Updating currency exchange rates in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

by Dmitry Kirsanov 22. November 2011 08:36

As promised earlier, I’ve created a small utility which updates currency exchange rates for currencies used by Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 server. It’s fast, reliable and can be run in unattended mode, so you can set it once and forget about it.

A bit about Microsoft Dynamics CRM first

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is the most advanced CRM system created so far. It allows you to keep track on your customers, partners and rivals and monitor relations in real time. So you can create marketing campaign for all your customers in Denmark with turnover higher than 200 000 euro and who’s main industry is Finance. And send them personalized proposal. And each of that customers will reply to manager, assigned to that customer. And you will track the success of that action in real time, being able to test your genius as CEO. Well, not only that. More...

Team Foundation Server 2010 for Developers - part 1

by Dmitry Kirsanov 21. November 2011 02:50

As I finished the series of presentations for Quality Assurance specialists on Team Foundation Server 2010 Test Manager, it was obvious to continue with TFS and now do it for the biggest audience of it’s users – for .NET developers.

Microsoft Visual Studio is the most advanced RAD platform made so far. We could argue about the languages and platforms, like .NET vs. J2EE or ASP.NET vs. Ruby, but one thing is for sure – when you are software developer, no matter what language you are using, the Visual Studio is the most advanced and friendly platform  for any level.

Saying that, Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 (that’s the official name of the product) is a very advanced and sophisticated part of Visual Studio, arguably the most advanced product Microsoft created, apart from operating systems.

Systems administrators having hard hours installing it, developers spend hours learning it’s concepts, but then it starts working and software development becomes a pleasant and highly productive process.

Once you’ve started working with TFS, you can’t imagine working without it on any more or less complex team project. It takes the burden of source and version control, the whole agile workflow, sophisticated automated testing, control over policies and a lot more.  That’s definitely a product which costs every penny of it’s price.

All right, enough praises. You should make your own conclusions and for that you should see it in action. While the previous demonstration for QA specialists was convincing enough to use TFS as the platform for automated testing and main environment for testers, now we are going to talk about the main, biggest and greatest part of Team Foundation Server 2010 – the one meant for software developers.

In this first demonstration we are exploring the source control, but as everything is linked in TFS, we also touch working with code and some best practices. In the next part we will explore the source control deeper, before moving further to more complex and wonderful parts of Team Foundation Server 2010.

Team Foundation Server for Software Developers part 1

Team Foundation Server 2010 Quality Assurance Lab 6 - Coded UI Tests

by Dmitry Kirsanov 8. November 2011 22:56

Seems like my labs are evolving as I am adding a few comments when needed and added a sound track in order to help focusing on what’s happening on the screen.

During years of training I found that ambient avant-garde  music greatly help in keeping focus on the subject, even when added as additional background to narrated training. I didn’t add Biosphere, though, as their tracks are rather short, although beautiful. Enjoy!

Coded UI Tests–Visual Studio 2010 Test Manager Lab 6

Previous lab can be seen here.

Team Foundation Server 2010 Test Manager Lab 5 - Web Load Testing

by Dmitry Kirsanov 1. November 2011 19:39

Next part in a series of Team Foundation Server 2010 Labs. Previous is available here (Lab 4, Test Runs).

This time it’s about Web Load Testing. When you are developing ASP.NET web application, it’s paramount to make sure your application is able to handle the required amount of requests, or at least you need to know the exact cap of your application for scalability planning. If your IT infrastructure is working according to ITIL / ITSM, you need to know what you need to scale out your application and how to do it right.

We are going to find the bottleneck in our application and refactor it when needed, so sudden success of our website will not mean eminent failure (see Slashdot Effect).

This Lab is longest so far (1h 17m) and contains materials which are valuable even if you don’t have TFS installed. You may perform Web Load tests using Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate and virtual machine with IIS installed, but that’s a good topic for another article.

And now – enjoy and don’t forget to watch it in full screen HD!

Team Foundation Server 2010 Test Manager Lab 5 - Web Load Testing

Team Foundation Server 2010 Test Manager Lab 4 - Test Runs

by Dmitry Kirsanov 1. November 2011 05:01

So far we’ve seen a lot of unusual and amazing things in Team Foundation Server 2010, more specifically – in Visual Studio 2010 Test Professional. However, one of the most ground-breaking features of TFS and Visual Studio Test Professional is it’s ability to run automated tests.

By automation we understand performing complex tasks and verifying results of users’ interaction with your application. As you can see in this example.

Enjoy the 4th lab of Team Foundation Server 2010’s Test Manager, and now it’s about Test Runs.

Team Foundation Server 2010 Test Manager Lab 4 - Test Runs

As always, make sure you watch it in Full Screen HD!

Previous lab is available here.

Team Foundation Server 2010 Test Manager–Test Cases and Shared Steps

by Dmitry Kirsanov 31. October 2011 23:33

This screen cast of interactive virtual lab describes the feature of Test Cases and Shared Steps in Team Foundation Server 2010’s Test Manager.

