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2011 Planned Work / Release?

Jan 9, 2011 at 10:22 PM

Is there any thought or feedback about what's been worked on in 2011 for the TFS Build Extensions? Are you working on having a downloadable activity library of some format?

Are there any avenues to offically get invovled?

Jan 9, 2011 at 11:19 PM
Edited Jan 9, 2011 at 11:21 PM
Hi Allen A release is imminent, eta late Jan / early Feb. Mike
Jan 10, 2011 at 6:22 AM

We are also still researching how to "install" the activity library so that it can be easily consumable.  Not had much luck using different avenues there!

However - in the meantime, feel free to use the source code that has already been worked on and learn from the examples if you are building your own.  As Mike indicated, they are working hard at getting a release packaged together soon!

Jan 10, 2011 at 6:58 PM

I've downloaded the source code version (tfsbuildextensions-58946) and looked around documentation/release notes in the code and haven't found anything beyond (TFSBuildExtensionsHelp.shfbproj).

I was hoping to find a collection of .xaml build process templates that have added functionality (like the following 4 features : 1) Deploying a database similiar to ( ; 2) Building/packaging an MSI and deploying it; 3) Building a MOSS webpart; 4) Copying the build outputs to a specified location).

I'm surprised at the lack of .xaml files that I could just easily import and start using/easily modifying.

I'm even more surprised at the lack of documentation.

If you guys aren't delivering .xaml build template activities, and or your not delivering comprehension documentation, what EXACTLY are you planning to release and in what format?

Jan 11, 2011 at 8:09 AM

Hi Allen,

As much as we can possibly contribute in the small amount of volunteer time that we have available...

We are marking the work items which Release that are are planning to deliver in the first release.  You'll notice that all of your suggestions are not included in the first release (and several don't have backlog work items to track the work so feel free to add the feature requests.)  I believe Mike is working on documentation and will let him give you an update there.  The build activities are being self documented using triple-slash comments.  I don't know the extent of the documentation that will be available at first release but we certainly have the same goals that you do.  Again... contributions are done voluntarily when team members have available bandwidth.

If you have any specific questions about using the activities, feel free to start a new discussion thread with your usage question.

Jan 12, 2011 at 7:14 PM
Edited Jan 12, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Hi Ed,
First thank you for responding. 

I went ahead and looked at several of the work items and the attached comments...but wasn't able to find an high level understanding of what exactly the goals are of this project and what type of materials you guys are planning on delivering. And I'd like to get an understanding of the audience you're targeting...I've got 3 audiences. Developers(who want to go deep into the Team Build API)... build masters(who just wants to drag in workflows and do limited C# customizations)...and release managers(who just wants to change parameters on the visual copying to multiple servers).

I can understand that the code is being self documented but that seems like a less than ideal way to deliver a solid technical reference. If you are just going to be documenting the source...please publish the source in the same way on the web with additional context (similiar to MSDN)...possible on I'd like to have an easy way for my folks to be able to reference the material without having to tell each of them to download and crack open a bunch of random c# files.

I also understand this is a volunteer effort...but I keep hearing from my folks that "Microsoft's build guru's say Team  Build is the way to'd be so much easier if we use Team Build"

And when I ask about the fact that 2010 isn't anywhere as easy as 2008 to customize the developers come back and say:

"Microsoft is going to be publishing a bunch of Team Build extensions/activities and we'll be able to easily add in these activities into our build script xaml files."

Each time I hear this I ask "who'd you hear it from?" And I get links to Brian Harry's blog, William Bartholomew's blog, TFS 2010 SP1 links, and then I hear about this specific codeplex project."

Then I have to tell my team that they are wrong and reset their expectations.

And while several of them complain that our internal build tooling+final builder is complicated...I've yet to be proven that Team build (with whatever community customizations) will in fact be easier.

I've heard somewhere that Microsoft folks...buck hodges and grant holiday...may be invovled in this project...but if Microsoft isn't commited to supporting and delivering future value (like the ASP.NET AJax control toolkit team) via this codeplex project...then I'm doubtful that this project will be of any lasting benefit to the your efforts may be more helpful elsewhere. If this project is somesort of an MVP and Microsoft effort to explore Team Build customization...then you may be better served by using some private hosting infastructure like bit bucket to store your source....and not making it public until it will be of value to the entire community.

Thanks for what your trying to do...and I look forward to better understanding whatever it is you are trying to accomplish.

Jan 12, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Hi Allen,

I disagree.  TFS 2010 Build is absolutely much easier to customize than TFS 2008 Build was.  It takes some up front learning on how to get going with it if you aren't familiar with Windows Workflow Foundation.  There are some great resources though including one free resource that the team is working directly with Microsoft in producing that explains how to use the activities in this CodePlex project.  Willy-Peter made an announcement about that Visual Studio ALM Rangers project here:  That is the project that everyone is referring to.

As for the other resources, try out:

Feel free to reach out to TFS consultants or the MSDN forums in the meantime if you need more immediate help.  As a consultant, I can affirm that it is easier.  Much easier... :)

At the beginning, I would say that we are focusing this project for developers and build engineers who understand how to be software developers.  At some point in the future, when we tackle those first two audiences, we would like to make it a lot friendlier.  We have had several people actually already benefit from the contributions that have been made so far.  We will continue to contribute early versions of the build activities while it continues to help people in the meantime.