eScrum 1.0

I have been looking at eScrum and first impressions are good. This is not the first Scrum process template for TFS, there is also the one from Conchango.

My feeling over the Conchango one was that it seemed very like the standard MSF Agile template, more a terminology rename. Hence it felt a bit ‘clunky’ to use and not too agile. Sticking to a ‘post-it notes on a white board’  model seemed a better way to manage a Scrum sprint.

Now eScrum provides a revised project portal web site as well as the template, this seems about a light weight as you might managed with a computer based Scrum management, worth a serious look as a whiteboard alternative.

Attrice Team Foundation Sidekicks and Teamplain on TFS Orcas release

If you want to install TFS add-ins, such as Attrice Team Foundation Sidekicks and Teamplain, on the TFS Orcas release you have to install the TFS V8 Client (the one which is shipped with Team Foundation Server 2005). If you don’t have this version both products fails to start/install as they claim they cannot find the correct assemblies.

Once you have installed the V8 client (as well as the Orcas V9 ones) both products work fine with Orcas.

And another point on TeamPlain

I just realised that TeamPlain also makes external access easier for remote users outside your firewall. The problem with external access to TFS from VS Team Studio is that you have to open up the TFS server and the associated WSS 2.0 server ports in your firewall. Not a major issue but opening ports is something you want to minimise, or at least your firewall manager will want to minimise.

After I installed TeamPlain as a virtual directory under the main TFS server web site (port 8080, 8433 by default) you can access the WSS hosted documents and the Reporting Services reports (by default on 80, 433) via http://www.myserver.com:8080/teamplain, so no need consider the default web site at the firewall at all.

So that should make the firewall manager happier

Wow… TeamPlain is easy to install

As I am sure you have seen Microsoft have purchased devBiz and made their TeamPlain product free to all TFS customers. I have just installed the new free release of TeamPlain on our TFS system and I must say what a pleasant experience it was; run the MSI answering a few questions, go into the newly created TeamPlain admin web page, enter the URL of the TFS server and that’s it. Really easy and it just works. Compared to the the fun I have had with other bits of TFS this is joy.

I think this is a really cool product, it fits the hole that project managers, and really any project member who does not cut .NET code, do not want to have to use Visual Studio Team Edition to do day to day tasks. This is exactly target community that TeamPlain addresses.

If you are a TFS user, and have not done so already, download TeamPlain and have look.

Changing TFS user account passwords

If you change the domain\tfsservice and/or the domain\tfsreports as you would expect your TFS server to stop, and it does. To get it back working you have to reset the passwords in:

  • The various TFS AppPools on the frontend server need the new tfsservice password
  • The datasource in ([frontendserver]/reports) on the reporting services need the new tfsreports password.

After that all should be OK

More on TFS Access from the Internet

Time for a bit of a follow up on my server name issues with TFS. As expected there is correct way to alter the names of the various TFS servers, it involves editing the contents of one of the TFS database tables, not any config file.

The best documentation I have found is that for setting up the new ISAPI filter provided with TFS Service Pack 1 to assist in authentication. Have a look at http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/aa833872(…  the section ISAPI does detail how to alter the names in various locations.

Though I have this ISAPI filter in place I still do not have Internet access to reports or documents in Team Explorer outside my office (though they work in a browser), I still get the small red crosses, but I am still looking for a solution. More later I am sure.

Lets just rename that Team Foundation Server…………….

I have previously posted on the fun I had getting TFS running in our office. Well thus far it has been stable, other than some ‘user too stupid’ errors, and we have been fairly happy.

The next stage was to expose the TFS server out through our firewall to allow home working. This turned out to not be too bad (expect some posts on our experiences with ISA server soon) but raised an interesting issue.

As far as the Visual Studio Team clients were concerned the TFS server had the physical PC server name in all it’s URL e.g http://myserver:8080. This was not an issue with the office as it could be resolved, but a problem on the Internet. Now I suppose we could have put some host file entries to address this but I really wanted to get it working as http://tfs.mydomain.co.uk:8080.

So we created a new DNS entry (both internally and externally resolving to the correct IP address). Once this DNS entry was created, and the firewall setup I could connect to the TFS server and pull down a project list and check files in and out from home. But I was getting those damned little red crosses next to the documents, reports and could not open the project SharePoint sites.

On checking the URL to be used for these services I saw that they were all still pointing to http://myserver with various SharePoint or Reporting Service directories on the end. Firstly, I had not exposed the default SharePoint and Reporting Services ports via the firewall, but that was easy to fix. The real problem was using the old name, how to change these entries? I think the best option would have been to install the TFS with the full name in the first place! But I did not really want to do a reinstall.

So I had search around and found that in C:\Documents and Settings\[name]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Team Foundation\1.0\Cache\[GUID] directory there is a XML file RegProxyFileCache.xml. This contains the details used by the client and can be edited. I replaced the http://myserver entries with http://tfs.mydomain.co.uk. A snippet is shown below from around Line 250 of the file:

<RegistrationEntry>
     <Type>Reports</Type>
     <ChangeType>NoChange</ChangeType>
     <ServiceInterfaces>
           <ServiceInterface>
                 <Name>BaseReportsUrl</Name>
                 <Url>
http://tfs.mydomain.co.uk/Reports
</Url>
          </ServiceInterface>
          <ServiceInterface>
                 <Name>DataSourceServer</Name>
                 <Url>myserver</Url>
          </ServiceInterface>
          <ServiceInterface>
                 <Name>ReportsService</Name>
                 <Url>
http://tfs.mydomain/ReportServer/ReportService.asmx
</Url>
           </ServiceInterface>
       </ServiceInterfaces>
      <Databases />
      <EventTypes />
      <RegistrationExtendedAttributes />
      <ArtifactTypes />
 </RegistrationEntry>
<RegistrationEntry>
      <Type>Wss</Type>
       <ChangeType>NoChange</ChangeType>
       <ServiceInterfaces>
            <ServiceInterface>
                   <Name>BaseServerUrl</Name>
                   <Url>
http://tfs.mydomain.co.uk
</Url>
             </ServiceInterface>
         <ServiceInterface>
              <Name>BaseSiteUnc</Name>
              <Url>\\myserver\sites</Url>
        </ServiceInterface>
        <ServiceInterface>
              <Name>BaseSiteUrl</Name>
              <Url>
http://tfs.mydomain.co.uk/sites
</Url>
          </ServiceInterface>
          <ServiceInterface>
               <Name>WssAdminService</Name>
               <Url>
http://myserver:17012/_vti_adm/admin.asmx
</Url>
           </ServiceInterface>
 </ServiceInterfaces>
<Databases />
<EventTypes />
<RegistrationExtendedAttributes />
<ArtifactTypes />
</RegistrationEntry>

After this change is made on reloading Visual Studio the red crosses go away and the various features work.

However this does not answer the larger question of getting it set right in the first place for new clients, you don’t really want to have to edit each client config. I suspect making similar edits in the C:\program files\microsoft visual studio 2005 team foundation server\tf Setup\eleadservices.xml might do the trick but I have not confirmed this as yet.

I still hold with the comment that TFS is very much an ‘install it right first time’ sort of product.