Since there is still no MOC for TFS 2010 (although it has a number of 50430) the only resources you have for now are lectures of TFS gurus and virtual labs. Fortunately, usually that’s enough to pay attention to recorded lab session in order to understand the subject.

So, as always, enjoy the view and don’t forget to switch to Full Screen HD in order to see anything.

Team Foundation Server 2010 Test Manager Test Cases and Shared Steps

Team Foundation Server Quality Assurance Lab 2 - Test Plans

by Dmitry Kirsanov 31. October 2011 22:34

When I learn new material, sometimes it’s enough to me to see system in action to understand the principles behind it’s logic. Especially when it is self-descriptive lab like this one. Team Foundation Server 2010 is very complex but extremely valuable engine to energize your software development division, and one of it’s key features is automated testing.

With TFS automated testing you can automatically deploy virtual machines with required configuration, deploy the latest build of your software and test it for various scenarios. When bug is found, TFS (automatically) creates bug record in it’s centralized system, attaches screencast (video) of the incident and developer can work on solving that bug immediately.

Once you start working with TFS in your .NET software development, you can’t imagine life without it.

This lab is about creating and working with Test Plans, and while  there is no astrophysical concepts in it, the topic is usually hard to understand at first. The reason for that is quite simple – when you need to create schema for actual work, it’s harder to learn then performing the “real” action, as the necessity to do so doesn’t look as obvious, as, say, compiling your application.

Well, enough talking, enjoy the view! (And don’t forget to switch to HD!)

To see part 3 of this lab, regarding Test Cases and Shared Steps, click here.
Previous Lab (Test Manager Overview) is available there.

What can be done in 12 hours by an average .NET developer?

by Dmitry Kirsanov 20. October 2011 00:49

Have you ever heard about Garage48? That’s an event, which was born in Estonia last year and since then widely adopted by other countries. It’s scenario is such – companies give tasks – “ideas” that have to be coded to production quality in 48 hours. Students are coming to the event and working 48 hours non stop, for food and beverages, and contest winner get’s iPhone.

So, you have an idea and iPhone – now 5 undergrads can make it live, just give them enough hamburgers and Red Bull.

When I heard about it (in the context that one of my colleagues was eager to participate) I wondered what these students would gain from the event? I mean – in my 32 I wouldn’t participate in such event, have no sleep in 48 hours and produce free code for someone. I still didn’t get convincing answer, but from the point of view of the author of “idea”, this is the windfall.

But I’ve got itch to see what am I capable to do in these 12 hours. Having totally nothing but “idea”.

So, I’ve replaced Red Bull with German and Belgian beer, wrote my idea in 3 sentences and sat for 12 hours with my notebook.

I decided to create “URL shortening service”, which had to be functionally better than anything else in the market. Better from my point of view, of course. As I thought about it, and that time was also included in these 12 hours, I wanted this service to have:

  1. WCF backend. So I would be able to create utilities that would add new links automatically, with no user interaction. Also that would allow other tools to use the service and provide additional services.
  2. I would have QRCode for each link. And it would be created automatically.
  3. I could protect link by CAPTCHA
  4. Or by password.
  5. Or require visitor to declare his age, in case link is to age-restricted web resource.
  6. And make links expiring – either by date or redirections count.
  7. Also, I would like users to know where they are redirecting to. But not always. So there would be 4 different ways of redirection. 2 for client and 2 for server side redirection.
  8. I don’t want to have malicious links on that service, so they should be automatically scanned. URLs leading to malicious web resources should be removed.
  9. Overall good web design. Because tinyurl sucks.
  10. Some functions should be only available to registered members, but anonymous could use it as well. However, trusted people would have it unlimited at all.
  11. Engine should be available to 3rd parties, so they could install it and use with their domain name.

That’s pretty much for 12 hours, when there is no base, right? That’s what we say to our customers.

Anyway, in 12 hours of work I had a website which had a name, web design, logo, backend, database, frontend and additional infrastructure up and running in test environment. Debugging it took another 2 hours, and deployment – another 30 minutes.

You can take a look at that service here – http://byte.lv – just make sure you understand it’s beta and some things may glitch. I reserve the right for a bug, yes. Anyway, if you’d like to have this engine working for your company needs – sure you can have it.

 

P.S. Now imagine having 5 developers working 48 hours - that’s 20 times more than I had!

Visual Studio 2010 Test Manager Overview

by Dmitry Kirsanov 15. September 2011 00:17

A little demo about how to use Test Manager from Visual Studio 2010 Test Professional / Team Foundation Server.

This one is the first of a series and doesn't either have or require any sound. Ideal for those who are using it as a reference during the work with real environment.

Play it full-screen for a “better experience”

This is a typical lab from Microsoft Official Curriculum. Don’t know how you, but I usually enjoy seeing things done as much as doing them, whether it is a lab or a computer game.


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