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Receiving Random 403 Forbidden Errors on Your TFS SharePoint site? I Was.

by Angela 24. September 2013 16:57

So let’s start by explaining what was happening. I had just unraveled a mess of TFS/SharePoint/Reporting security that rivaled improperly-put-away-Christmas-lights levels of tangled.  All kinds of duplication, broken inheritance because of inexperienced admins adding individuals (instead of the AD groups I had setup) at every level of the SharePoint hierarchy, you name it!  So one day I get a head-scratcher of an issue from a business user who is customizing a TFS SharePoint portal for a project.

They were trying to edit the queries behind a couple of custom TFS web parts and were getting “403 Forbidden” errors at seemingly random times.  It would work on Monday but be broken on Tuesday and work again Wednesday.

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I was not getting that error, but of course I am god of everything as the TFS admin, so there is little I cannot do.  But I also noticed not many other folks were experiencing the issue, well, to be precise not one other person was receiving the error.  In the same AD groups, in different AD groups, nada.  I verified all of the groups this person belonged to, checked and rechecked his AD group membership, made sure SharePoint still had all the correct security inheritance in place. Nothing was out of place. And every once in a while the user would be able to complete that same action again without the error. Seemingly, whenever I went in and performed the action he was being denied. What the WHAT?!? Now I was *really* intrigued. 

Needless to say, we did fix the issue, but not without some serious internet scouring. I was about to post to MSDN forums when i stumbled upon the issue.  This obscure Microsoft Support post fixed our problem.  So I should note for background purposes that this TFS instance began as a 2008 installation running against a super old version of WSS.  It has been upgraded twice, by me, and we are now happily running on TFS 2012.3 with WSS 3.0, and hopefully soon to be TFS 2013 and the latest release of SharePoint Server. The server had SURELY gone through the security updates described in the Support post.  But since no one used the TFS SharePoint sites until I came along and fixed all of the security, no one had encountered this super old issue until very recently. Luckily I was on-site when it did, because while frustrating, it was also fun to troubleshoot.  I am weird that way :)

Tags:

Application Lifecycle Management | ALM | TFS 2012 | TFS 2010 | TFS 2008 | TFS 2013 | Team Foundation Server | TFS | TFS Administration | TFS Upgrade

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Free Half Day Events in Oct/Nov: Efficient Testing with Microsoft Test Manager

by Angela 18. September 2013 18:08

Been curious about Microsoft’s latest release of their testing tools? Want to know more about managing your test environments, both on premise and in the cloud? How about when to use test automation and what tools Microsoft has to meet your automation needs?

There is a great half-day testing event coming to a city near you if you live in the Midwest area, wanted to be sure to share it with everyone before it filled up. Since I am delivering the content I can tell you there are going to be some great topics being covered! Best part, it is free. Check out the details and agenda:

How do I integrate better with the team?

QA is near the end of the process chain, so one of the best things they can do to be successful is improve their efficiency and collaborate better with the development team.

In this session, we want to answer all of these questions:

  • What if you could draft and select test cases early in the project and ensure you have test coverage by assigning them to requirements?
  • What if the bugs you discover could automatically include data about the underlying behavior of the application and the machine it’s running on?
  • Are you getting enough information about a release to know what to test?
  • Which new features have been implemented? Which haven’t?
  • Which bugs are supposedly resolved?

We’ll discuss how to take advantage of the opportunities for improving collaboration between testers and developers.

What should I automate?

While manual testing is always going to have its place, there are several types of tests that can be automated for efficiency.

In this session, we’ll discuss everything from automating functional and load tests to the automation of writing test case steps and designing for reuse.

How do I set up a dev/test environment?

Today’s applications are more complex than ever and it can be very challenging to set up and maintain these environments. Many organizations resort to a small number of shared environments, but you are trying to keep up with frequent developer builds, concurrent projects, and ever-changing data.

This session introduces Microsoft’s Lab Management solution which allows developers and QA to self-provision their own environments. We’ll look at you can take advantage of virtualization (on-premises or cloud) to create environments, roll them back to known states, and attach them to bugs while minimizing the labor in your data center.

