Configuring HTTP Access to SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services on Microsoft Windows Server 2008

Since Team Foundation Server (TFS) uses SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) as its repository for all kinds of info, people are interested to expose the data through Excel or SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). SSAS doesn’t expose itself through the HTTP protocol by default, but this can be configured using this paper. I didn’t created the complete document myself but used this paper from Edward Melomed as start. The paper on Microsoft TechNet uses SSAS 2005 and Windows Server 2003. Both products are still widely used, but 2008 is the magic word nowadays. By the way, I can’t wait till his new book Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services Unleashed is released.

Summary:  This paper is intended for anyone who is interested in providing access to SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services through HTTP protocol.The paper explains the steps required to set up HTTP access and discusses different performance and security settings. All the instructions in this paper are specific to the Microsoft Windows® Server™ 2008 operating system.

Overview

Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2008 Analysis Services uses the same architecture for providing HTTP access as did SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services.

The pump component is loaded into IIS (Internet Information Services) and serves as an ISAPI extension, pumping data from the client to an Analysis Services server and back.

This white paper walks you through the process of setting up HTTP access to Analysis Services when using Microsoft Windows Server™ 2008.

httpssas01_big

Figure 1 provides a high-level overview of the component architecture.

Getting binaries

To get binaries:

Copy the contents of the %Installation folder%OLAPbinisapi directory into the folder you would like to become the base for the virtual directory in IIS.

In this example, we are going to copy all the files from the C:Program FilesMicrosoft SQL ServerMSAS10.MSSQLSERVEROLAPbinisapi folder into the C:inetpubwwwrootolap directory.

Notes:  To take advantage of the full set of security settings, it is important to make sure that the folder to become the base for the virtual directory is located on the drive formatted for the NTFS file system.

Due to IIS limitations, the path to your directory should not contain spaces.

If you are planning to run the HTTP pump on a different server than the Analysis Services server, please make sure that you also install OLEDB for Analysis Redistributable package.

Creating an application pool

To create an application pool:

1.

To open the Computer Management console, open Control Panel, then Administrative Tools, then Computer Management.

(Or, right-click the My Computer icon and select Manage on the shortcut menu.)

2.

In the Computer Management console, expand the Roles node and then the Web Server (IIS) and Internet Information Services node.

If you can’t find the Internet Information Services node, IIS is probably not installed on your machine. To install it, open Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel. Select Add/Remove Windows Components. Then add IIS to Windows.

3.

Right-click the Application Pools to open the shortcut menu and select Add Application Pool...

4.

Name the application pool. In this example, we call it OLAP. (See Figure 2.)

httpasws02
Figure 2

Setting up an application

To use the application pool:

1.

To open the Computer Management console, open Control Panel, then Administrative Tools, then Computer Management.

(Or, right-click the My Computer icon and select Manage on the shortcut menu.)

2.

In the Computer Management console, expand the Roles node and then the Web Server (IIS) and Internet Information Services node.

If you can’t find the Internet Information Services node, IIS is probably not installed on your machine. To install it, open Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel. Select Add/Remove Windows Components. Then add IIS to Windows.

3.

Right-click the OLAP directory in your Web site to open the shortcut menu and select Convert to Application. Choose the application pool as one you’ve just created. (See Figure 3.)

httpasws03
Figure 3

Setting up directory properties

To set properties for the directory:

1.

Click your virtual directory node and select Handler Mappings from the menu. (See Figure 4.)

httpasws04
Figure 4

2.Make sure the directory has Read and Script permissions. This can be checked by clicking the “Edit Feature Permissions…” in

the top right corner of the Handler Mappings screen as shown in Figure 5.

httpasws04a
Figure 5

3.

In the top right corner of the Handler Mappings screen click the option ” Add Script Map…“.

4.

Enter *.dll in the Request path text box.

In the Executable option, enter the full path name to msmdpump.dll. In this example, it would be: C:wwwrootolapmsmdpump.dll

5.

Name the Script Map. In this example, we call it OLAP.

Your screen should look something like the dialog box shown in Figure 6.

httpasws05
Figure 6

6.

Click the OK button to accept the settings.

