New courses on Build, Release Management, Application Insights and Scrum

At the ALM Forum 2014 in Seattle earlier this month, I launched two new courses designed to help make your development team more successful using Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2013 suite.

I’m pleased to announce now that in addition to the new US dates, we now have dates for the first run courses in Australia. While both courses will initially be run in Brisbane, you can attend these remotely from anywhere in Australia/New Zealand. Read this great blog post from one of the heads of the Visual Studio ALM Rangers. He recently attended one of the US courses remotely and has shared his experience in this blog post.

Build, Release, and Monitor Software Using Visual Studio 2013

This 3-day introductory-level course focuses on building your software using Team Build, using Release Management for Visual Studio 2013 to release it and Application Insights to monitor it.

Applied Scrum Using Visual Studio 2013

This 3-day course blends training in both the Scrum Framework as well as Microsoft Visual Studio 2013. It teaches teams the core concepts of Scrum in addition to how to apply them in a practical hands on way using Visual Studio 2013 and either Team Foundation Server 2013 or Visual Studio Online.

NOTE: All courses can be attended remotely and are also available on-demand for your organisation.

Posted in Application Insights, Build, General, Release Management, Training | 3 Comments

Configuring on-premises Build server for Visual Studio Online

In this post I am going to walk you through installing TFS 2013 build services on a local (on-premises) server and connecting it to your Visual Studio Online account.

Before I get into it, I want to point out that Visual Studio Online (VSO) provides a great Hosted Build Controller that allows you to build your applications using an on-demand, dynamically provisioned virtual machine running on Azure. So why would you want to use your own build server if one is so easily available to you in VSO? There can be quite a few reason including:

  • You want to use VSO for your development team but need to deploy your application inside your organisation
  • You require additional software installed to build your software and it can’t be installed as part of your build on the VSO build servers.
  • You want to use the command line tool available in Visual Studio Release Management 2013 Update 2 RC to integrate Release Management with VSO.
  • and much more…

In addition to the following instructions working for an on-premises build controller/agent, you could easily follow these instructions to create a build controller/agent using an Azure Virtual Machine.


  • I have already installed a new Windows Server 2012 R2 with Update machine on my Hyper-V host. It has 4Gb of memory allocated for now which should be fine for the builds I am likely to use on this machine.
  • I have run Windows Update and applied all available patches.


1. We’ll start by mounting the TFS 2013 with Update 2 ISO on our new virtual machine and running tfs_server.exe to kick off the installation.


2. In the following splash screen, you’ll need to accept the license terms then click Install Now.


3. Once the files have been installed on the server, we’ll select Configure Team Foundation Build Service in the Configuration Center and click Start Wizard.


4. Once the Build Service Configuration Wizard starts, decide if you want to help improve the setup experience by sharing data with Microsoft and then click Next.


5. The next thing you need to do is connect with you Visual Studio Online account and you’ll see a single DefaultCollection in the list. Click Connect.


6. After connecting to the VSO account you’ll see there are no build controllers or build agents already configured. Click Next.


7. By default the wizard will suggest one build agent per CPU core. As you see below my virtual machine has been configured with just one processor core. I’m happy to have the build controller plus a single build agent installed, so we’ll go ahead and click next.


8. You need to choose what account you would like to run the local build services with (Eg. Network Service or TFSBuild) and then choose the Account Service for connection to the Hosted TFS Server in VSO. Click Test to ensure the account(s) you have selected are valid and then click Next.


9. Review the settings you have selected and correct any mistakes by clicking Previous. If everything looks OK, click Verify.


10. The verify process should report all tests have passed. Correct any issues then click Configure.


11. If you’ve configured everything correctly, you should see the following screen indicating your on-premises build services have been installed and configured. Click Next then Close.


12. Now when you create new build definition in Visual Studio, you should see both the Hosted Build Controller (from VSO) and the newly installed on-premises build controller.


Good luck with your on-premises Build Controller. In an upcoming blog post I’ll walk you through how to configure continuous release using your on-premises build server and Release Management for Visual Studio 2013.

Posted in Build, Release Management, TFS2013 | Tagged | 1 Comment

Application Insights Training

Application Insights DashboardOver the past few months I have been very impressed with the Application Insights feature in Visual Studio Online. I was so impressed I have presented talks to three user groups in Australia all about the feature to share my enthusiasm with the local community.

To help people get started using this feature, I have made it part of the newest course I have developed and announced at the ALM Forum in Seattle this week.

Build, Release and Monitor software using Visual Studio 2013

This 3-day course is an introductory (Level 200) look at the following three technologies and how you can best use them to improve your processes.

  1. Team Build
  2. Release Management for Visual Studio 2013
  3. Application Insights

The course is available as a closed course, onsite course or through our public schedules in Australia and the United States.

You can download the course outline (PDF) to find out more about what’s in the course. To find out about upcoming dates or to register, contact and be sure to follow @ALMShane for upcoming news about a more advanced course.

