Software Quality

June 26, 2015

TFS Build 2015 – Using the new build definition

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Allen @ 5:04 pm

This article records step-by-step how to create a new build definition using TFS Build 2015, and publish a website to a Microsoft Azure Web Site from an on-premises build agent. It also describes how to create custom build pools.

TFBuild 2015 is a huge transformation in how we use TFS to build solutions. It integrates with Visual Studio Online. But it also supports your favorite build tools like Ant, Maven, MSBuild and many more. It also supports a variety of scripting languages like DOS, PowerShell, bash Shell Script. This is a powerful testimony to Microsoft’s efforts to embrace cross-platform tools. You can read an Overview of Team Foundation Build 2015 at
“How did I find out about this?” I was wandering around my local Visual Studio 2015 RC desktop, when I noticed two different types of builds. I saw “Build Definitions” and “XAML Build Definitions” and wondered what the difference was. I created a new Build Definition, and was transported to my VSO (Visual Studio Online) build tab, where they had a message

“We’ve built a new, scriptable build system that’s web-based and cross-platform. See vsopreview for documentation.”

So I clicked the vsopreview link and read about the wonders of this new build technology. Let’s create a build definition that will publish a website to Microsoft Azure. (more…)

June 25, 2015

Can’t resolve the environment variable %VS140COMNTOOLS% to an existing path

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — David Allen @ 5:58 am

I recently tried to install NDepend ( version 6 to my home machine.

Visual Studio Extension Installer for Visual Studio 2013 worked just fine.

Visual Studio Extension Installer for Visual Studio 2015 failed with an error caused by a mis-configuration of my machine shown below.

Visual NDepend

Can’t install NDepend Visual Studio 2015 extension.

Reason: Can’t run VSlXlnstaller.exe to install NDepend Visual Studio

2015 extension.

Reason: Can’t find the path to the file VSlXlnstaller.exe

Reason: Can’t resolve the environment variable %VS140COMNTOOLS% to an existing path.

I examined my environment variables (by issuing the SET command from a DOS prompt) and noticed that my VS140COMNTOOLS pointed to a path on the R drive that no longer existed. This was a side-effect of having previously installed Visual Studio 2015 Enterprise RC on the “R” drive, uninstalling it, and re-installing it on the “C” drive. Apparently the reinstallation did not replace or update the environment variable.   Once I corrected the path (using System, Advanced, Environment Variables) to point to the valid location, C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\Common7\IDE, I had no trouble installing the Visual Studio Extension for 2015. This is an odd situation, and I only include it here in case someone else has uninstalled and re-installed their Visual Studio to another drive at some point. Perhaps searching for this error will help.

May 13, 2015

Azure Storage – Premium Storage Only Works with Page Blobs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — David Allen @ 4:32 am

I play to learn. My latest test was educational, and I’m sharing it in case others encounter it.

I ran into problems while playing around with Premium blob storage. I was testing blob storage, comparing performance between Regular and Premium storage, while uploading a 5 MB file. I found my error. I was trying to use block blobs on Premium storage, and only Page Blobs are permitted. But I did not realize that at first. Here was my diagnostic path, with errors to help others who may make the same mistake and search for the errors.


May 3, 2015

Azure Updates Improve automation, integration, security and more

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Allen @ 11:54 am

Azure continues to gain power. I am amazed at the speed and relevance of the improvements. Here is my summary of the benefits described in the April blog article:

Taken together, these features improve ease of automation, expand integration with third-party services including open-source, and improve security and financial tracking which are essential to enterprise adoption.


April 29, 2015

Azure Deployment Slots

Filed under: Azure — David Allen @ 10:22 pm

Microsoft released a clever feature for Azure web apps called “Deployment Slots.” This feature has capabilities that can improve availability of your web app by reducing downtime due to deployments, and reducing time to recover from failure.  It can be useful in some scenarios, but there are limitations.


March 6, 2015

Mobile Testing of websites with DNS Entries that are not yet public

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Allen @ 7:27 pm


You have a new website, but it uses a URL entry that is not yet public, or it is public, but it points to a different IP than the one that will be there when you go live.  Yet you MUST test the site using the exact host name. What do we do? (more…)

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