Microsoft acquires devBiz, the company who develops TeamPlain. By now TeamPlain is the only available solution for accessing Visual Studio Team System work items by the web. TeamPlain is now available for free download. You only need CAL to access the TFS server. TeamPlain will be available in the next TFS Power Tools. At some stage, Microsoft plans to deliver TeamPlain as a part of TFS installation.
Windows 2003 SP2 is out. This service packs fix a lot of problems in IIS 6.0, Networking, Terminal Server and more. Be aware that there are also many fixes for .NET Framework 1.1 which are not available, as far as I know, with a separate service pack for .NET Framework. This may create a lot of interoperability problems if you have deployed applications on both Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server.
The group has fully functional registration page. If you have friends that would like to come with you or just receive information about the group, please ask them to register. They should also send email that they want to participate in the meeting.
Last week I attended Microsoft Research TechFest. This is the first year that Microsoft opens its gates to the mortal people. Everything that they showed is no longer under NDA, but still there is no much information on the web. You can keep looking at Microsoft Research site. If something is published, it is going to be there. It was very interesting to see what Microsoft has prepared in its labs. I hope most of the things will come live some day. The most exciting project for me was a TerraServer like software which shows you a map of the universe and you can zoom in and zoom out in it. It is very interesting to see different galaxies only with a drag of the mouse. It is like having the most powerful telescope in your home computer. Imagine what research scientists around the world can do with such enormous information at their fingertips. Another interesting project that was shown was a game to learn programming for kids. You basically control a robot through different programming constructs. Of course you can not make the compiler to break. All constructs are valid code and you are using visual interface to specify different commands like move here, look around, eat this, punch that :) ... The punching part was missing but if this product goes to market it will definitely have one :) One project had my attention. This was an idea of mine about 1 year ago but I never started it and it is better that I did not do that because Microsoft put a lot of efforts in it. They built a web service testing engine that performs white test on your web service input parameters. They look in your code and try to find a border solution or invalid value for your parameters that will make your web service fail. I have the gut feeling that this product will make it in Visual Studio at some time. There was a Bulgarian presence at the Multimedia and Graphics division. They build a sound speakers system that can produce several different audio channels. The trick is that you hear one of the channels only when you are on given angle from the speakers. If you move to a different angle (over 30 grades), you will hear another channel. The technology uses noise reduction techniques to accomplish that. There were also few cats involved in this year’s TechFest.
My article “Drilldown on WSE 3.0” on usernameForCertificateSecurity assertion was published last month in the February edition of Visual Studio Magazine. I was so busy that I almost forgot to blog about it. This article explains how the usernameForCertificateSecurity assertion works and of course some common caveats that you will encounter when you first try to use this assertion in WSE 3.0. As always my goal is not only to show you what is the purpose of this assertion but also few tips and tricks that will make your life easier. This article is the third one from my WSE 3.0 column for Visual Studio Magazine. In my first article “Implement a File Transfer Web Service article” I presented a ready to use solution for file sharing using WSE 3.0, WS-Security, WS-SecurityConversation and MTOM. In the second article “Simplify Authentication With WSE 3.0” I did an overview of different scenarios of securing a web service using WSE assertions and their benefits. Look out for the forth article in the next couple of months.
Visual Studio “Orcas” March 2007 CTP is now out. It is a VPC which you can download and run right away. This edition includes a lot of new features that you would love. Important thing to have in mind is this CTP updates almost all editions of Visual Studio Team System. There is something for everyone. Here are some items that I found interesting at first glance:
LINQ over XML (XLinq) - Event Model - This allows LINQ to XML trees to be efficiently synchronized with a GUI, e.g. a Windows Presentation Foundation application
Extended, more powerful data APIs with the ADO.NET Entity Framework
Performance tune an enterprise application - … users can save a baseline profile and then, if the performance degrades, compare up-to-date traces to identify the source of the regression
Web Test Validation Rule Improvements
Better Web Test Data Binding - This feature allows users to data bind .CSV and XML files, as well as databases to a web test, using a simple databinding wizard.
Team Foundation Server - Continuous Integration – There are many components to this, including build queuing and queue management, drop management (so that users can set policies for when builds should be automatically deleted), and build triggers that allows configuration of exactly how when CI builds should be triggered, for example – every checkin, rolling build (completion of one build starts the next), etc.
I had a great time at the BASTA! conference in Mörfelden. This was the spring edition for BASTA! conference and there is also a September one. The German market is really huge and there are a lot of opportunities although the open source has significant presence. The conference was about 3 days with 2 additional days for workshops and specialized tracks. My session went pretty well and I learned a few things – when you present to non native English audience you have to schedule more time and talk slower. I am not a native English speaker, the Germans – also, so combined makes it a little bit hard to understand the presentation. I did quite a good demo – I wish I had that already in my MSDN Webcast also. I had the pleasure to meet Chad Z. Hower, Dino Esposito, Richard Hundhausen and many, many other nice guys. Chad is very cool and entertaining guy with tons of speaking engagements on his back. Whenever you have a chance – go to his sessions. Great thanks to the BASTA team for the organization of the event!
btw: I am posting this from Chicago Airport. I will stuck here for about 8 hours :(