7.

When you hit OK to add the script mapping you will be prompted if you want to enable the ISAPI extension. (See Figure 7.)

httpasws06
Figure 7

8.

Click the Yes button to accept the settings.

9.The configuration of this decision can be found under ISAPI and CGI Restrictions of the server. (See Figure 8.)

httpasws07
Figure 8

10.Search for your extension and name it as shown in Figure 9.

httpasws08
Figure 9

11.

Click the OK button to accept the settings.

Selecting security settings

To select security settings:

1.

Click your virtual directory node and select Autentication from the menu. (See Figure 10.)

httpasws09
Figure 10

2.

You are presented with three options. Choose one of them. (See Figure 11)

httpasws10
Figure 11

This section briefly describes these options, citing the advantages, disadvantages, and security concerns of each one. All other options are not discussed in the paper. You can use Help for IIS to read more about it.

Anonymous access

When this mode is selected, the pump (msmdpump.dll) is running with credentials; in our case, these are the credentials of IUSR_MACHINENAME user. Therefore, every connection to Analysis Services is opened as IUSR user. When this mode is selected, there is no distinction between which user is connecting to IIS and which to Analysis Services. There is no way to distinguish between users.

This mode is to be used when the security infrastructure does not take advantage of the security functionality of Analysis Services. This is most likely an extremely controlled environment, where users are given or denied access to the virtual directory.

Windows authentication

This is the most secure and the recommended mode.

It requires that IIS Server be able to access user domain credentials. This could be done using Microsoft Active Directory® or another mechanism. It is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss all the possible configurations.

Basic authentication

This mode requires that the user enter a user name and password. The user name and password are transmitted over the HTTP connection to IIS. IIS will try to impersonate the user using the provided credentials.

Please note that it is absolutely imperative for anyone building a system where the password is transmitted to have ways of securing the communication channel. IIS provides a great set of tools for setting up and requiring that all communications be encrypted using HTTPS protocol.

3.For configuring anonymous authentication right-click Anonymous Authentication and then click Edit. You will see a dialog box similar to the one in Figure 12 Here you can configure a specific account which will be used to logon SSAS.

httpasws11
Figure 12

Selecting the target Analysis Services server

As you can see in the architectural diagram in Figure 1, every pump component uses its own configuration file.

Open the msmdpump.ini file located in your folder and take a look at the contents of this file. It should look like the following:

    1 <ConfigurationSettings>

    2     <ServerName>localhost</ServerName>

    3     <SessionTimeout>3600</SessionTimeout>

    4     <ConnectionPoolSize>100</ConnectionPoolSize>

    5     <MinThreadPoolSize>0</MinThreadPoolSize>

    6     <MaxThreadPoolSize>0</MaxThreadPoolSize>

    7     <MaxThreadsPerClient>4</MaxThreadsPerClient>

    8 </ConfigurationSettings>

The only setting you are interested in at this point is <ServerName>.

If the Analysis Services instance that you need to provide access to is located on the local machine and installed as a default instance, there is no reason to change this setting. Otherwise, you need to specify the machine name and instance name ( mymachineinst1).

It is also possible to specify a pointer to the virtual directory on another IIS server that is set up for HTTP access to Analysis Services.

For example, you could have <ServerName>http://secondmachine/olap/msmdpump.dll</ServerName>

Getting it all together

At this point you should have configured your HTTP pump and should be ready to connect from your application.

If your application provides you with a way to specify the server name, all you need to do is to substitute your server name with the path to your virtual directory concatenated with “msmdpump.dll”.

As in SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services, the MSOLAP OLEDB provider will understand that the server name includes an URL path and will automatically start using HTTP protocol.

For example, to connect to “MyMachine” from the MDX sample application, you should be able to connect to the Analysis Services server using “http://MyMachine/olap/msmdpump.dll” as a server name.

 

Build your own activities for Internet Explorer 8.

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an online database of information related to movies, actors, television shows, production crew personnel, and video games. IMDb launched on October 17, 1990, and in 1998 was acquired by Amazon.com. Since I’m a big fan of this site and still loves to use Internet Explorer, why can’t I combine these two.

