But it works on my PC!

The random thoughts of Richard Fennell on technology and software development

TF900546, can’t run Windows 8 App Store unit tests in a TFS build

Today has been one of purging build system problems. On my TFS 2012 Windows 8 build box I was was getting the following error when trying to run Windows 8 App Store unit tests

TF900546: An unexpected error occurred while running the RunTests activity: 'Unable to load one or more of the requested types. Retrieve the LoaderExceptions property for more information.'.

On further investigation, I am not really sure anything was working too well on this box. To give a bit of background

  • I have one build controller build2012
  • with a number of build agents spread across various VMs. I use tags to target the correct agent e.g. SUR40 or WIN8

In the case of Windows 8 builds (where the  TFS build agent has to run on a Windows 8 box) the build seemed to run, but tests failed with the TF900546 ‘its broken error, but I am not saying why’ error. As usual there was nothing in the logs to help.

To try to debug the error I added a build controller to this box, and eventually, just like Martin in his post noticed, after far too long, that I was getting a error on the build service on the Windows 8 box and the agent was not fully online.

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The main symptom is the build agent says ready, but shows a red box (stopped). If you hit the details link that appears you get the error dialog. Martin had a 500 error, I was getting a 404. I had seen similar problems before, I really should read (or at least remember) my own blog posts.

I can’t stress enough, if you don’t see a green icon on build controllers and agent you have a problem, it might not be obvious at that point but it will bite you later!

For me the fix was the URL I was using to connect to the TFS server. i was using HTTPS (SSL), as soon as switched to HTTP all was OK. In this case this was fine as both the TFS server and build box were in the same rack so SSL was not really needed. I suspect that the solution, if I had wanted SSL, would be as Martin outlined, a config file edit to sort out the bindings.

But remember….

That having a working build system is not enough for Windows 8 App Store unit tests. You also have to manually install the application certificate for test assembly as detailed in MSDN as well as getting the build service running in interactive mode.

Once this was done my application build and the tests ran OK

More thoughts on addressing TF900546 ‘Unable to load one or more of the requested types’ on TFS2012

A while ago I posted about seeing the TF900546 error when running unit tests in a previously working TFS 2012 build. The full error being:

TF900546: An unexpected error occurred while running the RunTests activity: 'Unable to load one or more of the requested types. Retrieve the LoaderExceptions property for more information.'.

Well late last week this problem came back with avengeance on a number of builds run on the same build controller/agent(s). Irritatingly I first noticed it after a major refactor of a codebase, so I had plenty of potential root causes as assemblies had been renamed and it was possible they might not be found. However, after a bit of testing there were no obvious candidates as all tests worked fine locally on my development PC, and a new very simple test application showed the same issues. It was defiantly an issue on the build system.

I can still find no good way to debug this error, Stackoverflow mention Fuslogvw and WinDbg, as well as various copy local settings and the like. Again all seems too much as this build was working in the past, just seemed to stop. I tried a couple but got no real information, and the error logs were empty.

In the end I just tried what I did before (as I could think of no better tactic to pin down the true issue). I went into the build controller config, removed the reference to the custom assemblies, saved this settings (causing a controller restart), then put it back (another restart of the controller)

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After this my test started working again, with no other changes

Interesting a restart of VM running the build controller did not fix the problem. However this does somewhat chime with comments in the StackOverFlow thread that causing the AppPool in MVC apps to rebuild completely, ignoring any cached assemblies, seems to fix the issue.

Change in the System.AssignedTo in TFS SOAP alerts with TFS 2012

Ewald’s post explains how to create a WCF web service to act as an end point for TFS Alerts. I have been using the model with a TFS 2010 to check for work item changed events, using the work item’s System.AssignedTo field to retrieve the owner of the work item (via the TFS API) so I can send an email, as well as other tasks (I know I could just send the email with a standard alert).

In TFS 2010 this worked fine, if the work item was assigned to me I got back the name richard, which I could use as the to address for the email by appending our domain name.

When I moved this WCF event receiver onto a TFS 2012 (using the TFS 2012 API) I had not expected any problems, but the emails did not arrive. On checking my logging I saw they were being sent to fennell@blackmarble.co.uk. Turns out the issue was that the API call

value = this.workItem.Fields[“System.AssignedTo ”].Value.ToString();

was returning the display name ‘Richard Fennell’, which was not a valid part of the email address.

The best solution I found, thus far, was to check to see if had a display name in the AD using the method I found on stackoverflow. If I got a user name back I used that, if I got a empty string (because I have been passed a non display name) I just use the initial value assuming it is a valid address.

Seems to work but this there a easier solution?

Cannot run coded ui test on a TFS lab due to lack of rights to the drops folder

Whilst setting up a TFS 2012 Lab management environment for Coded UI testing we got the problem that none of the tests were running, in fact we could see no tests were even being passed to the agent in the lab

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On the build report I clicked on  the ‘View Test Results’ which loaded the result in Microsoft Test Manager (MTM)

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and viewed the test run log, and we saw

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The issue, it claimed, was that the build controller did not have rights to access the drop folder containing the assembly with the CodedUI. tests.

