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Making TFS better or what is TITS?

Those days me and my team work very hard toward new version of “The System”. This includes massive refactoring of all solutions, hard work with TFS (which not restricted to only adding files, but also deleting, moving, etc. other words, all stuff, which TFS is not really love). Because of this, we need a bunch of handy tools to make our dreams come true and to decrease unnecessary number of clicks inside Team System Explorer and Visual Studio. You do not really think, that we have no tools to make our everyday job easier. We have. However, we never package and release it. Let me introduce “TITS” – Tools, Invaluable for Team System. This suite I’m planning to release as another open source project within couple of months.

TITS - Tools, Invaluable for Team System

What “TITS” includes? First of all –

“QOF” – Quick Open File

QOF - Quick Open File

This tools is absolutely invaluable if you have big solutions. While all it knows to do is to search. But, wait, what’s wrong with build-in search of Visual Studio? First of all, it does not search Solution items and files, are in solution directory, but not in project. Also it cannot fix your typos and errors. Also it does not know to move you quickly to found solution item in Solution Explorer or in Source Editor.

Basic set of QOF features:

  • No mouse – open any file
  • No mouse – locate any file in solution explorer
  • Highlighting found items
  • Multiple files open
  • Filter by source files only, resources, owner or any other kind of filters
  • Search inside TFS, including history, changesets, shelves (either private and public)
  • …and much much more

Next tool is:

“WIBREW” – Who Is Breaking What

WIBREW - Who is breaking what

Absolutely invaluable tool to know who actually breaking what file inside TFS. For example, I do not want to lock files, while I still want to know who holds what file. TFS provides such feature out-of-the-box, however from command prompt only. You can add it even as macro. Like this:

WIBREW for poor people

However it not user friendly and impossible for use, ‘cos it looks as following:

WIBREW for poor people in action

You do not know what actually developer doing, where and why. With “WIBREW”, you can know:

  • When developer started to break files
  • What exactly he’s doing
  • Is the breaking file locked or now
  • Where the developer breaks it (workspace and computer name of the user)
  • …and much much more

Another tool is:

“WITCH” – What I have To Check-in

If you ever worked with Team Force, you know what this tool is doing. It shows you a preview of all changed files, you’ll check-in. For some reason, TFS has no such feature. Let’s imagine, that your work method is to check out everything, change something and check-in only changed files. Until here TFS does everything, however if you want to preview changeset (for example in order to compare with “WIBREW” output), you can not. Here “WITCH” comes to help.

[Here should be a screenshot of “WITCH”, but it looks exactly the same as “WIBREW” with shameless blurring]

Another invaluable tool is:

“VOCUS” – VOid CUstom Settings for check in

This tool is absolutely UI-less. It allows developers to work with their own custom settings in Visual Studio, while for check-in and check-out it format all documents, according predefined custom settings (for example indentation). How many times, you tried to merge files, when all the difference is indentation it tab size? Well, this tool solves this problem.

VOCUS – VOid CUstom Settings for check in

It stores custom settings for each user (BTW, it also makes able for each developer to restore his settings fluently in any computer) and reformat documents on check-in action toward corporate settings, when on check-out toward custom developer’s setting.

“SHMOC” – SHow MOre Code

This is not actually tool, works with TFS. It rather works with your Visual Studio Development Environment. It’s UI-less as well and makes able to hide and restore all docking windows in VS. It makes you able to write in “Dark Room” mode (which is full screen, distraction free environment) and return to Visual Studio within one button press. It can also change VS color scheme, if required.

“SHMOC” – SHow MOre Code

There are some other tools should be inside this suite, however, I still have no names for them :) Also, if you have something interesting, and you want to contribute it to this suite, you’re highly welcome.

PS: This blog is about code, but this post is 6th in row without even one line of code, so I have to fix it as soon as possible. Thus, I’ll example how WIBREW works under the hood. Other words, small example of how to work with TFS API from Visual Studio plugin.

First of all, as in any VS plugin, you need to acquire DTE2 application object:

_applicationObject = (DTE2)application;
_addInInstance = (AddIn)addInInst;

When you have it, you need to detect what TFS server you’re working with and what are user credentials for this session. The common problem of WIBREW for poor men, was how to work with this tool over VPN (when your connected session is only inside VS). So each time, you tried to run it, you had to enter your domain credentials – very inconvenience way of work.