During this event, your local MTM Specialist will provide you an inside look and show you the capabilities of Microsoft Test Manager. Furthermore, we’ll cover how quality is an accountability and addressable by the entire development organization.

REGISTER NOW at a city near you using one of the links provided:

10/10 Southfield, MI

10/22 Milwaukee, WI

10/23 Chicago, IL

10/24 Indianapolis, IN

10/28 Nashville, TN

10/29 St. Louis, MO

10/30 Kansas City, KS

11/4 Columbus, OH

11/6 Cleveland, OH

11/6 Edina, MN

Event starts promptly at 9am. Complimentary Food & Beverages provided in the morning

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September 25th, 2013 Edition of the Chicago Visual Studio ALM User Group: Visual Studio ALM 2013

by Angela 17. September 2013 09:29

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Well, with all the excitement of ThatConference, I skipped having an August meeting but we’re back! 

With the upcoming release of Visual Studio ALM 2013 tools, it seemed necessary to spend some time digging in! Jim and I will be spending this meeting talking about what's new and cool. We are still arm wrestling over who gets to demo what features, so for now just know it will be awesome! :)

And don't forget to get your fresh downloads of TFS and VS 2013 RC today. MSDN subscribers will also find everything they need through their Subscription site.  If you’re interested in participating in the virtual launch event on November 13th, be sure to check out the VS 2013 Launch Site and sign up soon!

Meeting Date: Wednesday September 25th

Agenda:6:30 - Dinner, 7:00 Presentation

Location:Microsoft-Downers Grove 3025 Highland Pkwy, Ste 300, Downers Grove

Registration:      http://chicagoalmug.org/ 

PLEASE NOTE: Security has gotten tighter at the Downers Grove building.  You MUST register as building security will NOT allow individuals to access the building without being pre-registered.  Their rules, not mine.

 

 

Speaker Bio:

Angela Dugan is the Polaris Solutions ALM Practice Manager. She focuses on TFS implementation and customization in the real world, Visual Studio related training and mentoring, and helping organizations to adopt Agile/Scrum methodologies. Angela had spent the previous 14 years as a custom application developer with a small consulting firm in Chicago, as well as did 5 years at Microsoft as an ALM evangelist. Catch up with her adventures on her blog.

Outside of wrangling TFS, Angela is an avid board gamer, an aspiring runner (up to 2.3 miles without vomiting!), and a Twitter addict. She lives in a 102 year old house in Oak Park that she is constantly working on with her husband David.

Jim Szubryt manages the application architecture team for the Enterprise Workforce at Accenture in Chicago. This responsibility includes managing the TFS Team that supports 2,500 developers in the global development centers. He has worked with the global teams on implementing ALM practices and his team is in the process of piloting TFS 2013.

He is also a Microsoft ALM MVP and a Microsoft Visual Studio ALM Ranger. He was project lead on the disaster recovery planning guidance that was published in March. Currently he is the Project Lead on the Ranger’s guidance for reporting with TFS 2012. Prior to becoming a project Lead he has written parts of the TFS 2012 upgrade guidance and the TFS Server guidance that are found on CodePlex.  His blog can be found here.

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Missing Some Important Icons (Admin, Help, Run Query) From Your TFS Service Web Tools?

by Angela 16. September 2013 16:00

So this was an interesting issue I ran into the other day, and all my Binging and Googling Kung-Fu produced nothing. I often run my TFS tools in multiple browsers. I mean, c’mon, I may prefer FireFox for some things, but Microsoft prefers if I use Internet Explorer when demoing to their customers ;) One day I launched into my TFS Service demo and noticed a few buttons had just vaporized off of the main web dashboard (the “agile” planning tools dashboard, not SharePoint.  Notice below how there are no buttons in the upper left-hand corner in IE, namely the Admin and Help icons:

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I can click where the icons SHOULD appear, and the buttons work, they just are invisible.  I thought I was crazy until a few coworkers were able to reproduce it on MY TFS Service instance, but not their own. As a former Microsoft employee I was a SUPER early adopter, so it was safe to assume we might be on different instances.

