DevelopmentQA

An Introduction to Microsoft Feedback Client (Visual Studio 2012 Features)

Another one of the new features introduced in Visual Studio 2012 is the Microsoft Feedback Client, which can help your development team gather both solicited and unsolicited feedback about your software projects from your customers and stakeholders.

The feedback client allows you to capture your interaction with the application as video and/or verbal or type-written comments. Your feedback is then stored in Team Foundation Server 2012.

Let’s have a quick look at how to get started and provide some feedback.

Getting Started

Start by going to the Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 program folder and select Microsoft Feedback Client  as shown here:

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You will then be prompted to connect to your Team Foundation Server. You may have noticed that I’m connecting to my TFS Preview account. This is a FREE preview to TFS in the cloud. I’ll write more about that in a future post.

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After you’ve connected to your Team Foundation Server, you will see the Microsoft Feedback Client. This is a very simple, yet powerful tool for capturing essential feedback and of course it’s got a similar look and feel to Visual Studio 2012.

1. Launch the application

In this scenario I’m providing voluntary feedback, so I have to manually start the application I want to provide feedback on.

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However when you initiate a feedback session, your user/stakeholder will receive instructions via email on how to start providing feedback. Once the feedback tool opens to the Start tab, the user will launch your application by following the instructions provided. In this example, a link to start your web application:

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2. Provide feedback

The feedback tool contains a lot of options for how and what feedback you provide. I will start by providing some simple feedback. In this example I took a screenshot of MS Paint and included a comment.

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As mentioned above, you can record your interactions with the application, include verbal and/or written comments, attach files and/or screenshots.

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3. Review and submit your feedback

After you’ve entered your feedback, you can review, make corrections and/or additions and rate your feedback with the stars. Once your ready happy with what you have, click on the Submit and Close button to submit your feedback.

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After you’ve submitted your feedback, the Microsoft Feedback Client will then close and your feedback is sent to your Team Foundation Server, where the system automatically creates a work item which contains the feedback you submitted.

Now when you connect to your Team Foundation Server and do a query on Feedback, you will see your feedback work items:

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Downloading the Feedback Client for TFS

If you don’t already have the Microsoft Feedback Client installed, then you will need to browse to the Additional software section on the Visual Studio download page. Here you will expand the Feedback Client for TFS section and select the appropriate download:

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Wrapping Up

I think this is a great addition to Visual Studio 2012 and is something I look forward to using when developing and testing my software projects and recording the necessary feedback to share with my team.

If you’re not using this tool…you should be.

Further Reading

Here is some additional reading that is available on the MSDN site:

Engage Stakeholders: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/hh301769(VS.110).aspx#provide_feedback

Provide Feedback: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh362461.aspx

DesignDevelopment

An Introduction to PowerPoint Storyboarding (Visual Studio 2012 Features)

One of the new features introduced in Visual Studio 2012 is an add-in for PowerPoint that allows you to do Storyboarding.

PowerPoint Storyboarding allows you to quickly and easily put together an interface design, whether it be for a website, a mobile device, Windows 8, or a desktop application, and then get the necessary feedback from your stakeholders. And since it’s PowerPoint, then even your stakeholders can easily make changes and show you exactly what they want.

NOTE: This feature is only available for Visual Studio Premium and Ultimate users.

Let’s Get Started

Start by going to the Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 program folder and select PowerPoint Storyboarding as shown here:

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This will launch PowerPoint with a blank slide and take you to the Storyboarding tab. You will notice the Storyboard Shapes to the right of your slide and provide all kinds of shapes for your interface design. These shapes are also searchable via the search box.

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Here is a sample slide of what can be accomplished:

storyboading sample

Managing Shapes

One of the neat features found in PowerPoint Storyboarding is the ability to manage your custom shapes as well as export them for other team members to use.

Additionally you can also download community shapes by going to Visual Studio Gallery and downloading any of the available shapes. Most are free, but at the time of this post…there was 1 paid set of shapes.

Once you’ve downloaded a set of shapes, you can import them from the Import Shapes button found in the Shapes section:

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Team Integration

If you’re using Team Foundation Server, then you can link your storyboard to one or more requirements/user stories with the Storyboard Links button:

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NOTE: If you’re not using Team Foundation Server, then there is now a free Team Foundation Server Express 2012 edition, which can be used by up to 5 developers. You can download it from Visual Studio Download page.

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So there is no reason not to be using Team Foundation Server .Smile

Further Reading (Documentation)

I found the following links pretty good at documenting Storyboards and providing greater details:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh409276(VS.110).aspx

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh301773(VS.110).aspx

DatabaseDevelopment

SQL Server Data Tools – September 2012 update is now available!

New updates are now available for SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT). The latest update is called SQL Server Data Tools – September 2012. You can get the update from here:

SSDT for Visual Studio 2012: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/jj650015

SSDT for Visual Studio 2010: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/jj650014

As posted on the following blog post, here is a recap of what’s new:

“What’s New?

Visual Studio 2012

In keeping with our goal of supporting the most recent version of Visual Studio, this release of SSDT supports the Visual Studio 2012 shell. SSDT – September 2012 contains several bug fixes to the SSDT version that shipped in Visual Studio 2012 and this release can be applied as an update on top of Visual Studio 2012 Professional, Premium, and Ultimate Editions. If one of these SKUs is not present on the box, running the SSDT installer for Visual Studio 2012 will lay down a standalone version of SSDT for the Visual Studio 2012 Integrated Shell.

