Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Visual Studio Team System Virtual Machines!

Just in time for Christmas! Brian Randell, better known as the guy who hosts cool PDC parties and builds a lot of Virtual Machines for Microsoft has announced the availability of 4 new Visual Studio Team System 2008 Virtual Machines!

Basically there are 4 new VSTS Images:

The full text of his blog announcement, including information on what all is contained can be found here: 

Thanks Brian!


Note: When I originally posted this blog entry I incorrectly stated the images were VSTS 2010 when in reality they are just the new and improved Visual Studio 2008 Team System. Sorry about that for those who got too excited!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

SQL Server Analysis Services 2008 Performance Tuning Whitepaper

This paper was recently released by Microsoft. It covers all of the things you need to look for when tuning SSAS 2008 (and is very relevant to 2005 as well). From the download description:

Because Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services query and processing performance tuning is a fairly broad subject, this white paper organizes performance tuning techniques into the following three segments.
Enhancing Query Performance - Query performance directly impacts the quality of the end user experience. As such, it is the primary benchmark used to evaluate the success of an online analytical processing (OLAP) implementation. Analysis Services provides a variety of mechanisms to accelerate query performance, including aggregations, caching, and indexed data retrieval. In addition, you can improve query performance by optimizing the design of your dimension attributes, cubes, and Multidimensional Expressions (MDX) queries.
Enhancing Processing Performance - Processing is the operation that refreshes data in an Analysis Services database. The faster the processing performance, the sooner users can access refreshed data. Analysis Services provides a variety of mechanisms that you can use to influence processing performance, including efficient dimension design, effective aggregations, partitions, and an economical processing strategy (for example, incremental vs. full refresh vs. proactive caching).
Tuning Server Resources – There are several engine settings that can be tuned that affect both querying and processing performance.


Download the paper here:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Visual Studio Team System 2008 Database Edition GDR Release

Congrats to Gert Drapers and his team for getting the new version of DataDude released! This is a fantastic new version of the product, with numerous architectural and functional changes. (I’ve written about many of these over the past few months)

You can download it here:

You can read about all the new changes and such on Gerts blog here: 

Good job guys!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fall 2008 Connections Conference

Well, I just returned home from Las Vegas and the Fall 2008 Connections conference. It was good to see friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time, and I think my sessions went fairly well.

As promised during the sessions, here’s a link to my Skydrive folder containing the slides from the presentations.

Please don’t hesitate to send an email or leave a comment here if you have any questions/comments.

Thanks, and see you in the Spring!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Real World “Agile” Development

Those who know me know that I’ve been pushing for Agile development within my company for some time now. I’ve also been touting the Agile word in relation to database development at various conferences and user group meetings for several years. (I think my first Agile Database Development talk was at PASS in 2004)

Over the years I’ve been pretty successful at bringing Agile into our development model here at Configuresoft and have spent a fair amount of time working with various teams at Microsoft providing feedback and such around tooling and process. As part of this ongoing process, I’ve come to learn a couple of what I think are interesting facts:

  1. Agile is as much of a mindset as it is a process
  2. The very nature of Agile is adaptation

If you look at the Agile Manifesto (from ) and really read what they are saying, you can see that they “Get It” when it comes to the 2 items above. It’s interesting to me though that there are what I will term, “Agile Purists”. These developers seem to glom onto a specific part of Agile and really drive it hard, sometimes to the extreme (No pun intended) and really miss the balance that Agile methodologies try to bring to the table. For example, I’ve worked with Agile Purists who feel that anytime a requirement is written down it’s a violation of Agile. I’ve also worked with Agile Purists who believe that Test Driven Development (TDD) is the only way to write software.

I think when you get right down to it, the true test of any Agile development plan is how well the finished product serves the needs of the customer. To get to this point though, you have to allow yourself to make mistakes and have to learn and adapt from those mistakes.

(Just some random thoughts for the day)

Friday, October 31, 2008

PDC Lunch Panel: The Future of Unit Testing


During the PDC Conference this year I was part of a lunch panel that discussed the future of Unit Testing. I’ll blog more about this later, as some interesting stuff came out of the panel, but for now, I thought I’d share the video of the session. The session is available on Channel9 here: (I am not in the video frame until about 17 minutes in)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

PDC 2008 Visual Studio 2010 Chalk Talks

If you are here at PDC, check out the various Chalk Talks in the “Big Room” pavilion hall, near the Visual Studio booth:

Tuesday 28 October

12:30 – 1:30pm C# and LINQ Futures with Charlie Calvert

2:00 - 3:00pm – Visual Studio Tips and Tricks with Lisa Feigenbaum, Beth Massi and Sara Ford

3:30 – 4:30pm – Debugging, Profiling and Diagnostics Q&A

Wednesday 29 October

12:00 – 1:00pm – Database Development with Gert Drapers (Sorry I will miss this one, but will be doing my session during this timeslot!)

1:00 – 2:00pm – Brian Harry Unplugged (Team Foundation Server)

Thursday 30 October

11:00am – 12:00pm – Architecture tools Q&A with Mark Groves, Cameron Skinner and Peter Provost

1:00 – 2:00pm – New Test features with Euan Garden and Ed Glas

PDC 2008 – TL61 “The Future of Unit Testing”


If you are here at PDC 2008, stop by room 406A on Wednesday, 29 October during the lunch sessions, which run from Noon until 12:45. I will be part of a panel that includes a few Visual Studio Team System “Champions” leading a discussion on the future of Unit Testing. I of course will be taking the “Test Driven Development" for Database Developers” angle, and will be talking about why I believe database developers now have the necessary tools to move into the mainstream agile world. We will discuss tooling around pure database development and deployment, as well as some Business Intelligence challenges in this arena as well.

If you are here, I hope you can make it by. This should be an interesting session.

Monday, October 27, 2008

SQL Server Data Services Hands on Labs at PDC

If you are here at PDC 2008, stop by the Red Pod in the “Big Room” to see the Hands On Labs (HOLs) for the SQL Server Data Services stuff that was announced during the keynote this morning. You will not be disappointed!! These labs are very well done.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

SSWUG Virtual Conference Discount Code

The SSWUG “Ultimate” Virtual Conference is coming up soon! The conference is November 5-7, and features a ton of good information around SQL Server, Business Intelligence, SharePoint and .NET Development.

The cost for these conferences is only $100 per track, but if you use discount code VCTAF457840-140 during the registration process, that will give you 10% off, making it $90 per track! This is a great deal, you will not get this much information for this little cost anywhere else!

