Posts Tagged - DevOps

Generating PATs from the command line

Personal Access Tokens (PATs) are alternate passwords that you can use to authenticate into Azure DevOps. See Microsoft Docs if you want to know more.

PATs serve a very useful purpose as anyone who has used Azure DevOps can attest to. The usual manner of creating a PAT is to use the web UI to access your personal profile and create the token by filling in a form.

Today on an internal mail list I learnt something new about working with PATs…

##You can create PATs using a commandline tool!

While this won’t be super useful for the majority of users, there are a few use cases where this is a requirement, namely when creating a PAT for service accounts that don’t have interactive login rights.

If you’re interested in leanring more or you want to download and use this utility, you can find the utility (and all code) at the VstsPatGenerator Azure DevOps site.

As an aside, a quick look through the commit history sees that good mate and fellow Aussie, Mitch Denny, had a hand in creating this utility. Cheers Mitch!

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Retrospective – DevOps using VSTS and Azure course

Last week I delivered the first run of my new DevOps using VSTS and Azure course in Kirkland, Washington. While my retrospectives are usually just for my personal improvement, I decided to start sharing my retrospectives to be more transparent. The public record of my goals to improve should also keep me focused on achieving those goals. As a secondary goal, this should also provide an insight into some of the work that goes into creating and evolving high-quality technical training courses.

What worked

  • Enthusiasm from the attendees was fantastic which gave the class an exciting feel over the 3 days.
  • While DevOps is focused on BOTH operations and developers, this is definitely a “DevOps for developers” course. Attendees for the first run of the course were exactly the target audience. I’ll need to ensure any promotion of the course continues to mention DevOps for developers.
  • Students had various levels of experience with both VSTS and Azure including participants who were taking the class in preparation for moving from on-premises TFS to VSTS.
  • Occasionally screenshots in the courseware were slightly wrong due to recent updates to either VSTS or Azure. Students were very understanding of this given the release cadence of the products in question. This will remain a concern for me as student expectations vary. I’m sure I’ll run across students who won’t be as understanding.
  • Based on the high number of questions asked during the course, the allocation of time for Q&A seems about right.
  • Having students sign-up in class for a new Microsoft Account, email, Dev Essentials account and Azure account went quite quickly and smoothly. Having students create these accounts for themselves allows them to continue using these resources after class with the lab work they did still in their account. They can choose to delete their lab work of course, or leave it in place while they learn and explore more. I’m convinced this is much better than requiring them to have an existing account as a course pre-requisite.

What didn’t work

  • For one exercise in the course, I planned on using the VSTS Demo Generator. Despite it working multiple times during course development, it failed during class and then in further testing. In all occasions, the VSTS accounts were completely new so there should not have been any reason for the utility to fail. I was able to work around this in class, but I know now I can’t rely on it.

[UPDATE Jan 2018] I have now used the VSTS Demo Generator tool for a few more courses and it appears to be working again. If you’ve not used it already, be sure to give it a go if you want to explore capabilities in VSTS with some sample data.

  • The course felt a little rushed towards the end of the last day.

What can I improve next time.

  • Now the first run is over, use the timings to better plan future deliveries so that it doesn’t feel rushed towards the end.
  • Change the lab exercise that used the VSTS Demo Generator to not rely on it for future runs. If I can isolate the reason for the failure, I will share that information with the team responsible for the tool to see if they can fix it.
  • Create a couple of extra demos to have on-hand should students ask how VSTS build & release could work with other Azure services. Eg. Azure Functions demo. Also have a more complex example of using Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates should students enquire about this.

What’s next?

  • Having completed the first delivery in the US now, I’m partnering with DDLS to deliver this course in Australia next month. I’ve also had enquiries about delivering this as an in-house workshop for an organisation so that’s positive.
  • Continue to review the decision to add the Azure focus to the VSTS course and not the new TFS 2017 Build & Release course. While VSTS can deploy to either cloud or on-premises server, and TFS can deploy to either as well, I’ve chosen to group them this way for now and review.

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Presenting at the Microsoft Developer Event 2016 in Sydney

Satya in Sydney

Yesterday, I had the privilege to be one of the presenters at a half-day developer event in Sydney, Australia. The event included an opening keynote by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella who spoke about empowering developers to shape the future with an intelligent cloud platform and artificial intelligence.

This was probably the biggest audience I have presented to to-date with over 1,300 developers registered to attend the event.

SydDev01SydDev02 SydDev03

The focus of my presentation was DevOps using Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and Team Foundation Server 2017 (TFS). Here are some links to more information on some of the topics I demonstrated.

At the Microsoft Connect(); 2016 conference in New York today, Microsoft announced the immediate availability of TFS 2017. You can find the download links on Brian Harry’s blog post.

