Monday, February 9, 2015

Successful Team Collaboration with Visual Studio 2013 ALM


The biggest Microsoft regional annual conference WinDays, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, in collaboration with the Croatian’s IT magazine Mreža publishes a special magazine edition for all conference attendees each year. The issue contains articles related to “hot“ themes and technologies presented during conference sessions and most of them are written by conference speakers.

The digital edition from last year’s conference WD Mreža 2014 - Windays 14 contains my article entitled “Successful Team Collaboration with Visual Studio 2013 ALM”. The article answers to following questions:

  • What is the secret of producing high quality software?  - Successful team collaboration.
  • The receipt? A comprehensive collaborative development environment.
  • The result? Efficient delivery of software products in accordance with business needs of end customers!

The article describes the full range of integrated collaborative tools in the Visual Studio ALM environment backed up by Team Foundation Server (TFS). The story follows a Scrum team working on a new customer requirement, and emphasizes the built-in traceability from the requirement, over versioned code and related artifacts, through build result, to tests, testing results and related bugs.

Visual Studio ALM - Traceability from User Requirement to Tests

My personal experience when working with customers on ALM related projects shows that the maturity of using collaborative mechanism embedded into the Visual Studio ALM environment varies a lot;

  • Experienced teams working with the environment for many years, that have already worked with several versions of Visual Studio and TFS, are generally aware of existing problems in team collaboration. They are therefore willing to accept and try all embedded collaborative mechanism and try to get the most out of them.
  • Less mature teams often use individual components from the environment, and therefore can not benefit from embedded team collaboration mechanisms. Such teams are often not aware that just by investing a small effort to learn how to make use of the integrated collaborative support they could automate their collaboration and increase their productivity.
  • New users typically show resistance to most of the advanced aspects of this integrated collaborative environment. They usually decide to start using only a subset of tools at the beginning, and plan to expand the usage to all tools for later. This approach leads to teams who learn to use the Visual Studio ALM environment without its embedded collaborative support, while, on the other hand, they collaborate using external tools. Afterwards, it is really hard to correct such acquired team collaboration patterns. In my opinion, teams can easily get familiar with the environment by means of appropriate training targeted for their needs, and can start working correctly from the very the beginning. This approach lays down the foundation for their long-term successful team collaboration.

If you are interested in the subject I invite to read the article in Croatian.

I will also publish parts of the article in English on this blog, so stay tuned.


P.S. The article was published in the newest printed issue of Mreza 2 / 2015 as well.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Workaround for Setting up Workspace Mappings in Toad for Oracle 12.6 and Team Foundation Server 2013 (RTM or Update N)


Recently I had the chance to work again with Toad for Oracle and its versioning control options called Team Coding for purposes of versioning Oracle databases with TFS.

I am currently using the latest available bits, namely Toad with Team Coding 7.1 and Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 3.

Note: I am using the Visual Studio 2013 Application Lifecycle Management Virtual Machine currently with TFS 2013 Update 3 and Visual Studio 2013 Update 3, where I have additionally installed the Oracle Demo DB locally (Oracle Database 11g Release 2 ( for Microsoft Windows (x64))

Setting up Team Coding consists of several steps. The overview of the newest version is available in this video "The new Team Coding Dashboard in Toad for Oracle 12". No official instructions for the newest version are available at the moment of writing this, except the application’s built-in help. The older version 11.6 is documented in "Version Control and Team Coding in Toad for Oracle 11.6", and is useful as a startup guide if you are not familiar with the concept, but differs from the current Team Coding in several points regarding Team Coding and Code Collections (called Code Control Groups prior to Toad 11).

Moving further to my scenario, one of the steps you need to perform when setting up Team Coding is creating a new TFS workspace and defining mappings from TFS source folders to local folders.