Activities
With Activities, you can access your services from any webpage. Activities simplify the common task of copying, navigating, and pasting into a single action. Users can access an Activity on selection simply by selecting content and opening the context menu. For example, users can select an address on a webpage and the Activity button appears. Alternatively, you can access selection Activities from the context menu. Activities are also available for the current webpage in the Page menu on the Command bar and for links within a page in the context menu for the link.

The XML namespace for Activities is: http://www.microsoft.com/schemas/openservicedescription/1.0 The main components to the format are:

  • homepageUrl
  • display (Name, Icon, Description)
  • activity (Category)
    • activityAction (Context [“selection”, “document”, or “link”])
      • preview
        • parameter
      • execute
        • parameter

This is my activity for IMDb. I added it to same category as all Search activities. Save the file as SearchIMDb.xml.

    1 <?xml version=1.0 encoding=UTF-8?>

    2   <openServiceDescription xmlns=http://www.microsoft.com/schemas/openservicedescription/1.0>

    3   <homepageUrl>http://www.imdb.com</homepageUrl>

    4   <display>

    5     <name>Search with IMDb</name>

    6     <icon>http://www.imdb.com/favicon.ico</icon>

    7   </display>

    8   <activity category=Search>

    9     <activityAction context=selection>

   10       <execute action=http://www.imdb.com/find>

   11         <parameter name=s value=all/>

   12         <parameter name=q value={selection}/>

   13       </execute>

   14     </activityAction>

   15   </activity>

   20 </openServiceDescription>

Click the link below to add this activity to your IE.

Add IMDb Activity 

Update: Community Server won’t allow me to add javascript to my blog posts. This is the link you should add to an html file. 

    1 <a onclick=”java script:window.external.addService(‘SearchIMDb.xml’) href=#>Add IMDb Activity</a>

After installing the activity you can also change it to a default activity.

Manage

This will result in the following possibilities

activity 

Summary
I created a simple activity for IMDb, but you easily create some activities for Torrent sites (especially if your from Italy), MSDN, Wikipedia etc. To install a activity the installer must be run from a Web Server, this can’t be from a local hard drive. Here are some interesting links:

Activities white paper
http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ProjectName=ie8whitepapers&ReleaseId=566

Activities Hands-On Lab
http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ProjectName=iemix08labs&ReleaseId=583

 

.NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack RTM

The .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack features new abstractions for working with data, smaller client profiles and performance updates to Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). It will ship before the end of the summer, Microsoft said. In a July 31 meeting with SD Times, Shanku Niyogi, product unit manager of the UI Framework and Services team at Microsoft, said that “the .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1) would be broadly available in all localized versions within a few weeks.”

SP1 adds support for SQL Server 2008, the ADO.NET entity framework and ADO.NET data services, which was formerly known as “Astoria.”

Astoria uses ADO.NET to model data, and it exposes entities as URI-addressable resources to be consumed by Web clients within corporate networks and across the Internet. The entity model provides developers with an additional layer of abstraction between the database and themselves.

Since Microsoft has released to manufacturing SQL Server 2008 and the DVD images are now available on Microsoft and the MSDN subscriber downloads.

Interestingly, the Microsoft .NET Framework SP1 doesn’t appear to be available although when the SQL Server 2008 setup program is ran it installs the RTM build of the .NET Framework SP1. You can install it separately by selecting the setup at ..x86redistDotNetFrameworksdotNetFx35setup.exe.

As a result of this install my Add or Remove Programs will look like this.

Add-Remove

The Product itself will be released today. I will update this post with the correct link.

Update 08/12
You can download the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 here.

Furthermore Visual Studio 2008 SP1 was released today which can be downloaded here.

Summary
Microsoft shame on you to release such an important framework only the cd of a server product. Hopefully the holiday did good for all your employees.