Here is an example 10 minute clip from one of my presentations:

Hope to see you there!

Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) on Twitter

The Visual Studio Team System team has created an account on Twitter that will be used to keep those of us who use Twitter up to date on the happenings in the VSTS World.

Check it out at:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Patterns and Practices Summit - Redmond WA - Nov 3-7, 2008

The next patterns & practices Summit takes place November 3 -7 in the Kodiak Room at the Microsoft Conference Center at Microsoft's main campus in Redmond, Washington.

Keynote presentations by:
Kent Beck, David Treadwell, Scott Guthrie, Jeff Teper,& Pat Helland


Read about the event here: 


There's a very nice sounding session on Agile Best Practices listed, sounds like it could be fun..

Agile Development Case Study using Best Practices - Gabe Brown & Adam Meltzer

How would your team double code quality, reduce defects by 80%, reduce our estimation error by 25% (and actually know what it was) and reliability ship working software with only a small increase in development time? Come discover how our team did exactly that by leveraging Microsoft?s Engineering Excellence best practices. We will discuss the best practices used, the pros and cons of each and the empirical data on how they contributed to our product overall.

Mastering Continual Service Improvement

Here is the text from an announcement that went out today. The Analytics product discussed during the webinar is my current project.....


ITIL v3.0:
Mastering Continual Service Improvement with Analytics With Real Life Examples

Join us for a webinar on how to master continual service improvements by leveraging Configuration Intelligence Analytics as a core component of your ITIL and Six Sigma implementation. We have assembled a group of industry experts to provide this essential guidance.
David Frazier and Dan Angelone from Siemens Business Services will share their experiences and provide guidance on how they leverage Analytics and Six Sigma to continually improve quality of service. David and Dan will be joined by Jason Cowie from Configuresoft. This team of experts will demonstrate how Analytics delivers key performance metrics that facilitate continuous improvement and optimization.
Join us on this unique webinar to listen to these industry leaders, who have been practicing the fine art of continual service improvement.
By attending this webinar you will learn how:

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) help organizations measure people, process, and technology effectiveness
  • To define and implement IT metrics that facilitate continuous improvement and optimization
  • You must proactively measure, analyze, and demonstrate IT performance against key business objectives (KBOs)
  • Enable a more effective change management process through predictive and quantitative analysis of configuration data
  • To drive down incident volume through secure, compliance, reliable and predictive configurations

Date: Thursday, October 30
Time: 9am Mountain Time (8am Pacific, 10am Central, 11am Eastern, 4pm UK & 5pm Mainland Europe)

One-Click Registration

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Using the VSDBCMD Utility to Generate .dbschema Files

One of the utilities that ships with the October GDR (Actually it shipped with the release before this one, but I haven’t had time to write about it until now) of Visual Studio Team System for Database Professionals is the VSDBCMD.exe commandline utility. This utility does many things, but one of the most useful things to me is it’s ability to generate .dbschema files that can be used for schema comparisons.

First, a little background; I often have a need to upgrade an application database to the latest schema version (this tends to happen frequently when you practice agile database development) without destroying the data contained within the database. This is a task made simple by VSTS DBPro and the schema compare utility. The only problem though is that I am not always in a position to connect DBPro to the source schema (think Customer environment or untrusted domain).

Now, with the inclusion of the VSDBCMD utility, I can copy the required executables to any server I have access to, and run the utility to generate a schema file, which I can then use to run a schema comparison (using the full-blown tools) and then generate a delta (upgrade) script. Then I can copy that script back to the server and use the utility to deploy the update. Pretty cool!

Creating the “Lightweight” deployment source

In order to use the VSDBCMD utility in the manner I describe, you must first copy the required files to a folder on the server where you want to run it. The following files will be required:

(Located in Program Files (or Program Files (x86))\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VSTSDB\Deploy (Note that the documentation on this is somewhat unclear)


  • DatabaseSchemaProviders.Extensions.xml

  • Microsoft.Data.Schema.dll

  • Microsoft.Data.Schema.ScriptDom.dll

  • Microsoft.Data.Schema.ScriptDom.Sql.dll

  • Microsoft.Data.Schema.Sql.dll

  • Microsoft.SqlServer.BatchParser.dll

  • Located in Program Files (or Program Files (x86))\Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition\v3.5

  • Sqlceer35en.dll

  • Sqlceme35.dll

  • Sqlceqp35.dll

  • Sqlcese35.dll

  • Located in Program Files (or Program Files (x86))\Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition\v3.5\Desktop

    • System.Data.SqlServerCe.dll

    Once the files are copied, your folder should look like this:


    Using the Utility to Create a .dbschema File

    The syntax of the command is relatively straightforward, once you get used to the fact that creating a dbschema file is known as “importing” a schema. The syntax is as follows:

    VSDBCMD /a:Import /cs:<connection string> /dsp:Sql /p:ModelType:Database /model:<DatabaseName>.dbschema

    For example, the database I want to import is named “CI_ANALYTICS_DW”, so the command would be:

    VSDBCMD /a:Import /cs:”Data Source=xx;Initial Catalog=CI_ANALYTICS_DW;Integrated Security=SSPI;” /dsp:Sql /p:ModelType:Database /model:CI_ANALYTICS_DW.dbschema

    Once the command is run, you will have a nice new and shiny .dbschema file that can be used for schema compares or many other things..


    Wednesday, October 1, 2008

    Team Foundation Server Power Tools – new release coming soon!

    Brian Harry posted a new article on his blog tonight teasing us all on the upcoming October release of the Team Foundation Server Power tools. Normally I wouldn’t bother too much about posting stuff that isn’t available, but HOLY COW, there are a couple of features coming in these power tools that make me really excited (Yes, I’m a Geek, VSTS stuff is exciting to me!)

    The specific bullet that caught me is here:

    Windows Shell Extension - We've built a Windows shell extension that allows you to do the core version control operations directly inside the Windows Explorer without using the Team Explorer.

    This is COOL. If you use TFS for your source control, you know that it can sometimes be a pain to interact with it outside of the IDE.

    Anyway, just had to share.

    Read about it all here on Brians blog:

    Monday, September 29, 2008

    Visual Studio Team System 2010!

