Build 2012 … counting down

Tomorrow is the day I will drive to the airport, hop on a plane and move myself to Redmond (Bellevue to be exact) to settle down for the second edition of //Build, Build 2012.

What can we expect? I don’t know … According to the agenda registration opens on Monday from 3-8PM to collect a … badge (again, according to what we know is published on

Other than that, there is Breakfast, Sessions, Lunch, More Sessions, Lunch, Breakfast, Sessions, Lunch, More Sessions and hé a “Beer Fest”, on Haloween!

Breakfast, Sessions, Lunch, More Sessions and another (!) party, the Attendee Party. Breakfast, Sessions, Lunch, More Sessions and … Conference Ends.

What?!?!? You say … Is that it? Is that why it sold out within the hour? What is all the fuzz about, you may think?

Well yes and no. Sure, it’s ‘just’ another conference as every other conference. Sessions, eating, drinking and sleeping. That’s it.

No, stupid! That’s not it! There is so much more than meets the eye! Let me discuss a couple of things and maybe I can convince you.

First of all there is the dedicated attention from you to the presenter. When I’m at home, I often try to find a webcast, recording, LiveMeeting of session done on earlier shows and conferences just to learn a couple of new things when I’m having my lunch or just ate dinner. I start to listen to what they have to say but I realize that after a while I started to do some other things. Opening another browser, working on my administration, test some code … you get the picture. My attention moved away from the presentation to do ‘more important’ stuff. It is not more important, but that is what you think at that time. On a conference, you are traveling light. You don’t bring all the stuff you have at home so even if you wanted you cannot do what you did at home. Also there he/she is, right in front of you, so it is somewhat embarrassing to do other things in a big crowd.

Second, there is the networking element. The conference is hosted on Microsoft Campus this year, so changes are that you’ll meet one or more guys from the development team and talk to the guys one on one. I’ve been there before and it appeared that the bug you reported and never got through to fix you were able to show them but now one-on-one and you could put your comments next to it and all the sudden the bug is picked up and fixed a couple of weeks later. It really happens! That alone is worth a lot more than the conference fee and T&C all together.

Third, there is the networking element. Ohw, I already mentioned that? No I didn’t! This time I mean networking with your peers. You are there with hundreds, no thousands of other developers, designers and architects and there is a 100% chance, not even a chance anymore, that you will see some things from those guys that you have never seen before. A shortcut, a library, a method, way of working, whatever. Guaranteed you will pick something up that you can use from now on!

Fourth … Energy! You’ll get so much energy from these events. Everyone who has been at one of the shows before, PDC, TechEd, DevDays, will confirm that they left the conference full of new ideas and can’t wait to start working on it. Downside is that, almost immediately, you also get back into the old issues that are still there when you return home. But now you have this glow of energy to move on. Think of other great solutions that you haven’t thought of before!

Fifth, meeting all your old other conference buddies. There are people that I know from years and years ago, and it is always a pleasure to meet one or more guys from the ‘old boys network’.

Sixth … Well I can go on and on about it. Even as the contents for the conference is not revealed I am pretty sure the conference will be a success. And if I have a couple of hours left I drag what’s left from me over to the Microsoft Store, Apple Store and Best Buy to name a few and bring some cool gadgets home that we don’t have (yet) in the Netherlands!

Looking at the clock it is almost 1PM again and in about 6 hours I must be up and awake again, ready to move to the airport. The next days I will keep you updated and if there is news you’ll hear it, through my Twitter account (@aafvstam), Facebook or this blog!

See you at the other (for some the right) side of the ocean!

Build 2012


Last year I attended Build 2011. It was highly secretive and more or less Apple-ified kind of conference held by Microsoft however this time. No one knew what to expect other than that Microsoft planned to make a big shift in their plans for the upcoming years. As I blogged about it last time, it seemed that Microsoft decided to align all products with the same type of User Interface and able to run on most devices from phones to data servers.

One of the big announcements was that Windows would be able to run on ARM processor based devices and would be prepared as touch enabled Operating System.

Tomorrow, Eight-Eight-Eight (8-8-8, August 8th at 8AM) it will happen again. Microsoft is opening their doors this time on Microsoft Campus in Redmond, not in a fancy location with Disneyland or Vegas setting but ‘just’ at Microsoft’s home base.

Again, no-one knows what to expect and what to arrange for traveling and lodging but I’m pretty sure it will provide a lot of interesting information and options to build your network for the next year or so. Build 2011 provided insights in completely new areas and was definitely worth attending. In general I am an autodidact, the reason often is that I am learning the things that I ‘predict’ to be big in the -next- couple of years and a lot of it is simply not available soon enough. Living on the bleeding edge. Events like Build are different, mainly because the speakers on the conference -are the developers- working on the new technologies. Not some consulting guys but the ones who designed it.