And then I verified it was fine in FireFox for that same instance:

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WEIRD!!  I started spelunking around and noticed random icons were missing on other pages too:

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At this point I called in the heavy hitters, also known as the TFS Product Team, MVPs, and TFS Rangers for help.  And as usual they came to the rescue quickly. (Thanks Aaron Bjork!!)  So here was the solution in case anyone else runs into this strange issue.

There is a weird rendering bug in IE (9 and 10) with some instances of TFS Service. The way to get your buttons to re-appear is to tweak the Accelerated Graphics setting like so:

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Then once you restart the browser, everything should be back to normal again. Voila! :)

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Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | TFS 2013 | TFS Service | VS 2013 | Internet Explorer | IE 10

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My Experiences Upgrading to TFS 2013 During “Upgrade Weekend”

by Angela 14. September 2013 13:56

So this weekend is officially TFS 2013 Upgrade Weekend.  What is that you ask? TFS evangelist extraordinaire Brian Keller blogged about it here, but in short it is a weekend where Microsoft is encouraging people to get on the TFS 2013 RC bits right away, and to incentivize us, product team people are on-line today to help us should we run into any issues. Sweet huh? :)

The TFS upgrade to 2013 was super fast and straightforward, I was literally done in under an hour including upgrading my build service. Unfortunately for me, I got up super early (had to get fresh flowers and donuts at the Oak Park farmers market!!) and kicked off my upgrade around 9:30am.  So by the time the upgrade support Lync meeting came on-line at 11:00am I was done with the install and had already started smoke testing. Not a bad problem to have right?

Well, at least I thought I was done. I did run into a few minor issues along the way, a few of my own doing and one bump related to my wireless being grumpy (OF ALL DAYS TO DO THAT!). But the only issue that was possibly related to the upgrade was corruption of my VS 2012 install bits.  When I smoke tested the upgrade, everything looked good until I started kicking off builds.  Some of my builds were no longer working ::sad trombone::  First, I had an issue with builds that ran automated UI tests:

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I’d certainly seen this issue before, and it was always because the VS bits necessary to run the build were not installed on the build server.  But in my case I KNEW they were there, I had put them there myself some time ago! So I went to the server and out of curiosity I launched VS, and good thing I did.

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::sad trombone #2::

I figured there must have been some kind of corruption after installing TFS 2013, or perhaps from upgrading the build service (they are on the same box), so I reinstalled VS 2012. No biggie…certainly fixed THAT issue.  However when I ran the build again, I encountered another error, this time around the data tools:

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This error was even nice enough to link me directly to the place where I could download what I needed for a fix (i.e. reinstalling SSDT tools). So, after re-installing the data tools, I rebooted the server for good measure and the builds ran perfectly, everything looked good.  Lastly I installed VS 2013 RC as well, we will certainly need it as our folks will soon be chomping at the bit to use all of the new tools.  All I need to do now is configure a few projects to take advantage of the new Agile Portfolio Management features

So not a bad morning for a TFS upgrade, and if you haven’t upgraded yours, now you know how fast and easy it is :)  If you;re still nervous about going it alone, you don’t have to! Microsoft offers a program called Deployment Planning Services that many customers qualify for.  You may be eligible for free services (free consulting funding) from people like me that can help you get up and running on TFS, regardless of what version you want to upgrade to or what you are on today!

 

Lastly, MAD, MAD props to Microsoft and the TFS product team for offering free support today. Even though it was so smooth that I barely needed them. They seriously deserve a special sparkle pony award for their hard work, and for giving up a weekend to make sure we had everything we needed to succeed!