    The official name of "Rosario" has finally been released: 


    From the article:

    Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 Overview

    Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0 mark the next generation of developer tools from Microsoft. Designed to address the latest needs of developers, Visual Studio and the .NET Framework deliver key innovations in the following pillars:

    • Democratizing Application Lifecycle Management
      Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) crosses many roles within an organization and traditionally not every one of the roles has been an equal player in the process. Visual Studio Team System 2010 continues to build the platform for functional equality and shared commitment across an organization’s ALM process.
    • Enabling emerging trends
      Every year the industry develops new technologies and new trends. With Visual Studio 2010, Microsoft delivers tooling and framework support for the latest innovations in application architecture, development and deployment.
    • Inspiring developer delight
      Ever since the first release of Visual Studio, Microsoft has set the bar for developer productivity and flexibility. Visual Studio 2010 continues to deliver on the core developer experience by significantly improving upon it for roles involved with the software development process.
    • Riding the next generation platform wave
      Microsoft continues to invest in the market leading operating system, productivity application and server platforms to deliver increased customer value in these offerings. With Visual Studio 2010 customers will have the tooling support needed to create amazing solutions around these technologies.
    • Breakthrough Departmental Applications
      Customers continue to build applications that span from department to the enterprise. Visual Studio 2010 will ensure development is supported across this wide spectrum of applications.

    MSDN Events Unleashed: Demystifying WPF, Silverlight 2 and Visual Studio 2008 SP1

    Tomorrow (Tuesday 30 September) Rob Bagby is hosting a talk here in Colorado Springs (At Configuresoft). Here are the event details:

    Today’s applications need to do more than simply work.  They need to draw in the user, and provide a differentiated experience. This means moving beyond battleship gray forms boxy UIs and simple HTML forms, and providing a positive user experience.  Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Silverlight 2 provide powerful capabilities to develop compelling user interfaces, on the client and in the browser, respectively. 

    At the heart of these rich applications is data.  There are a growing number of choices of technologies available to access data, create database abstraction layers and expose data as services.  Visual Studio 2008 (and .NET Framework 3.5) SP1 include the production release of the ADO.NET Entity Framework, ADO.NET Data Services, as well as some enhancements to the Web Programming model (REST-Friendly) in WCF. 

    In this session, Rob Bagby will examine the core concepts of WPF and Silverlight such as layout panels, data binding, styles and control templates, and will use them to develop an application UI from the ground up.  Rob will further examine and demystify the options available to you to expose data to your rich applications. 


    Register Online here:

    Sunday, September 28, 2008

    New Tablet PC

    I’ve been somewhat irritated (ok, that’s not really true, I’ve been mad as He*&) with my work laptop, and given the frustrations that I’ve put the IT guys through over it, I decided that I was just going to go out and buy my own. I don’t really need the mobile workstation power that a lot of people want. I just basically need my Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 toolset, and of course email and PowerPoint. (Also OneNote, I am addicted to OneNote)

    Well, I was in Costco yesterday and noticed that they had an excellent price (under USD$1000) for an HP Pavilion tx2513cl Tablet. It’s a 2Ghz AMD Turion Dual Core processor, with ATI Radeon graphics and a whole bunch of consumer-related features, including a media center remote and a Lightscribe dvd burner. All in all, I am normally concerned with consumer-level products, but with Costco’s liberal return policy I figured I had nothing to lose.

    After removing all the crapware (by simply wiping the disk and reinstalling x64 Vista Ultimate (yeah, I know, I would have loved to put Server 2008 on it, but it’s a tablet!) and getting everything setup, the box looks like it is going to solve my needs just fine! The “Experience Index” on the box is 3.7, and it seems to load Visual Studio Team System 2008 just fine…

    Gotta say, I love it so far. We will see how it goes over the next few weeks. I was considering buying a MacBook, but I really wanted a tablet….



    Saturday, September 27, 2008

    Kudos to Qwest

    Well, this is actually a painful blog post to write. I have been a frequent critic of the local phone company here in Colorado over the years. Qwest Communications and I have had quite a rocky relationship, and I haven’t been one to let it slide. I’ve complained to all sorts of folks and told anyone who’d listen how I felt. At every turn, I’d find ways to divorce myself from their services as much as possible. (Packet8 for IP Phone, Verizon for Wireless, etc. etc.)

    For the past 6 years, I’ve had DSL service through a local company here in Colorado Springs, but have had the local loop through Qwest. Recently however, the local company has been experiencing more outages than I’m prepared to handle, and so I started looking for replacement service. As it turns out, Qwest has a new very high speed service in my neighborhood (20Mb/s) so I decided to give them another try..

    One of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time!

    Not only did the service install exactly on schedule and without a hitch, but the additional services that I needed through (Static IPs, Reverse DNS mapping, etc) also went off without a hitch. I had prepared the family and friends for a long service outage while I switched everything (I host our own email server and web, plus I host the web sites for an organization that I volunteer with), but as it turns out, it was less than 1 hour from the point that I started until we were back up and functional again.

    It’s been a week now, and the service is running perfectly, and let me tell you, it is so very nice to be able to download large image files blazing fast…


    I do know that those of you with FIOS service look at the speed above and wonder why it’s so slow, but hey, us DSL types think this is quite nice.

    Anyway, Kudos to Qwest. They’ve obviously come a long way….

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    MVP TV - Scrumtastic Development with VSTS

    This is open to the public, so if you are interested in Agile development, this session is something you should check out:


    Mike Azocar (one of the authors of the VSTS Lightweight Scrum template) will be presenting: Scrum-tastic Development with Visual Studio Team System and Light Weight Scrum

    Thursday, September 25th, 2008 | 9:00am – 10:00am (PDT, Redmond time)

    Session Abstract:  

                       All the Interaction of the MSDN Chats but with the richer experience of Live Meeting and hosted by the recognized world technology leaders – the Visual Studio Team System Microsoft MVPs. In this second airing of MVP TV, please join recognized process expert Mike Azocar delivering his much lauded Tech Fest session. Mike will cover the fundamentals of the Scrum development framework.  Why more and more companies and teams are moving to Scrum and see how joining the community-based Light Weight Scrum Process template and Visual Studio Team System can empower your teams and speed up your development.