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Microsoft Virtual Academy–Applying DevOps to your VSTS Extensions

Following the MVP Summit in Redmond last week, I got the opportunity to record a short training video for the great folk at Microsoft Virtual Academy. My presentation was the final part of a 3-part series covering creating VSTS/TFS Extensions.

It was awesome to be able to present beside Donovan Brown, Senior DevOps Program Manager and Willy-Peter Schwaub, Visual Studio ALM Ranger Program Manager. While the video was only a short one, ~30 minutes, we still had a lot of fun recording it.


The videos have not been published yet but I will update this blog post as soon as the links are available.

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Two Visual Studio DevOps courses to choose from

DevOps Visual Studio blog 1

With the recent launch of our new Build and Release Management using TFS 2015 course, I thought it timely to offer clarity in terms of the relationship between two similar courses. Simply stated, the Build and Release Management using TFS 2015 2-day course is a subset of the 3-day DevOps using Visual Studio TFS 2015 course.

The rationale behind having a 2-day course is that it suits attendees wanting to focus just on the new Build and Release Management (vNext) parts of TFS 2015 and Visual Studio Team Services. As a 2-day course it takes you out of the office for less time and the cost is less than a 3-day course.

For people wanting a little more in the DevOps area, the 3-day course covers everything in the 2-day course and adds additional topics including PowerShell, DSC and Application Insights.

To see more clearly what the differences are, download this one page PDF – Which DevOps course?

If you’re interested in attending either of these courses, we have them running in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. To find out more just AskShane.

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Application Innovation Day – New Zealand


The inaugural Application Innovation Day roadshow is kicking off in Wellington and Auckland in just a couple of weeks.

Register and come along to this free one-day event exploring cross-platform DevOps with Visual Studio. Learn how you can transition your software development approach to deliver higher business value in less time.

See presentations from industry experts from Microsoft, Equinox IT, Wild Strait and Enhance ALM. I’ll be there providing a range of demonstrations on the latest tools and how they can drive success more frequently for your projects.


8:30am – 5:00pm

Monday 29 February 2016

Cliftons Wellington

Level 28, The Majestic Centre, 100 Willis Street


8:30am – 5:00pm

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Cliftons Auckland

Level 4, 45 Queen Street

I hope to see you there.

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New TFS 2015 Training Curriculum now available

To coincide with the just-released Visual Studio 2015 and TFS 2015 Release Candidates, we’re pleased to release our new TFS 2015 training curriculum. Dates for these courses are now available in the United States and dates will soon be announced for Australia and Europe.

DevOps using Visual Studio ALM 2015

We’re very excited about our newest course offering. It covers topics including PowerShell and PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC), Azure Automation, Application Insights, Release Management, Application Diagnostics and troubleshooting, IntelliTrace and much more.

Visual Studio 2015 Developer Enterprise Features

This new 2 day course has been developed to help ensure developers with the Visual Studio Enterprise edition maximize their productivity through the use of many of the features only available in the Enterprise edition.

TFS 2015 Configuration and Administration

This expanded course offering equips students with a solid knowledge of the many areas that a TFS champion is often called upon to configure and manage. Key topics covered in this course include product installation, security and permissions, reporting, customization, and build automation.

Developing ALM solutions using Visual Studio TFS 2015

This is an updated release of our popular 5-day “all-up” course for individuals or complete development teams who need to learn how to use Visual Studio 2015 and Team Foundation Server 2015. This course covers project management , Agile development , test management strategies, and TFS administration.

Software Testing using Microsoft Test Manager 2015

Focuses primarily on the use of Microsoft Test Professional 2015, which is a standalone product or part of Visual Studio 2015 Enterprise edition. The course teaches you how to design test plans, author and execute test cases, raise and verify defects and more.

Managing Agile Projects with TFS 2015 or Visual Studio Online

Provides Project Managers, Business Analysts, and Team Leaders the essential skills required to manage a software development project effectively using either TFS 2015 or Visual Studio Online.

TFS 2015 Developer Fundamentals – TFVC

This course is essential for developers looking to work in a team using TFS 2015 or Visual Studio online. It covers topics including organizing your work, work item tracking and then deep dives into version control using Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC).

TFS 2015 Developer Fundamentals – Git

This course is essential for developers looking to work in a team using TFS 2015 or Visual Studio online. It covers topics including organizing your work, work item tracking and then deep dives into version control using Git for version control.

Test Automation, Web Performance and Load Testing with Visual Studio 2015

This course is designed for automation and performance testers who have basic .NET coding skills. The course focuses on creating, executing and maintaining Coded UI Tests, and looks at Web Performance and Load Testing using Visual Studio 2015. We also cover Cloud Load Testing with Visual Studio Online.

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