But it works on my PC!

The random thoughts of Richard Fennell on technology and software development

Duplicate project GUID blocking SonarQube analysis of Windows 10 Universal Projects

I have working on getting a Windows 10 Universal application analysed with SonarQube 6.x as part of a VSTS build. The problem has been that when the VSTS task to complete the SonarQube analysis ran I kept getting an error in the form


WARNING: Duplicate project GUID: "8ace107e-8e3c-4a1b-9920-e76eb1db5e53". Check that the project is only being built for a single platform/configuration and that that the project guid is unique. The project will not be analyzed by SonarQube. Project file: E:\Build1\_work\58\s\BlackMarble.Victory.Common.Module.csproj

… plus loads more similar lines.
The exclude flag has been set so the project will not be analyzed by SonarQube. Project file: E:\Build1\_work\58\s\BlackMarble.Victory.Ux.Common.csproj
… plus loads more similar lines.

WARNING: Duplicate project GUID: "1e7b2f4e-6de2-40ab-bff9-a0c63db47ca2". Check that the project is only being built for a single platform/configuration and that that the project guid is unique. The project will not be analyzed by SonarQube. 2017-06-09T15:50:41.9993583Z ##[error]No analysable projects were found but some duplicate project IDs were found. Possible cause: you are building multiple configurations (e.g. DEBUG|x86 and RELEASE|x64) at the same time, which is not supported by the SonarQube integration. Please build and analyse each configuration individually.
Generation of the sonar-properties file failed. Unable to complete SonarQube analysis.

Turns out the issue was that even though my CI build was only set to create an x86|Debug build the act of creating the .APPX package was causing both x64 and ARM builds to be build too, this was too much for SonarQube as it though I had a multiplatform build..

The answer was to pass a parameter into the Visual Studio build task to disable the creation of the .APPX package.

The parameter override required is /p:AppxBundle=Never. This overrides the setting of Always that was set in the .CSProj file.



Once this change was done analysis completed as expected. Just need to fix all the issues it found now!

Options migrating TFS to VSTS

I did an event yesterday on using the TFS Database Import Service to do migrations from on premises TFS to VSTS.

During the presentation I discussed some of the other migration options available. Not everyone needs a high fidelity migration, bring everything over. Some teams may want to just bring over their current source or just a subset of their source. Maybe they are making a major change in work practices and want to start anew on VSTS.

To try to give an idea of the options I have produced this flow chart to help with the choices

Click for a PDF version


It mentions a few 3rd party tools in the flowchart, so here are some useful links

Also, if you find yourself in the orange box at the bottom and don’t want to use the TFS Database Import Service for some reason, have a look at this post I did on Microsoft’s UK Developers site. It might give you some ideas

Two new tasks in my Manifest Version VSTS Extension

I have just released a new version of my VSTS Manifest Version Extension (1.5.22). This adds two new tasks to the set of versioning tasks in the extension. The complete set now is


  • VersionAssemblies - sets the version in the assemblyinfo.cs or .vb (used pre build)
  • VersionDotNetCoreAssemblies - sets the version in the *.csproj (used pre build)  - cross platform
  • VersionAPPX - sets the version in the Package.appxmanifest (used pre build)
  • VersionVSIX - sets the version in the source.extension.vsixmanifest (used pre build)
  • VersionDacpac - sets the version in a SQL DACPAC (used post build)
  • VersionNuspec - sets the version in a Nuget Nuspec file (used pre packing)
  • VersionSharePoint - sets the version in a SharePoint 2013/2016/O365 Add-In
  • VersionWix - sets the version in a Wix Project


As with all the other tasks, these new tasks aim to find files recursively to update with a version number extracted from the build number

Version .NET Core CSPROJ file

This is a cross platform task, written in Node.JS. It updates a version number in a .NET Core .CSPROJ file. There is a parameter so it can look for different XML node names

<Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk.Web">






<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore" Version="1.1.1" />

<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc" Version="1.1.2" />

<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.StaticFiles" Version="1.1.1" />

<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.Extensions.Logging.Debug" Version="1.1.1" />

<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.VisualStudio.Web.BrowserLink" Version="1.1.0" />



Version a Wix project

As Wix is a Windows technology, my new Wix task is only supported on Windows (PowerShell) build agents.

