Exporting an HTML Report From your VS/TFS Test Results

Exporting an HTML Report From your VS/TFS Test Results

Have you ever wanted to export your unit test results from Visual Studio or your TFS Build? Sometimes you may need to provide evidence of your unit testing position to a project stakeholder. This may be for an internal review or as part of a gateway check in a waterfall project. Alternatively you may just want to export your test results for storage later. Out the box Visual Studio provides the Test Results view which is a great tool for seeing the tests that passed/failed in a build, but it is in a custom file format (*.trx) and requires Visual Studio to view.

However I recently found this command line tool on CodePlex by ‘ridomin’ called trx2html which ‘does what it says on the tin’, it converts trx files to HTML. Using the command line, just pass the file path to your test results file for your solution or TFS Build (*.trx) to the trx2html.exe and out pops a fancy HTML report (example below).

trx2html

The tool is open source on CodePlex and so you can download the latest version from: http://trx2html.codeplex.com.

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Installing Team Foundation Server on Windows Home Server 2011

Installing Team Foundation Server on Windows Home Server 2011

Twelve months ago I wrote a post documenting “installing Team Foundation Server 2010 on Windows Home Server” which has proved very popular. Well things move on and since then Microsoft have released a new version of Windows Home Server (WHS 2011). There are many differences between V2 of WHS compared to V1 but the main points for the purpose of this post are that WHS 2011 is build on top of Windows Server 2008 R2 (compared to Windows Server 2003 for V1) and controversially the Drive Extender technology has been removed. Whilst Drive Extender was no doubt useful for storage pooling it did make installing applications like TFS a little concerning. As described in my original article I wouldn’t install an application or a SQL Server database into the Drive Pool (it just feels wrong to me and wouldn’t trust it) and I stick by this especially as it’s been suggested that one of the reasons for Microsoft  removing DE was due to it not playing nicely with enterprise applications that would be targeted for use on the new Small Business Server Essentials product range with which WHS 2011 shares it’s code. No DE means you can install TFS now to whichever drive wherever you like in WHS 2011, and the fact that it’s built on the excellent Server 2008 base means it benefits from stability and performance improvements this brings. I’ve not found any issues with TFS on WHS 2011 and don’t expect to (although its not supported so you install it at your own risk). I think that WHS 2011 will make an even better TFS server than WHS V1.

Other than the decision of where to install TFS due to DE, the installation instructions are the same as in my original post. After installation I recommend installing the TFS Power Tools and then configuring TFS backups as described in these posts: Backing Up TFS 2010 Using PowerShell: Part 1, Backing Up TFS 2010 Using PowerShell: Part 2 and Backing up TFS 2010 with new Power Tools Backup Plan.

01 06   12

The Case Of The Missing TFS Office Add-In

The Case Of The Missing TFS Office Add-In

This week my Team Toolbar Office add-in for Team Explorer disappeared preventing me from uploading any new Work items to Team Foundation Server. After some searching in Excel (and MS Project) I accepted it wasn’t just hiding and turned to Google for help. Luckily I found this helpful post on the Team Foundation Server Team’s MSDN blog:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/team_foundation/archive/2010/04/24/vs-2010-and-tfs-with-office-2003.aspx

In summary it tells you where on your machine the TFS Office Add-in is located for VS 2010 and VS 2008, e.g: “Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies\TFSOfficeAdd-in.dll” or “Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies\TFSOfficeAdd-in.dll”, and reminds you how to register/unregister these COM components, (i.e. regsvr32(/u) TFSOfficeAdd-in.dll).

I unregistered the VS 2010 add-in and registered the VS 2008 one (as I needed the 2008 based add-in) and “hey presto”, the Team Toolbar was back in Excel.

XML Error in TFS Power Tools Backup Plan

XML Error in TFS Power Tools Backup Plan

Whilst checking the Windows Event Log on my server I found this worrying error being reported by the Team Foundation Server Power Tools Backup & Restore Tool :

Error: Tfpt Backup Restore : There is an error in XML document (499, 100).

