My first impressions of the Azure hosted TFS 11

Background

Have you downloaded and created your own Windows 8 image yet? If not you should really do that, trust me you will love it especially if have a touch enabled laptop. You can easily do this in about 30-60 minutes if you follow my post here.

So last week was the big launch week during the Build event and Brian Harry announced a lot of great previews such as the Azure hosted TFS 11. You can read more about it in Brian’s post here.

As I’m a frequent reader of Brian’s blog I received the post immediately in my RSS reader and luckily for me I was quick enough create my own hosted instance of TFS 11 in Azure using Brian’s activation code.

The irony here is that I created my first hosted TFS 11 in Azure from my Android smartphone, talk about cloud power!

Metro style makes an entrance

The very first thing that stroke me was the sense of familiarity in the GUI and then of course it struck me, TFS 11 is Metro styled!

The Team Project overview with a nice Metro look and feel:

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A work item overview with a nice Metro look and feel:

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The Team concept makes an entrance

There is this long sought concept of a team in TFS 11 that I just started to play around with and it basically means that you can distribute work per team as the team have their “own” schedule, work items, backlog and homepage (landing page). You’ve Always been able to do this your self by manipulating Areas and Iterations but now it’s a first class citizen.

Create a team dialog:

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Assignment of areas to a specific team:

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Assignment of iterations to a specific team:

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Iterations with dates enters

As you can see above my first iteration (Sprint1) has a Start Date and an End Date which is also a really nice feature that I’ve been missing for ever. Thank you Microsoft for providing this in the box!

Then I found this Current Sprint folder in the Shared Queries section of Work Items and my guess is that there will be a job that automatically adjusts the Work Item Queries according to your dates. I haven’t been able to prove this yet, but I will update this section with my findings.

Showing Work Items section in the new Team Explorer:

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Search Work Items in Visual Studio makes an entrance

If you read my last post about finding stuff in TFS here you can see that I wanted a nice search for Work Items functionality directly in the IDE and now I have it. Great job! The nice thing about it is if you enter a Work Item ID that you know about Visual Studio will open it for you.

Entering a Work Item ID in the search field will get you that Work Item:

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Another great feature is that you can turn your searches directly to a Query with the Open as Query option as shown below.

Open as Query enables you to store your searches as queries:

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This is how far my explorations have taken me so far and will create more posts as I go along discovering more features.

Cheers,

Hugo

The easiest way to Install and Boot Windows 8 Developer Preview off a VHD (Virtual Hard Disk)

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This post provides the fastest way to get your Windows 8 Developer Preview booting off a VHD. If you’re interested in more details read my previous posts here, here and here.

  1. First of all download Windows 8 Developer Preview here.
  2. Download my script here.
  3. Select Properties on the zip-package and click on the Unblock button.
  4. Extract the zip-package to a folder of your choice.
  5. Mount Windows 8 Developer Preview with your favorite mounting tool, my favorite tool is Virtual Clone Drive you can find it here.
  6. Look for the file “install.wim” in your installation media and remember the path, in my case F:\sources\install.wim.
  7. Open a PowerShell command prompt with the run as Administrator option. You need to run the attached bat-file from a PowerShell console as an Administrator and not from the usual command prompt.
  8. Change directory to the directory where you extracted the zip-package.
  9. Before I show you how to use the CreateBootableVHD.bat file there is 2 important concepts that you need to know:
    • The third parameter in CreateBootableVHD.bat expects you to enter the type of VHD that you want to create. If you choose EXPANDABLE you will need to make sure that you have the specified amount of GB left for the VHD even though the VHD will be small at first.
    • CreateBootableVHD.bat will assign your bootable VHD a drive letter, it’s very important to use a FREE drive letter.
    • When you enter a drive letter make sure you don’t enter a colon after the letter i.e. X and never X:.
  10. Now you’re ready to use the CreateBootableVHD.bat-file like this:
    CreateBootableVHD_v2.bat
    <path where you like to store the VHD, doesn’t work on external drives>
    <size in MB>
    <type FIXED|EXPANDABLE>
    <drive letter assigned to the VHD>
    <path to the wim-file, see number 6 above>

    Ex:
    .\CreateBootableVHD_v2.bat C:\VHD\Win8.vhd 80000 FIXED X F:\sources\install.wim.

Sit back and enjoy as the complete automated process of getting your copy of Windows 8 Developer Preview bootable.

Hope you enjoy it!

Hugo