But it works on my PC!

The random thoughts of Richard Fennell on technology and software development

ALM Rangers sim-ship guidance with the VS11 RC

I am really proud to have been involved in the team of ALM Rangers who have SIMultaneous-SHIPped best practice guidance with Visual Studio 11 RC, which became available last night.

I am sure anyone working with Visual Studio and TFS will find the guidance of value, I have certainly learned a lot whilst helping produce the material. It has been a great experience working with a great crowd of people both inside and outside of Microsoft.

Visual Studio

On the panel at Tech.Days: Visual Studio 11 Online Event

A while ago I recorded a video Visual Studio Team Foundation for Everyone, this forms part of Tech.Days: Visual Studio 11 Online Event, 28th June 2012, 1pm to 3pm. To lift the agenda from the MSDN site

This event will cover the key new features and capabilities that Visual Studio 11 offers software development teams, and the opportunity to ask questions to the UK Developer Tools team and partners. There’ll be something for almost anyone involved in software development, from Project Managers & Scrum Masters to developers and testers.

So if you have any questions on TEE or any of the new features VS/TFS11 why not register?

A fix for my failure to login to TFSpreview.com problems

I use a number of site collections on the Azure hosted Team Foundations Service (http://tfspreview.com); I have just solved a problem that I could not login to one of them via Visual Studio (2010, Dev11 or also TEE 11, I tried then all), but I could login to my other collections. Also I could access the collection if I logged in via a browser, just not with VS; all very good for work item management, but not much help for source code check-ins.

The Problem

The problem was that when I loaded Visual Studio and tried to select the collection https://mycollection.tfspreview.com in Team Explorer the ‘Sign into Team Foundation Server’ form loaded and uploaded a few times whilst trying to redirect to an authentication provider. I then ended up with a TF31003 error. A retry or use of different credentials did not help


If a deleted the server from the list and tried to re-add it I got similar results, but ended up at the LiveID sign in screen, but just an error message and no means to enter details.


The Solution

The problem was due to cached LiveID credentials. It was suggested I clear IE9 cookies but this did not help. In the end I found the solution in the Credential Manager (Control Panel > User Accounts > Manage Users > Advanced > Manage Passwords).

I had recently installed Skydrive on my PC. This had stored a cached LiveID, the issue was it seems this cached Skydrive LiveID was being used to access TFSpreview. Unfortunately this was my personal LiveID not my work one. This personal LiveID had no rights to access the problem site collection, but I could get into the other collections because both my personal and work LiveID both had access.

So I deleted the offending cached LiveID and tried Team Explorer again and this time I was prompted for a LiveID (though the user name field did contain the wrong LiveID, I could correct it) and I could login.


I then loaded SkyDrive (which I had exited) it prompted me to re-enter my credential. It recreated it cached credentials and seemed happy.

Interestingly they did not seem to cause a problem this time, maybe it is an entry order issue?

I need to keep an eye on it.

TFS Build error, 'Index (zero based) must be greater than or equal to zero and less than the size of the argument list” when building XAML projects

We had an interesting issue of late building a Surface2 application solution within a TFS 2010 build system. The solution built fine in VS2010 on both my development PC and also using VS2010 on my TFS build box (both Windows 7 64bit PC), so I know I had all the right SDKs in place. However if I built it via TFS 2010 Team Build I got the error


App.xaml (136): Unknown build error, 'Index (zero based) must be greater than or equal to zero and less than the size of the argument list…”

This error appeared after we added this new block of XAML code

<VisualTransition GeneratedDuration="0:0:0.2">
        <CircleEase EasingMode="EaseInOut"/>      - this was the line the error was reported on

I assumed the issue was that Visual Studio was somehow able to resolve an assembly reference that MSBuild could not.

so to try to resolve this I copied the MSBuild command line that was being run by the TFS build from the build log and ran it in a command prompt on my build box. Happily I got the same error, so at least it was repeatable. I then removed options on the command line until I had the minimum to give the errors. I ended up with

C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\MSBuild.exe "C:\Builds\7\Surface\External Concierge CI\Sources\BlackMarble Concierge.sln"

If I changed to

MSBuild.exe "C:\Builds\7\Surface\External Concierge CI\Sources\BlackMarble Concierge.sln"

the error when away, so it had to be the version of MSBuild. When I used the 32bit version (picked up by default via the PATH) all was OK, the 64Bit gave the error.