I posted an article about using this tool to backup your TFS server in September, and it has been successfully backing up daily since that time. The above error has been reported after every daily backup for the past few weeks it seems. It immediately follows an information event from MSSQL$SQLEXPRESS stating that the “Database has been backed up”. To investigate more I opened the TFS Admin Console on the server and clicked “Take Full Backup Now” whereby I got the same error interactively – well at least it’s consistent.

TFS Backup There is an error in XML document

From here you can open the log, and in that I can see it’s reporting that the BackupSets.xml file in the root of the backup target location is invalid:

[Info   @20:30:15.977] Backup Set Name Tfs_DefaultCollection database Backup
[Info   @20:30:15.977] Backup Set Description Tfs_DefaultCollection database – Full Backup
[Info   @20:30:15.977] Adding database Tfs_DefaultCollection to the backupset
[Error  @20:30:16.352] System.InvalidOperationException: There is an error in XML document (499, 100). —> System.Xml.XmlException: There is an unclosed literal string. Line 499, position 100.

On opening the file there appears to be nothing wrong with the XML as such but in my case it didn’t seem complete, as the last successful backup only detailed one entry not the usual two (*.bak and *.trn files). This file seems to be record of the backups as opposed to being core to the actual SQL backup process so I deleted/renamed the BackupSets.xml file and ran another full backup. This time it worked fine and a new BackupSets.xml file was created. It’s now running fine again.

Backing up TFS 2010 with new Power Tools Backup Plan

Backing up TFS 2010 with new Power Tools Backup Plan

At last – backup is built into the TFS product, well via the Power Tools at least. Backing up TFS has always been difficult and non-intuitive without a SQL DBA in your pocket, even the documentation is at best extensive but at worse confusing. But all that’s history as the September 2010 TFS Power Tools now includes a Backup plan feature.

Recently I have posted a few articles on backing up TFS 2010 using Windows PowerShell. The first involved backing up the all TFS SQL databases using PowerShell and SMO and can be found here: ‘Backing Up TFS Part-1’. the second covered an alternative strategy of backing up the latest content of your TFS repository and can found here: ‘Backing Up TFS Part-2’.

Brian Harry recently posted this article ‘Backing up and restoring your TFS server’ describing the new Backup Plan feature of the new release of the TFS Power Tools and this week the September 2010 TFS Power Tools were released. Brian’s posts provide all the details you need on installing and configuring a backup plan together with some screenshots.

I installed the updated Power Tools on my Windows Home Server (you must remove any previous versions manually first) running TFS and easily setup a backup plan:

TFSBackupInstallOption

I did hit one problem with it though. It seems that the feature is a little fussy on the target location of the backup files. The target must be a network share and the tool will attempt to apply the relevant access privileges to the folder for the scheduled job to be able to write the backups successfully. The tool verifies that the information you have supplied is accurate and it checks that a backup can run. My initial attempts to verify my backup plan failed at this point with the following error in the log:

Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.FailedOperationException: Backup failed for Server ‘servername\SqlExpress’.  —> Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Common.ExecutionFailureException: An exception occurred while executing a Transact-SQL statement or batch. —> System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException: Cannot open backup device ‘\\servername\backup\tfsbackups\Tfs_Configuration_20100911231343.bak’. Operating system error 5(failed to retrieve text for this error. Reason: 1815).

After some investigation and a helpful post from Dave Hunter I concluded that this was due to the permissions on the backup share on my Home Server. As that share is a WHS managed share it has specific security permissions that prevented the backup tool from asserting its authority and granting the relevant privileges. To circumvent the problem I created a new standard non-WHS share on my Home Server with minimal restrictions. Once I entered the new share’s details the backup tool verified the backup plan successfully and ran a backup fine. I then knocked up a simple RoboCopy script to copy the contents of the new backup share to my original intended WHS share target location on a daily basis via a scheduled task.

In summary I believe that this is a major step forward for TFS and will benefit many of the new users picked up since the introduction of the TFS Basic Configuration in TFS 2010, proving to be another nail in the coffin for Visual SourceSafe. I’d recommend any team still using SourceSafe or any other tool to take another look at TFS as it is definitely getting easier to manage than previously.

