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Content by Charles Sterling

Community Update to the VSTS Product Group

Every month i send out a community update to the entire VSTS Product Group.  Jeff has mentioned a couple times i should publish it to the web and I am finally getting to it (only taken me 6 months!)

Please let me know if this is of value and i will continue publishing them!


I know I am starting to sound like a broken record with all the Yeahs!, Wahoos! and Great News! But we really have some news this month we should be proud of:

• Once again this year the VSTS MVPs rated the Team System team as the number 1 team at Microsoft
• TeamArch digs into community with an internal advisory council, their own champs list and is reaching out to all the Developer MVPs with their own Dev 10 features briefing. (Contact me or Phil Lee)
• TFS kicks off of a ground breaking community project for TSWA localization(see below) 
• TFS community legend and former MVP Grant Holliday started working for the TFS team last month
• Geoff Staneff wins a free shirt by proving he not only read all of last month’s Community update to the end but he did it in less than 3 minutes(By Microsoft Standards this is a VERY long email so the last line of my last update was an offer for a free tshirt to the first person that sent me email<G>).



For the second year in a row, the Team System team was rated as the top group at Microsoft.  Factoring in the fact that our MVP group grew by 25% to 81 MVP’s and that the overall DevDiv trend was negative, it’s pretty incredible that our ratings increased 10% year on year. (and we are still climbing from H1 to H2)


While looking for a site manager we have been doing fewer updates* to the Teamsystem Website; unfortunately we have still been inadvertently introducing breaking changes as we separate the website content into sections specifically targeting Team System 2005 and Team System 2008**. This coupled with the fact we haven’t added much content recently has netted a reduced page count and flat line in repeat visitors.   Last week somebody asked me if we should be taking these numbers seriously. The fact that visitors is on the increase means the community and marketing efforts are attracting customers. The declining page count numbers don’t tell us much but the repeat visitors (the primary health index of a technical community site) tells us our customers are not finding enough value to come back and are probably book marking the teams blogs instead. 

To make it easier for the Product groups to update their pages I will be rolling out a new tag driven update process this month.  What this means is you will be able to update your Team System web pages by creating a tag for your blog posts, articles you find, downloads you discover or any other content you can bookmark.  -Long term goal is to enable acces to the community and let them tell us what content they value.

*Couple of the updates we did this month was to rebuild the bloggers page and rebuilt the Team System Landing page to be more of a redirect and to start surfacing P&P.  Next month will be to focus on the Test/Tester Center Experience and straighten out what blogs are feeding which pages.

**Feedback has been customers would like see only information, downloads and partners that are relevant to the version they are using. Going forward with a tagging based system we should be able to apply filters to get this same affect but with a much higher fidelity i.e.  Only show me 2010 content that applies to Visual Basic and Test. Where 2010, Visual Basic and Test are all tags applied to the content.


Our 3% month on month increase continues with our top 4 bloggers climbing from 3.46 million to over 3.58 million. The new bloggers page should also help continue driving an increase in Blog traffic. –If you are a blogger and you don’t see yourself in this list, please send me a piece of mail so I can add you! 

*If you would like your blog added to the VSTS leader board please email me

Visual Studio Forums

Last month many of the Developer Division forums were upgraded to a new infrastructure designed to increase reliability and fix lots of usability problems. Our users have been very vocal about the poor performance of the new forum infrastructure. Luckily our only forum to get upgraded so far is the Debugger forum, so we were spared most of the performance issues, but this means the usability issues like the login/logout gremlins still haunt us.  Jeremy Kelly is currently evaluating when it makes sense to migrate our remaining forums; with September being the most likely time frame.

On a positive note, with the help of our new CSS Engineer Bill Wang it looks like we have a hit a steady state situation on the forums. I have had a couple of requests to break down the forum data by product units. 

As you can see in the first graph our volume has hit a plateau (Yeah) and in the second graph the dev teams are doing a good a really job of keeping the 7 day close rate at the 70% target. 

Please let me know what you think about the improved graphs & a big thanks to Steven Powell for pulling this data out for me.

Community Project: Team System Web Access Localization

Team System is breaking new ground at Microsoft. Hakan Eskici and the Team Foundation Server team are rolling out the first Microsoft project to enable community contributors to localize Microsoft products. The first product is the Team System Web Access and the architecture of using satellite assemblies should be safe, isolated and portable to our largest products.  Despite not having even announced the project we already have 4 contributors!

  • · Marcel de Vries – Project Lead and Dutch
  • · Igor Abade  – Portuguese (pt-pt)
  • · Tiago Pascoal  – Portuguese (pt-br)
  • · Sondre Bjellås – Norwegian
  • Hakan Eskici Turkish

While the codeplex site creation is blocked due to territory and licensing issues this has not blocked the fairly aggressive schedule Marcel and the community team at having the first language delivered July 17th for the community to review. (If you would like to contribute to this project please contact me)

  • · July 1st  Hakan  – Deliver first cut of the Translation toolkit
  • · July 3rd Chuck –  Create Groove workspace and codeplex* website for working group 
  • · July 3st Marcel – Project lead to determine workflow of adding and taking contributions
  • · July 17th Chuck – To schedule next call for July 17th 11am first language review
  • · July 17th Tiago – To have Feedback on the Translation toolkit
  • · July 17th Marcel – Initial translation to w/ toolkit Dutch to figure out workflow
  • · July 22nd Hakan  – To deliver a Turkish Translation
  • · Oct 1st     Hakan  – Create video (PDC)

Conferences and Events

Upcoming Events

  • · PDC Oct 26-30 Los Angeles Absolutely the event of the year, this year the theme is “Software + Services”. The number of sessions your team will receive will be dependent on how well you can deliver on this topic. Contact Sam Guckenheimer. 

Previous Events

  • · VSTS Seattle Usergroup May 28th 2008 Unit Testing with Visual Studio
  • · TechEd June 3-6 Orlando.  Our first public disclosure for Dev10/Rosario. Contact Doug Seven.
  • · Testers SIG June 09, 2008 contact Naysawn Naderi