Monitoring Check-in Policy Overrides

I’m often asked by customers why there is no way to prevent check-in policy overrides in TFS. Usually I respond along the lines of, “Well, it should be a really rare occurrence (otherwise why have the policy?) and besides, every action against TFS is tracked, so you can monitor overrides and beat ‘chat nicely’ to the developer who is overriding the policies”. Which is all well and fine, but exactly how do you monitor policy overrides?

Using Indexed Published Symbols from TeamBuilds

You’ve seen the indexing and symbol publishing options when you set up a Team Build – but have you ever tried to debug and application that has symbols? How do you get VS to use the published symbols? What are these settings for anyway?
Source indexing and published symbols make possible to debug an application without shipping symbols. Source indexing produces pdb files during a build – essentially mapping the binary to the source code. During a team build, extra information is wrapped inside the pdbs – like the Team Foundation Server URL where they were built and version control paths to and versions of source code. This allows VS to download source code for debugging – and since there’s security involved (to access the TFS server) – source server support is disabled for debugging by default.
Fortunately enabling it is quite easy – especially if you read your Kindle copy of Inside the MS Build Engine (2nd edition) on the plane!
Open VS and go to Tools->Options->Debugging->General settings and tick the “Enable source server support”.

Running Data-Driven Unit Tests with SpreadSheets on Sharepoint

Data-driven unit tests are a great way to run lots of tests. You define a test harness (or method) and tie it to a spreadsheet in an Excel file to “drive” the test – each row in the spreadsheet is one iteration of the test case. I am not going to go into any more detail here – there are plenty of examples about how to set these up. Another advantage of using Excel for data-driven tests is that testers love Excel. They can open and edit the spreadsheet and add / edit / remove test cases at will.

Running DB Data Generation and Unit Tests in TeamBuild 2010

Using “Data Dude” (or VS DB Professional) in VS 2010 allows you to bring Agile to your database development. You can import a database schema and add it to source control – so you get linking to work items as well as branching and labelling etc. Furthermore, you can use TeamBuild to build a .schema file, and then use vsdbcmd.exe to deploy schema changes (incrementally) to databases. You can also create unit tests and data generation plans.


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