Category Archives : Team Foundation Server

Previewing the Previews


Recently, I added some articles about installing and configuring some new pre-release software that Microsoft released earlier in the year.  [ Visual Studio 2013 | Team Foundation Server 2013 ]

Now I’m ready to put it all to the test!

I know there’s been a lot of build-up, and the previous two articles really just explored the setup experience.  This article explains the scope of my professional development journey, so we won’t get into the meat of things until the next article.

As I found out.. there’s more to the configuration than I’d previously realised.  Read on to see how I’ve configured my test VM environment (and refer to the above two articles if you’re new to configuring Visual Studio or Team Foundation Server – although a local TFS instance is optional if you are following along).

The Product Suite



The Environment

Here’s the specification of my test VM environment:

Spec Detail
Host Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Standard
Memory 4 GB (Dedicated)
HDD (System Drive) 60 GB (Fixed Size), recommend 80 GB as installs and OS take up 49 GB
Secondary HDD 60 GB (SCSI)
Development IDE Visual Studio 2013 Preview (see configuration, below)
Database SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Edition Evaluation CTP 1
Source Control Team Foundation Server 2013 Preview (Single Server)
Web Browsers Internet Explorer 10, Firefox 23, Chrome 29


A note about Team Foundation Server 2013 installation

At the end of the installation process, the installer dumps out some interesting info.  These changes are made to the local system


The most notable changes are the setting of IIS’s dynamic compression, as it affects any website hosted on the IIS service, and the increase in Windows service start timeout from 30 seconds to 600 seconds – how long do they anticipate it might take TFS services to start?  Why on Earth don’t they offload (parallelise) some of that workload?

Visual Studio 2013 Installation Options

That done, I’m ready to fire up Visual Studio 2013.  Here’s a look at the installation options I chose when I initially configured Visual Studio.  Note that I’m not anticipating using LightSwitch/Silverlight, design tools (like Blend) or Office/SharePoint/Windows Phone developer tools.


Jumping In

The first thing you’ll probably want to do is install the NuGet Package Manager for Visual Studio 2013.  There are plenty of other add-ins available from the Visual Studio Gallery, the fastest way to narrow down the selection of available options, is to filter by version, scroll down and check out the left hand side navigation:


Most of the time I automatically a set of standard tools onto each development environment, I’ll discuss what’s included there in a later post.

Sign in with a Microsoft Account?

Last time, I mentioned that Visual Studio prompts you to sign in with a Microsoft Account.  At the time, I didn’t go down that avenue, but this time curiosity bit me, so I used some credentials.

image image image


Viewing your profile (via the supplied link) takes you to a fairly generic looking account page.  Despite the Spartan appearance, there’s value to be had here.  If you look to the right hand side, under the “Accounts/Owner” heading, you have an opportunity to create a TFS workspace.

Clicking on the link takes you to a new page where you can choose a workspace name.  All you have to do now is open Visual Studio and click on Team –> Connect to Team Foundation Server.  Click on “Select Team Projects…” in the Team Explorer window, and go from there.


So besides carrying your Visual Studio preferences around, there is some added value in using a Microsoft Account.

Scope of the Exercise

I’m going to be doing a couple of things with this pre-release software.  I’m going to build up a website using Visual Studio 2013, adding an Entity Framework layer and finally using SQL Server 2014.

My source dataset for this exercise will be my Twitter archive; I’ll be importing it into SQL Server and then creating a meaningful schema.  This schema will be exposed as an EF data model and ultimately consumed by a bootstrap-enabled website.

Next Article

Will be exploring SQL Server 2014 CTP 1 and importing my Twitter archive into a new database, creating a new schema.

Introducing and Installing TFS 2013 Preview 4

TFS 2013 Preview

Recently, Microsoft released a preview version of their next version of their team development suite, known as Team Foundation Server (TFS).

Long time readers of Sanders Technology will know that I’ve a long history with TFS, and I’m genuinely a fan of the platform.

Team Foundation Server 2013 breaks from the naming convention used in some of the more immediate releases – 2008, 2010 and 2012 all being two years apart – the only exception being the first release, 2005.

So What’s New in 2013?

The big ticket items are certainly around source and build control.

The 2013 edition continues to build upon the support for another source repository system which will be known to many developers – Git.  Initial integration featured in TFS 2012, and continues to be even stronger in TFS 2013.

Here’s a quick summary of some changes in Team Foundation Server 2013 Preview:

  • Version control
    • Git built in to Visual Studio and TFS
    • Use branches to switch contexts and isolate risk
    • Resolve conflicts
    • Work around a few known issues
  • Team Foundation Build
    • Build Windows 8.1 Preview Store apps
    • Build more simply. Build in Git!
    • Scripts!

    To learn more about what’s new in Team Foundation Server 2013 Preview, I’d encourage you to read the Visual Studio ALM Team Blog here.  To see how it dovetails with new features coming in Visual Studio 2013, check out Brian Harry’s excellent blog here.