 

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Visual Studio Team System "Rosario" CTP 12 – Work Items

Since Holland is kicked out of Euro 2008, I found myself some extra time to investigate Visual Studio Team System “Rosario” CTP 12. It’s been a couple of months ago Microsoft released this fantastic platform, but almost nobody blogged about it. Of course three of the most interesting VSTS bloggers (Willy-Peter Schaub’s, Mickey Gousset and Grant Holiday) commented a lot about it, but that’s almost everything you find on the net. Naturally almost every self respecting blogger blogged about the release of this CTP, but in my opinion that’s not what blogging is all about.

After starting the virtual machine and opening Visual Studio, I immediately focused on the new Process Templates and the Work Item structure of it. In Rosario there are two new Process Templates:

  • VSTS Process for Agile Software Development v1.0
    • Bug – Describes a divergence between required and actual behavior, and tracks the work done to correct the defect and verify the correction.
    • Shared Step Set – Server-side data for reusable set of test steps.
    • Task – Tracks work that needs to be done.
    • Test Case – Server-side data for a set of steps to be tested.
    • User Story – Tracks an activity the user will be able to perform with the product
    • Issue – Tracks an obstacle to progress.

  • MSF for CMMI Process Improvement – Rosario
    • Bug – Includes information to track the work to resolve the bug and to verify its resolution
    • Task – Includes information to track the task through the MSF for CMMI Process Improvement life cycle.
    • Issue – Includes information to track changes through the MSF for CMMI Process Improvement life cycle.
    • Change Request – Includes information to track changes through the MSF for CMMI Process Improvement life cycle
    • Risk – Includes information to track the work to mitigate a risk.
    • Requirement – Includes information to track the requirement through the MSF for CMMI Process Improvement life cycle
    • Review – This work item tracks reviews and the results.
    • Test Case – Server-side data for a set of steps to be tested.
    • Shared Step Set – Server-side data for reusable set of test steps.
    • Feature – Includes information to track the feature through the MSF for CMMI Process Improvement life cycle
    • Business Objective – Includes information to track the business objective through the MSF for CMMI Process Improvement life cycle

Work Item Structure
In the VSTS Process they removed Risk and replaced Scenario by User Story. This is a good decision because the Risk implementation in MSF Agile is one of the worst implementation of Risk Analysis I ever seen. Didn’t the guys who developed this read the specs of MSF Risk Management. CMMI has a better risk implementation but still it could be better. The other two Work Items are for test purposes only. A Test Case describes a test and the steps to reproduce it. In some cases you will repeat a lot of the same steps. For Example: 1. open Internet Explorer, 2. open the Web Application, 3. Log on to the app. These steps are probably used in all Test Cases. To use shared steps you must use the Shared Step Set Work Item.

Work Items

Work Item Link Types
As you can see, the screen layout is completely rearranged to show more controls on one single screen. Furthermore the buttons to Open, Add, Edit and Delete links are redecorated. All this styling will create a synoptic layout.

Link Types

They also added a couple of new Link Types to a Work Item. The nice thing about the Link Types is you can filter it for a specific control. For example: You only want to allow links to create a hierarchy for parent and child relations. Your WIT control specification could look like this. Watch closely to LinkFilters sections.

<Control Type="LinksControl" Name="Hierarchy" Label="Parent and &amp;Child Links:" LabelPosition="Top">
    <LinksControlOptions>
        <WorkItemLinkFilters FilterType="include">
            <Filter LinkType="System.LinkTypes.Hierarchy"  />
        </WorkItemLinkFilters>
        <ExternalLinkFilters FilterType="excludeAll"/>
        <LinkColumns>
            <LinkColumn RefName="System.ID" />
            <LinkColumn RefName="System.WorkItemType" />
            <LinkColumn RefName="System.Title" />
            <LinkColumn RefName="System.AssignedTo" />
            <LinkColumn RefName="System.State" />
            <LinkColumn LinkAttribute="System.Links.Comment" />
        </LinkColumns>
    </LinksControlOptions>
</Control>

Work Item Custom Controls
Besides extensions in the XML definition of a Work Item there are two Custom Controls added to Rosario which can be found in C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication DataMicrosoftTeam FoundationWork Item TrackingCustom Controls9.0. Check this blog for all Custom Control locations.

