February 6, 2010

Debugging Team Build with MSBuild Sidekick

Filed under: MSBuild Sidekick,tfs,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — nikolays @ 1:00 pm

MSBuild is powerful general purpose build engine, but what if you have a dedicated build server running Team Foundation Server Build? Did you know that you can execute Team Build projects locally and even debug them with MSBuild Sidekick? In this post we shall show how to do that in three simple steps (for Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2008).

Prior to debugging you need to know about several limitations desktop build has comparing to Team build running on the server. From MSDN article "How to: Build Team Projects on a Desktop":

  • The desktop builds perform only the compilation and tests.
  • They do not perform other public build steps such as getting sources from version control, updating work items, labeling sources, creating new work items, and copying to drop locations
  • The default MSBuild logger logs the results because the Team Foundation Build logger is not enabled for desktop builds.
  • The desktop builds do not store build data in the database.
  • They do not generate any status reports. Build output is written to console. You can learn more details by enabling the Verbosity option when running the MSBuild command. For more information, see MSBuild Command Line Reference.

1. Follow the directions in the article to get you all prerequisites for building Team Build projects locally in order.

2. Open local copy of Team Build project file from previous step with MSBuild Sidekick and define TeamBuildRefPath property in "Project Properties" pane. To do so access "Build" -> "Build Options" menu item, and then click "Project Properties" icon at the left pane and add TeamBuildRefPath property with its value set to "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies\" (or different drive where you have VS 2008 installed).

Project Properties

Reload project by clicking "File" -> "Reload". A few warnings you still see do not affect further debugging.

3. Your Team Build project is now ready for debugging. You may start debugging by clicking Debug toolbar button or pressing F5 key.

Debug  Window

You can learn more about debugging and how to use it efficiently from our previous posts “How to debug step-by-step with MSBuild Sidekick” and “How to review Properties & Items while debugging with MSBuild Sidekick”.

November 12, 2009

Team Foundation Sidekicks 2.4 release

Filed under: Visual Studio — Tags: , — nikolays @ 10:10 am

We are proud to announce new Team Foundation Sidekicks release. With this release we conclude support for Visual Studio/TFS 2005 & 2008; from now on any future releases will target VS/TFS 2010. Sidekicks version for 2010 (based on Beta 2 bits) may be expected by the end of 2009.

The release 2.4 includes a relatively large number of bug fixes as well as couple of new features.


  • Labels Sidekick: Support filtering by file extension in Labels Comparison window
  • Code Review Sidekick: Check-in policy violation indication shown next to changesets in a list
  • Workspace Sidekick: Support ability to save list of found workspaces
  • New Users View Sidekick: Show searchable list of user names and user display names in TFS Valid Users group

Bug fixes

  • BUGFIX VS Integration (Dynamic History): exception thrown when viewing history on pending adds
  • BUGFIX Code Review Sidekick: Changeset/Work Item selection dialogs do not keep last set of parameters set
  • BUGFIX Code Review Sidekick: When all changesets selected, the list of changesets is not scrollable
  • BUGFIX Labels Sidekick: Multiple selection of labels in list does not work with keyboard
  • BUGFIX Labels Sidekick: Labels Comparison is out of sync for certain label content
  • BUGFIX Status Sidekick: Undoing changes on root node ($\) causes an exception

Let’s conclude with short description of new Users View Sidekick. Sidekick works around known limitation in TFS version control, where it displays only user names for item history or other version control dialogs. In some corporate environments user names tend to follow cryptic conventions set by IT which are completely unrelated to actual user first and last name (such as GERWA12N etc.). In such scenarios, Users View Sidekick would allow you searching for actual user display name using AD user name.


Caveat that applies to the usage of Users View Sidekick – retrieving user names through TFS OM API may potentially take quite a long time.

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