Posted in Application Insights, Release Management, TFS2013, Training | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Error installing Release Management Client

I was installing Release Management for Visual Studio 2013 with Update 1 today and had an issue that I haven’t seen before.

Installing the Release Management server went fine but when I tried to install the Release Management client and connect it to TFS, I received the following error message.

The server specified could not be reached. Please ensure the information that is entered is valid (please contact your Release Management administrator for assistance).

Here’s the dialog box showing the error.image

I checked the usual things – I hadn’t mistyped anything, name resolution was fine, the port was open in the firewall etc. I then tried accessing the service directly from a browser where the Release Management Server was installed (My TFS AT in this case).

I received the following error

Service Unavailable
HTTP Error 503. The service is unavailable.


OK, so the error is on the server side, not the client I was trying to configure.

I checked the event logs on my TFS server where the Release Management Server was installed and found it was filling up rapidly with error’s from the Release Management Monitor. The errors were the same two errors repeating over and over again.


A bit of searching on the Internet led me to the cause of the issue and the appropriate fix. The problem stemmed from the fact that I have SharePoint Foundation 2013 installed on the TFS Server. For small teams just wanting to use the dashboards and document libraries, this is perfectly acceptable.

The steps needed to get things back on track were as follows;

  1. On the machine where the Release Management Server was installed with TFS and Sharepoint, start a Command Prompt. I chose Run as Administrator but I am not sure this was required.
  2. Navigate to C:\Windows\System32\Inetsrv
  3. Enter the following command
    appcmd.exe set config -section:system.webServer/globalModules /[name='SPNativeRequestModule'].preCondition:integratedMode,bitness64


I rebooted the server for good measure and then tried to access the service directly in a browser on the server. This time, the result was much better and I was able to get the Release Management Client to connect without issue.


I’d like to credit the following forum and blog post for the ultimate solution above.



Posted in Release Management, TFS2013 | Tagged | Leave a comment

New TFS 2013 training courses kicking off in the US next week

VS2013TrainingSince the official release of Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2013 in November we’ve been testing our newest course updates and we’re pleased to be launching our new 2013 courses next week.

If you either working with, or you’re thinking of working with Microsoft’s latest release then you should take a look at the following courses. (US dates given these are running in the US)

All scheduled courses are guaranteed to run.

  • 01/27/2014 – 3 days TFS 2013 Configuration & Administration Info | Register
  • 01/30/2014 – 2 days TFS 2013 Developer Fundamentals Info | Register
  • 02/03/2014 – 5 days ALM Solutions Using Visual Studio TFS 2013 Info | Register
  • 02/10/2014 – 2 days Managing Projects with Microsoft Visual Studio TFS 2013 Info | Register
  • 02/12/2014 – 3 days Software Testing with Visual Studio 2013 Info | Register
  • 02/27/2014 – 2 days Test Automation, Web Performance and Load Testing with Visual Studio 2013 Info | Register
  • 03/24/2014 – 3 days TFS 2013 Configuration & Administration Info | Register
  • 03/27/2014 – 2 days TFS 2013 Developer Fundamentals Info | Register
  • 04/07/2014 – 5 days ALM Solutions Using Visual Studio TFS 2013 Info | Register
  • 04/14/2014 – 3 days Software Testing with Visual Studio 2013 Info | Register
  • 05/19/2014 – 3 days TFS 2013 Configuration & Administration Info | Register
  • 05/22/2014 – 2 days TFS 2013 Developer Fundamentals Info | Register

You can find out more and register for these course on QuickLearn’s dedicated TFS 2013 page.

We’re also planning on releasing an additional three TFS 2013 related courses in the coming months.

Posted in TFS2013, Training | Leave a comment

Visual Studio 2013 ALM training in Australia

Is your team working as effectively as possible using Microsoft’s Visual Studio ALM stack? Enhance ALM is delivering a number of their recently launched Visual Studio 2013 ALM courses in Australia in early 2014.

NOTE: Attend in person in Brisbane or attend remotely from anywhere in Australia


MARCH 2014

Find out more or register…

Posted in TFS2013, Training | Leave a comment

Downloaded the TFS 2013 RTM ISO? May need to re-download

At the end of last week Microsoft updated the TFS 2013 RTM ISO and web download installers on the MSDN website. This means that if you downloaded the ISO prior to November 9th, 2013, you might be well advised to delete your initial download and download it again.

The reason provided for the updated installers was that they found two bugs that they wanted to address broadly. Updating the installers was a logical choice.

Bugs fixed in the updated installer related to;

  1. Red error box when using Code (version control) in the web UI
  2. Unable to install into a custom path

You can read more about this in the following blog post from Buck Hodges – “Updated Team Foundation Server 2013 download addressing web and installation path issues

Posted in General, TFS2013 | Tagged , , | 1 Comment