So, it won’t take more that 24 hours until we know what it’s all about. Or maybe not … maybe you only know how to register and where to stay. That was what happened last year. No information at all.

For me I’ll try to register and see if I can get a ticket to learn what to focus on the next couple of years. Maybe my boss is willing to sponsor me, maybe not -in that case I’ll break my piggybank and will it be my early Christmas vacation- but the ones who get in will be the ones with the Golden ticket ….

Let me know, are you trying to get registered, to get the Golden Ticket …?

To be continued …

A world with new software and a landing

Visual Studio 2012 Logo

Last year

… has been a rollercoaster ride of new beta opportunities in a wide variety of software products. Not one product but the complete line, ecosystem if you like, was going through a huge make-over. Within Microsoft there was finally the decision to align all products and make sure each product is complementing the other.

This was something I personally favored for a long time. Instead of having all these products doing their own thing let’s have all the tools and applications in one big bowl and make sure everything looks similar and one product ads to the other. One and One is Three!

I was lucky to be able to beta test a lot of the software that is about to get released soon. This, for me is an important part of my work and just fun to do as a hobby. The software wasn’t publicly available, but I was most certainly not the only one outside Microsoft working with it. Thousands of others with me provided input and recommendations that we thought were important to implement. Obviously to say that not all of our recommendations will make it into the product but I’m sure that a large part of the feedback was adopted making the products even better.

While working on the beta software, next to our daily lives and coping with professional issues at work along with doing your stuff at home not all the things we worked on could be discussed in public was not ready to be blogged about. So that created somewhat of a gap in my blog history.

Let’s see if we can change that. A lot of exciting things is about to happen over the next few weeks and months and I’m sure that with your holiday season at the end of the year, only a few months from now, you just don’t know where to start acquiring all the new stuff and get your wannahaves.

Some history

Years ago, and I -mean- yeeeeeaaaars ago, there was this vision of one solution on multiple screens. You would be able to run the things you needed to run on all devices. Going from mobile (Windows Mobile Phones), palmtop (remember the ‘small’ iPaq devices), laptop, desktop to server machines.

Reality was however that it never was a real tight fit. Windows Mobile Phones were just clumsy and hard to handle synchronizing using a wire. Same thing with the palmtops, internally running an embedded OS lacking the wireless connection (you could go wireless but that needed a sleeve to put around the device that was even bigger than the device itself).

The laptop and the desktop integration was a bit better, it ran the same operating system but servers, (How many server types can you name, from Windows Home Server to Data Center?) was, again, another complete different story. And the cloud was not even there yet!

Improvement was needed

As you can see, if you overlook all these things, it was quite a mess. Sure the tools if you each view them in their own context often were great tools. From the start they accomplished a huge boost in productivity. Let’s be real. A lot of’em I still use every day for my personal use, professional life or just as a hobby and I love working with it.

It is however time to change. All products have been re-evaluated, been looked at, and it was decided how the product will fit in scope of all the other products. Are there duplicates? Is there something missing?

The new world of software

With all of that, a complete range of products were developed that covered all devices. Some products are new others are existing but had a complete makeover. Going from small devices (phones) to handhelds (tablets), traveller machines (ultrabook), mobile workstations (notebooks), desktops, servers and all the way to the cloud.

All devices will get the same Windows 8 style UI interface and each tailored to the way it will fit on the device. Integration will take place between your mobile devices, your desktop workspace and The Cloud. A lot of work has been put into the scenario to access all your data wherever and whenever you need.

Some of it is already in a position ready for release other parts are about to be released to manufacturer and another set of parts will be on the release schedule very soon.

If you haven’t already done so, go over to the locations I added below and start exploring some of it. Go slow, there is lots and lots of it where that came from and a lot to learn!


And what better way to conclude this blog item for today with the other great event that just happened. Today the Curiosity Rover  ( landed on Mars to explore the things we don’t know. Exciting time to live in and looking forward to see what Curiosity discovers …

The new Software

Windows 8 Release Preview

Office 2013 and Office365 Customer Preview

Visual Studio 2012 Release Candidate


Office 15 Technical Preview, Visual Studio Beta, Windows 8 Customer Preview


2012 is going to be an exciting year where you can expect that your cheese will be moved if you are a Microsoft customer. There hasn’t been any word about release planning, roadmaps or whenever what bits will be available to you. What we do know is that a couple of weeks ago the Office Team started their Technical Preview program (, The Customer Preview for Windows 8 is mentioned to be released next week the 29th of February and today Jason Zanders, corporate vice president for the Visual Studio team in the Developer Division at Microsoft, announced in his blog Sneak Preview of Visual Studio 11 and .NET Framework 4.5 Beta the release of the beta for the 29th of Februari next week as well!