  • ReproStepsControl.wicc
  • TestStepsControl.wicc

The latter is showed in the screen below.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<CustomControl xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" 
              xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">
  <Assembly>Microsoft.TeamFoundation.TestManagement.ClientPackage</Assembly>
  <FullClassName>Microsoft.TeamFoundation.TestManagement.TestStepsControl</FullClassName>
</CustomControl>

With this custom control you can create you’re own test steps including parameters which can be data bound. A brief explanation about this steps can be found in the November Rosario CTP – Planning A Testing Effort with Camano from Grant Holiday.

Custom Controls

For more information about Custom Controls check http://www.codeplex.com/WitCustomControls a community by Naren Datha (Unfortunately he left the TFS Team): http://blogs.msdn.com/narend and Mathias Olausson: http://olausson.net/blog. One of their coolest controls is the Screenshot control.

Work Item Queries
One of the superb new features of Work Items is you can now query on links. Depending on the type of query it will not only give you an other result, but also another icon in the Team Explorer. In this examples I added a Work Breakdown structure to the CTP12-Agile Team Project. Creating a structure like this is easy. Just select the Query on links checkbox, select Tree as Type of query and add Child as Link Type. Not only you good create Work Breakdown structures using this concept, Backlogs are created as easily as well.

Work Item Queries

Summary
It’s good to see Microsoft is listening to its customers. More and more people are asking for a better Agile template and they will get it. Other people asked for work breakdown support as you can read in one of my older posts and the will get it. I’m very anxious they will not support these new features in the old Team Explorer for Visual Studio 2005. I still hope they will because a lot of companies are willing to upgrade to a new server environment but to upgrade to a new client upgrade is a complete other story. And yes I know you could install another Team Explorer instance besides it, but that’s not a solution. VSTS Dev Team keep up the good work and maybe it’s still a good idea to also include the old MSF Agile Process Template because a lot of companies have adopted this structure.

 

Business Intelligence VPC Release 6

Microsoft has released a very interesting Virtual PC on her downloads site. Unfortunately you can’t find it directly on their site, but I added the links so you can download it easily. In these VPC sits everything what Microsoft has at this moment for BI, among Office Enterprise 2007, SharePoint Portal server 2007, SQL server 2005 SP2, ProClarity 6.3 and PerformancePoint server 2007! Naturally you can only use these VPC for demonstration and evaluation aims. 

THE VPC exist from seven downloads:

Total download size is about 5 GB, the Administrator password which is necessary to logon is pass@word1 (and this VPC will expire on 8/17/2009 – Hopefully just in time for PPS v2). To run the VPC nicely, you actually need 4 GB internal memory. So what is different. Version 6 includes new demos and presenter scripts for different verticals. When you extract the files it creates an additional demos folder which now contains all of the scripts so you don’t need to try and pull them off the VPC at all. It still has all of the same programs installed and configured which is very nice. Here is everything it contains and I highlighted the new items.

 

