Tuesday started with a good conversation with a member of the SQL Server Replication Services team over breakfast. I love sitting down at a table with someone in a blue Microsoft shirt and asking what they work on.
I was too late to bother with the first session of the day, so I headed over to the Hands on Labs. I started a session on the new Acropolis application framework. This was a totally new technology to me, so I spent most my time reading the manual. I saved my partial session for later resumption.
There were lots of great sessions to choose from, but I settled on Joel Semeniuk’s “Best Practices for Team-Based Software Development.” Joel is an excellent speaker with lots of great insight to share on this topic. The room was packed, and I sat on the floor, but it was worth it. I’ll be sharing the slides from this session as soon as I return to the office.
I grabbed my lunch in a take-out box, and headed to a Birds of a Feather sessions called “Exiting the Zone of Pain: Static Analysis with NDepend.” This was an interesting discussion on a topic I was familiar with, code profiling metrics, and a tool I was not familiar with.
It was during this lunch session that I bumped into Cam Soper for, at least, the fourth time. It’s obvious that Cam has excellent taste in parties and sessions. This time, we finally exchanged business cards.
I tried to attend Joel’s interactive discussion after lunch, but it was packed again. My Acropolis session from the morning took too long to resume, so I took the opportunity to work on a Hands On Lab on WPF. I completed a couple of exercises, and enjoyed getting more familiar with the new GUI coding model. I’ll do more later.
For my last session, I attended “Developing Data Driven Applications Using the New Dynamic Data Controls in ASP.NET”, but I left just as it got started to deal with a weird technical difficulty. I’ll find out more about these new controls later. They look very interesting.
Shortly after lunch, I ran into Ken Levy, who has changed teams once again. He is now doing community development for Visual Studio extensibility. I promised to stop by later in the week to show him some extensibility I’ve been doing to bring VS features into VFP, and get his feedback.
In thinking about doing this demo, I realized that I didn’t have the Team Foundation Server client installed on my laptop. While I was sitting in afternoon sessions, I downloaded the client from Codeplex, and grabbed an ISO extractor from a Google search. I extracted the image and tried to install, but I kept running into missing files. I downloaded the 180 trial of TFS and performed the same routine with similar results.
After fighting the issue for half an hour, I realized that the people who wrote the installer were standing 50 feet away. I went over and asked for help, and received lots of it. In the end, it was Chris Menegay who determined that the ISO extractor I used, WinISO, was chocking on path lengths over a certain point, and couldn’t even read the files to extract them.
I felt humbled, but grateful to get back on track. When I got back to my room, later that night, I downloaded WinRar, extracted and installed without problems. Moral: don’t download unknown software you find on Google.
Once Chris identified my problem, he and I headed off to meet up with the rest of the Central Region group for our party. Drew Robbins put together a cool event at the Skyventure Orlando indoor skydiving attraction. I had never done anything like this before, and it was a blast. I couldn’t stop grinning.
What will tomorrow bring?
Bernardo Heynemann has put together the beginnings of what I’m sure will turn into a popular extension to Team Foundation Server.
Project BHAL merges Windows Workflow Foundation with TFS work item tracking to allow an organization to define a custom workflow tuned to their particular environment.
I have had requests for similar functionality, and I have written custom webservices to fire on certain WIT events. This approach is very attractive, because it allows for much more flexible configuration.
In a recent DotNetRocks episode, Joel Semeniuk was bemoaning the lack of exactly this sort of feature in the current version of TFS.
Good on ya’, Bernardo! I hope I can contribute once I get my production process template deployed, and all the users happy.
I enjoyed the chat with the TFS team today. I was able to get some feedback. It appears everything I want is slated for a future release.
Anyway, Heynemann was good enough to post a transcript for those of you that missed it: