Rangers Build Customization Guide (ATE) enters BETA phase

On the 28th April we released the Rangers Build Customization Guide package to the BETA phase which signals that the team is feature complete, increasing the range of reviewers to include the Visual Studio ALM MVPs. As shown by the following illustration we expand the circle of reviewers with every release to drive transparency and to ensure that we achieve a high quality and an acceptable feature set by the time we ship the Release to the community.

While the project is under development the circle contains the project team, which is made up of Rangers and stakeholders from Services, Product Group, MVPs and the community. The Alpha is shared with all the Visual Studio ALM Rangers which is around 200 pair of eyes, which is our first checkpoint to determine whether we are on the right track with the guidance and/or tooling. As mentioned above, the BETA is shared with all the Visual Studio ALM MVPs, primarily as a quality checkpoint and an awareness drive of what is imminent. The BETA also signals that the team believes that we are feature complete. If we would scratch the process a level deeper we would also find readability reviews, compliance reviews, technical reviews, signoff … but, we will not bore you with those details today.

As shown in the breakdown below, the BETA package contains guidance, hands-on labs, quick reference posters, sample templates and a batch of videos. The localization section is only interesting to MVPs or Rangers who plan to localize the guidance part for their region, as has been done for other projects. See Rangers Guidance Localizations … Sprechen Sie Deutsch? … ¿Habla Español? for examples on localization.

  • Guidance
    +- Rangers Build Customization Guidance
  • Hands-on Labs (HOL)
    +- HOL - Build and Deploy an ASP.NET web site
    +- HOL - Developing Custom Activities
    +- HOL - Setting Up and Using the BRDLite Template
    +- HOL - Working with Hyper-V
    +- HOL Package.zip
  • Localization
    +- Illustrations
    +- MSBuild vs. Workflow Flowchart (16205)
  • Quick Reference Posters
    +- Build Customization Quick Reference Guide - Build Infrastructure
    +- Build Customization Quick Reference Guide - Default Build Process
    +- Build Customization Quick Reference Guide - Teams and Personas
    +- Build Customization Quick Reference Guide - Upgrade Build Process
  • Samples
    +- BRDLite1.0.xaml
    +- BuildDeployTest_Physical.xaml
    +- DefaultTemplateWithTargetMap.xaml
    +- DefaultTemplateWithTargetMap.xml
  • Videos
    +- Video Build and Deploy 1 - Build and Local Deploy
    +- Video Build and Deploy 2 - Automate Build and Deploy to Integration
    +- Video Build and Deploy 3 - Automate Integration test
    +- Video Build and Deploy 4 - Manual deploy to Quality Assurance

If we take a quick peek into the Rangers Build Customization Guidance.docx  document and show the table of contents up to level 2, we see the following topics covered:

  • Introduction
    • Overview
    • Visual Studio ALM Rangers
    • Codename “African Tawny Eagle” AHE
  • Understanding the Personas
    • Customer Types
    • Personas
  • Automating build and non-build scenarios in a Microsoft World
    • Build process template customization
    • Built-in Build Process Templates
    • Guidance on when to create MSBuild Projects/Tasks versus Windows Workflow/Workflow Activities
    • Build process template customization Checklist
    • Branching Process Templates
    • Map Team Foundation Build in Visual Studio Team System Extensibility Targets to Team Foundation Build in Visual Studio
    • Tracing Build Process Template and Custom Assembly Version
    • Managing Mega-Build Environment
  • Empowering developers and build engineers with build activities
    • Introduction
    • Recommended Resources
    • Using Existing MSBuild tasks
    • Creating a Custom Activity
    • Storing Custom Activities in Team Foundation Server
    • Making a Custom Activity available in the Visual Studio toolbox
    • Testing and Debugging Custom Activities
    • Versioning Assemblies
    • Managing Virtual Machines
  • Deployment of Applications and Data Stores
    • Deploy Environments
    • Database deployments
    • Create and configure an IIS Web Application
    • ASP.NET Web Application in Integration and QA Environments
    • Silverlight Applications
    • WCF REST Web Service
    • Running automated integration tests during build in the Integration Environment
    • Production Deployments
  • Reference build template embracing the guidance (BRD Lite)
    • Introduction
    • Where do I start?
    • Features
    • Related Hands-on-Labs
  • Frequently Asked Question
    • Software & Features
    • Setup and Configuration
    • Installation & Deployment

We expect to complete the BETA phase and the User Education (UE) readability review in 2-3 weeks. Watch this space for news on the imminent release.

A huge “Cowabunga” to the team, who has been becoming increasingly impatient as the final review weeks seem to drag out the project and everyone has been to told to “sit on their hands” and not touch the content anymore 🙂

Rosie, the African Tawny Eagle, at http://www.birdsofprey.co.za, for those wondering what ATE stands for.

Comments (2)

  1. Allen Feinberg says:

    I'd love to review this. The build stuff is really near and dear to me…and I'm kinda disappointed that you're only "shipping" 3 build template .xaml files. We've built a few dozen and having a library of well documented templates is what I was hoping for.

  2. We have already discussed the options of getting access to the early bits in blogs.msdn.com/…/rangers-march-2011-flash.aspx.

    In terms of "kinda disappointed" it is important to raise your "expectations and hopes" as early as possible when we announce the Rangers projects. As everyone knows, the Rangers community is based on part-time individuals, driven by their passion for technology and the community … but with very little of their time available to the projects.

    We therefore agree on the Epics (blogs.msdn.com/…/rangers-build-customization-guide-are-the-epics-include.aspx) and the scope of each new project in the early phases. For this release the focus was on customization guidance and the BRDLite reference template. If you feel that a library of well-documented templates will be invaluable to the community, then I would appreciate if you can drop me an email with your expectations and reasoning. We are on the verge of voting for the next wave of Ranger projects and I would love to add your ideas/suggesstions/concerns to the list of possible projects.

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