Presenter ScriptsApplications InstalledSample Databases / Cubes
  • Business Intelligence “All-Up” Presenter Script
    • Financial Analyst
    • VP of Sales
    • Sales Representative
    • Chief Financial Officer
    • Data Analyst
  • 2007 Microsoft Office System Launch Demo
  • Data Mining Deep Dive
  • Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence Demo
  • Banking Demo
  • Federal Government Demo
  • State & Local Government Demo
  • Healthcare Demo
  • Oil & Gas Demo
  • Retail Demo
  • Project REAL Sample Demos
  • SQL Server 2005 Demos
  • PerformancePoint Launch Demo
  • PerformancePoint Budgeting Demo
  • PerformancePoint CRM Demo
  • PerformancePoint MAP (Monitoring, Analytics, and Planning) Demo
  • PerformancePoint Planning Demo
  • PerformancePoint Planning Consolidation Demo
  • PerformancePoint Management Reporter Demo
  • PerformancePoint Sales Forecasting Demo
  • PerformancePoint Strategic Planning Demo
  • OfficeWriter Demo
  • PerformancePoint Hands-On Labs
  • New Account Load Demo
  • Windows Server 2003 R2 Service Pack 2
  • Internet Explorer 7
  • Office Enterprise 2007
  • Office Visio 2007
  • SharePoint Portal Server 2007
  • SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 (w/ SSIS, SSAS, SSRS)
  • SQL Server 2005 Data Mining Add-ins
  • SQL Server 2005 SharePoint Integration Add-in
  • ProClarity Analytics Server 6.3
  • ProClarity Dashboard Server 6.3
  • ProClarity Desktop Professional 6.3
  • ProClarity Web Professional 6.3
  • PerformancePoint Planning Server 2007
  • PerformancePoint Planning Add-In for Excel
  • PerformancePoint Planning Business Modeler
  • PerformancePoint Monitoring Server
  • PerformancePoint Monitoring Scorecard Builder
  • OfficeWriter for Word Plug-In
  • OfficeWriter for Excel Plug-In
  • Project REAL Reference Implementation
  • Business Intelligence Metadata Samples
  • AdventureWorks
  • AdventureWorks_Mfg (for Lean Manufacturing)
  • AdventureWorksDW (for AdventureWorks data warehouse)
  • Camden (Local Government)
  • Contoso (for PerformancePoint Planning)
  • EP
  • Government_AppDB (PerformancePoint Planning)
  • HC
  • Healthcare_AppDB (PerformancePoint Planning)
  • OSS (Healthcare)
  • PDW (for PerformancePoint Planning)
  • PeoplSoft Financials_AppDB (PerformancePoint Planning)
  • PPS Launch (for PerformancePoint Planning)
  • PSFIN_Data_Mart
  • REAL_Source_Sample_V6 (for Project REAL)
  • REAL_Warehouse_Sample_V6 (for Project REAL)

 

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Configure your TFS WSS 3.0 site to use VSTS Web Access 2008 (TSWA)

Lately I’ve been asked to install Team System Web Access on the same machine containing WSS 3.0. Officious I configured their SharePoint using a fully qualified domain name (FQDN). This gives them the ability to open the TFS sites from outside their environment and on Internet as well. Since MS is advising to install Web Access on a separate Web Site it probably will be hard to configure it they way I want it. When I installed Web Access on the WSS site as a virtual directory and added a new URL mapping to the web.config it gave me this error. The web.config can be found in your VSTS Web Access directory in Program Files. e.g. %Program Files%Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Team System Web AccessWeb

    <urlMappings enabled=true>

<!– Become–>

    <urlMappings enabled=true>
       
<add url=~/ mappedUrl=~/Index.aspx />

screen01

The trusted callers error exists because SharePoint runs in a kind of a sandbox. We need to upscale the trust level of Web Access. This can be done by using the following statements. I haven’t tested any other kind of trust level but you’re free to do so.

    <compilation debug=false batch=false />

<!– Become–>

    <compilation debug=false batch=false />
   
<trust level=Full originUrl=“” />

screen02

Who hasn’t seen this error before ‘Object reference not set to an instance of an object.’ After a bit of reverse engineering I discovered it’s depending on sessions. Sessions can be supported in SharePoint but is turned off by default. Not only it must be enabled to use sessions, it must be handled as well. All other unnecessary modules will be removed for optimal performance.

    <pages validateRequest=false enableEventValidation=false />

<!– Become–>

    <pages validateRequest=false enableEventValidation=false enableSessionState=true />

and

    <httpModules>
        <add name=CompressionModule type=Microsoft.TeamFoundation.WebAccess.CompressionModule/>

<!– Become–>

    <httpModules>
        <clear />
        <add name=Session type=System.Web.SessionState.SessionStateModule/>
        <add name=CompressionModule type=Microsoft.TeamFoundation.WebAccess.CompressionModule/>
 

 screen03

The last problem is a security issue which can be easily solved by changing these two properties. The nice thing about this change its configuring your WSS site and your VSTA site to let you logon using one single user account. So we have a kind of Single Sign-On where you can open VSTA from your WSS site without a new logon form. With automatic Logon in fully qualified domain name (FQDN) environment all your customers will be really satisfied and doesn’t have to logon at all.