                         About Mike Azocar: A VSTS MVP and Consultant for Notion Solutions. Mike evangelizes Visual Studio Team System and works closely with both the Microsoft Houston office and the VSTS Product Team in Redmond.  Mike has been featured on .Net Rocks and regularly speaks at conferences all over the world. Mike's blogs blog can be found at  or

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    VMware ESX Server “Compliance Checker”

    My company (Configuresoft, Inc.) recently released a free tool called the “Compliance Checker” for VMware ESX Server. Here is the info on it:

    VMware ESX servers are vulnerable when they are not configured correctly. Whether you have 3 ESX hosts or 50, you want to ensure that they don’t become the target of an attack due to an incorrect configuration. Protect your ESX hosts from vulnerabilities and threats with the help of Configuresoft Compliance Checker. Compliance Checker downloads, installs and assesses the security of your VMware ESX hosts in minutes.
    ACT NOW: Download your FREE copy at

    With Compliance Checker you can:

    • Validate that your ESX hosts are meeting VMware hardening guidelines and Center for Internet Security (CIS) benchmarks
    • Check up to 5 ESX servers at a time
    • Print audit quality reports
    • Get a detailed explanation of each guideline
    • Understand what needs to be done to remediate a rule violation
    • Access a wealth of information on virtualization security and compliance from the tool



    SQL Server 2008 Cumulative Update 1

    As you are most likely aware, Microsoft has moved to a “Cumulative Update” model for delivering SQL Server hotfixes and updates. This model was introduced in SQL Server 2005 and continues with SQL Server 2008.

    Microsoft just announced the availability of CU 1 for SQL Server 2008. You can read about it here: 

    Notice that you cannot simply download the hotfix from the KB, you do have to request it at this time. Generally they make these available for download at some point, so keep checking the site if you don’t want to email them the request for the Hotfix.

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    New version of eScrum for Visual Studio Team System

    The eScrum guys have released a long-awaited version of the eScrum project guidance template for Visual Studio Team System!!! eScrum is a nice implementation of Scrum that is implemented in a series of templates, WorkItem types and guidance for VSTS and Team Foundation Server.


    From the download page: “eScrum is a Web-based, end-to-end project management tool for Scrum built on the Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server platform. It provides multiple ways to interact with your Scrum project: eScrum Web-based UI, Team Explorer, and Excel or Project, via Team Foundation Office Integration. In addition, it provides a single place for all Scrum artifacts such as product backlog, sprint backlog, task management, retrospective, and reports with built-in context sensitive help.”

    If you haven’t yet checked it out, do so here:

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Team System Users Group (TSUG) – Virtual Edition

    VSTS MVPs Paul Hacker and Dave McKinstry have recently created a new users group experience called, “Team System Users Group- Virtual Edition”.

    Basically it uses Second Life (Guess I need to figure this out, I have never messed with SL before) and the “Microsoft Island” along with Microsoft LiveMeeting clients.


    Here is what Dave had to say about it:

    In addition to the few user groups focused on Visual Studio Team System in major cities, now all Visual Studio Team System enthusiasts and users can join together to share stories and learn.  Like most user groups, we will meet on a monthly basis, socialize a little, and have presentations.  We plan to have demo-rich presentations and support an interactive format allowing attendees to participate and ask questions.

    Unlike the ‘classic’ user group, you will be able to participate regardless of your location!  You no longer have to live in one of the handful of cities world-wide to join and participate in a Team Systems community!  In addition, we can now pull from a broader pool of excellent presenters from around the globe!

    Our initial meetings will all be in English and are targeting an Americas-friendly time zone.  But other times and places are possible.  If you are interested, visit our web site:  Sign-up and we’ll contact you with additional meeting information.  It is free to join and none of the underlying technologies require fees beyond what you already pay for your computer and network access!  We will not use your contact info  for anything other than user group communications (approximately once per month).  Our first meeting is September 18th at 6PM (Pacific Time / SLT).  We hope to see you there!!

    Connecting with the "Community"

    My (by Proxy -- We miss you PJ, but we love Suzanna too!) MVP lead recently sent out an email talking about connecting with the community. She had some specific questions that she wanted feedback on.. I was busy typing up my responses when I realized she probably didn't want to hear from me, but more so from the members at large in the community, so, I thought I would post the questions and my answers here, and let you all (all 1 or 2 of you that actually read this blog) chime in as well. My answers are confined to Visual Studio Team System, but please feel free to comment on any related technology.

    So, here goes:


    1) What is the current sentiment amongst users about the product for which you are an “independent expert”?

    I don't know if I am actually an "expert" in anything, but my MVP award is focused on Visual Studio Team System. My entire team uses VSTS, and most of the company does as well (There are some notable exceptions here, and the cross-platform stuff is definitely made harder with VSTS). From my perspective, VSTS is a game changer in the Agile software development world. As a team lead, I have instant access to the status of the project, and can tell you exactly where our problem areas lie. VSTS fosters team development as well as object ownership among team members, so I believe it is one of the best things we've ever implemented. In terms of outside the walls, the sentiment seems to be similar if not identical.

    2) Are there any critical bugs out there that we need to address?

    Speaking directly about VSTS 2008, I think SP1 resolved many of the issues that we were seeing, so as of now I don't know about any blocking issues.

    3) Are multiple users having a similar problem using one of our technologies, and if so, what is the problem?

    This is like a broken record for me, and I'm sure the VSTS team is tired of hearing me say it, but I'll put it on record again. The biggest issue we have with VSTS (speaking specifically now of the Team Suite IDE) is it's hard ties to a version of SQL Server. For example, to use Visual Studio Team System for Database Professionals with SQL Server 2008, you need the GDR release of the "DataDude" tools. This means I have to mix released code with Beta code on my production development environment if I want to use the latest SQL Server. What's worse is that I have to maintain my instance of Visual Studio 2005 as well, because it's the only version of VSTS that will author Business Intelligence projects using SQL Server 2005. It's somewhat of a support nightmare, and given that SQL Server is such a core part of our product (and is a Microsoft Flagship server no less!!!) it is very hard to explain to developers why this is good. Anyone faced with developing SQL Server 2005 and 2008 projects will have the same problem. Biztalk suffers from this as well.

    4)  How are users feeling about Microsoft’s response-time to issues they are seeing?

    This answer is probably unfair. For issues that we've had with VSTS, things have been pretty good. The problem for me though is that they've been good because I've leveraged contacts on the "inside" for most of them. The poor sap, er developer who doesn't have internal contacts is stuck in a support maze that can be very difficult to manage. Even Premier support customers have a rough go here because they generally don't get to VSTS Saavy folks until the 3rd escalation. With all that said, once the problem is identified it's generally handled quickly.

