Abstract

All software development teams use some sort of team communication tool. Like many  team messaging tools  Slack is one of them. What I like most about slack is its ability to gel with VSTS (Visual Studio Team Services) and send notifications when an event is triggered for example, a Pull Request is created, or build succeeded or failed etc.

Note: VSTS was previously known as VSO. I.e. VSO is renamed to VSTS.

Introducing Slack

Slack is a widely used messaging application (web / desktop) it is widely used by many mission critical projects including Mars Curiosity Rover robots. In terms of software development, slack is very handy and efficient to notify when a VSTS event takes place. This feature reduces explicit team communication with peers that a pull requested is created and someone needs to look at that etc.

Let’s preview the final outcome

Objective is to  empower software development team(s) by enabling them to collaborate not only with peers but also with tools and services (VSTS in this case) and get immediate notification for any status updates instead of emailing or pinging someone in person for instance “Hi, Vidya Vrat. I have submitted a pull request.”

Now this article will show you Step-by-Step procedure to achieve “Slack integration with VSTS” and receive message as sown in the figure 0 below.

Figure 0 – Slack channel showing message received from VSTS

Create a Team on Slack

First step is to create a team (if not already) on https://slack.com click on “Create a new team” and enter a valid email-id which you have access to as shown in figure 1 below.

Figure 1- Slack.com main page to create a new team

When you click on “Create New Team” then you will be taken to a confirmation page as shown in figure 2 below.

Figure 2 – Page to enter confirmation code

Check your email which you have entered while creating a team and you shall see an email with Slack confirmation code as shown in figure 3 below.

Figure 3- Slack Confirmation code email received

After successful validation of confirmation code as asked in Figure-2, next step will be to enter your name and username etc. as shown in Figure 4 below.

Figure 4- Personal details

Next step will be to enter team information as shown in figure 5 below.

Figure 5 – Team information

Next Enter your company information as asked in figure 6 below.

Figure 6 – Company name

Next step will be to enter your company domain as asked in figure 7 below. It is OK to enter a domain name which is not registered or you don’t have plans to register.

Figure 7 – Company web domain info

Figure 8 – Team invitation

If you don’t want to invite people now, then click Skip and you will be taken to slack team for DotNetPassion as shown in the figure 9 below.

Figure 9 – DotNetPassion slack team page

Channel Creation on your Slack Team

Once your team is created, next step is to create a channel, which people will join and exchange messages.

Click on the + as shown in the figure 10 below.

Figure 10 – Creating channel under team

Choose channel name and purpose etc. as shown in figure 11 below.

Figure 11 – Enter channel details

Click on “Create Channel” will create the channel named “pull_requests” under your team “DotNetPassion” as shown in the figure 12 below.

Figure 12 – Successful channel creation

Integration with VSTS

Click “Add an app or custom integration link on your slack channel page as shown in the figure 12 above. Then select Developer Tools, and then select VSTS as shown in figure 13 below.

Figure 13 – Adding an app integration

Selecting Visual Studio Team Services will take you to next steps to Install as shown in figure 14 below.

Figure 14 – VSTS Integration page

Click on Install to begin the integration procedure.

Figure 15 – Selecting channel name.

After clicking on “Add Visual Studio Integration” you will see step-by-step Instructions to configure your VSTS for clack integration as shown in figure 16 below.

Figure 16 – VSTS setup instructions

Getting the Web Hook URL

Figure 17 – Wikipedia Webhook definition

Scroll down on this page to see Integration Settings and get the “Webhook URL” as shown in Figure 18 below. This Webhook url is most important piece of information to complete VSTS and Slack integration. Either keep this page open or copy and paste in notepad etc.

Figure 18 – Webhook url

Now open a new Tab in your browser and login to your VSTS account and navigate to your code Repository as shown in figure 19 below.

Figure 19 – Code repository in VSTS

Add VSTS Service Hook

From your VSTS code repository’s setting page, click on Service Hooks as shown in figure 20 below.

Figure 20 – Adding a VSTS Service Hook

Click on + to add a Service hook and choose Slack as shown in figure 21 below.

Figure 21 – Using Slack for Service Hook Subscription

Next you need to select the Trigger and repository settings etc. as shown in figure 22 below.

Figure 22 – Selecting Trigger settings

Next, confirm Action and webhook URL as shown in figure 23 below.

Figure 23 – Confirming Action with Webhook url

Next, click on “Test” to verify and test the VSTS integration as shown in figure 24 and 25 below.

Figure 24– Test integration with VSTS

Figure 25 – Test message from VSTS delivered in slack channel

Now, switch back to the VSTS Integration page and click Finish as shown in figure 26 below.

Figure 26 – Slack Integration Finish page

After Finish you will be taken to VSTS page and there you can see that service hook for slack is added as shown in figure 27 below.

Figure 27 – Service hook for slack added in VSTS

Let’s Submit a Pull Request

In Visual Studio’s Team Explorer connect to a VSTS Git Repository as shown in figure 28 below.

Figure 28 – Connecting with VSTS

Open the solution and make some changes as shown in figure 29 below.

Figure 29 – File changes in Visual Studio

After you  Submit a new Pull Request, then slack will receive a notification as shown in the figure 30 below.

Figure 30 – Slack received VSTS Pull Request message

To navigate to Pull Request you can click on the pull request link in the message (pull request 3) and it will take you to the VSTS as shown in figure 31 below. If all looks good, then you can take next action steps(s).

Figure 31 – Navigation to VSTS page from Slack message.

Microsoft released the CTP2 of Visual Studio 2014 today July 8th 2014.

