But it works on my PC!

The random thoughts of Richard Fennell on technology and software development

Alt.net 'in the north' still has some spaces

As I am sure you noticed there was an unfortunate clash of dates between Alt.net 'in the North' in Bradford and WebDD in Reading on the 18th of April. Well I see that WebDD over the weekend has published it's agenda, opened registrations and is now full.

So if you are disappointed that you can't get a place for the WebDD event have you thought of trying an Open Spaces event like Alt.net? We still have some spaces left. The key difference of this type of event, as opposed to the more traditional lecture format of WebDD, is that the attendees decide the agenda when they arrive and most sessions take the format of an open discussion of peoples real work experiences and opinions.

Go on give it a try it might be fun!

Visual Studio 2008 Database Edition GDR release - Createdeployment

Whilst preparing for my session at SQLBits next weekend I was re-watched Gert Drapers' PDC session (TL45) where he used a command tool to deploy a database via a USB pen drive (about 30 minutes into the session). Now it seems that the createdeployment command line tool he used is not currently available outside Microsoft, but the same effect can be achieved use the VSDBCMD command.

Step 1 - get the files onto the distribution device

The first step is to build the distribution media, this is just an XCOPY process. As the MSDN documentation says you need to end up with the following directory structure on your USB drive; for this example I used G: for USB drive letter and Database1 for the name of the database I want to distribute

G:\ copy the contents of [Program Files]\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VSTSDB\Deploy & sub directories
G:\ copy the dlls from[Program Files]\Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition\v3.5 folder
G:\Database1\ copy the contents of [ProjectsFolder]\DataBase1Solution\Database1\sql\debug or release directory after the DB project is built

Step 2 - A script to do the deploy

It is now a simple process of running the command line tool, but this is a bit long to type each time so I used a batch file. My command usage was

deploy [DB name] [SQL server instance]
e.g. deploy database1 .\sqlexpress

The contents of the actual deploy.bat batch file is as follows. Note there are many more options you can set but this seems to be the basic minimum

VSDBCMD /a:Deploy  /dsp:Sql /cs:"Server=%2;Database=%1;Trusted_Connection=yes;"  /model:%1\%1.dbschema  /manifest:%1\%1.deploymanifest /script:%1%.sql /dd

Using this batch file a new instance of a database can be created or an existing one updated.

Note: When I first tried to get this going I keep getting SQL file create errors which appears as TSD01268 errors in the deployment log. Eventually I realised the problem. I was running on a 64Bit Windows 7 PC. My default SQLExpress instance, running as the Network Service account, was setup to and had rights to create files in C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\Data but not in C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\Data. Unfortunately the VSDBCMD tried to use the second location. Once the SQL instance was set to default to the second location and suitable rights provided all worked correctly.

Free hotel internet - if you dare touch it

I have been away at the MVP summit and then on holiday for a couple of weeks. On this trip every hotel I stayed in had free internet, though often only wired. Seem many hotels have Wifi contracts with mobile phone companies and they are still charging for.

So top tip make sure you have UTP cable in your bag.

The 'most interesting' system I had was at a hotel in Whistler.


I decided not to touch it and used the free Wifi from a nearby coffee shop!

Do you need work item hierarchy in TFS? (Part 2)

I did a post before going to the MVC summit called Do you need work item hierarchy in TFS? which mentioned the new tools from Notion for TFS.

Well there are many ways to skin a cat, and also to produce a hierarchy of TFS work items. Also have a look at Artiso Workitem Manager. This product is interesting as it provides tools that work outside of Visual Studio to manage hierarchies of work items. This might be just what you need for people such as project manager who do not live in a development environment. The nicest feature for me is that allows the import and export of work items into Word document, thus allowing production of specification documents from TFS with the click of a button.

Error 1722 when installing MVC 1.0

As I am sure you will have heard the MVC 1.0 has been released. I downloaded this on my Windows 7 and tried to install it but got an Error 1722, the MSI then rolled back.

Turns out the problem was simply that I had Visual Studio open at the time I installed, it needs to be closed. It seems the MSI does not check for this before it attempts the copy.