Backing Up TFS 2010 Using PowerShell: Part 2

Backing Up TFS 2010 Using PowerShell: Part 2

In my previous post (“Backing Up TFS 2010 Using PowerShell: Part 1”) I covered how to backup up the TFS SQL Server databases using Windows PowerShell and the SQL Server Management Objects (SMO) API. In this post I’m going to take it one stage further and add another layer of backup for the paranoid amongst you like me.

Backing up the databases is all well and good but I like to be able to see what I’m backing up too and there’s nothing quite like being able to see all your data on disk in its native format.  So to give me this extra warm fuzzy feeling I have written a PowerShell script to perform a ‘Get-Latest’ of all the source code in my ‘Team Project Collection’ in TFS and then copy those latest file versions to a backup location. By scheduling this activity to occur periodically through the week I see two key benefits. Firstly I can see that I have the data in a second place and that its in its native format (i.e. just plain files of source code, documents, images etc) which I can then backup and know that should I not be able to restore the SQL databases I will at least have the latest source files. The second benefit is that I have the ability to quickly access my source code (on the local machine or remotely) from another machine that may not have Visual Studio installed. This is useful if I just want to check something out and don’t need to modify the files.

I wanted this script to run on the server (in my case a Windows Home Server) and so to be able to perform a Get-Latest on TFS I needed to install ‘Team Explorer’ and setup a ‘Workspace’. Team Explorer is the standalone client required to interact with TFS Source code without Visual Studio. The Team Explorer setup package is included on the TFS installation media in the TeamExplorer folder. Browse to this and then run Setup.exe and keep the default values. This installs the Visual Studio 2010 shell, the TFS object model, Visual Studio Team Explorer 2010 and MS Help Viewer.

Next you need to setup a Workspace for the server using Team Explorer (via Start > All Programs > Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 > Microsoft Visual Studio 2010) and access the TFS server by adding the server in the normal way and go to ‘source control’. Select the top item in source control (in most cases ‘SERVERNAME\DefaulCollection’) and right click, “Map to local Folder”. Enter path of local folder on server and then it will ask if you want to get latest, say yes. You now have a workspace set up and you will be able to perform a manual or automated ‘Get-Latest’.

To automate the interaction with TFS and perform the ‘get’ you could use the TF.exe command line tool that installs with the Team Explorer setup. Personally as a PowerShell fan I’ chose to use the PowerShell cmdlets that come with the Team Foundation 2010 Power Tools. To use these you’ll need to download the power tools and run the tfpt.msi installation package. Choose custom and just choose the server specific items, in this case just the PowerShell cmdlets and the command line interface options (see screenshot).

powertolls

The basic flow of the script is configure the file paths required, import the Microsoft.TeamFoundation.PowerShell snap-in/module, and then call the ‘Update-TFSWorkspace’ cmdlet. This is the command to perform a Get-Latest on the workspace previously configured. The workspace folder you specify must match the local folder you specified earlier in Team Explorer. The next step is to use Robocopy to copy the files to the backup location. Robocopy is a superb file copy tool as it only copies changed files which significantly improves the speed of this procedure compared to using a standard file copy cmdlet. Once complete the log is passed to RoboCopyLogger (more about this in a future blog post) that scans the log for errors, and then we add an Event Log entry for success or failure.

Finally set up a Scheduled Task to configure this script to run automatically each week. If you were to use this script as is you would need to change the file paths, and use an Event Log Source that was relevant to your system (or just remove the Write-Eventlog call”).


clear-host
write-output "------------------------------------Script Start------------------------------------"
write-output " TFS Data Get-Latest Backup "
write-output "------------------------------------------------------------------------------------" 

