ALM User Group – February Meeting

This month, the MS ALM user group invited 2 presentorS to speak to the group: Tal Wayn and Leonid Ore from Solidity. The meeting was focused on the fascinating world of Business Intelligence as it is implemented on top of the Team Foundation Server OLAP Cube. The motto of the lectures was: “You can’t control what you can’t measure” and the presenters discussed methods of using the information stored in TFS as part of the natural conduct of TFS usage to create reports and KPIs that can be used to measure, control and monitor the process of software manufacturing.
Statistics show that most TFS users seldom use the built-in reporting capabilities of the platform that come as an out-off-the-box feature, even less users create their own reports. The presentors demonstrated that to actually have a true benefit of using TFS it is not enough to collect information about development, testing, requirement etc. all this data should be used for the goal of improving the quality and efficiency of the software creation process.
In the files attached to this post you will find the following:
• Technical overview of the TFS OLAP cube
• Suggestions about reports you might want to add to your daily management routine
TFS Reporting

Windows Azure Sample Code

In my previous post I explained how to deploy Windows Azure to the cloud. Many readers asked me for the the code of the application. You can download it here:


Deploying Azure Project To The Cloud

In this post I’ll explain the steps required to host a cloud service in the cloud…

Step 1: Creating the project on Azure Services Developer Portal

In order to host the cloud application I created in the previous post, I should login into Windows Azure Services Developer Portal. Because I created cloud service, I have to choose a new Hosted Service Project.


I’ll give a label and description to the service:


And give it a name…


Finally, we have a project.


Note: the Application ID will be needed in order to package and publish the application from Visual Studio.


Step 2: Deploying from Visual Studio to the Cloud

In Visual Studio we have to open the properties window of the cloud service. There is a tab called Portal.


To make sure the correct web page on the Azure portal is opened, we should paste the Application ID from the previous step.

Now, we can publish it to the cloud!



Choosing the Publish action opens up the folder in which the application has been packaged and opens up the browser with the application properties page.




Selecting the Deploy button will open the Deployment page – there we can locate both the package file (.cspkg) and the configuration settings file (.cscfg).


After clicking Deploy – the application deployed to the cloud and initialized.


Now we can test it on a staging environment by clicking the Web Site URL. When the application is ready to be published to production just press the switch icon to move from staging to production.

You can navigate to the cloud app:


Creating and Executing First Cloud Project With Windows Azure

The Azure™ Services Platform (Azure) is an internet-scale cloud services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers, which provides an operating system and a set of developer services that can be used individually or together. Azure’s flexible and interoperable platform can be used to build new applications to run from the cloud or enhance existing applications with cloud-based capabilities. Its open architecture gives developers the choice to build web applications, applications running on connected devices, PCs, servers, or hybrid solutions offering the best of online and on-premises.

In this post we will create simple web site and execute it in the local development fabric. The Development Fabric simulates the Windows Azure fabric on your local machine so that you may run and test your service locally before deploying it.

Learn how to initialize the development fabric here.

Pre-requisites for this post:

  • Windows Vista SP1 / Windows Server 2008
  • IIS 7 with ASP.NET
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2008
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1
  • Windows Azure SDK 1.0.0
  • Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio 1.0

    Note, you can use the Microsoft Web Platform Installer to get all the prerequisites.

    Creating the project

    After installation of the SDK and VS tools, new project templates are available in Visual Studio.


    You will use the Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio to create the project using the Cloud Service project templates. These tools extend Visual Studio 2008 to enable the creation, building and running of Windows Azure services.

    For a Hosted Windows Azure project you have the possibility to create a Web Cloud Service or a Worker Cloud Service. A single project may contain one of each but no more.

    For now I’m going to create a Web Cloud Service which is an ASP.NET Forms application.


    The MyFirstAzureService_WebRole project is a standard ASP.NET Web Application project template that has been modified to work with Windows Azure. This contains the bulk of the project.
    The MyFirstAzureService project contains a reference to the ASP.NET project, along with ServiceDefinition.csdef and ServiceConfiguration.cscfg files. The ServiceDefinition.csdef file contains the metadata needed by the Windows Azure fabric to understand the requirements of your application, such as which roles are used. It will also contain configuration settings that apply to all instances. These configuration settings can be read using the Windows Azure API. The ServiceConfiguration.cscfg file lets you set the values for the configuration settings and the number of instances to run for each role.
    The Roles node in the Cloud Services project enables you to configure what roles the services include (Web, worker or both) as well as which projects are used for these roles.
    Adding configuring roles through the Roles node will update the ServiceDefinition.csdef and ServiceConfiguration.cscfg files.

    Lets modify the default.aspx page, then build and execute the site in the development fabric.


    To show the development fabric UI, right-click its icon in the system tray and select Show Development Fabric UI.



    Windows Azure development fabric


    Expand the tree on the left panel to see the WebRole instances. Click on the node with the 0 label. This shows the log for this instance. Also, we can see here that my Web Role is started.

    That’s all! Now that our website is running locally we can go and publish this to the cloud (if we registered to Windows Azure) or explore some of the Windows Azure API and development fabric features as Configuration, Logging, and Debugging – This will be in the next post.


  • MSBuild + Team Build 2008 Presentation

    You can download MSBuild & Team Build 2008 presentation.

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