Initially i thought the issue was the test controller was running a ‘local service’, so I changed it to the domain\tfsbuild account (which obviously has rights to the drops folder as it put the files there) but still got the same error. i was confused.

So I checked the event log on the build controller and found the following

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The problem was my tfslab account, not the local service or tfsbuild one. So the message shown in the build report was just confusing, mentioning the wrong user. The lab account is the one configured in the test controller (yes you have to asked how had I missed that when I had been into the same tools to change the user the test controller ran as!)

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As soon as I granted this tfslab user rights to the drops folder all was OK

Team Foundation Service RTMs

Today at Build 2012 it was announced that https://tfspreview.com has RTM'd as Team Foundation Service on https://tfs.visualstudio.com.

Up until now there has been no pricing information, which had been a barrier to some people I have spoken to as they did not want to started using something without knowing the future cost.

So to the really good news, as of now

  • It is free for up to 5 users
  • If you have an active MSDN subscription it is also free. So a team of any size can use it as long as they all have MSDN

The announcement said to look out for further price options next year.

Check the full details at Soma's blog

More fun with creating TFS 2012 SC-VMM environments

Whilst setting up new a new SC-VMM based lab environment I managed to find some new ways to fail above and beyond the ones I have found before.

We needed to build a new environment for testing CRM application, this needed to have its own DC, IIS server and a CRM server. The aim was to have this as a network isolated environment, but you have to build it first as the various VMs.

So we did the following

  • On the Hyper-V hosts managed by our SC-VMM server create 3 new VMs connect to our corporate LAN
  • Install the OS on the three VMs
  • Make one of the a DC for dev.local
  • Join the others to the DC’s domain dev.local (they are not joined to our corporate domain)
  • On the IIS box add the web server role
  • On the CRM box install Microsoft CRM

So we now have a three box domain that does what we want, but it is not network isolated. We could have used the features of SC-VMM to push these VMs into the library and hence import into the Lab Management library. However we choose to make sure we could connect to them first as an environment.

So first I tried to create a standard environment, not using SC-VMM. I had to create a local hosts file on the PC running MTM, but once this was done I could verify the environment, so all was OK. I did not actually create it.

Next I tried to create a SC-VMM based environment and this is where I hit a problem. I was basically trying to do something I have done before with all our pre-lab management test VMs, wrapper existing VMs in an environment. When I tried to do this the verification failed, saying I could not connect to any of the VMs. First we made sure file sharing was enable, firewalls were not blocking etc. All to no effect.

To cut a long story short I had a number of issues, mostly down to the reuse of names

  • The SC-VMM VM names for the VMs (e.g. LabDC) did not match the actual host name (DevDC). I had to rename the VM in SC-VMM to match the name of the host in the operating system (I am still unsure if this is a red herring and not really that important, but I think it is good practice anyway)
  • We had to have a hosts file on the MTM box with the fully qualified names for the three boxes (not just the server name). Not that this hosts entry (or could be DNS if you want) is only needed until the environment is built
  • 192.168.200.102 devcrm.dev.local
    192.168.200.103 deviis.dev.local
    192.168.200.104 devdc.dev.local

  • The name DevDC has been used on another VM that was being run on one of our developers Windows 8 Hyper-V setup. This was causing problems when MTM tried to resolve the machine name via SMB (Netbios, IP resolution was fine). Switching off this other VM fixed this, we only spotted it by using Wireshark on the PC running MTM (note you have to run the installer in Win7 compatibility mode to get it to work with Windows 8)
  • When entering the login details for development domain when creating the new environment in MTM  the user ID had to be entered as administator@dev.local and not dev\administrator

Once this was all done I could verify my environment and create it, the TFS agent was installed, but did not connect to the test controller. This is exactly as expect as details in my previous post.

I now have a few choices

  • If I don’t want to network isolate it I can install a Test Controller in the domain
  • I can save each of the three VMs into the SC-VMM library via MTM and create an isolated environment.

So I hope this helps you avoid some of the problems I have seen, I just wish that the MTM environment creation step gave out a better log file so i don’t have to second guess it or use wireshark.

TFS Test Agent cannot connect to Test Controller – Part 2

I posted last week on the problems I had had getting the test agents and controller in a TFS2012 Standard environment talking to each other and a workaround. Well after a good few email with various people at Microsoft and other consultants at Black Marble I have a whole range of workarounds solutions.