# set file paths
$LocalWorkspaceFolder="c:\tempcode\tfsbackups\latestdata"
$RemoteBackupFolder="\\WinHomeSvr\Backup2\TFSBackups\LatestData"
$Robocopy="c:\scripts\Robocopy.exe"
$timestamp = Get-Date -format yyyyMMddHHmmss
$Log="c:\Scripts\Logs\TFSData\TFSLatestDataBackup_$timestamp.txt"
$RobocopyLogger="c:\Scripts\RoboCopyLoggerTweet_BETA\RobocopyLoggerTweet"

# set error action preference so errors stop and the trycatch kicks in
$erroractionpreference = "Continue"

try
{
    # add the TFS snapin to the session
    add-pssnapin Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Powershell

    # get latest on the top level workspace level
    Update-TfsWorkspace $LocalWorkspaceFolder -Force -Recurse

    # now robocopy the local cache to the final backup folder
    invoke-expression "$Robocopy $LocalWorkspaceFolder
                                        $RemoteBackupFolder /MIR /LOG:$Log /NP"

    # Copy the log files too
    invoke-expression "$Robocopy $Log $RemoteBackupFolder /MIR"

    # Check the log for errors etc and log to eventlog/twitter
    invoke-expression "$RobocopyLogger $Log 1"

    # write all events to the logs
    write-output "Writting SUCCESS to EventLog"
    write-eventlog -LogName "HomeNetwork" -Source "TFS Backups"
                              -EventId 1 -Message "TFS Data BackUp Script ran"
}
catch
{
    # error occurred so lets report it
    write-output "ERROR OCCURRED" $error 

    # write an event to the event log
    write-output "Writting FAIL to EventLog"
    write-eventlog -LogName "HomeNetwork" -Source "TFS Backups"
                               -EventId 1 -Message "TFS Data BackUp Script failed" -EntryType Error
}

write-output "------------------------------------Script end------------------------------------" 

Backing Up TFS 2010 Using PowerShell: Part 1

In a previous post I covered how to install Team Foundation Server 2010 onto a Windows Home Server. The installation was a TFS Basic Configuration installation and whilst it was geared towards Windows Home Server the concepts are the same if you are installing it on other servers / workstations. This post will cover how to backup the TFS databases. For backing up just the raw source files too check out Part 2 of this post.

Now, I am a healthily paranoid kind of guy and after installing TFS the first thing I decided to get right was a method to backup my new TFS installation to protect against data loss. I’m not going to sleep easy until I know that my source code is backed up in a solid repeatable manner. The backup tool of choice is Windows PowerShell due to the sheer power that this scripting shell provides.

Firstly its important to understand that Microsoft Team Foundation Server relies completely on Microsoft SQL Server for its data persistence. Therefore backing up TFS is just a matter of backing up the SQL Server databases in the TFS Data Tier. Usually, unless you are installing an enterprise TFS solution, the database will reside on the same server as the rest of the TFS installation. The number of databases that are created by TFS will vary depending on the number of ‘Project Collections’ you create in TFS. Therefore to avoid having to update your backup scripts each time you add or remove a collection in TFS and if your SQL Server instance is only used for TFS then its safer to just backup ALL the databases.

I strongly recommend that you read the TFS documentation on how to backup TFS and only use the information in this post as supplementary information, as backing up your data is a serious business and I’d hate for something to go wrong.

I used this excellent post from Donabel Santos as the inspiration for my PowerShell script and modified it to customise for TFS and to provide additional functionality. The SQL Server interaction is through the use of the SQL Server Management Objects (SMO) API which provides a rich collection of objects through which you can interact with your databases. PowerShell makes interacting with these objects easy.

The basic flow of the script is to connect to the SQL Server instance using the SMO objects and then loop through the collection of databases within that instance. We ignore the ‘TempDB’ database as backing up this is not required nor possible. We then backup the database to file, again using the SMO. Once all databases have been backed up to files we zip them up (using the excellent 7-Zip) and copy the zip file to a backup location. You don’t need to install the full 7-Zip package on your server as you can download a command line friendly version that just needs to be copied across to your server. The end of the script then records the success or failure of the transaction to the Event-Log.

