The blogs of Black Marble staff

Developer Edition for Sharepoint

There has been a good deal of discussion on Blogs and Forums as to if there is a need for a developer edition of Sharepoint (WSS3.0) so you can develop against it under Vista. Historically your options were:

  • Run W2K3 on your client PC - licensing issues and maybe drivers if using a laptop
  • Do all development in a VPC (or VMware) - is be a bit slow.

Now some people argue the separation between client and server this causes is good - and it is a strong argument. However I want to get the best performance out of my development PC, so a WSS3.0 on Vista would be really useful to me. I know it won't address all my development issues (I will still need a VPC from time to time) but it will do 90% of my day to day work and run at least 50% faster than a VPC.

Well the waiting is over Bamboo Solutions have released a tool to community to allow you to install WSS3.0 on Vista.

Well done.......

and another point...

I forgot to say in the last post the thing I noticed most about Spain - the quality of the roads and the courtesy of the drivers. Both excellent. As a cyclist in the UK I am used to pot-holes and being cut up all the time. None of this is Spain, drivers seem happy to wait for cycles and overtake safely giving loads of room. All this on super smooth roads.

I very pleasant change.

[Update 30 May] Done one commute on the bike since I got back and had three near death experiences - welcome home!

An Idle break

I have had a week off on holiday at a triathlon club training camp (some holiday some might say, 26 hours of training sessions in 6 days). We were staying at Idle Breaks just outside Malaga. A location which I cannot recommend highly enough, great location, facilities, food and owners.

However, I have to say you do get some strange looks as you get ready for a swim in the Mediterranean.

 LBT Camp

I wondered what state I would come back in as I was entered for the Wetherby Triathlon the day after I got back; would I be trained to perfection or exhausted? Well I raced OK, heavy legs on a windy bike section made worse by me being to lazy the day before to refit my aero-bars when I re-assembled my bike from the flight, but an OK time overall.

The Wetherby Triathlon, though a smallish field, is well worth a look at for next year. Even though it is early in the season the River Wharfe was no colder than the Med and it is a really well thought out course and well organised race.

Microsoft Source Analysis for C#

Phew what a name, well if you want consistent style across developers this is the tool for you. Previously known as StyleCop inside Microsoft. Microsoft Source Analysis is pretty much a mandatory addition to any team development toolkit.

In the same way the FxCop helps "focus" developers towards consistent better quality code , StyleCop does the same with code style. But also like FxCop , StyleCop will make a lot of developers gnash their teeth, while they get used to it.


New TFS stuff that has just been published

Yesterday we had the first drop of the VS2008 SP1 Beta, well there is also one for TFS2008. As with the main VS2008 service pack there are loads of fixes and some new features.

  • Support for Windows Server 2008.
  • Support for SQL Server Codename Katmai CTP6.
  • The Add to Source Control dialogs have been improved to be easier to use and more scalable.
  • Drag & Drop from Windows Explorer to add to Source Control.
  • Support for Version control operations on files not in bound solutions.
  • Right-click access to set Working Folder/Cloak of folders from within Source Control Explorer.
  • Check in date/time column in Source Control Explorer.
  • Editable path field for the Source Control Explorer.
  • Email work items and queries to someone.
  • A new API to download files to a stream.
  • Links to Team System Web Access pages from notifications.
  • Improvements to the number of projects per server.
  • Performance and scale improvements.
  • Improvements to the VSS converter to make it much more robust.
  • Support for creating Team Projects from the command line.
  • Given my experiences with the VS2008 Beta I think I will be waiting for the real release before I put this near our main systems. As with any system critical beta only play with them in a sandbox!

    Also Brian Harry has published a revised licensing white paper, this might well help to explain some of the common problems we all have in this area.

    Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Beta is out

    Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Beta is out for testing.

    Scott has a great blog post on SP1, but the highlights (which are numerous)

    - Classic ASP intelisense and debugging is back

    - Faster application startup time

    - Better client side rollout

    - New Windows Form Controls

    - WPF Performance Improvements

    - WPF Extensible shader effects

    - WPF Direct3D interface

    - WPF Design surface improvements in VS2008

    - ADO.NET Entity Framework included

    - WCF - 5-10x scalability improvements

    - WCF Enhanced Test Client

    and best of all more Red Squiggles for the C# compiler

    You can download and use the beta now here

    there are TFS improvements but Richard will be blogging about those



    Developer Day Scotland

    Thanks to everyone who attended my session in Glasgow yesterday, I hope you found it useful.

    The slides will appear on the DDS site at some point but you can find them now on the Black Marble site. There is also a web cast of a virtual identical presentation on the Extreme Programming Club site.

    The noticeable difference at this event from DDD in Reading was what was going on at lunch time. The grok talks seemed far better attended than at TVP, also there was interesting Alt.Net Open Spaces style session where we had a general chat on tools and libraries which I attended.

    Why did this seem to work better than at TVP?

    • Was it the event was smaller?
    • The layout of the venue meant it was easy to circulate?

    I don't know the answer but I would like to thank the organisers for putting on such as successful event.

    I look forward to the next one and hope to see a few of you  in Edinburgh on the 4th of June

    Fixed Sprint Burndown chart for eScrum on TFS 2008

    Since updating to TFS 2008 we have lost our Sprint Burndown chart in eScrum, not a major problem as we use the cumulative flow in its place. However, I have eventually got round to fixing it.

    It turns out the problem is down to the the way the dates for the start and end of the Sprint are converted to measure names for the main MDX query. There were both regional date format issues (mm/dd/yy as opposed to dd/mm/yy) and the fact that the MDX query was very particular over leading zeros for the end date of the range e.g. 14/4/2008 did not work but 14/04/2008 did (but this was not the case for the start date!)

    The solution was to handle the dates as strings which I could force for format on, as opposed to dates. I am not sure how well this will work for others depending on regional date format. You might need to edit the RDL file a bit. However, my guess is it will cure many of the problems with missing eScrum burndown charts that forums have been putting down to warehouse corruption.

    I also added a table at the bottom to help with seeing what is going on. The revised RDL file can be downloaded form this server

    Registry Access Errors with the TFS API

    If you are using the TFS API within a WebApp with impersonation there is a good chance you will see the error below when you run the web site on IIS

    System.Security.SecurityException: Requested registry access is not allowed.    
    at System.ThrowHelper.ThrowSecurityException(ExceptionResource resource)    
    at Microsoft.Win32.RegistryKey.OpenSubKey(String name, Boolean writable)    
    at Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Client.RegisteredServers.OpenCurrentUser(Boolean writable, Boolean shouldCreate)    
    at Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Client.RegisteredServers.GetUriForServer(String serverName)    
    at Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Client.RegisteredServers.GetServerKeyForServer(String serverName, String subKey, Boolean writable, Boolean shouldCreate)

    If you google for this forums tells you to add read access for the impersonated user to


    However, this did not fix the problem. So after much fiddling and re-reading Naren's Blog on configuring WIT I looked further down the error log and saw

    The Zone of the assembly that failed was:    
    Access to the path 'Microsoft\Team Foundation\2.0\Cache' is denied.

    So I created a cache directory and added the following


    <add key="WorkItemTrackingCacheRoot" value="E:\FolderForCache" />

    And it leapt into life, even with the added rights in the registry removed!

    So it seems the first error is a red herring.