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Home > Archive > SSW Standards > Better Software Suggestions > SSW Microsoft Visual Studio Build and Deploy Suggestions

  1. Build Alerts - When a Build breaks - send an email that shows all changes since last successful build

    When a developer starts work at your company, and you want to watch what they code for a few days, the easy thing to do is this.

    Build email
    Figure: You don't want this. A mail for every check-in, so when the build breaks you can look back and see who broke the build. Even the great Grant Holliday used this approach.

    Instead we need an option that sends us an email that includes the change sets as part of that build, with either:

    • Links to the diff in TFSWA, or
    • .diff attachments
  2. Build - give me a GUI as good as Final Builder or Visual Build PRO

    Building setup packages is painful. They should generate a MS Build script so they are seen as the best GUI to use.

    I want it like SSIS. I drag items from the toolbox on the left.


    • "Clean Workspace"
    • "Get"
    • "Run Tests"
    • Etc
    • On Red - "Send an email"
    • >

    Note: I am expecting Buck Hodges to deliver in 2010

  3. Build - Project alerts should have a better out of the box experience

    Project alerts should show a diff of what changed + a link to a diff file / web service.

    A .diff file gives you offline. A .diff file is great how it is one file with the result of many changesets.

    Project Alert
    Figure: This .diff file should be an attachment in the alert email

    Tip: Some people use the project alerts when they have a junior and you want to see all changes... probably a better way is to get this email when a work item is complete.

  4. On a build failure, make it easy to know about detailed logging

    At the bottom of the error:

    Add a hyperlink "Would you like more information on this error - learn about Build Definitions and detailed logging"

    No info for the detailed info
    Figure: Bad example - no information about how to get more detailed information

    Add the hyperlink here as well?

    No info for the detailed info
    Figure: Bad example - no information about how to get more detailed information

    More information:

    Without this you see developers wasting time looking in a few spots:

    • Event viewer
    • Build output folder and specific logs
      E.g. "c:\BuildOutput\Northwind - Build and Test on Checkin\Northwind - Build and Test on Checkin_20100728.7\logs\Northwind.log"
    • The field for "Build Log Location:" in the alert email is empty (see above image)
  5. Deployment - Help me get Continuous Deployment Setup

    I would love some additional work done by the team for vNext, in the area of Continuous Deployment, so we get to implement it in a couple of clicks.

    Today it is too hard. More info: http://blog.gfader.com/2010/12/do-you-automate-your-deployment-process.html

     Add a Continuous Deployment option
    Figure: Can we have a 'Continuous Deployment' option added here
    Uncompleted command line
    Figure: I should not have to find this command line argument of /p:DeployOnBuild=True (and this still does not deploy it – there are still half a dozen parameters/commands to do after this)


Martin Hinshelwood
Adam Cogan