Obviously if you were to use this script you would need to change the file paths, SQL Server Instance name, and use an Event Log Source that was relevant to your system (or just remove the Write-Eventlog call”).

clear-host
write-output "-------------------------------Script Start----------------------------------"
write-output " TFS SQL Database Backup "
write-output "------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"

# load modules used in this script
import-module -name C:\scripts\support\SupportModule -verbose

# load assemblies
[System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName("Microsoft.SqlServer.SMO") | Out-Null
[System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName("Microsoft.SqlServer.SmoExtended") | Out-Null
[System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName("Microsoft.SqlServer.ConnectionInfo") | Out-Null
[System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName("Microsoft.SqlServer.SmoEnum") | Out-Null

# create a new server object, and set backup path and timestamp info (they will share same timestamp)
$server = New-Object ("Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Server") "winhomesvr\SQLEXPRESS"
$timestamp = Get-Date -format yyyyMMddHHmmss
$SQLDataFolder = "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10.SQLEXPRESS\MSSQL\DATA"
$backupDirectory = "c:\tempcode\tfsbackups\sql\bkupdir"
$backupZipStore = "\\winhomesvr\backup2\tfsbackups\sql\Zipped\"
$backupRawDataZipStore = "\\winhomesvr\backup2\tfsbackups\sql\ZippedRAW\"
$7ZipExePath = "c:\Scripts\Support\7-Zip\7za"
$7ZipCmdLineForBkUps = $7ZipExePath + " a " + $backupZipStore + "TFSSQLBkup_" + $timestamp
                                 + ".zip " + $backupDirectory
$7ZipCmdLineForRawDataFileBkUps = $7ZipExePath + " a " + $backupRawDataZipStore
                                 + "TFSSQLBkupRAW_" + $timestamp + ".zip " + $backupDirectory

# display settings
write-output "Backup Directory: " $backupDirectory
write-output "Backup Zip Store: " $backupZipStore
write-output "Timestamp: " $timestamp

# set error action preference so errors stop and the trycatch kicks in
$erroractionpreference = "Continue"

try
{
    write-output "Deleting old backup files"
    remove-item -Path ($backupDirectory + "\*.*") -force

    # loop all databases in server, and backup each one using SQL Backup
    foreach($db in $server.Databases)
    {
        # set database name
        $dbName = $db.Name

        # exclude the tempdb as you can't back that one up
        if ($dbName -ne "tempdb")
        {
            write-output "Processing database: " $dbName
            $smoBackup = New-Object ("Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.Backup")
            $smoBackup.Action = [Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.Smo.BackupActionType]::Database
            $smoBackup.BackupSetDescription = "Full backup of " + $dbName
            $smoBackup.BackupSetName = $dbName + " Backup"
            $smoBackup.Database = $dbName
            $smoBackup.MediaDescription = "Disk"
            $smoBackup.Devices.AddDevice(
                          $backupDirectory + "\" + $dbName + "_" + $timestamp + ".bak", "File")
            $smoBackup.Initialize = $TRUE
            $smoBackup.SqlBackup($server)
            write-output "Processed database: " $dbName
        }
    }

    write-output "Processed all databases, listing outputs..."

    #let's confirm, let's list all backup files
    $directory = Get-ChildItem $backupDirectory

    #list only files that end in .bak
    $backupFilesList = $directory | where {$_.extension -eq ".bak"}
    $backupFilesList | Format-Table Name, LastWriteTime

    write-output "Clear out old zipped file from the zip storage folder..."
    Remove-MostFiles $backupZipStore *.zip 2

    write-output "Zipping up the files..."
    invoke-expression $7ZipCmdLineForBkUps

    # write all events to the logs
    write-output "Writting SUCCESS to EventLog"
    write-eventlog -LogName "HomeNetwork" -Source "TFS Backups"
                              -EventId 1 -Message "TFS SQL BackUp Script ran"
}
catch
{
    # error occurred so lets report it
    write-output "ERROR OCCURRED" $error

    # write an event to the event log
    write-output "Writting FAIL to EventLog"
    write-eventlog -LogName "HomeNetwork" -Source "TFS Backups"
                              -EventId 1 -Message "TFS SQL BackUp Script failed" -EntryType Error
}

write-output "------------------------------------Script end------------------------------------"

Update: Since writing this post Microsoft have updated the TFS Power Tools to include a Backup Plan which enables you to schedule full backups from the TFS Admin Console. Checkout this post.