So my fix was just to force the build to run x86 and all was OK


More on using the VS11 fake library to fake out SharePoint

I recently posted on how you could use the new fakes tools in VS11 to fake out SharePoint for testing purposes. I received comments on how I could make my Shim logic easier to read so though I would revisit the post. This led me down a bit of a complex trail, and to Pete Provost for pointing the way out!

When I did the previous post I had used SP2007, this was because I was comparing using Microsoft Fakes with a similar sample I had written ages ago for Typemock Isolator. There was no real plan to this choice, it was just what had to hand at the time. This time I decided to use SP2010, this was the process used that actually worked (more on my mistakes later) …

  1. Using a Windows 7 PC that did not have SP2010 installed, I created a new C# Class Library project in VS11 Beta
  2. I added a reference to Microsoft.SharePoint.DLL (this was referenced from a local folder that contained all the DLLs from the SP2010 14 hive and also the GAC)
  3. THIS IS THE IMPORTANT BIT – I changed the project to target .NET 4.0 not the default 4.5. Now, I could have changed to .NET 3.5 which is what SP2010 targets, but this would mean I could not use MSTest as, since VS2010, this has targeted .NET 4.0. I could of course have changed to another testing framework that can target .NET 3.5, such as nUnit, as discussed in my previous post in the VS11 test Runner.
  4. You can now right click on the Microsoft.SharePoint.DLL reference and ‘add fakes assembly’. A warning here, adding this reference is a bit slow, it took well over a minute on my PC. If you look in the VS Output windows you see a message the process is starting then nothing until it finishes, be patient, you only have to do it once! I understand that you can edit the .fakes XML file to reduce the scope of what is faked, this might help reduce the generation time. I have not experimented here yet.
  5. You should now see a new reference to the Microsoft.SharePoint. and you can start to write your tests


So why did I get lost? Well before I changed the targeted framework, I had tried to keep adding extra references to DLLs that were referenced by the DLL I was trying to fake, just as mentioned in my previous post. This went on and on adding many SharePoint and supporting DLLs, and I still ended up with errors and no Microsoft.SharePoint. In fact this is a really bad way to try to get out of the problem as it does  not help and you get strange warnings and errors about failures in faking the are not important or relevant e.g.

“\ShimTest\obj\Debug\Fakes\msp\f.csproj" (default target) (1) ->1>  (CoreCompile target) –> “\ShimTest\f.cs (279923,32): error CS0544: 'Microsoft.SharePoint.ApplicationPages.WebControls.Fakes.StubAjaxCalendarView.ItemType': cannot override because 'Microsoft.SharePoint.WebControls.SPCalendarBase.ItemType' is not a property

The key here is that you must be targeting a framework that the thing your are trying to fake targets. For SP2010 this should really be .NET 3.5 but you seem to get away .NET 4.0 but 4.5 is certainly a step too far. If you have the wrong framework you can end up in this chain of added dependency references that you don’t need and are confusing at best and maybe causing the errors nor fixing them. In my case it seem a reference to Microsoft.SharePoint.Library.DLL stops everything working, even if you then switch to the correct framework. When all is working you don’t need to add the dependant references this is all resolved behind the scenes, not by me adding then explicitly.

So once I had my new clean project, with the correct framework targeted and just the right assemblies referenced and faked I could write my tests, so now to experiment a bit more.

Unit testing in VS11Beta and getting your tests to run on the new TFSPreview build service

One of my favourite new features in VS11 is that the unit testing is pluggable. You don’t have to use MSTest, you can use any test framework that an adaptor is available for (at the release of the beta this meant the list of framworks on Peter Provost’s blog, but I am sure this will grow).

So what does this mean and how do you use it?

Add some tests

First it is worth noting that you no longer need to use a test project to contain your MSTest, you can if you want, but you don’t need to. So you can

  1. Add a new class library to your solution
  2. Add a reference to Microsoft.VisualStudio.TestTools.UnitTesting and create an MStest test
  3. Add a reference to xUnit (I used NuGet to add the reference) and create an XUnit test
  4. Add a reference to XUnit extensions (NuGet again) and add a row based xUnit test
  5. Add a reference to nUnit (you guessed it - via NuGet) and create a nUnit test

All these test frameworks can live in the same assembly.

