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: