Team Foundation Server with Richard Erwin

Earlier this month, Richard Erwin gave a talk a presentation on the features of Microsoft Team Foundation Server.

This began with a demonstration of Lab Management, a tool which allows you to create a number of Hyper V Virtual Machines. These would typically be configured with different operating system and could be configured to mimic the setup of a typical n-tier solution with several servers. The building and deployment of a solution onto these machines can be automated and it allows you to easily test your solution under a set of different environments. More info can be found here:

Next, there was some discussion on the version control element of TFS. The features which were new to some of the group included gated check in and shelving. Shelving allows you to save changes onto the server without checking in your changes. For example, if it were necessary to divert off to another task whilst working on a file, the changes could be shelved into TFS and picked up again at a later stage. Gated check-ins can prevent the checking in of items which would break a build.

In terms of upgrading Source Safe to TFS, there are a couple of options available. The Microsoft VSSConverter tool is one option and the TFS Integration platform is another. In either case, it’s important to ensure that SourceSafe is in a clears and uncorrupted state by running the SourceSafe ‘analyse’ feature.

Richard also talked about the Coded UI testing features of Team System and demonstrated the testing of a web application. The actual test iteself can be created by recording the keystrokes of a user working in a web browser. Assertions can be added by highlighting sections of the screen using the mouse. For example, if items are added to an online shopping cart, an assertion can be placed on the order total. 

In future tests, the automated tool can play back the recording and perform the assertion against the order total. If the values don’t match up, there is the ability to create screen shots and videos and to save the Intellitrace details for the session (Intellitrace allows you to perform historical debugging and is a great debugging feature). Actionable bugs can then be created and assigned to users. The biggest advantage of all of this is that it solves the problem of developers being unable to reproduce the problems that are found by testers.

For those with MSDN subscriptions, TFS2010 is now included making it easier to test out the features in this new release.

Many thanks to Richard for an interesting presentation and for those interested, he is also involved in organising various LiveMeeting events which can be found here:


About dotnettim

Tim Leung is a Microsoft .Net / SQL Server developer based in England.
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