Add extra frameworks to the test runner

By default the VS11 test runner will only run the MStest test, but by installing the xUnit.net runner for Visual Studio 11 Beta and NUnit Test Adapter (Beta) either from the Visual Studio gallery or via the Tools –> Extension Manager (and restarting VS) you can see all the test are run


You can if you want set it so that every time you compile the test runner triggers (Unit Testing –> Unit Test Settings –> Run Test After Build). All very nice.


Running the tests in an automated build

However, what happens when you want to run these tests as part of your automated build?

The build box needs to have have a reference to the extensions. This can be done in three ways. However if you are using the new TFSPreview hosted build services, as announced at VS Live, only one method, the third, is open to you as you have not access to the VM running the build to upload files other than by source control.

By default, if you create a build and run it on the hosted build you will see it all compiles, but only the MStest test is run


The fix is actually simple.

  1. First you need to download the xUnit.net runner for Visual Studio 11 Beta and NUnit Test Adapter (Beta) .VSIX packages from Visual Studio Gallery.
  2. Rename the downloaded files as a .ZIP file and unpack them
  3. In TFSPreview source control create a folder under the BuildProcessTemplates for your team project. I called mine CustomActivities (the same folder can be used for custom build extensions hence the name, see Custom Build Extensions for more details)
  4. Copy the .DLLs from the renamed .VSIX files into this folder and check them in. You should have a list as below

  5. In the Team Explorer –> Build hub, select the Actions menu option –> Manage Build Controllers. Set the Version control path for  custom assemblies to the new folder.


You do not need to add any extra files to enable xUnit or nUnit tests as long as you checked in the runtime xUnit and nUnit assemblies from the Nuget package at the solution level. This should have been default behaviour with NuGet in VS11 (i.e. there should be a package folder structure in source control as shown in source explorer graphic above)

You can now queue a build and you should see all the tests are run (in my case MStest, XUnit and nUnit). The only difference from a local run is that the xUnit row based tests appear as separate lines in the report


So now you can run tests for any type on a standard TFSPreview hosted build box, a great solution for many projects where just a build and test is all that is required.

Problems editing TFS11 build templates in VS11Beta

Whilst writing documentation for TFS community build extensions (just published the Zip activity documentation) I hit upon a problem working with TFS11. The TFS community build extensions support both TFS2010 and TFS11beta, unfortunately the two versions need to be built separately (once against TFS2010 DLLs and once against TFS11 ones). As of version 1.3 of the extensions both versions are shipped in the download.

In the past in the past I have tended to work in TFS2010 on this community project, but since the VS/TFS11 beta release I am trying to move over to the new build. So to write the documentation for the ZIP activity I started in TFS11. I followed the usual method to use a custom activity (there is no improvement over this frankly horrible process in VS11) so within VS11 I added the ZIP activity to a copy of the defaultprocesstemplate.xaml. All appeared OK but when I ran a build with this new template. I got the error

The build process failed validation. Details:

Validation Error: The private implementation of activity '1: DynamicActivity' has the following validation error:   Compiler error(s) encountered processing expression "BuildDetail.BuildNumber".

Type 'IBuildDetail' is not defined.


On checking the .XAML file you can see there is duplication in the namespaces


[Note the greatly improved compare tooling in VS11]

This it  turns out is a known issue logged on Microsoft Connect. The answer, at this time, is to do you build process .XAML editing in a text editor like Notepad, not a good story, but a workaround.

More thoughts on Typemock Isolator, Microsoft Fakes and Sharepoint

I posted yesterday on using Typemock and Microsoft Fakes with SharePoint. After a bit more thought I realised the key thing in using Typemock I found easier was the construction of my SPListItem dataset. Typemock allowed me to fake SPListItems and put them in a generic List<SPListItem> then just make this the return value for the Item collection using the magic .WillReturnCollectionValuesOf() method that converts my List to the required collection type. With the Microsoft Fakes I had think about a delegate that constructed my test data at runtime. This is not a problem, just a different way of working.

A side effect of using the Typemock .WillReturnCollectionValuesOf() method is that if I check the number of SPListItems in the return SPListColection I have a real collection so I can use the collection’s own .Count method, I don’t have fake it out. With the Microsoft Fakes as there is no collection returned so I must Fake its return value.

This is a trend common across Typemock Isolator, it does much  of the work for you. Microsoft Fakes, like Moles, required you to do the work. In Moles this was addressed by the use of behaviour packs to get you started with standard items you need in SharePoint.

I would say again that there may be other ways of using the Microsoft Fakes library, so there maybe ways to address these initial comments of mine, I am keen to see if this is the case