8 Apr 2016


Listing all build variables and their current values in Team Build 2015

When Microsoft first released the new Build system in TFS 2015, I used a Command Line build step to list all variables in the log file to help me troubleshoot paths. As you can see in the screenshot below, it was very easy and only required two items to be specified in the build step.

[UPDATE] Thanks to Graham who reminded me in the comments that this also allows you to list all variables as part of a release, not just a build workflow.

Command Line Build Step Settings (Old version)

  1. Tool was set to cmd
  2. Arguments was set to /k set



Unfortunately when they updated the Command Line build step, the values I had been using no longer worked.  Here’s the error message I received in the log files.

“Warning message highlight pattern:  ‘set”‘ is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.”

With the updated Command Line build step, you need to add the “.exe” to output the build variables and their values in your log file.

Command Line Build Step Settings (Current version – Apr 2016)

  • Tool was set to cmd.exe
  • Arguments was set to /k set


These values will still give a single line error in your log files claiming “File name doesn’t indicate a full path to a executable file” but the command and arguments still do the job.

As you can see from the screenshot below, once the build has run you can select the Run cmd.exe item in the log and you’ll see all of the variables available for you to use in other build steps and their current values. This is super helpful in troubleshooting.


16 Mar 2016


Two Visual Studio DevOps courses to choose from

DevOps Visual Studio blog 1

With the recent launch of our new Build and Release Management using TFS 2015 course, I thought it timely to offer clarity in terms of the relationship between two similar courses. Simply stated, the Build and Release Management using TFS 2015 2-day course is a subset of the 3-day DevOps using Visual Studio TFS 2015 course.

The rationale behind having a 2-day course is that it suits attendees wanting to focus just on the new Build and Release Management (vNext) parts of TFS 2015 and Visual Studio Team Services. As a 2-day course it takes you out of the office for less time and the cost is less than a 3-day course.

For people wanting a little more in the DevOps area, the 3-day course covers everything in the 2-day course and adds additional topics including PowerShell, DSC and Application Insights.

To see more clearly what the differences are, download this one page PDF – Which DevOps course?

If you’re interested in attending either of these courses, we have them running in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. To find out more just AskShane.

10 Mar 2016


New Build and Release Management course for TFS 2015

Team Foundation Server 2015 and Visual Studio Team Services offer a completely redeveloped build system and Microsoft is in the process of rolling out a new system for Release Management. I am pleased to announce a brand new course focusing on these technologies.

This 2-day course focuses on building and releasing .NET applications using these new systems. It focuses on the new scriptable, cross-platform build system introduced in TFS 2015 and how to use it. The course briefly looks at the current version of Release Management for Visual Studio 2015 but then deep dives into Release Management vNext. Release Management vNext is currently in preview in Visual Studio Team Services and in TFS 2015 Update 2.

If you are eager to learn how to implement DevOps practises designed to streamline your build and release processes using TFS or VSTS, this is the course for you.

Upcoming dates for this new course are as follows.


  • May 5th & 6th in Brisbane  – Register
    * Attend in person or online

New Zealand

  • May 16th & 17th in Auckland – Register
  • May 18th & 19th in Wellington – Register

United States

  • April 7th & 8th in Kirkland, WA – Register
    * Attend in person or online

For any questions concerning attending this course in any of these locations, simply AskShane.

17 Feb 2016


An ALM/DevOps consultant’s life – Working for clients big and small, near and far

I am writing this as I sit in a small Inn in North Adelaide and wonder at the wide range of clients I work for. As an IT professional specialising in Microsoft’s Application Lifecycle Management suite I tend to travel a lot and work with clients that range from small teams of 3-5 developers to incredibly large multinational organisations. This is an aspect of my job that I absolutely love.

Working with small teams is very rewarding as you can usually bring about change much more quickly and easily see the results of your work. Working with large organisations is also very rewarding as they face a very different set of challenges and often it’s like trying to change the course of an ocean liner with just a paddle. That’s not a complaint mind you. Large organisations typically require you to develop and hone a different set skills and can be just as rewarding as working with small teams.

So this brings me to my night in an Adelaide Inn. For the next couple of days, I find myself in South Australia, working to educate a small group of testers on how they can test applications using Microsoft Test Manager and TFS 2015. I look out the window of my accommodation and see a small suburban streetscape from my ground floor window. It’s a relaxed and calm view.

I think back to exactly two weeks ago when I was staying on the 52nd floor of a hotel in New York’s Midtown just a block away from Times Square. Looking out that window revealed a very different scene with many iconic high rise buildings and the Freedom Tower in the distance. On that occasion I was teaching a large group made up primarily of project managers, business analysts and testers how to use TFS 2015 to manage a large multi-million dollar project. The client was a large media company familiar to millions of people worldwide.

The travel can be tiring, my body often doesn’t know what time it is, but all things considered, I love my job and look forward to the next set of different and interesting challenges that await me next week.


17 Feb 2016


Application Innovation Day – New Zealand


The inaugural Application Innovation Day roadshow is kicking off in Wellington and Auckland in just a couple of weeks.

Register and come along to this free one-day event exploring cross-platform DevOps with Visual Studio. Learn how you can transition your software development approach to deliver higher business value in less time.

See presentations from industry experts from Microsoft, Equinox IT, Wild Strait and Enhance ALM. I’ll be there providing a range of demonstrations on the latest tools and how they can drive success more frequently for your projects.


8:30am – 5:00pm
Monday 29 February 2016
Cliftons Wellington
Level 28, The Majestic Centre, 100 Willis Street


8:30am – 5:00pm
Wednesday 2 March 2016
Cliftons Auckland
Level 4, 45 Queen Street

I hope to see you there.

More Posts