In order to prevent it, let’s ask your environment about Team Foundation information:

private TeamFoundationServerExt _tfsExt;

_tfsExt = (TeamFoundationServerExt)_applicationObject.GetObject("Microsoft.VisualStudio.TeamFoundation.TeamFoundationServerExt");

Also, you can be notified when your work project context was changed. To do this, just subscribe to ProjectContextChanged event and handle it inside:

_tfsExt.ProjectContextChanged += OnProjectContextChanged;

public void OnProjectContextChanged(object sender, EventArgs e) {
         if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(_tfsExt.ActiveProjectContext.ProjectName)) {

Now when we know, that we have out active project context, all we have to do is to ask about changes

private VersionControlExt _vcExt;

_vcExt = (VersionControlExt)_applicationObject.GetObject("Microsoft.VisualStudio.TeamFoundation.VersionControl.VersionControlExt");

Inside VersionControlExt object you have following self-descriptive properties and methods: FindChangeSet, History, PendingChanges, SolutionWorkspace etc. however it works only with TFS solution explorer. To handle pending changes for the project without tickling TFS, we can use it internal methods. All the difference is with references. To work with Visual Studio TFS explorer methods, you should reference:
Microsoft.VisualStudio.TeamFoundation.dll, Microsoft.VisualStudio.TeamFoundation.Client.dll and Microsoft.VisualStudio.TeamFoundation.VersionControl.dll, while working with TFS API directly, use Microsoft.TeamFoundation.dll, Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Client.dll and Microsoft.TeamFoundation.VersionControl.dll from [PROGRAM FILES]\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies\. Just like this:

VersionControlServer _vcs

_vcs = (VersionControlServer)_server.GetService(typeof(VersionControlServer));

var _sets = _vcs.QueryPendingSets( new[] { new ItemSpec(serverPath, RecursionType.Full) }, null, null);

foreach (PendingSet set in sets) {
… //Get everything you need here

We done. It’s very easy to work with Team System from inside Visual Studio. Also it’s very easy to build useful tools, not built by Microsoft for some reason :)

Have a nice day, be good people and wait for me to beatify sources before releasing as another Open Source application.

Open Source licenses comparison table

I have a number of projects, released with OS licenses. However, each time I’m about to release new project, I think once again about under what license to release it. So, today I decided to create small comparison table of most popular free licenses to simplify a process of licensing choose you all of us.

image 
© Myself :)

License name Can give my name for derived work? Should derived work remains open source? Can change license type for derived work? Can sell derived work?
Apache License 2.0 yes no yes yes
Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) yes no yes to compatible yes
GNU General Public License 2.0 (GPLv2) yes, but should mark changes yes, only if published yes to compatible or by owner agreement yes
GNU Library General Public License (LGPL) yes same as in GPL, but can link compiled libraries as-is into non-open source software (please reference for more info) yes for compatible yes
Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL) yes, but cannot use owner’s trademarks no no yes
Microsoft Reciprocal License (Ms-RL) yes, same as for Ms-PL yes no yes
Mozilla Public License 1.1 (MPL) yes no no yes
BSD License yes no yes yes
MIT License yes no yes yes

It’s unnecessary to mark, that all copyrights must retain in original and derived work. Also it’s good manner to notice about original authors of open source software also in derived binary work. So if you’re using my OSS in any of your work, please mark it :) Please pay attention, that except MIT and MS licenses, derived work cannot use authors’ names and origin for derived software promotions.

Another common question is about Creative Common attribution under which licensed all content in this blog. It is not really license. In spite of this, you can use this attribution to mark your work. CC is all about copyright of owner attributes in derived works, but not about distribution or restrictions of any kind.

Also neither of OS licenses provide responsibility or any kind of assurance for those, who use this software as a part of derived work or in binary format.

Have a nice day, be good people, release open software to push the industry forward and show the world what you worth.

New version of Hebrew and Arabic support for Silverlight was released

Please notice, that new version (RC1) of Bidi support for Silverlight was released. What’s new in this release?

  • Initial version of bidi DataGrid
  • Listbox, CheckBox, RadioButton, DatePicker, Tab and TabItem controls were added (tnx to Yasser Makram and Emad from Santeon)
  • There are some changes in nBidi algorithm by Itai Bar-Haim
  • Button and ToggleButton base fixes + valid default templates for all controls
  • Some performance and stability issues.

So, be sure, that you have the latest release and take a part of tests, which were also updated to new version.

silverpeace

Great thank to all contributors for huge united work done. If you want to take a part in development drop me a note.

Download latest release (RC1) of bidirectional text support for Microsoft Silverlight >>

USB FM radio library was published on CodePlex

I just published a part of my latest project – dynamic library to work with FM receivers on CodePlex under MS-PL. So, feel free do download, test and use it.

Note, that this release is preliminary and has a lot of bugs. Also, RDS is not fully implements as well as recording capabilities with Direct Sound.

I’m keep working to provide WPF UI for this library to “productize” it.

So, what are you waiting for? Download and Spear the word with this news! This is the first and only fully managed library (as far as I know) to work with RDS, TMC and FM data. Also, there are not a lot of information about HID usage as FM receiver in managed code.

image

Download latest release of USBFM.DLL >>

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