    <authentication mode=“None”/>
    <identity impersonate=false/>

<!– Become–>

    <authentication mode=Windows/>
    <identity impersonate=true/>

screen04

Summary
I hope this article will help you to set up an environment such as described above. Sometimes when you open a Work Item this will give you an error where Microsoft.TeamFoundation.WorkItemTracking.Controls was not found. I had to track it down in %Program Files%Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0Common7IDEPrivateAssemblies and copy it to %Program Files%Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Team System Web AccessWebbin. Normally the TSWA installation copies that file over from the privateassemblies directory. As you can see in my images I’m not only still using XP, I’m using Internet Explorer 8.0 as well. This tool rocks and performs like hell. Haven’t seen such a boost since Opera arrived. I really like the activities and advice you all to use it event though it’s still beta.

 

Project Server 2007 VSTS Connector Version 2.0

The latest Project Server to TFS Connector was just released on CodePlex. This release of the PS2007 VSTS Connector is targeted to work with Team Foundation Server 2008 and resolves several bugs that were reported in the first two releases. They’ve done their best to ensure that this Connector is easy to install and well documented.

Unfortunately Team System 2008 isn’t fully ready for Hierarchical Work Items. With the Hierarchical Work Items you can create a Work Breakdown structure. This structure is needed when you want full support for MS Project and Project Server. What can we expect of the future releases of Team System. In this example the new query “Work Breakdown” of Team System Rosario shows how “Tasks” are child items of “Features”.

rosario_wbs

When  you try to open this in MS Project using the current CTP of Team System Rosario, it will flatten the structure.

rosario_excel_tree_list

Summary
Future versions of Team System will have native integration with Project Server, in the meantime this Connector solution is the best way to integrate the two Microsoft products. Hopefully this MS Project integration will work better in the next Rosario CTP so we can really start using work items the way we supposed to do. We still have a ‘long’ way to go, but as with most products of MS, the third version of a product really rocks.

 

Configure TFS V1 WSS 2.0 sites to use WSS 3.0 site templates

Since almost everyone wanted to upgrade TFS V1 to use WSS 3.0, Microsoft added two guides to MSDN in which they explain how to update. In this guide I’ll explain how to update your WSS 2.0 sites to use the newly delivered WSS 3.0 templates. This guide can also be used for people and companies who updated their TFS 2005 to a TFS 2008 / WSS 3.0 environment.

Screen1

Take advantage of new WSS 3.0 functionality.
In order to best take advantage of new WSS 3.0 functionality on the new version of your team project portal sites you may wish to reset the site look and feel of your migrated sites to surface WSS 3.0 features. This step will optionally need to be performed on existing team project portal sites you have migrated from WSS 2.0, but will not need to be performed on new team project portal sites you create moving forward.

  1. Open the WSS 3.0 team project portal you would like to upgrade. (e.g. http:// myATserver:81/sites/MyTeamProject)

  2. Click Site Settings.

  3. On the Site Settings page, click Reset to site definition under the Look and Feel column.
  4. On the Reset Page to Site Definition Version page, you can choose to either reset an individual page within the site collection or to reset all of the pages within a site collection. Once you have made your decision, click Reset then click OK in the confirmation dialog.
    Note: As you will note in the warning dialogs, certain customizations to your team project portal will be lost after performing this reset. Therefore it is recommended that you take care to understand what functionality you need to retain in your team project portal prior to performing this optional reset.
  5. On the Site Settings page, click Top link bar under the Look and Feel column.
    Delete all links
  6. On the Site Settings page, click Quick Launch under the Look and Feel column.
    Remove all headings and links except those from documents
    Add The following headings and links
    •  
      • Heading -> Process Guidance
        Process%20Guidance/ProcessGuidance.html
      • Heading -> Reports
        layouts/tfsredirect.aspx?IsReport=0
      • Link -> Bug Rates
        _layouts/tfsredirect.aspx?IsReport=1&ReportName=Bug+Rates&ShowToolbar=1
      • Link -> Builds
        _layouts/tfsredirect.aspx?IsReport=1&ReportName=Builds&ShowToolbar=1
      • Link -> Quality Indicators
        _layouts/tfsredirect.aspx?IsReport=1&ReportName=Quality+Indicators&ShowToolbar=1
      • Link -> Project Velocity
        _layouts/tfsredirect.aspx?IsReport=1&ReportName=Project+Velocity&ShowToolbar=1
      • Link -> Issues List
        _layouts/tfsredirect.aspx?IsReport=1&ReportName=Work+Items&rs:toolbar=true&rs:Command=Render&IssueParam=[Work Item].[Microsoft_VSTS_Common_Issue].[Yes]
      • Link -> Exit Criteria Status
        _layouts/tfsredirect.aspx?IsReport=1&ReportName=Work+Items&rs:toolbar=true&rs:Command=Render&IssueParam=[Work Item]. [Microsoft_VSTS_Common_ExitCriteria].[Yes]
  7. On the Site Settings page, click Master Pages under the Galleries column.
    Obtain the default.master (included with this release)
    Click Upload and browse for default.master
    Make sure you check Add as a new version to existing files.
  8. Replace the current CORE.CSS
    •  
      • Obtain the CORE.CSS (included with this release).
      • Open the uploaded default.master from SharePoint Designer and edit one of the CSS Properties. The confirmed customizations are reflected in the new local version of the style sheet, which is stored in a new folder named _styles that is created automatically in the Folder List of your site.

