

I got my first website up and running on Azure in about one hour, including migrating my database. It was so easy I had to share a simplified version of my experience.

Read More…

I recently learned a trick for deploying a folder of report templates in TFS to a handful of development team folders: PowerShell.

Being new to PowerShell, I won’t attempt to explain its usefulness or much of its mechanics because those of you who know, already know. (And those of you who don’t know should definitely check it out.) Basically, PowerShell is a handy tool for performing batch tasks that might otherwise cause unsightly bald spots.

Read More…