If you ask me, but who am I, we are heading to a BIG BANG this year. Will we see a year where for the first time most major Microsoft products will be released in a new version, Office, SharePoint, Exchange, Visual Studio, TFS, Windows (client and server) -and- SQL Server all in the same year?

Man, all engines are running full speed in Redmond, that’s for sure!

Axialis brings new set of Ribbon & Toolbar stock icons


If you have been reading my blog before you know I’m a big fan of Axialis’ product IconWorkShop. This tool integrates with Visual Studio and allows you to easily work with your icons in your project.

I know from my own experience that creating icons is pretty time consuming (even if you have the option of using great tools as IconWorkShop). To help you in that area Axialis now is providing you with a set of Ribbon and Toolbar stock icons so you can easily match and combine until you got the icon that you need.

If you think you are even slightly interested in buying the set I can help you a bit there as I received a small token of appreciation in the form of a discount offer for 30% off up to November the 20th <—Click!.

Let me know if you agree with me about the tools and the tools that –you- use to build the icons for your application.

WinDiff and other ‘old’ tools in Visual Studio 2010

It’s always nice when I try to find a certain tool and GooBinging for it and in the end showing me an old blogpost from …. me, myself and I, pointing in the right direction.

The blogpost in this case was:

WinDiff and other ‘old’ tools in Visual Studio 2008

It showed me where I could find some old tools I used before and occasionally need again.

The post is now three years old, but it still is ‘almost’ right. Just enough to give me the pointer to where to find what I was looking for. And as I’m pretty sure that I will go and search for it again in about three years from now I’ll do a repeat and update it a bit to fit the Visual Studio 2010 scenario.

Here we go!

Ever wondered where all your ‘old’ but favorite tools resided in Visual Studio 2010? Are they removed?

I needed a tool called WinDiff to see what is changed between two textfiles and that tool did work for me in most cases. There is however no menu item in Visual Studio 2010 as there used to be in early versions of Visual Studio.

Check out folder:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\Bin or
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\Bin

That is, if you installed Visual Studio with the installations defaults and depending on how many bits your processor likes.

It appeared the tools are still there. Take a look at the other tools in the same location. I’m sure you will recognize a lot of them!

See you in three years for an update of this blogpost to reflect the new times!

Team Foundation Server 2010 on Port 80

Team Foundation Server 2010

Last week I had the situation where we wanted to use Team Foundation Server 2010 but IT locked down most of the required network options. Basically it came down to the fact that only the most basic form of Internet protocols were in place, i.e. http traffic on port 80.

First option … convince the IT guys to open other ports (8080) on the network. Hmm, tried it, been there, no option. These are the NO-guys!

So here we are, we have a Team Foundation Server installer that installs on port 8080 by default and a network on port 80. Wouldn’t it be an option to just reinstall and enter port 80 as the port to install Team Foundation Server on?

Well, no. The deployment in this case was a ‘small’ one (virtual) server installation with SharePoint, Reporting Services and TFS on the one box. And TFS just does not like it when there already is someone else (SharePoint) covering the standard 80 port.

So standing up a new instance on port 80 is not an option unless you decide to move all your other port 80 services to another box.

That leaves nothing else than either give up move into the virtual domain and accept that port 80 is not an option or to go on into the well known trial on error debugging mode and see how we can open things up on port 80!

Giving up obviously is for the weak of heart but not for me. So let’s do it!

What I did is to start off with the default installation using port 8080 and later on try to move it over to port 80. (I already tried installing on port 80 but this hit so many issues that I reverted everything back to the original status and settled for installing on port 8080)

OK, first let’s try to fix the issue where port 80 is already in use by SharePoint. From several earlier endeavors in network land I was aware of the Host Name feature where you use different names to identify several services on one port. What we do now is moving the default SharePoint http://<servername> to http://sp.<servername> but leave the service on port 80.

This step will be a bit different for TFS on SharePoint Services and TFS on SharePoint Server. I will highlight both options here.

For SharePoint Services go to the “SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration” tool and under Operations select “Alternate Access Mappings”

Click the “Alternate Access Mappings” and select “Edit Public URLs”

Select the  “Default Web” from the listbox in the top right corner and change the “Internet” textbox to http://sp.<yourdomainorserver>

Because your machines need to resolve the URL given here you should add the entries also to your DNS server. To test it I didn’t add the URLs to my DNS (especially as this is managed by the NO-guys) but added them temporary to the hosts file (c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc) on both the server as the client machine.