Due to the flexibility (complexity?) of Wix it does have to make some assumptions. I have documented them in the VSTS extension’s project wiki.

The summary is you need to put all the version number variable definitions in an installerversion.wxi file that is included into your Wix project. The task looks for and updates this file(s)

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<!-- Note that this file will be overridden by the build server. -->
  <?define MajorVersion = "1" ?>
  <?define MinorVersion = "0" ?>
  <?define BuildNumber = "0" ?>
  <?define Revision = "0" ?>
  <?define FullVersion = "" ?>
  <!--WiX Installer Versions are Major.Minor.Revision -->

These variables can be used anywhere in the Wix project where needed e.g. to set the MSI version you could do the following

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<?include InstallerVersion.wxi ?>
<Wix xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/wix/2006/wi">
  <Product Id="*" Name="WixProject" Language="1033" Version="$(var.FullVersion)"  Manufacturer="Test"

If you want a different number format just build it from the individual parts.

Hope you find them useful, as usual asked question on VSTS Manifest Version Extension Q&A or raise issues on Github

401.1 Permission error with on-premises TFS when accessing the API with a PAT


If you are creating VSTS build extensions you will need to get the build or release’s PAT token if you wish to call the VSTS REST API.

This is done using a call like this (Node)


import tl = require('vsts-task-lib/task');

var auth = tl.getEndpointAuthorization('SYSTEMVSSCONNECTION', false);

if (auth.scheme === 'OAuth') {

var token = auth.parameters['AccessToken'];


or (PowerShell)


$vssEndPoint = Get-ServiceEndPoint -Name "SystemVssConnection" -Context $distributedTaskContext

$personalAccessToken = $vssEndpoint.Authorization.Parameters.AccessToken


You pop the resultant PAT into the headers of your REST web request and you are away and running.

The Problem

I hit a problem using this logic on VSTS Extension when they are run on TFS. On VSTS all was fine, but on TFS I got an unexpected 401.1 permission error on the first REST call i.e. I could not access the VSTS REST API

I tried setting fiddling with rights of my build user account, it was not that. Also I tried setting the ‘Allow scripts to access OAuth token’ property for the build/release agent



But this does not help either. This option just makes the PAT available as an environment variable, so you don’t need to use the code shown above.

And anyway – it was all worked on VSTS so it could not have been that!


The answer was I had basic authentication enabled on my Test TFS VM, as soon as this is disabled (the default) everything leapt into life.


Presenting at an event in Leeds - Making it easy to migrate your ALM process to the Cloud

Do you find your TFS server gets forgotten?

  • It is not owned by the IT department and the Development team don’t have the time to support it fully, it never gets patched or upgrades?
  • Or maybe you are adopting a cloud first strategy for all you systems?

Well maybe it is time to consider moving your on-premises TFS instance to VSTS?

On the 9th of May at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Leeds I will be presenting at a Black Marble /Microsoft event where we will be looking at Microsoft’s new high fidelity VSTS database import tools that can be used to move a TFS instance to VSTS.

I will also be considering the pros and cons of the other migration options available to you. Hopefully making this a very useful session if you are considering a move to VSTS from TFS or any other source control ALM solution.

Hope to see you there, to register click here



New Cross Platform version of my Generate Release Notes VSTS Extension

My Generate Release Notes VSTS extension has been my most popular by a long way. I have enhanced it, with the help of others via pull requests, but there have been two repeating common questions that have not been resolved

  1. Is it cross platform?
  2. Why does it show different work items and commit associations to the VSTS Release Status UI?

Well the answer to the first is that the core of the logic for the extension came from a PowerShell script we used internally, so PowerShell was the obvious first platform, especially as though my PowerShell skills are not great, my Node was weaker!

The second issue is due to my original extension and VSTS’s UI doing very different things. My old extension was based around inspecting build results, so when working in a release it finds all the builds between the current release and last successful one and looks at the details of each build in turn, building a big list or changes. VSTS’s Release summary UI does not do this, it make a few current undocumented ‘compare this to that’ API calls to get the lists.

In an attempt to address both these questions I have over the past few weeks created a new Cross Platform Generate Release Notes Extension. Now don’t worry, the old one is still there and supported, they do different jobs. This new extension is cross platform and tries to use the same API calls the VSTS Release summary UI uses.