    A similar comment can be made for other products such as SharePoint. I don't believe MS fully anticipated the support needs for SharePoint and they are just now completely getting up to speed on that front.


    Well, what do you think? What would your answers to these questions be?

    SSWUG "Ultimate" Virtual Conference

    As those of you (1 or 2) that read this blog know, I've been pretty involved with the SSWUG Virtual conferences. I am the conference chair for the SharePoint virtual conference. and am delivering 3 sessions for the SQL and the BI conferences as well.

    So you may wonder why I'm writing about this yet again........

    Well, the folks over at SSWUG have decided to combine the 4 Virtual Conferences into a single, "Ultimate" conference.

    Here is an excerpt from their press release:

    Tucson, AZ, September 16, 2008: November 5, 6 and 7, 2008, SSWUG.ORG is presenting a comprehensive learning event for SQL Server, Business Intelligence, SharePoint and .NET Development technologies, at The online event will present sessions in 12 simultaneous tracks from 40 different industry-recognized presenters. The conference, presented entirely online with broadcast-quality sessions and classes, includes full video of the presenters, downloadable session materials, transcripts and much more. In addition, attendees are not required to travel, instead being able to attend the conference from the comfort of their office or home. “We’re excited to present this fall conference suite – in the June conference, according to our attendees, combined, they saved more than $2,500,000 in travel and conference expenses alone,” says Stephen Wynkoop, Editor and Founder for SSWUG.ORG. “This, combined with the amazing array of presenters, the decreased time away from the office and the complete learning environment provided by the vConferenceOnline tools means our attendees and exhibitors get an excellent, meaningful online event never before possible.” SSWUG.ORG is combining four different conference disciplines in the comprehensive conference schedule. Attendees will be able to pick from Business Intelligence, SQL Server, SharePoint and .NET Developer technologies, all running concurrently. In addition, attendees are able to view sessions and download transcripts, scripts, examples and tutorials on-demand following the event.


    Chris Shaw, Director of Virtual Conferences, outlines some of the concepts being addressed with the conferences: “We’re really looking to create an amazing community event. We want to make sure attendees are able to gain real-world insights into the technologies they use and support. They’ll also experience a wide array of technologies and, at the same time, they are able to come back, review sessions and pick up those finer points that may have been missed in sessions when they first are attended. The fact that you can review sessions on-demand after the original schedule means you won’t miss a single tip, and you can broaden your skill set by attending sessions from other disciplines,” said Shaw. “Our speakers are well-known book authors, Microsoft MVPs and recognized industry experts. Never before has such an incredible gathering of speakers been presented in an event like this, assuring that the information to be gained is top-notch and rock solid.” The virtual conference also means people are more environmentally conscious, and at the same time learning in ways simply not possible at traditional conferences. From full transcripts to on-demand materials, real-time chats with speakers and networking with other attendees and vendors, attendees and exhibitors both win. “The focus is on learning, networking, tips, tricks and techniques that you can put to use the minute you’ve finished with a session. More than 91% of our attendees say they can use what they’ve learned immediately in their jobs. Combine this learning with the eco-friendly online approach, the complete elimination of travel expenses for attendees, the interaction and learning tools provided, the expert speakers – you have a way to vastly increase your knowledge without breaking the bank or expending significant out of office time,” Shaw said.

    Tuesday, September 9, 2008

    My Interview with Chris Shaw

    I was recently asked a series of questions by Chris Shaw and he did a very good job of compiling my answers and making me sound good.

    Thanks Chris.

    Read the article here: 

    As you may know, I am the content chair for the upcoming SSWUG SharePoint virtual conference. The list of sessions and speakers for this conference are pretty amazing and considering that the total cost to attendees is $100 I don’t see how anyone could decide NOT to attend. Check it out, you will not be disappointed!!

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    New version of ECMa available

    I know this is blatant advertising, but I am pretty proud of this product… This announcement went out to our customers this morning..

    Product Updates

    NOW AVAILABLE: ECM Analytics


    Dear Ted,
    We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of ECM Analytics, which delivers executive dashboards, automates Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), provides drill down reports and offers proven IT analytics based on ECM's audit quality data. ECM Analytics helps improve the IT processes managed with ECM by observing the patterns, behavior and measuring against KPIs, helping to achieve continual service improvement, a key requirement for IT organizations today.
    ECM Analytics provides an at a glance view of the IT processes such as change management, compliance, and patch effectiveness through executive dashboards and KPIs based on the industry knowledge gained from hundreds of IT organizations. A library of customizable reports are included as part of ECM Analytics providing an "out of the box" understanding of how change, compliance and patch processes are working over time and across the IT silos and business units. These dashboards, KPIs and reports are based solely on the granular, forensic level data collected and maintained by ECM ensuring that the information is accurate and aligned directly with the day to day operational, security and compliance activities driven through ECM.
    ECM Analytics also delivers powerful analytical capabilities that guide drill down to isolate problems, and provide the visibility into ECMs data from multiple dimensions enabling you to ask and answer questions that had been previously difficult or impossible to resolve without days and weeks of manual effort.

    Report on compliance over time
    Key Performance Indicators
    Assess patch deployment
    and effectiveness

    Understand change and
    optimize IT process

    Compliance - the ECM Analytics Compliance dashboard features "Odometer" graphics of compliance attainment across the enterprise, or to specific regulatory standards and best practices. These dashboards can be customized to automatically detail compliance from business units, applications or geographic locations. Trend reports are also available that present granular compliance over time clearly showing continuous improvement and indentifying hot spots that require attention. Powerful analytics can then be used to quickly investigate and better understand the compliance problem and determine an action plan.
    Patch Effectiveness - KPIs are integrated into the Patch Management dashboard and provide visibility into patch effectiveness that can be measured across the enterprise by machine type, location, criticality, business unit, patch severity, etc. Detailed reports can then be accessed that provide both the summary and detailed information to understand the ongoing status of patches and report on effectiveness. For example ECM Analytics can automatically present the success of a specific patch template as Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-051 is rolled out. As anomalies are seen, the analytics functions can be used to quickly assess the anomaly and determine resolution options saving hours in manual investigation. The end result being significantly higher patch success rates and shortened patch deployment time.
    Change Management - ECM Analytics breaks through the mass of changes captured across the infrastructure and presents a coherent dashboard that presents the KPIs of change, identifying normal state and potential areas of concern using standard and extraordinary deviations from the norm. Detailed reports then provide the information required to identify a potential problem that needs to be addressed from an opportunity for process improvement. Analytics can then be used to explore the problem, for example the rate of change has suddenly increased in London when no new applications or devices have been added - what caused the changes? For process improvement, change has increased across a specific group of devices at different Service Pack levels, with a rationalization of Service Packs could support costs be reduced?
    ECM Analytics is available to current ECM customers as an introductory package. We have also designed a standard service offering to accelerate deployment and deliver value to your organization in days. This deployment and training package is specifically designed to make the benefits of ECM Analytics available fast, with minimal resource commitments from your team. Ongoing training is also included to provide knowledge transfer over time.
    Please contact your Account Manager for more information or to schedule a demonstration.
    Our Technical Support Group is available 6AM - 6PM MST to answer questions about ECM and ECM Analytics. Please email or call 1.877.676.4960.
    Configuresoft Customer Care
    Need some help from the experts? Configuresoft offers a full range of services and training packages to meet your organizational needs. Please contact your account team or Customer First Portal to schedule. CP&C also offers free advice on how compliance mandates and security directives impact your organization. For more information, go to Ask the Experts.