Let’s rewind and do it again for SharePoint Server 2010:

Open IIS, select the web entry that covers the SharePoint port 80 entry. Right click and select the Site Bindings option from the menu and edit the existing entry. Leave it all as it was except for the Host Name. Change the textbox to http://sp.<yourdomainorservername>

While you are at it in IIS now browse to the SharePoint Admin Site “SharePoint 2010 Central Administration” and under System Settings click on “Configure alternate access mappings”

Select the SharePoint – 80 web and change the default entry to http://sp.<yourdomainorservername> as well. (I guess you could do the same thing as with the SP Services option, to leave the default as is and change the Internet box to http://sp.<yourdomainorservername> but I must admit that I didn’t test that.

Now we can test to see if we can access SharePoint on http://sp.<yourdomainorservername>.

On your client PC this would not be an issue but when you try it on the server you’ll hit a security issue blocking the site. In order to resolve this next hurdle we will make some changes in the registry.

The steps for this are also described in Kb 896861: but I will present them here as well.

The first registry entry we are setting is setting the DisableStrictNameChecking registry entry to 1.

  1. Locate and click the following key in the registry:
  2. On the Edit menu, click Add Value, and then add the following registry value:Value name: DisableStrictNameChecking
    Data type: REG_DWORD
    Radix: Decimal
    Value: 1

Next setting the BackConnectionHostNames …

  1. In Registry Editor, locate and then click the following registry key:
  2. Right-click MSV1_0, point to New, and then click Multi-String Value.
  3. Type BackConnectionHostNames, and then press ENTER.
  4. Right-click BackConnectionHostNames, and then click Modify.
  5. In the Value data box, type the host name or the host names for the sites that are on the local computer, and then click OK.
  6. Quit Registry Editor, and then restart the IISAdmin service

In this case you will add http://sp.<yourdomainorservername>. Later on you will add http://tfs.<yourdomainorservername> to cover the TFS entry.

Registry entries done? Best thing to do here… reboot the server (You may get away with only doing an IISReset but if you want to be sure … reboot it).

Now you’ve rebooted, check the new SharePoint entry in your browser. Open up the browser and goto http://tfs.<yourdomainorservername>. If all goes well you now see the next picture.

TFS will be our next stop. This is where this exercise all started.

Instead of changing the Host Name here we will add a new Host Name and leave the 8080 entry intact. Right click in IIS the Team Foundation Server entry, select the Site Bindings option and click the Add button to add a new entry. Create a type http to All Assigned on Port 80 named http://tfs.<yourdomainorservername>. Now do another IISReset.

Next thing to do is get into TFS Administration Console and select the Application Tier and hit the “Change URLs” option.

Within the Change URLs dialog change the Notification URL to http://tfs.<yourdomainorservername> and make sure the Server URL is http://localhost:8080/tfs

You will notice that when you select the “Use : “ radiobutton and enters http://localhost:8080/tfs that after closing the dialog and reopen it will change back to the “Use Localhost” radio button. Just check on the Application Tier page that the server URL shows http://localhost:8080/tfs

Make sure this dialog shows you’re the both ports 80 and 8080.

So, now this should do the trick don’t you think? Let’s try it…. open http://tfs.<yourdomainorservername>/tfs in your browser

WTF!! Another error, will this never end?

Here we go again, solving another issue. What happens is that on the serverside TFS tried to resolve things to port 80 as your initial call was on port 80. Now you have to make clear to the server that it needs port 8080 internally.

In order to do this, edit the web.config file found at C:\Program Files\Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010\Application Tier\Web Access\Web

In the web.config you find the entry:

<!– <add name=”
http://server:8080″ /> –>

Change this to (note the slash tfs extension):

<add name=”
http://<servername>:8080/tfs” />

Save the web.config and do another IISReset (better safe than sorry) end retry testing your TFS site: enter http://tfs.<yourdomainorservername>/tfs

Yess, this time it worked as expected.

Once you have this in place you can try to connect to your new port 80 URL from within Visual Studio 2010.

By doing all this you should now be able to resolve your SharePoint site and TFS site on the single server by using a set of hostnames instead of ports:

– http://sp.<yourdomainorservername>
– http://tfs.<yourdomainorservername>

As far as I have seen so far everything is working like it should work. Reporting was already available on port 80 but you could decide to move this also to something like http://reporting.<yourdomainorservername>. I’m not yet in the position to also test if this all interferes with build services or test management so let me know if you hit on issues where moving to port 80 interferes.

Don’t forget to request for the two (or more in case you include reporting) DNS entries with the IT guys and remove the entries from the hosts files you created earlier to resolve the names.

For now I’m very happy to getting it all to work on port 80 to be able to work within our ‘locked down’ network! It turned out to be a very big article but I hope it will serve you as a reference to set up your own ‘port 80’ installation.