Installing Team Foundation Server 2010 on Windows Home Server

Installing Team Foundation Server 2010 on Windows Home Server

Last October I posted about the fact that Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server 2010 was going to be shipping with a “Basic” configuration that more light weight and seen as more of a Visual SourceSafe replacement. In that post I also pointed out that it seemed possible to install this version on a Windows Home Server (WHS) and that it would be something I’d try. Well eventually I have got round to doing it and of course I’ve documented my approach. The benefits of TFS immense but out of the scope of this article but instead I’m covering the installation process.

It may have been technically possible to jump through some hoops and install TFS 2008 on your WHS box but the pre-requisites were heavy (including SharePoint and full SQL Server) and it was always seen as a complicated process. With the ‘basic’ configuration of TFS 2010 you can ignore SharePoint and SQL Reporting Services and it installs onto SQL Server 2008 Express (which it also installs for you).

A point worth mentioning is that TFS 2010 will not trash you existing web sites (important for Windows Home Servers) but will instead install its own site alongside any existing sites on the server. It is possible to then connect to TFS remotely via your WHS Remote Access domain name which is a very nifty feature.

Pre-Installation Considerations:

Basic Configuration: Whilst it’s possible to install the non-basic configurations I don’t see the point unless there is something specific that you want to take advantage of that’s not included in the basic configuration. For a light, easy installation and a nice minimal processing overhead on your WHS the ‘basic’ configuration is ideal. It also contains all the core features such as build automation, work item tracking and source control.

Location of SQL Server Data Files: By default the SQL Server data files are installed to the system drive under the program files location for SQL Server Express. As you add more and more content to TFS these files will naturally grow and so you need to consider up front whether you have the disk space to support this. Windows Home Server by default installs only a 20GB system partition which should have adequate space for the data files to grow, but if you have installed a lot of applications to your system drive this could be an issue.  To store the data files at an alternative location it is easier to install SQL Express 2008 manually prior to installing TFS 2010 (and configure the data file locations via the SQL setup). The TFS installation will then just reuse the SQL Express instance already installed. Alternatively you could install the data files on the WHS’s ‘Data’ drive (D drive) but personally I prefer to leave that drive well alone and let WHS’s ‘Drive Extender’ manage all the data in it’s Storage Pool. I did consider installing a new drive to my server, and not adding that to the storage pool, which would then be used for my data files. In the end I decided I had adequate space on the system drive and I could move the data files at a future point in time if required.

Build Controller: Part of the TFS installation/configuration includes the decision to install a Build Controller on the server. If you plan on running automated TFS builds then you’ll need to install this. I would strongly recommend you use the Team Build features of TFS as they are one of its key features but if you don’t want to automate builds or want to minimise the services running on your server then just skip that part.

Support: Whist WHS is really a Windows Server 2003 under the covers and TFS 2010 clearly supports Windows Server 2003, installing it on a Windows Home Server is not supported by Microsoft (or anyone else) and you do so at your own risk.

Steps:

You’ll need to Remote Desktop onto your server to run the installation interactively. The below screenshots show the key stages of the installation process. Luckily it’s mostly a matter of clicking ‘Next’:

whs_tfs_01 whs_tfs_02

Choose to install Team Foundation Server and the Build Service (if you plan to run automated builds on this server too). Don’t install the Server Proxy:

whs_tfs_04  whs_tfs_06

After much processing and a reboot it’s installed:

whs_tfs_07 whs_tfs_08

Once installed, it then launches the Configuration Centre and it’s at this point that you can choose the ‘Basic’ configuration. It will then install SQL Server Express or point to an existing SQL instance:

whs_tfs_10 whs_tfs_11 whs_tfs_12    whs_tfs_16 whs_tfs_17

Next you’re asked to configure the Build Service details:

whs_tfs_18 whs_tfs_19 whs_tfs_20 whs_tfs_21 whs_tfs_22    whs_tfs_26 whs_tfs_27

That’s it. You can launch the ‘Team Foundation Server Administration Console’ from the Start Menu which is a neat new tool enabling you to manage TFS from the server itself:

whs_tfs_29

Next Steps:

Connect via Visual Studio: Now it’s all up and running you can fire up Visual Studio and test that you can connect to the new Team Foundation Server by adding it to the list of servers in Team Explorer. You should be able to create new Team Projects, check in code and run builds just as you would on any other TFS server.

Enable Remote Access: To enable remote access to TFS so you can access your source code from remote locations you need to copy your client certificate from the Remote Access site and then add it to the TFS site. For instructions on how to do this see this excellent post by Jason Neave.

Backups: Call me paranoid but before I add anything important to this TFS server I want an automated backup procedure in place. Backing up TFS is really ‘just’ a matter of backing up the SQL Server databases on which TFS sits as that is the only source of its data. I say ‘just’ because it’s not as easy as it should be. A key point to note is that as TFS uses numerous databases it is critical to backup all of them at the same time so you don’t end up restoring unsynchronised databases. I have created an automated backup procedure using Windows PowerShell that I will share in a future post.

Conclusion:

It’s exciting to see a combination of two excellent products working together and I think this is another great way to add value to your Windows Home Server whilst enabling you to experiment with a quality ALM tool.

UPDATE: For WHS 2011 users check out my post on Installing TFS 2010 on Windows Home Server 2011.

Team Foundation Server ‘Basic’ Edition

Team Foundation Server ‘Basic’ Edition

Many development teams still regularly use Visual SourceSafe for their source control which can stimulate heated debates between those that have used it for many years without problems and those that have suffered some pain with it. Regardless of this debate there is no denying that SourceSafe is coming to the end of it’s useful life. It’s old technology and will come out of support in 2011, although a compatibility update is expected with Visual Studio 2010.

When Microsoft developed it’s replacement, Team Foundation Server (TFS), it focused on providing more than just a source control product but a whole development lifecycle management system. Regardless of the benefits of TFS (and there are many) it has been avoided by many small development teams due to its high costs and complex installation/management. Many have instead moved to alternative source control products such as the free Subversion, leading to a decline in Microsoft’s market share in this area.

So, what’s changed? Microsoft now plan to provide a ‘Basic’ version of TFS 2010  when it ships next year. I think that this is a huge step forward for TFS and it’s take up across the development community. Brian Harry details the ‘Basic’ version in this blog post. This version of TFS will have a fast and easy installation and provides many more implementation options for the product. It will install on SQL Express 2008 and can even be installed on Client Windows Operating Systems. This really is targeting the current SourceSafe users and provides a low cost (perhaps even free) entry to the benefits of TFS. You might think that this would only provide basic TFS functionality but no so. Included in the basic version is Source Control, Bug Tracking and Build Automation, which provide the bulk of the key TFS features. The screenshots also suggest that Web Access is also included. What’s not included is Report Services and SharePoint, which are arguably more geared towards the larger development teams anyway. The key benefits from TFS come from the Work Item interaction and ‘Continuous Integration’ friendly automated build features and these are included.

The move to TFS for a SourceSafe (or any other simple source control system) team will provide many benefits and this version should enable those benefits at a minimal cost. There are no details on pricing but personally I would expect it to be included in the Team Developer MSDN subscription.

SourceSafe is also used by hobbyist and professional developers to manage their own personal source code and I see this version of TFS being ideal for this. The ability to install on a client OS is a major factor to these users. There is also a comment on Brian’s blog post about running TFS basic on Windows Home Server which is something I am keen to try out.

By allowing more people to access this great product it will greatly contribute to the TFS community and it’s take up globally. If you can’t wait until TFS 2010 is released and would like to know more about TFS versus SourceSafe in terms of pricing then check out Eric Nelson’s post here.