    Friday, August 22, 2008

    Microsoft Press & Books 24x7

    One of the things that I like about working on bleeding edge technology is the constant need to research new things. I am a geek and I admit it. :)

    I like reading online. I’m one of the weird types that only likes physical books for “fun” reading. Serious reading should all be online, indexed for quick searching, and modular enough that you can pick/choose what you need.

    When I discovered Books 24x7 and the technical reference library, I snatched that up as quickly as I could. I just LOVE the ability to open up my “library” and find whatever I need right away..

    Well, now there’s some really good news for people who, like me, want access to this incredibly cool tool. Books 24x7 in conjunction with the Microsoft MVP program is making what I think is a fantastic offer:

    For $149.99 per year, you can have access to the entire library of MSPress books online. Or, if you prefer to limit your choices, for $89.99 you can have access to either the developer or IT Professional library. The entire library contains hundreds of books, and through this offer you can read them all online, or download a limited number of chapters in .PDF format (I believe you’re limited to 5 chapters per month under this offer, but I don’t know for sure)

    To gain access to this offer, use this URL:

    To check it out free of charge, use this URL:

    This offer expires on Sept 30, 2008.


    For what it’s worth I don’t get any credit or compensation for passing this along. It’s a generic promo code URL. I do, however, think this is an incredible offer.

    Thursday, August 21, 2008

    Microsoft Data Centers

    I found this article thanks to my colleague and friend Chris Randall. It is a very cool article discussing how Microsoft adds servers to their data centers... I can't even imagine....

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    New CTP for “Data Dude” (Visual Studio Team System for Database Professionals)

    Just got the word today that the latest GDR release of the Visual Studio Team System for Database Professionals is available for download!! (Links below)

    There are a number of new features in this CTP (Read the list on Gerts Blog) but by far the most anticipated for me is the new VSDBCMD.EXE command line utility. This will become a part of our field toolkit for sure! The tool allows you to generate .dbschema files that can be used in schema compares, as well as supplying many of the deployment features as well. I can’t wait to start really testing this utility!

    Download the GDR here:



    Download the documentation here: 2008 Database Edition GDR



    SSWUG - SharePoint Virtual Conference

    As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I am the chair for the upcoming SQL Server Worldwide Users Group SharePoint Virtual Conference. The conference runs from October 15-17. There will be more than 17 unique sessions spread out over 3 days, giving attendees the capability to see everything they need to see to get up to speed on SharePoint.

    The list of speakers is pretty impressive for this conference. There will be a great mix of technical deep dive as well as introductory topics on both SharePoint administration and development. This conference is going to be great if I do say so myself!

    It will be the best $100 you ever spent, so check it out!

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    Why software estimation is hard

    I was catching up on some reading today (I am SO far behind) and came across this blog entry from fellow VSTS MVP Martin Woodward. 

    This article is probably one of the best explanations of the problems with software estimation that I have ever seen.

    Good job Martin!

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    SQL Server 2008 RTM & Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite SP1

    As I mentioned in the previous entry, I have been having some difficulties in my environment with respect to DataDude (Visual Studio Team System for Database Professionals) and SQL Server 2008.

    As it turns out (and by the way, this is not a criticism, it’s just the result of me not reading and following directions) the SP1 bits of Visual Studio Team System will not support Schema compares against the RTM release of SQL Server 2008. if you try, you get the following dialog message:


    Fortunately, there is a very easy fix for this, but at the same time you need to be very careful. The fix involves installing a small bit of unreleased “CTP” (I guess we can’t call it Beta anymore) code for the DataDude extension. The current (as of this posting, however I’m hearing rumors that a new one is out soon!) CTP of DataDude is CTP15 and it can be downloaded here: but be very careful and check to see if a newer version is out before you simply take my word for this one being the latest.

    My experience with the Datadude CTP15 GDR (General Distribution Release) has been pretty positive (I’ve been using it for some time now, it’s only been since upgrading VS 2008 to SP1 that I’ve had “issues”) so I don’t think you’ll have much to worry about if you place it on your workstation, but please keep in mind that it is unreleased code and therefore you are flying at your own risk.

    The "DataDude" GDR and Visual Studio 2008 SP1

    If you're like me and tend to push the envelope in terms of what you install on your development machine, you probably have installed the GDR update for Visual Studio Team System Database Professionals aka "DataDude".

    One thing I learned about this (and it really should be obvious, but for some reason it wasn't) is that even though the installation of Visual Studio Service Pack 1 seems to go fine, realize that the DataDude GDR is actually not updated with this SP. So, in order to get things in true working order (Able to use the RTM features of SQL Server 2008) you'll need to uninstall (not repair) the DataDude GDR release, then install SP1, then reinstall the DataDude GDR.

    In my case, I installed SP1, then tried to use the Schema Compare function within DataDude against an RTM SQL 2008 instance. This failed, and after a bit of whining to various people, I learned that the GDR needed to be reinstalled. After learning that the repair function didn't work to solve the problem, I uninstalled the GDR and reinstalled it. This seemed to work, but I don't *really* know what state my environment is in.

