# Wednesday, 04 October 2017

This is Part 2 in a series of articles about integrating VSTS, Azure Web Apps, ASP.NET applications, and Visual Studio.

In my last post, I showed you how to create a new Team Account and Team project linked to Azure.

In this article, I will show how to open this new project in Visual Studio, start working with it, and check your code into VSTS Git repository.

To view your account and project in VSTS, open a new browser tab and navigate to https://xxxx.visualstudio.com/_admin

where xxxx is the name of the account you just created. You can see my account displayed in Fig. 1.

VSTSp2-01VisualStudioDotCom
Fig. 1

Click on the name of your project to display details about it, as shown in Fig. 2.

VSTSp2-02VstsProject
Fig. 2

Click the Code link at the top menu. If you have already checked in code, you will see that code in your Version Control Repository. New projects will look like my project, shown in Fig. 3.

VSTSp2-03VstsCode
Fig. 3

Click the [Clone in Visual Studio button]. This launch Visual Studio (You will probably be prompted to switch apps)

In Visual Studio, you should see the Team Explorer, as shown in Fig. 4. If you don't see it, you can find it by selecting View | Team Explorer from the menu.

VSTSp2-04VisualStudioTeamExplorer
Fig. 4

Click "Clone this repository" to display the Clone Repository dialog, as shown in Fig. 5.

VSTSp2-05VisualStudioTeamExplorerClone
Fig. 5

You have the opportunity to change where this new local repository will be saved on your hard drive. Whether you change it or not, you should note the location.

Click the [Clone] button. This will initialize a local GIT repository that points to your VSTS Team project.

You can now create a new Web App project in Visual Studio.

Select File | New | Project from the menu.     The "New Project" dialog displays, as shown in Fig. 6.

VSTSp2-06VisualStudioNewProject
Fig. 6

Under the "Templates" tree on the left, expand Visual C#; then select "Web". Select "ASP.NET Web Application" or "ASP.NET Core Web Application" as your template.

The location of your project is determined by the combination of the "Location" textbox and the "Solution name" textbox (assuming you have not unchecked "Create new directory for solution"). Verify that this points to the location of the local Git repository that was created above.

Uncheck the "Create new Git repository" checkbox.

Make any other desired changes and click the [OK] button to create a new button.

At the New ASP.NET Application dialog (Fig. 7), click [OK] to create the project. 

VSTSp2-07VisualStudioNewASPNetProject
Fig. 7

A new project will be created in the repository directory similar to the one shown in the Solution Explorer (View | Solution Explorer) in Fig. 8.

VSTSp2-08VisualStudioSolutionExplorer
Fig. 8

You can check this initial code into your version control repository from the Visual Studio Team Explorer (View | Team Explorer). Click the [Changes] button in the Team Explorer to display the Changes panel, as shown in Fig. 9.

VSTSp2-09Changes
Fig. 9

Enter a comment, such as “Initial commit” and click the [Commit All] button. This will commit your changes to the local Git Repository.

To push your changes up to the VSTS repository, you will need to access the Team Explorer Sync panel. You can navigate to this panel by clicking to dropdown near the top of the Changes panel and selecting “Sync” from the menu displayed, as shown in Fig. 10.

VSTSp2-10TeamExplorerDropdown
Fig. 10

The Sync panel displays, as shown in Fig. 11.

VSTSp2-11SyncPanel
Fig. 11

Click the “Sync” link. You should see a message indicating that the local and remote repositories are syncing, meaning that the local repository is merging any changes from the remote repository and your local commits are being pushed up to the remote repository in VSTS. The following message displays when this sync is complete:

Successfully synchronized incoming and outgoing commits.

If you return to the project code page in VSTS and refresh the web page, you should see all your code checked in. Fig. 12 shows my project after I checked in my initial commit.

VSTSp2-12VSTSCode
Fig. 12

In this article, I showed you how to create a new ASP.NET project in Visual Studio and store the code in an existing Visual Studio Team Systems Git repository.

Wednesday, 04 October 2017 11:00:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 03 October 2017

This is Part 1 in a series of articles about integrating VSTS, Azure Web Apps, ASP.NET applications, and Visual Studio.

If you want to publish code from your repository to Azure, the easiest way to do this is to create the account from within the Azure portal.

Log into your Azure account and navigate to the portal by clicking the PORTAL link at the top right, as shown in Fig. 1.

VSTSp1-01-AzurePortalLink
Fig. 1

From the Azure portal, select

New | Developer Tools | Team project

as shown in Fig. 2.

VSTSp1-02AzureNewTeamProject-01
Fig. 2

The "New Team Project" blade displays, as shown in Fig. 3

VSTSp1-03NewTeamProject-1
Fig. 3

Enter a Name to identify this team.

Click "Configure required settings" under "Account"; then, click "Create a new account" and enter a name for your VSTS Account (Fig. 4). This name must be unique among all VSTS account, because it will be used in a URL to connect to the account.

VSTSp1-04NewTeamProject-2
Fig. 4

Click [OK] to close the "New Account" blade.

Review all the settings in the New Project dialog. You may wish to change the location, so that it is closer to your team members. (For me, this defaulted to Brazil, so I changed it to Central US). My completed blade is shown in Fig. 5.

VSTSp1-05NewTeamProject-3
Fig. 5

Click [Create] to begin creating the Team Project.

It may take a minute or two to create the VSTS Account and a project within that account.

To view the account and project in VSTS, open a new browser tab and navigate to https://xxxx.visualstudio.com/_admin

where xxxx is the name of the account you just created. You can see my account displayed in Fig. 6.

