Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Release notes … Completed Successfully



  • You are using Visual Source Safe as a source code repository.
  • Multiple developers in the team, each of them have a set of features/bugs to work on.
  • You have more than one source code repository; for example a development and production.
  • For configuration management purpose; it is required a release notes document for each developer to list the files added/modified/deleted in the source code.


· Release notes is an error prone task, developers always forget to list some files or take long time to prepare the release notes

· You end up with wasted time for unreliable documents with missing information.



Automate the release notes creation and let developers focus on coding and debugging, let them live in Visual Studio not in MS Word or Excel

  1. Assign feature/bug set for a developer.
  2. The developer shall start by getting the latest version of the source code stored in the source code repository.
  3. The developer will create a label on VSS before making any modification on any files, for example (Dev-X-YYMMDD-0).
  4. The developer will check-out files, work on his local machine and no files shall be checked-in until he finish all the assigned tasks.
  5. We are not talking about a process, so skip talking about how to make a code review or Check-in polices and so on …
  6. The developer should check-in all the affected files, should add useful information in the check-in comment; for example Feature No. or Bug ID.
  7. Then creates a new label like(Dev-X-YYMMDD-1).
  8. Use VssReporter to get the list of modifications between the two labels [Screen Shot will be here]
  9. Export the list as CSV or XML.

Finally, you have the list of modifications occurred, the CSV file can be used directly from MS Excel or use the XML file to make further reporting like the following ideas:

    • Create an XSLT to produce a fancy report with grouping on the Application/Module level or Solution/Project level.
    • Create an XSLT to produce a batch or script that will pull the affected files into a new folder with the same folder structure to create a Delta package.
    • Create XSLT for any other thing in your mind, you have and XML file that has all the affected files with attributes like when/what and whom.

Credits goes to my colleagues Tarek and Zidan, where we spent nights merging code of 7 developers from 2 sites. We came up with this approach to reduce time in release notes preparation and focus on development.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Reading Exchange Public Calendar folder using WebDAV

WebDAV is the only choice you have to programmatically access an Exchange Server 2000/2003 public calendar folder, either to read or write.

I ave read about web services support in Exchange 2007, but not yet tested that.

Marc has a great post showing how to access a calendar folder using C# Using .NET and WebDAV to access an Exchange server

Using WebDAV is not easy, you have to compose the proper formatted XML request and then wait to the response and parse it to get the results, when you need to query using dates; which is the case for Calendars you have to use a special format inside the XML request.

I have used a WebDAV wrapper library which was great in hiding those details; it offers wrapping classes like Calendar and Contact with properties and method which carries all the XML stuff for you; the library has samples in both VB.net and C#.

There is one free wrapper; which I didn't use myself ... but the library seems to be updated regularly (http://www.infinitec.de/libraries/exchange/infinitec_exchange_0_99_2.aspx)

The only drawback of using WebDAV is requirement of a new HTTP connection for each request.

When a large number of requests is required (like doing a request for each appointment in a personal calendar folder) you simply exceed the number of outgoing HTTP requests that a server can handle, using .net we get a WebException in this situation because an HTTP request object can't been created.