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Visual Studio 2008 & .NET Framework 3.5 SP1

    Both have now been officially released. This is important news because SQL Server 2008 cannot be installed on a machine without the above if Visual Studio 2008 is installed. (Which is of course the boat many developers are in)

    See the following links:

    Team Foundation Server 2008 SP1

    .NET Framework 3.5 SP1

    Visual Studio 2008 SP1 (full ISO) or (bootstrapper exe)

    By the way, if you’ve previously installed a beta copy of SP1 for any of the above, you’ll need the cleanup utility that can be found here: Visual Studio 2008 Hotfix Cleanup Utility for Installing Visual Studio 2008 SP1

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008

    SQL Server 2008 is done!

    Well, this is old news by now, but I’ve noticed that there still hasn’t been an official announcement from MS other than the keynote at TechEd South Africa. At any rate, SQL Server 2008 has been released!! It can be found on subscriber downloads at MSDN or Technet, or, if you want an evaluation copy, it can be found here: 

    Congrats to the SQL Team for getting it out the door. There’s a lot to look forward to in this release of SQL Server!!



    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    PDC PreCon – Agile Perspectives – The Industry and Microsoft

    Mary Poppendieck and Grigori Melnick will be presenting a pre conference session on Agile software development at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles. This session should be an interesting one as it will discuss several real-world Agile projects and the processes that worked. Check out the abstract here:,-industry-and-microsoft 

    This is a session that I hope to be able to attend.

    Monday, July 21, 2008

    Customized VSTS Reporting Part IIIa - The Relational "Build" Schema

    In an earlier post I promised to dig deeper into the mystery that is the TFSWarehouse schema. I don't think anyone will question the fact that you must have a firm understanding of the underlying data if you are going to develop customized reports for any data source, and Team Foundation Server is certainly no exception to this rule.

    There are many different logical "segments" of data in the TFSWarehouse, so we'll break these down and take each one individually.

    One of the more common questions surrounding TFS reporting is how to create useful reports on Builds. Fortunately the Builds "schema" (This is a bad term to use here, but I do it anyway - it represents the logical grouping of entities that are related to Builds) in the TFSWarehouse relational database is pretty easy to understand.

    The following picture shows a logical diagram of the tables related to Build information and how they are related:



    The major entities represented here are:

    • Build - Contains information collected from MSBuild such as the Build Type, Drop Location and Start Time
    • Build ChangeSet - Contains information on the changesets contained in a specific build
    • Build Details - Contains information on Build Status, such as the date, duration, status and Team Project
    • Build Project - Contains information about a specific instance of a build. (This is probably the most descriptive table for build dashboard type reporting)
    • Build Flavor - Essentially a "snowflake" on the Build Project table that contains build "flavor" information
    • Build Status - Stores the build "states" as the build progresses and is used in the Details table.
    • Build Quality - Contains a quality indicator on each build

    There are many ways to use this information in customized reports, but one simple use of this data would be to provide a report that listed the dates of each build, their drop locations and the changesets used by the build. The query would look like this:

       1: SELECT

       2:     BD.[Date],

       3:     B.[Build Type],

       4:     B.[Build],

       5:     BC.[Changeset],

       6:     B.[Drop Location],

       7:     B.[Build Start Time],

       8:     BS.[Build Status]

       9: FROM [TfsWarehouse].[dbo].[Build] B

      10: INNER JOIN [TfsWarehouse].[dbo].[Build Details] BD

      11: ON B.__ID = BD.__ID

      12: INNER JOIN [TfsWarehouse].[dbo].[Build Changeset] BC

      13: ON B.__ID = BC.__ID

      14: INNER JOIN [TfsWarehouse].[dbo].[Build Status] BS

      15: ON B.__ID = BS.__ID


    Hopefully this helps make the build info stand out some and makes it a bit easier to develop build-related reports from the TFSWarehouse.

    Friday, July 18, 2008

    Team Foundation Server - July 2008 Power Tools

    The VSTS team has delivered the latest set of Power Tools for Team Foundation Server. I'll post the list of things included below, but one thing I wanted to point out is that we FINALLY have a way to run the TFS SharePoint extensions in a 64-bit environment! WOO HOO. The WssExt64Bit installer that is included with the Power Tools will now allow you to integrate TFS into 64-bit SharePoint/WSS environments. This will be well received news for those trying to eek out the best possible performance and memory utilization from TFS and WSS integration.

    Included in the Power Tools release: (From the Downloads Readme Page)

    The Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server Power Tools is a set of enhancements, tools and command line utilities that improve the Team Foundation Server user experience.
    The following tools are installed with the tfpt.msi package:

    • Command line tool (TFPT.EXE)
    • Team Explorer IDE menu additions
    • Build Notification tool
    • TFS Best Practices Analyzer
    • Process Template Editor
    • Work Item Templates
    • Custom check-in policies
    • TFS Server Manager
    • TFS Users tool
    • Alert Editor

    Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    Customized VSTS/TFS Reporting Part IIb - Using the OLAP database

    In my last article on this subject, I detailed how you could use the Report Wizard to create a simple report that detailed information about WorkItems, such as the number of state changes and revision summarized on a per project basis. The issue with that approach is that the information stored in the Data Warehouse is really designed to support the more efficient OLAP database for this type of reporting. In a future article on this subject I'll dig into the structure of the databases and discuss which one is used for a given purpose, but I wanted to take a moment and illustrate it here. Generally speaking, most of the customized reporting that deals with summarized data will come from the OLAP database as opposed to the data warehouse.

    With this in mind, let's go ahead and construct the same report, but using the OLAP cube as a data source. If you still have your project open from the last exercise, you should have a screen that looks something like this:


    To add a new report, right-click on the Reports folder and select Add New Report as shown below:


    This will start the now familiar Report Wizard as shown here:


    Click Next to bring up the Data Source panel. Create a new Shared Data Source as shown below:


    Select "New Data Source", give it a name (I used TFSWarehouseOLAP) and select Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services as the Type. Select Edit to get to the Data Source Connection Properties editor as shown below:


    Type the name of your TFS Database server, choose the TfsWarehouse database, and select Test Connection to ensure that it all works. (Remember that this is an OLAP connection, so even though the name of the database is TfsWarehouse, you are not talking to the SQL Server database engine, you're talking to Analysis Services.) then choose OK. Select Next to move to the Query Designer screen as shown below.