        MasterPage Editing

      • Overwrite the CORE.CSS in /_styles/ using SharePoint Designer.
  9. Add additional images
    •  
      • Obtain the VSTS images (included with this release)
      • Copy header_agile.gif, header_formal.gif, header_vsts_logo.gif and header-bg.jpg to  /_styles/. This can also be done using SharePoint Designer.
  10. As you can see in the picture below both the default.master as the core.css are unghosted and modified only for this site. These changes will result in a new look and feel for your TFS Sites.

    SharePoint Designer 

Summary
As many of you I updated my TFS sites to WSS 3.0. My newly created sites got a different look than the one I created before the upgrade. This is by design. MS will leave your previously created sites untouched and keeps the look and feel. With this guide you can change this behavior.

 

Deep Dive Into the SharePoint Content Deployment and Migration API

Stefan Goßner posted a great series of posts about the Content Migration API (formerly known as PRIME) for SharePoint (WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007). In just 5 post he explains everything about this API and where SharePoint uses it. It’s an excellent start point for many SharePoint administrators and developers out there. I also refer to this post in my training’s about SharePoint as well.

If you want some other great info about migration check Replication and High Availability from Joel Oleson.

 

Windows Live Messenger 2008

As I was writing just a couple of days ago, Microsoft is releasing 2008 products hand in hand. After releasing Windows Live Writer 2008, it was time to release Windows Live Messenger 2008 afterwards. Windows Live Messenger is the next-generation MSN Messenger. It has everything you already love about Messenger – your contact list, emoticons, and instant access to your friends via text, voice, and video – plus new ways to connect and share photos and documents effortlessly. It’s faster than e-mail and is a great choice for conversations and the perfect alternative when you can’t be there in person. As always, it’s free to download Messenger and use most of its features.


live3


Windows Live Messenger (WLM), still commonly referred to by the previous name of MSN Messenger (MSN for short). You can download WLM from here. Use this link http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=7A1AAE73-48CC-4F7A-B445-0487BD5E84EF so you can chose which language user interface you want to use.


Changes and additions in Windows Live Messenger 2008:



* In conjunction with the release of Windows Live 2.0, a new setup program was introduced. This program will download the selected product(s) during the setup. Unfortunately I haven’t figured out some of Direct Download Links, because in some organizations this installer will fail to download.

 live


* It is now installed to a ‘Windows Live’ folder in the drive where Windows is installed, and the shortcuts are placed in a ‘Windows Live’ folder in the Start Menu.
* All Messenger windows have a new look.

live2



* A new ‘bunny’ emoticon has been added.
* Windows Live OneCare Family Safety integration was added.
* Updates can now be downloaded and installed through Microsoft Update.


 Summary
Another free product from Microsoft which many of you guys out there use. I use it very often and you can find me on my IM at mike.glaser@casema.nl


 


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