There are of course a few gotchas

  • I did have to adopt a work around for TFVC changeset history as Microsoft use an old internal API call, but that that was the only place I had to do this. So apologies if there are any differences in the changesets returned.
  • The template format is very similar to that used in my original Generate Release Notes VSTS extension, but due to the change from PowerShell to Node I had to move from $($widetail.fields.'System.Title') style to ${widetail.fields['System.Title']}

So I hope people find this new extension useful, I can now go off happily closing old Issues in GitHub

VSTS Build Task Development - Now that is a misleading error message !

I have been working on a new Node.JS based VSTS Build Extension, so loads of Node learning going on as it is a language I have not done much with in the past. I expect to get caught out in places, but I have just wasted a good few hours on this one!

I am working in VS Code using Typescript to generate my Node based task. Whilst hacking around I have been just running the script in the VS Code debugger, getting the logic right before packaging it up and testing within a VSTS Build extension.

Everything was working until I did a big refactor, basically moving functions to a module. I suddenly started getting the following error trying to make a REST call

Exception occured

Error: Error: Hostname/IP doesn't match certificate's altnames: "Host: richardfennell.vsrm.visualstudio.com. is not in the cert's altnames: DNS:*.vsrm.visualstudio.com, DNS:vsrm.visualstudio.com, DNS:*.app.vsrm.visualstudio.com, DNS:app.vsrm.visualstudio.com"



I looked for ages to see how I had broken the REST call, all to no avail. In the end I rolled back and had to step through the refactor in small steps (smaller steps I should probably have taken anyway)

In the end I found the issue. The problem was in my early testing I had hard coded my input parameters e.g.

var templateFile = "template.md”;

Whilst stating to wire up the code as a VSTS Task I had started to swap in calls to the VSTS task Library

import tl = require('vsts-task-lib/task');

Correction – all the tl.xxx calls seem to cause a problem, avoid them for local testing

Now for items such as logging this works fine whether the logic is running in VS Code’s debugger or on a VSTS Build Agent, so I could use the following line in VS Code or on a VSTS Build Agent.

tl.Debug(“My Message”);

Where it does not work is for Task inputs. I had assume that

var templateFile = tl.getInput("templatefile");

Would return null/undefined when running in the VS Code debugger, but no, it causes that strange exception.

Once I removed the all the getInput calls my error went away.

Hope this save someone else some time

Migrating projects from CodePlex to GitHub due to CodePlex shutting down at the end of year

It has just been announced by Microsoft that it’s Open Source service CodePlex is shutting down before the end of the year. The reality is that the Microsoft focused Open Source community, and Microsoft itself, have moved to GitHub a good while ago.

I think I, like most developers, have moved any active Open Source projects to GitHub a good while ago,  but I still had legacy ones on CodePlex.

Microsoft have provided a nicely documented process to move the key assets of projects, whether TFVC or Git based, to GitHub. This process worked for me. However, I will suggest a could of changes/additions

  1. I would not export the WIKI docs as detailed in the process. I don’t want my old CodePlex Wiki pages in the new GitHub code repository as a folder. I think it is better to move each page over to a GitHub WIki. I only had few pages, so I did this by hand. I used this nice little tools  from Dom Christie to convert the CodePlex HTML based pages to Markdown which I cut and pasted into the new repo’s Wiki, fixing URLs as I went.
  2. I decided I needed to consider release downloads. The process does not do address this area. I thought I should bring over at least the last set of release binaries for my projects as a Github Releases. The reason was that the chances are for any old inactive project on CodePlex you won’t have the tools to hand to re-build the code easily, so just in case it is best to keep the last built version to hand as a release
  3. The process does not bring over Issues, but this was not a problem for me, the projects I have been superseded by active ones already on Github, so the issues are irrelevant

So if you have old CodePlex projects and you don’t want them to disappear think about moving them before the service is shutdown, you have until December 2017.

You never know how people will use a tool

You never know how people will use a tool once it is out ‘in the wild’. I wrote my Generate Release Notes VSTS extension to generate markdown files, but people have attempted to use it in other ways.

I realised, via an issue raised on Github, that it can also be used, without any code changes, to generate other formats such as HTML. The only change required is to provide an HTML based template as opposed to markdown one.

I have added suitable samples to the wiki and repo