    On this screen you can either input a valid MDX query, or use the query builder to construct it for you. (Word of caution here, the Query Builder doesn't do the best job of creating MDX, as you might notice in a few screens) Choose the Query Builder button to load the MDX Query Builder as shown below:


    This window is fairly straightforward to use if you've done any work with Analysis Services before, and very convoluted if you've never done so. Basically there are 4 main portions to this screen; The upper left details the cube structure as you can work with it. By default, it selects the first perspective (alphabetically) and displays the metadata contained within that perspective. In the case of the screen above, it's the Build Perspective and associated measures and dimensions. Since we are going to work with WorkItems (specifically WorkItem History) we will change the perspective. Click the ellipsis (...) next to the Build perspective in the upper left and then select Work Item History as shown below:


    (By the way, a saavy ready might notice that the screen above tells you to select a "Cube" and I'm telling you to select a "Perspective" -- There is only 1 cube in the TfsWarehouse OLAP database, but there are multiple perspectives. You can think of a perspective as a logical view of a cube - and most simplistic tools like this treat them as the same thing)

    Click OK to return to the Query Builder, but with the "correct" cube perspective selected this time as shown below:


    The left hand side of this screen shows the structure of the Work Item History perspective. There are Measures, which provide the details of our analysis (these are the things that we can calculate and use), Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which tell us if we're doing good or not, and Dimensions, which are the things that describe our analysis. The upper right-hand side is a filter area that allows us to filter information that will be provided in the result set, and the lower right hand side is essentially a pivot table, this is where we drop our measures and dimensions to build the analysis. To Start, open the Measures tree item and drop both Revision Count and State Change Count measures to the details area, then open the Team Project Dimension and drag the Project member to the pane just to the left of the measures. Then in the upper section, select the Team Project dimension and select all non-deleted projects in the filter expression as shown below:


    Click on OK in the Filter expression dialog and OK in the Query builder to return to the Query string dialog as shown below:


    (now you see what I mean about the MDX builder)

    Click Next and select a Tabular report type (Normally we would use a Matrix report for OLAP data, but this is a simple example so we'll stick with simple report types) as shown below:


    Select Next to bring up the table designer as shown below:


    Move the Team_Project to the Group section, and the Revision Count and State Change Count fields to the Details section.

    Select Next and choose your preferred report layout (I prefer block, but this is purely a personal preference)


    Then choose the style that you will use (I prefer Corporate, but again, it's a personal choice)


    Select Next to bring up the summary dialog


    Name the report, and save it. This will return you to the Visual Studio window, where you can preview the report or make modifications to the layout (which you will need to do in this case if you followed my directions, because the columns will not quite be wide enough to support the fields)

    And there we have it, a report that pretty much mimics the report we made in the last article. The point here is that we can use either the relational data warehouse or the OLAP cube to provide very meaningful information in a very short period of time. In the next article, I'll start digging in to the structure of the databases to help understand what data is available and how to use it.

    Monday, July 7, 2008

    Yet Another Clarification - Customized TFS Reporting

    I made a comment in my earlier posting about using Visual Studio 2005 because I was developing reports against a SQL Server 2005 instance. I didn't really make it clear why that mattered. The Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) is really just a slimmed down version of Visual Studio with some added project templates for Business Intelligence projects (SSIS, SSAS and SSRS). If you already have Visual Studio installed when you install the SQL Server client tools, the installer simply adds these project templates to Visual Studio. One issue that arises though, is that the installer doesn't know anything about Visual Studio 2008, so these templates don't always get properly associated. (In my case I've been able to get the SSRS project and Report Model project templates to work, but not the report wizard)

    So, to make it very clear, the officially supported toolset from Microsoft looks like this:

    • SQL Server 2005 --- Use Visual Studio 2005
    • SQL Server 2008 --- Use Visual Studio 2008 with SP1

    This is of course all subject to change, but for now, since TFS is generally hosted by SQL Server 2005, you'll need Visual Studio 2005 to handle the report development.

    Customized VSTS/TFS Reporting Part IIa - Using the Report Wizard

    In my previous post on this topic, I discussed everything that you need on the client in order to develop customized reports for TFS. Now we'll walk through creating a very simple report that lists each Team Project that hasn't been deleted, and summarizes the WorkItems, state changes and revisons. This report can be used to get a quick snapshot of how active any given project is on your server. This report will use the relational database named TfsWarehouse on your TFS database server.

    To begin the process of creating this simple report, start Visual Studio and create a new "Business Intelligence" project using the "Report Server Project Wizard" template as shown below:


    Name the project and click OK. This will start the Report Design Wizard as shown below:



    Click Next, and create a new Shared Data Source named "TFSWareHouseRelational" as shown below:


    Click Edit to fill in the name of the SQL Server that hosts your TfsWarehouse database and other required connection information as shown below:


    Make sure you test the connection and ensure that the server is available and operational. Click OK to close this screen and then click next to get to the query screen. For this screen, we're simply going to paste in the query shown below. (The query will make more sense in a later article where we did into the data warehouse schema for TFS)


    tp.[Team Project]

    ,SUM([Record Count]) AS [Total Work Items]

    ,SUM([Revision Count]) AS [Revisions]

    ,SUM([State Change Count]) AS [State Changes]

    FROM [Work Item History] wih

    JOIN [Team Project] tp

    ON wih.[Team Project] = tp.__ID

    WHERE tp.[Is Deleted] = 0

    GROUP BY tp.[Team Project]

    ORDER BY 1


    Once you have the query in place, choose next and then choose a tabular report type as shown below:


    Click next, and add Team_Project to the grouping, and the remaining fields to the detail as shown below:



    Click Next and then choose the specific formatting you want. I personally prefer the Block layout with the Corporate style, but of course this is just a personal preference. These screens are shown below:



    Once you have the style and layout selected, click next to take you to the deployment screen. Here you'll put the name of your SSRS Server and the folder that you want to deploy the reports to. In my case, I'm using my development instance of SSRS to deploy and test the reports so I just use Localhost as shown below:


    Once this is specified, click Next to name the report as shown below:


    Once you have named the report, click Finish to return to the Visual Studio development environment. This will open to the report designer with the design pane open as shown below:


    If you want to see what your report will look like, click the Preview tab to see a report that looks something like this:


    Obviously you'll want to play around with the layout of the columns and the colors to meet your requirements, but once you have the report looking the way you want it, you can choose DEPLOY from the BUILD menu to publish the report to SSRS. The report will then be available for use by users of TFS. (We'll discuss the deploying of reports to end-users in a future article)

    This rather lengthy article demonstrated a very simplistic approach to creating a report to detail statistics for all Team Projects that are deployed to your TFS instance. In the next article I'll discuss using the wizard with the OLAP cube to detail more information about your TFS projects.