In my previous News item I mentioned that biggest challenge in trying Visual Studio 2014 was Side-by-Side installation. This issue is claimed to be resolved in this new CTP2 release which can be downloaded from here , whereas I would suggest that you try it with your own responsibility and things might break.

What is CTP anyways?

CTPs are previews for the next major release of Visual Studio. These Visual Studio CTPs are intended to promote continuous feedback between early adopters and the Visual Studio development team.

CTPs have Limitations

CTPs are provided for testing and feedback purposes only. CTPs are unsupportedEnglish-only releases. They are not subject to final validation and are not intended for use on production computers, or to create production code.

Some New COOL Features Added in CTP2

  • Save and Apply Custom IDE Layouts. You can now save and apply custom layouts for tool windows in the IDE. The Save Window Layout and Apply Window Layout commands are under the Window Menu and you can also rename, reorder, and delete layouts from Manage Window Layouts.
  • Light Bulb Editor Adornment. How many times have you found yourself stuck in a complex syntax issue or compilation error which doesn’t seem to go away? I have always wished that there was a legitimate way to have some options displayed as solution to the problem. Microsoft Introduced, Light Bulbs which is an extensible editor adornment to identify and help you fix issues in your code. To use them, place the caret on a line with an issue or hover over an issue and you’ll see a light bulb that lists actions you can take to resolve the problem and even a preview of proposed solutions.
  • Editor Touch Support. All the devices these days are supporting touch. Many software receive direct benefit from the support for touch. Visual Studio Code Editor seem to be an exception to be fully benefited with touch, as development required typing. But a Touch support will certainly enables the developers to do some usual things like scrolling, pinch-to-zoom, tap-and-hold for context menus, double-tap for word selection, and line selection by tapping in the margin etc. All such gestures now acknowledged by Visual Studio 2014 code editor. Needless to mention you have to have a Laptop with Touch Support.
  • ALL CAPS. Remember menu names in Capital letters (All CAPS) was kind of hard to read. SO Microsoft has reverted it to be Title Case (Tools, File, View) as it has been used by various Visual Studio releases.  Microsoft Says.. Last week with the RC for Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 we added an option to sentence case menus; in this VS “14” CTP we changed Menu Bar styling to Title Case for everyone to help us get feedback on the change. 

 So Are you Installing?

I wanted to verify few things and so I chose to install and try the CTP2 bits of Visual Studio 2014. My current laptop settings are as follows:

  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate
  • Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate
  • newly installed Visual Studio 2014 Professional

VS2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading….. 

 

A .NET Client Profile is supported by .NET Versions 3.5 and 4.0. It is designed for client applications like Windows Forms. The Client Profile version of .NET Framework is a lightweight subset of the framework. This enables quicker deployment and small installation packages.

Read My Full Article Here..

I presented a Google hangout for Bangalore DotNet (BDotNet) user group on June 4th Wednesday 9pm IST (8:30am PST) 

 

Here are some resources which may be useful as you try out the Visual Studio “14” CTP, released yesterday (June 3rd 2014):

Downloads: Download the Visual Studio “14” CTP (also available on MSDN subscriber downloads). Alternatively, save some time and use the provided VM in Azure.

Blogs & Release Notes: Read announcements by Soma & Brian. Check out the team blogs, including Visual Studio, Web Dev (web tooling), Web Dev (ASP.NET vNext), Entity Framework, C#, VB, and C++. See the Visual Studio “14” CTP release notes for a list of new features. Discuss on Facebook & Twitter.

Known Issues: This release should be installed in a test environment, such as a VM or a clean machine. Do not install on a machine with another version of Visual Studio installed. For other known issues, please see the Visual Studio “14” CTP KB.

Feedback: Submit bugs through Connect, suggestions on UserVoice .

TitleSlide - Evolution of CS.NET

I presented a session in Visual Studio 2012 Tech Tour in collaboration of C# Corner Mumbai User Group and Microsoft India.
My presentation topic was Agile Development using TFS 2012. Read the official recap Here
p3

Validation is a process that ensures the sanity of data entered, received or processed by a software module, class or class members.  Some examples of validation are length check, range check, Null check, date range, specific character and so on.

Read full Article here: Validation Application Block

One of the long lived issue I struggled with was Visual Studio 2012’s  “Operation taking longer than expected”, as you can see in the screenshot shown below.

I tried many opetions including the most frustating one- re-install and repair the Visual Studio 2012.

The major problem of this issue is that it doesn’t allow you to do many critical things for example “Attching a process during debugging” etc.

The solution to this problem is:

  1. Navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Common7\IDE\Remote Debugger
  2. Open x64 folder and rename the msvsmon.exe file to msvsmon_old.exe
  3. Now, navigate to x86 folder and copy msvsmon.exe and paste it into x64 folder.
  4. Restart the Visusl Studio 2012 IDE, and now try attching to process during debugging.

Hope this will help.
 

Usually a traditional class library in .NET is capable of targeting only one framework ver.But many times you may want to build a class library which can target multiple versions of framework. I.e. the objective is to achieve cross-platform development of .NET Framewok applicatioans. This became a possibility with the release of Visual Studio 2012.

Visual Studio 2012 includes a new project template named Portable Class Library, As you can see in the image below,you can use this project to build portable assemblies that work without modification on multiple platforms like: 

1-Windows 7, Windows 8

 

2-Silverlight
3-Windows Phone, and
4-Xbox 360

 

 

T

his project is pretty much like a Class Library project, except its References shows “.NET Portable Subset” instead of individual namespaces.

 

PortableClassLibrary2.jpg

 
If you are targeting only one particular framework as many enterprise applications do, then standard Class Library project is the best choice.