Category Archives: Apps & Tools

TFS Build and the Missing Newtonsoft

Some Background


I do not normally create or edit the builds for my team. So this was a fun adventure, creating a simple build.

I used a picture of an amethyst on my desk for this post because I feel it represents how I felt about this endeavor. On the surface it seemed so simple, but if you go deeper it can get complex. Much like crystals.

This is not a post on how to use TFS. TFS is very powerful and flexible, you need more than a blog to learn it. Like most of my posts this is focused on one specific problem.

I needed to create a build for a solution of console applications. It seemed really simple, build the solution and copy the debug folder to one of our UAT servers.

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Some of My Favorite Tools 2017

We are nearing the end of February 2018 and I thought I would do something a little different.  Maybe not overly exciting but like most things I post I hope someone will find something useful.  Better yet maybe someone will leave a comment and I will find something useful.

My Favorite Tools From 2017

I am not going to make this about 2018 as it is too early.  I thought I would spend some time on my favorite developer related tools that I used a lot in 2017.  This will not be a review, just a list with maybe a few pros and cons.

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Vivaldi Adds Docked Dev Tools

Vivaldi Version 1.10

Vivaldi released 1.10 to the stable channel. This release contains one of the items I have most desired; docking and floating the DEV Tools.  They have also included other nice updates to the Start Page and other items.  For me I really wanted to dock my DEV Tools.

You can read about the full release at Vivaldi Powers Up the Start Page and Adds Docked DEV Tools.

Why I Care

Personally I like being able to place my Dev Tool window where it is most convenient to me. Sadly this varies with what I am doing. Sometimes the default floating option is fine.  Other times I want it docked somewhere inside the page, even then not always in the same spot. Of course if you don’t use your DEV Tools that much then it probably doesn’t matter.

As a side note, this patch appears to have fixed my streaming issues. So I get to use Vivaldi as my default browser again with the DEV Tools working the way I like!

The freedom of choice with the DEV Tools was one thing I liked about Opera. Vivaldi replaced Opera as my main browser due to its ability to be easily customized.

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OneNote vs Highlighters & Paper

What is This?

There was a time when I used to prefer to print documents so I could make notes on them and kind of map things out.  Needless to I have not needed to do that in a long time.  Until yesterday.

I had written a test, bigger than a unit test but nothing huge.  I needed to test my methods that would take a string from a database with special mark-up and make it into JSON.  The special mark-up would allow information from another database to be injected and some XMLish in it would map fields from our object to the JSON.

I had three text things I needed to view; the source string, the data object, and the JSON generated.

I had two tests like this and did the first one the old-fashioned way.  I printed each text on its own paper and went to work making sure things were correct.

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The Vivaldi Web Panel


Before I get too far into the Vivaldi Web Panel you may not know about Vivaldi.  You may wonder what this has to do with Enterprise Web Development.

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Enabling Power User Mode In Opera

Opera has a neat feature for its settings called Power User mode.  What is even neater is how you enable this mode.

  1. Bring up the settings tab
  2. Type in that old game code with your arrow keys Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right
  3. Then type B A to finish the code

Just to be clear the whole code is the arrow keys for direction followed by B and then A, you don’t need to hold shift down or anything.

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A

One of the really cool things you can do in power user mode is remove the search box from the Speed Dial page.  Personally I prefer Bing but right now you cannot change this box from Google.  So removing it gives me more immediate space in my Speed Dial.

Renaming Your Team Foundation Service Account

Brian Harry made a post that some people might find very useful.  How to rename your Team Foundation Service account.  Apparently, in the past, you basically deleted your account and created a new one.

Instead of rewriting it, or copying and pasting it I will give you the link to his post.  It is very straight forward, and a nice addition to the service.

How To Delete A Team Project

This is something that took a little searching to find.  How to delete a team project from Team Foundation Service Preview.  In the end it is actually fairly simple.  First, for all of the details you can go to this MSDN article.

Now for the skinny.  You’ll need to use TFSDeleteProject.  It is a command line tool, and this might help you find it.

cd %programfiles%\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Common7\IDE

Next you need to use the TFSDeleteProject command.

TFSDeleteproject [/q] [/force] [/excludewss] /collection:URL TeamProjectName
  • /q is for quiet, in other words it doesn’t ask you y/n to delete it.
  • /force is to make it delete even if it runs into problems
  • /excludewss is to not delete the sharepoint site associated with the project
  • /collection:URL is just that.  You type /collection: and the URL to your project.  For me I found it easiest to just browse to the project and copy the URL without the last back slash and project name.
  • TeamProjectName is just that, the name of the project.  If it has spaces you are going to need to use quotes.

Here is an example of using the command.  Lets assume my preview is located at and the project I want to delete is called Basic Entity Framework.

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Common7\IDE>TFSDeleteProject /force /collection: "Basic Entity Framework"

And there you go.


Here is some information you made need if you are on a 64 bit machine.  I encountered this on my Windows 8 machine with Visual Studio 2012.  This little bit really helped me find it.

On a 64-bit edition of Windows, replace %programfiles% with %programfiles(x86)%.

I Have Access – Team Foundation Service Preview

Yesterday I received an email for the Team Foundation Service Preview!  I am so excited to start playing with this product.  I have added a couple of friends as team members and asked coworkers if they would like to help test it.

My thinking is to have us test creating projects that use the Northwind sample database.  At this time I cannot do much.  My personal machine is at home, and to connect you need at least a hotfix as long as you have VS2010 SP1.  I will update more as I do more.

So far…  Not bad.  I would like an easier interface to add new team members, but that could be a lack of familiarity on my part.  I am also using Chrome to access it.

For more information on what I am talking about, go read Learning About the Team Foundation Service Preview.