VSTSp1-06VSTSAccountAndProject
Fig. 6

In this article, I showed how to create a team project in VSTS and link it to Azure. In the next article, I will show how to create an ASP.NET application in Visual Studio and push that application’s code into this team project’s code repository.

ALM | VSTS
Tuesday, 03 October 2017 11:08:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 02 October 2017
Monday, 02 October 2017 11:24:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 01 October 2017

10/1
Today I am grateful to go to Kingston Mines blues club last night with Tim.

9/30
Today I am grateful for 2 days in Champaign, IL.

9/29
Today I am grateful for a drink with Rachel last night in Champaign.

9/28
Today I am grateful for some kind words from my manager yesterday.

9/27
Today I am grateful for Taco Tuesday at Flaco's.

9/26
Today I am grateful to arrive home safely yesterday.

9/25
Today I am grateful for:
-a visit with Diane yesterday;
-a place to sleep last night, courtesy of Sherree and family

9/24
Today I am grateful for a return to Spartan Stadium to watch the game with friends from college.

9/23
Today I am grateful I got out of a hackathon on a Friday night before 1AM.

9/22
Today I am grateful for:
-the opportunity to speak at VSLive this week;
-great feedback following yesterday's presentation;
-dinner at the spy-themed Safe House last night.

9/21
Today I am grateful for sushi last night with Rachel and Jim.

9/20
Today I am grateful for
-2 days in Seattle
-a chance to learn the basics of CNTK at yesterday's hackathon.

9/19
Today I am grateful for a company reception last night at Optimism Brewery in Seattle.

9/18
Today I am grateful for dinner and a movie with Glenn yesterday.

9/17
Today I am grateful to ask about software on social media and get help from the creator of that software.

9/16
Today I am grateful for free online learning resources.

9/15
Today I am grateful for my new (to me) Surface Book.

9/14
Today I am grateful to walk 5 miles yesterday.

9/13
Today I am grateful for healthy teeth.

9/12
Today I am grateful that I can walk to work.

9/11
Today I am grateful for the NFL Pass to watch all the games.

9/10
Today I am grateful to spend time with Chris this weekend.

9/9
Today I am grateful for dinner last night with Tim to celebrate his birthday.

9/8
Today I am grateful to successfully deliver a new AI presentation last night for the first time.

9/7
Today I am grateful I've made it to the gym almost every day for the past month.

9/6
Today I am grateful to teach at the University of Illinois yesterday.

9/5
Today I am grateful for a clean apartment.

9/4
Today I am grateful for a walk around LaGrange, IL yesterday afternoon.

Sunday, 01 October 2017 15:07:07 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Wednesday, 27 September 2017

The Warrior's Apprentice is the fourth book I've read in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga; but it is the first one to feature Miles Vorkosigan, the protagonist of most of the series.

An assassination attempt on Miles's mother during her pregnancy resulted in Miles being born with extremely brittle bones. Despite this handicap, he attempts to pass the rigorous requirements of the military academy on his home planet of Barrayar. After breaking both his legs in a physical exercise, Miles travels to his mother's home planet to visit his maternal grandmother; but is sidetracked by the adventures he encounters when he buys one spaceship and captures another.  It all leads to political intrigue and an attempt to frame Miles for treason.

I really like the character of Miles - an unlikely hero, given his handicap and his sub-5-foot stature. He is especially disadvantaged because Barrayar is a planet that disdains imperfections, often aborting "inferior" fetuses. He is a great contrast to his noble father and his headstrong mother.

The Warrior's Apprentice advances the story of the "Vorkosiverse", introduces a significant new character, and stands alone as a good adventure story.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017 06:21:34 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, 26 September 2017

LeaderhipJourneyI have known Jim Holmes for years, and I have experienced many times his presentations and his writings about leadership skills. This year, he finally compiled that advice into a book - The Leadership Journey.

He draws on his experience in the US Air Force and  in the business world, providing examples of himself and others in a leadership role.

The book begins with 2 assumptions:

  1. Most of us are not born with great leadership skills
  2. We can each work to improve our leadership skills

Holmes lists the qualities needed to be a good leader:

  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Decisiveness
  • Motivates those around them
  • Delegates authority
  • Remains Calm in storm
  • Protects the team
  • Knows what's really a crisis
  • Leads from the front

It's no accident that Integrity tops this list. "Integrity is a coin you can’t afford to spend," he correctly asserts, pointing out the long-term damage when trust erodes.

Each chapter focuses on one key point of leadership and includes one or more exercise. Typically, each exercise asks the reader to write down some ideas; step away for a few minutes; then return and review what he wrote. They are deliberately time-boxed to keep the reader focused and to give her time to reflect on the ideas. For example, one exercise asks the reader to identify a few effective leaders from their own experience and identify traits they have in common.

The book advises a few things that I've been doing for years, such as writing down what needs to get done and keeping track of wins. But it also includes new (to me) ideas, such as recognizing small victories to foster success.

At 107 pages, this is a quick read (I finished on a flight from Seattle to Chicago); but it is dense with good advice.

Much of the advice may seem like common sense to you. But I've made many of the mistakes pointed out in this book and I've worked with many managers who have made these mistakes. Reinforcing these ideas is a step toward internalizing them.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017 20:25:44 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 25 September 2017
Monday, 25 September 2017 14:16:20 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, 24 September 2017

I was recently introduced to the Developer on Fire podcast, hosted by Dave Rael. Dave has had an impressive list of guests on his show the past few years, which is one reason I was excited about being interviewed by him.

We spoke less about technology than about my experiences in my career and my philosophy toward work, education, and the community.

You can listen to the interview here.

Sunday, 24 September 2017 16:00:59 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 18 September 2017
Monday, 18 September 2017 10:42:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, 11 September 2017
Monday, 11 September 2017 10:23:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)