Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Drag and drop your way to team collaboration

Lately I find myself explaining more and more how to use version control to non-developers. Teams implementing DevOps often ask me the question how the operations people can store their scripts and other stuff in version control. They don’t have Visual Studio installed and have no idea what a checkin/checkout is.

Previously, I showed them tools like Team Explorer Everywhere and the Team Foundation Server Power Tools (for the Explorer integration!). This works but it’s not ideal.

Recently I was at a conference where Martin Woodward had a talk on how Microsoft implemented Agile and DevOps. One of the things he showed was a very small end of sprint video he created. In that video I saw a new feature that I didn’t know existed!

Meet Drag and Drop


What if someone from the operations team could just drag and drop his scripts into the Web UI of TFS. What if this drag and drop would be smart enough to know when to add an item or update an existing one. And what if this functionality would allow you to do all of this without installing anything.

Well, that functionality is here! At the time of writing this only works on Visual Studio Online but you can expect it to move to on-premises with one of the future updates.
Let’s say you have an empty TFVC project shown in your browser and a PowerShell file on your computer.

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Now all you have to do to add the file to your project is drag and drop it to the right part of your code view in the browser.

Note: dropping it in the left part (the tree view of your code) won’t add the file!

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And voila! A new dialog where you can add a file (or multiple files), leave a comment and commit everything in one go.

If the file already exists, VSO will recognize this and replace the file with a new version. This will keep your history in tact and make sure that you don’t end up with things like MyScript1.ps1, MyScript2.ps1.

This also works when you have a Git repository. The only difference is that you first need to push something to VSO before you get the actual Code Explorer. After this, you can drag and drop all you want. This will do a commit and push in one go.

How about deleting a file?


Have you ever had to map a workspace or clone a repository only to delete a file and commit the change? That’s over now. In the Web UI you can also right click a file and select Delete.

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After hitting Delete you can add a comment and push your change to VSO.

Obviously this is not the next big thing for VSO but I find this feature very handy and I’m definitely going to show it to IT people, designers and others who want a quick and easy way to work with version control.

What you think? Do you know of any other features that are still in the unknown? What’s your favorite VSO feature? Please leave a comment!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What do you want to know about ALM?

Have you ever visited an Ask The Experts event? For those of you who haven’t, ATE are session held at events where you can connect to experts in certain areas and ask the question you want.

For example, at a recent event I spoke at I also did an ATE session. People could just walk in and ask questions. I received questions about optimizing build performance, choosing a branching strategy and the idea behind Release Management and Continuous Deployment just to name a couple.

I did this event together with Hassan Fadili and after that we discussed if it would benefit the community to run ATE sessions online as a webinar.

ATE with the ALM Rangers and MVPs

So we want your feedback. Do you think it’s valuable to have online ATE events around ALM, DevOps and Agile?

We think the best way to find out is to just get started.

If you have any questions around ALM please leave them as a comment on this post. We will collect all questions and then schedule  an online Webinar where Hassan and I and other experts will answer your questions.

One important thing to understand is that we can’t discuss anything that’s under NDA. So questions like when is feature x going to be released? When is the next version of TFS or Visual Studio coming? are not going to be answered.

If there is enough response, we would love to host these sessions once a month for about 30 minutes each time.

So now it’s up to you. If you have any questions or feedback please leave them as a comment. When the questions start to come in we will schedule our first webinar and invite you all to join.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Learning Git

As you may have noticed: Team Foundation Server not only supports TFVC but also supports Git. Now the big question is: why? Microsoft says that TFVC is not going away but that there are scenarios where one or the other is a better choice.

I’m by no means a Git expert so after reading a very interesting email discussion within the ALM Rangers on Git I realized I need to know more about Git.

So here are a couple of links to get you started if you want to learn Git:

Is Git going to be the future? I don’t know. But Git is definitely popular in some circles and an extra tool in your belt is always a good idea.

What is your take on Git? Do you like it? Use it? Hate it? How have you learned to use Git?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My favorite books: The Phoenix Project

Have you ever read a computer book that was a real page turner? Well, although I love to read, reading technical books is mostly not a real page turner event.
But the Phoenix Project is different! While working with the ALM Rangers on a new project, Sam Guckenheimer mentioned the Phoenix Project as a great book so I ordered my copy and couldn’t stop reading.

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win



The Phoenix Project is a novel about a company that, if you work in the IT or in a company that uses IT (so practically everyone) will recognize.

It shows the struggles of Parts Unlimited to keep up with competition in a world that keeps changing. In the end, Parts Unlimited adopts a DevOps way of working and learns quite while implementing it.

What I found surprising about this book was how much I can relate to everything that’s happening. You almost feel the pain of another deployment going wrong or a manager trying to push his little side project to the top of the line.

And then you see how they turn things around and you start feeling better.


If you work in an IT company that resembles the way Parts Unlimited works, this book is a must read. Not only for yourself but for your manager and every other person in your company.

Now the interesting question is, how can you apply all the principles from this book while working with products like Visual Studio, Team Foundation Server and Azure but that’s for another blog Winking smile

Have you read the Phoenix Project? Did you like it? Or do you know of similar books that are worth reading? Please leave a comment!