First a reminder of my architecture, and note that this could be part of the problem, it is all running on a single Hyper-V host. Remember this is a demo rig to show the features of Standard Environments. I think it is unlikely that this problem will be seen in a more ‘realistic’ environment i.e. running on multiple boxes

 

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The problem is that when the test agent running on the Server2008 should request the test controller (running the on VSTFS server) should call it back on either it 169.254.x.x address or on abn address obtained via DHCP from the external virtual switch. However the problem is it is requesting a call back on 127.0.0.1, as can be seen in the error log

Unable to connect to the controller on 'vstfs:6901'. The agent can connect to the controller but the controller cannot connect to the agent because of following reason: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it 127.0.0.1:6910. Make sure that the firewall on the test agent machine is not blocking the connection.

The root cause

It turns out the root cause of this problem was I had edited the c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts file on the test server VM to add an entry to allow a URL used in CodedUI tests to be resolved to the localhost

127.0.0.1   www.mytestsite.com

Solution 1 – Edit the test agent config to bind to a specific address

The first solution is the one I outlined in my previous post, tell the test agent to bind to a specific IP address. Edit

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Common7\IDE\QTAgentService.exe.config

and added a BindTo line with the correct address for the controller to call back to the agent

<appSettings>
     // other bits …
      <add key="BindTo" value="169.254.1.1"/>
</appSettings>

The problem with this solution you need to remember to edit a config file, all seems a bit complex!

Solution 2 – Don’t resolve the test URL to localhost

Change the hosts file entry used by the CodedUI test to resolve to the actual address of the test VM e.g.

169.254.1.1   www.mytestsite.com

Downside here is you need to know the test agents IP address, which depending on the system in use could change, and will certainly be different on each test VM in an environment. Again all seems a bit complex and prone to human error.

Solution 3 – Add an actual loopback entry to the hosts file.

The simplest workaround which Robert Hancock at Black Marble came up with was to add a second entry to the hosts file for the name loopback

127.0.0.1   localhost
127.0.0.1   www.mytestsite.com

Once this was done the test agent could connect, I did not have to edit any agent config files, or know the address the agent need to bind to. By far the best solution

 

So thanks to all who helped get to the bottom of this surprisingly complex issue.

TFS Test Agent cannot connect to Test Controller gives ‘No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it 127.0.0.1:6910’

Updated 1st October – See the Part 2 post which provides more workaround solutions

Whilst setting up a  TFS 2012 Standard Lab Environment for an upcoming demo I hit a problem. Initially my environment had worked fine, I could deploy to my server VM in the environment without error. However, after a reboot of the TFS server (which has the build and test controllers on it) and the single server VM in the environment, the test agent on the VM could not connect to the test controller on the TFS SERVER. The VM’s event log showed

Unable to connect to the controller on 'tfsserver:6901'. The agent can connect to the controller but the controller cannot connect to the agent because of following reason: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it 127.0.0.1:6910. Make sure that the firewall on the test agent machine is not blocking the connection.

The key here was test controller was being told to call back to the test agent on 127.0.0.1 – which is obviously wrong being the loopback address.

So it seems the test agent was telling the test server the wrong IP address, not sure why it was resolving this address but I did find a workaround, on the test VM I edited 

‘C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Common7\IDE\QTAgentService.exe.config’

and added the BindTo line with the correct address for the controller to call back to the agent

<appSettings>
     // other bits …
      <add key="BindTo" value="10.0.0.1"/>
</appSettings>

Once I restarted the test agent it connected to the controller and I could run my builds.

For more details on this config file see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff934571.aspx

Type ‘InArgument(mtbwa:BuildSettings)’ of property ‘BuildSettings’ errors in TFS 2012 RTM builds

I posted a while ago that you saw errors when trying to edit TFS 2012RC build process templates in VS 2012RC if the Visual Studio class library project you were using to manage the process template editing was targeting .NET 4.5, it needed to be 4.0. Well with Visual Studio 2012 RTM this is no longer the case, in fact it is the other way around.

I have recently upgraded our TFS 2012 RC –> RTM and I today came to edit one of our build process templates (using the standard method to edit a process template with custom activities) and got the following error when I tried to open the XAML process template for editing

System.Xaml.XamlException: 'The type ‘InArgument(mtbwa:BuildSettings)’ of property ‘BuildSettings’ could not be resolved.' Line number '3' and line position '38'.

 

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At first I assumed it was my custom activities, so I tried editing the DefaultTemplate.11.1.xaml in the same manner, but got the same problem.

Strangely I found that if I had no solution open in Visual Studio then I could just double click on the DefaultTemplate.11.1.xaml file in Source Control Explorer and it opened without error. However, if I had a solution open in the same instance of VS2012 that contained a class library project that linked to the same XAML file I got the error. Unloading the project within the solution allowed me to open the file via Source Control Explorer, reloading the project again stopped it loading.

So it all pointed to something about the containing class library project stopping referenced assemblies loading. On checking the project properties I saw that it was targeting .NET 4.0 (as required for the RC), as soon as I changed this to .NET 4.5 it was able to load all the required Team Foundation assemblies and I was able to edit both the default template and my custom build process template.