Keep in mind that the underlying engine and functionality for SSDT – September 2012 is the same for both Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 2012, so you don’t need to upgrade to Visual Studio 2012 to use the latest version of SSDT. If you wish to have both shells of SSDT in your environment, they can exist side by side and SSDT projects will successfully round-trip between both shells.

LocalDB Configuration Improvements

We received feedback that SSDT’s policy of creating a new localdb instance for each SSDT solution was too verbose, so we created a single localdb instance called Projects to host all the project debug databases. We’ve also enhanced SQL Server Object Explorer by surfacing the default localdb instance and enabling the deletion of localdb instances.

Support for ANSI_NULLS and QUOTED_IDENIFIER Properties

In previous releases, SSDT didn’t support database objects with non-standard ANSI_NULLS or QUOTED_IDENTIFIER properties. SSDT – September 2012 has enabled this scenario by adding support for ANSI_NULLS and QUOTED_IDENTIFIER properties on project and script files.

Updated Data-Tier Application Framework

SSDT – September 2012 includes the latest redist of SQL Server Data-Tier Application Framework (DACFx), which contains several feature enhancements and bug fixes. Most notably, the updated DACFx version enables packaging and deploying data using SqlPackage.exe. You can learn more about the new DACFx release here.

Updated SSDT Power Tools

The September 2012 update is compatible with updated Power Tools that include new features and support for both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 shells.

SSDT Power Tools for Visual Studio 2012

SSDT Power Tools for Visual Studio 2010

Bug fixes to customer-reported issues

This release includes many bug fixes for issues reported by customers using SSDT RTW or Visual Studio 2012 RTM. Here are some of the most impactful bugs that this release addresses:

· Unable to override Publish Profile properties when using the msbuild command line

· Slow performance on "Add New Item" from SSDT project

· Absence of debugger functionality due to errors in assembly registration

· Publish fails with no message when "extended verification" is disabled

· SSDT overwrites Visual Studio shortcut on Windows8

· Steps to edit and save a Publish Profile editor aren’t intuitive”

CloudDatabaseDesignDevelopment

Top 12 of Visual Studio 2012

I’ve been using Visual Studio 2012 for just over a week now and I’m really liking all the new features and functionality that comes with it. However I’m still not a huge fan of the new light/dark themes. I would like to use the Dark theme, but find it’s just too dark. It would be nice if they made it a few shades lighter.

Anyway I came across the following blog post on Jason Zander’s blog about the Top 12 of Visual Studio 2012 and I thought I would share it.

In summary, with Visual Studio 2012 you can:

  1. Develop for Windows 8
  2. Develop for the Web
  3. Developer for Windows Phone 8
  4. Develop for Windows Azure
  5. Develop Business Applications
  6. Develop Games and other 3D Applications
  7. Take advantage of the latest language enhancements
  8. Performance, Reliability and Compatibility Improvements
  9. New IDE Productivity Features
  10. Improve your code quality with enhanced testing tools
  11. Reduce cycle times using tools for agile practices
  12. Deliver Cloud-Based Services with Smoother Collaboration between Operations and Engineering

Checkout Jason Zander’s blog post for the full article the Top 12 of Visual Studio 2012.

If you have access to Visual Studio 2012, I highly recommend you give it a try. You can always work in both Visual Studio 2010 and 2012 as they are backwards compatible with one another.

Happy Coding!

AviationGames

C-46 Comes to Microsoft Flight

c-46The C-46 has arrived! I know I know I know, how is it possible that new content has appeared for Microsoft Flight after development was discontinued? Well it seems as though this aircraft was complete, but they still needed to do the paperwork to get it released.

You can read more about the release of the C-46 on Microsoft Flight here and here.

This plane was originally built as a cargo and troop transport during WWII. This twin engine aircraft can carry up to 17,000 lbs of fuel and cargo to almost any remote and rugged landing strip. It has a relatively high cruising speed of 200 kts and a maximum range of 1500 miles. This makes it the perfect cargo aircraft for Alaska.

Features

  • Authentic Model: Beautifully rendered exterior of the C-46 and its Pratt and Whitney R-2800 engines give you a realistic experience.
  • Great Cargo-Carrying Capability: Over 17,000 pounds of fuel and cargo capacity allows flexibility and efficiency in completing jobs.
  • No cockpit view is included.

Final Thoughts

I think this is a great addition to Microsoft Flight and is an aircraft I look forward to flying. It’s too bad that there is no cockpit view.

I know I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I really wish there was a way for the community and 3rd party vendors to create additional content (aircraft, maps, etc) for Microsoft Flight.

Happy Flying!

References

Development

Visual Studio 2012 Now Available

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Today Microsoft has made Visual Studio 2012 and all it’s related products available to download. You should note that with the 2012 edition, Team Foundation Server Express is available. Sweet!

Download and try it today

Attend the launch event on September 12

Development

Visual Studio 2012 Completed! Launches Sept 12!

vs2012Logo
Today Microsoft signed off on the final version of Visual Studio 2012 and the .NET Framework 4.5. In a blog post on the official Visual Studio blog, Microsoft said Visual Studio 2012 will be made available to MSDN subscriptions on August 15 and that it comes with a free one year developer account for the Windows Store in Windows 8.

Microsoft plans to launch Visual Studio 2012 in a virtual event on September 12. Details are to come, so mark your calendars and check the website for further details.

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Here is a sample screenshot of the final build of Visual Studio 2012. Notice that the menu bar text is still in uppercase. I read somewhere that there is supposed to be an option to configure this and use mixed case instead. Either way I’m happy. I firmly believe in the Metro design, so will be leaving it as is. I may however use the dark theme.

vs2012 RTM

I’m looking forward to getting the bits on August 15th and turning my ideas into software.