    We’re going to take a look at this – and probably more – but first we have to install it!

    The Installation

    Installation GuideGiven this is a preview edition, I’m going to assume that most folks aren’t going to jump on this release and put it into production, but if you are so inclined (as a fresh install or as an upgrade), you can do so – particularly as upgrading is supported – but as per normal, caution is advised.

    The first – absolute first – thing you should do is go and download the installation and administration guides.

    The install media (.iso) contains a link to this location on where you can obtain the latest installation guides.  I strongly recommend doing this, even if you’ve installed and configured TFS as many times as I have (or more).

    Download Options

    For review purposes, I’m installing TFS 2013 Preview on a clean Windows Server 2012 VM, and I’ll be installing just a ‘Standard Single Server’.

    Beginning the Install

    Before getting underway, I strongly urge a review of the installation pre-requisites to ensure that you have met the requirements for the type of installation you prefer.  In this release, the installation supports – ‘Basic’, ‘Standard Single Server’, ‘Advanced’ and ‘Upgrade’ of the Team Foundation Application Server.  Note that there is also the option to install the Application Tier and Data Tiers separately.

    There is also support for installing the usual suspects – TFS Server Proxy, TFS Build Service and Extensions for SharePoint Products (you’ll recall that with TFS 2012, SharePoint became an optional dependency).

    Standard Single Server


    The diagram to the left comes from the Installation Guide and illustrates what we’ll be introducing with our TFS 2013 configuration.

    Notice that the standard installation uses both a local SQL Server instance (configured for Reporting Services and Analysis Services) as well as a local SharePoint Web Application.

    This significantly decreases the number of inbound/outbound ports which are required as the TFS Application and Data tiers are self-contained within the same host.


    Upgrade is supported from TFS 2010 (with or without SP1) and any Go-Live version of TFS 2012 to the TFS 2013 Preview.  Upgrading from TFS 2008 is no longer supported, you would have to upgrade from TFS 2008 to an earlier version first.  For more on upgrade scenarios and considerations, check out the MSDN Blog for more details.

    Determine Prerequisites

    As stated above, I’m going to be going with the ‘Standard Single Server’ configuration.  A quick scan of the Installation guide reveals the steps I need to undertake:


    To install a single server configuration you need to install SQL Server before proceeding to install Team Foundation Server 2013.  Supported versions of SQL Server are:

    – The next version of SQL Server (Express,¹ Standard,¹ and Enterprise editions)
    – SQL Server 2012 with SP1² (Express,¹ Standard,¹ or Enterprise Editions)

    Note that this would appear to exclude previous versions of SQL Server, particularly 2008 R2.  I’ve chosen to install SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition for this review.


    Kicking off the Installation Media

    Once you’ve dealt with the prerequisites, you can begin installing TFS 2013.

    We’re greeted with the now, familiar cut down installer.  It’s essentially a tick of a box and the clicking of an oversized button, and we’re off.

    1 3 

    Once the initial components are in place (mine required a system reboot), we are met with the familiar Configuration Center.  I select ‘Standard Single Server’ and click the “Start Wizard” button.

    7 image

    For the Standard configuration, you just need to provide a local user account which TFS will use as the service account for SharePoint and SSRS (read only, for accessing TFS reports).  For everything else, TFS will use the standard Network Service account.

    Installing Optional Pre-requisites: SharePoint Foundation 2013


    Now, the installer does some interesting checks.  In this particular case, the VM I’m running only has 2GB of RAM (scalable to 4GB).

    The installer detects the server as not having enough minimum memory, and therefore gives me an opportunity to skip the SharePoint installation and configuration.

    I’m actually wanting to have a look at the SharePoint integration, so I restart and shift the RAM up to the minimum (4 GB).  Problem solved.

    imageSo after changing settings and rebooting, I continued to install.

    This time around, I have the option to install SharePoint Foundation 2013, but I’m warned that it will suffer from performance degradation as I’m running at less than the recommended RAM – 10 GB (memory hog!).

    Therefore, I click to install SharePoint, and the installer UI expands to show installation tasks.  This is a nice end-user experience, and I watch on as the installation takes place.image

    This pops up a couple of other installation dialogs as we progress.  A couple of system restarts are required,


    Eventually, we get towards the finish of the SharePoint component.  Depending on your system’s performance, this could take a little while.


    The Main Event

    Once the readiness checks have finished (I was tripped up by Reporting Services not having been properly configured), you can click on “Configure” to start the final work.


    The final configuration is error-free, and on the final page we’re given a link to click on so we can access our newly minted TFS 2013 (Preview) instance:


    Coming Up Next…

    Now that we have a fully functioning TFS 2013 build, it’ll be time to dig into it some more.  Stay tuned for the next article where we will explore Team Foundation Server 2013 (Preview) using Visual Studio 2013 (Preview) and Team Explorer!