Tags:

Application Lifecycle Management | ALM | Build Automation | DTDPS | MSDN | SDLC | Team Foundation Server | TFS 2012 | TFS Upgrade | Visual Studio | Visual Studio 2012 | VS 2013 | VS 2012 | TFS 2013

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ALM Ruminations Part 2: TPS Reports and Writing Myself a New Pair of Fluevogs

by Angela 3. September 2013 17:58

Yes, Fluevogs. What? I don’t need a minivan!  My husband will find it amusing that I managed to get a plug in there for my favorite boots from the Fluevog fall lineup. It’s OK, I’ll stop talking about shoes now, read on...

If you’ve been following along with my ruminations about the process struggles and pop psychology required to survive software development, you may have already seen my first post. This is a follow-up, and I hope to have MANY more assuming I can find time between TFS installs Winking smile  So without further delay:

Favorite “Drive” quote #2: Goals that people [teams] set for themselves and that are devoted to attaining mastery are usually healthy. But goals imposed by others – sales targets, quarterly returns, standardized test scores, and so on – can sometimes have dangerous side effects.

So why do some managers cling to measuring their people by metrics like Lines of Code, # bugs fixed, and other archaic and easily gamed statistics? I can’t say for sure but I have some theories. One that I keep finding is that it’s often what they KNOW how to measure, and it makes them to feel like they have control over things. But sadly the accuracy of those metrics if often unreliable, at best. Add to that, their direct reports may have figured out how to work the system to meet artificially established goals, hiding issues, and masking discontent. Or perhaps software development management folks haven’t yet figured out what behavioral scientists have known for years - that creative work is actually HARMED by the use of extrinsic rewards systems.

Solving the first issue (bad metrics) is tough, how do you make someone see there is little value in many of the metrics that have traditionally been used since the beginning of IT? What SHOULD they be measuring instead? What are they themselves being measured on, and are those metrics effecting how they reward/punish the software team? I’m still working on perfecting how to address this one myself, and I often immediately point to the Dilbert where the software developer “codes himself a new minivan” as a wake-up call. Often times, it does not even occur to them that their cherished status reports might be at the root of the team’s problems.

The second point (hiding issues) is one I see even more often, where software teams themselves train managers that no matter how unreasonable a deadline, no matter how many times they change requirements, that the tem will double-down, work a lot of overtime and get it done. Even worse, most times the overtime goes unreported, and so any normal manager may conclude that any “small request” can be accommodated at the drop of a hat, and so will continue to do so. The team may be seen as a hero, but can also be seen as one that does not plan well, and is often scrambling to meet deadlines.  It is a double-edged sword. The team inevitably burns itself out trying to keep up, quality suffers in favor of getting features out the door quickly, and the manager often doesn’t get everything they wanted anyway. And no one is happy, not you, not the manager, and certainly not the customer. It’s lose-lose-lose situation and it doesn’t HAVE to be that way.

On the last point (squelching creativity), this is possibly the toughest of all to address, because again, most of us “IT folk” are not psychologists. Maybe your boss does not have an IT background, and simply does not understand that writing software is actually quite complex and difficult. You may have crafted hundreds of web pages, but that doesn’t mean that the 101st web page isn’t a totally different animal. God forbid the framework or tooling upon which you rely to build web pages has gone through a major upgrade recently!  I blame this on the inappropriate and overused comparison of software development to building a house. NO, NO, NO it is NOT just like building a house. And if you think the metaphor holds I doubt if you’ve ever actually written any software, or at least you haven’t in the last 10 years or so. Or maybe you want your software to turn out like just another plastic shoebox in a huge soulless fields of cheap Mc Mansions. Sure, in some cases the issue here is that IT management do not personally feel the pains or understand the challenges that the team is going through, or maybe they, in fact, are causing the pain… After all, the first step to recovery is realizing you have a problem in the first place…Seriously, we need an “agile intervention” offering complete with a 12-step program!

So if this sounds like where you work, buy your boss a copy of Drive and an anthology of Dilbert cartoons, and please stop training them to continue to give you unreasonable goals by working overtime and underreporting issues and bugs to make things look rosy. I promise you, that strategy may payoff in the short term, but in the long term nobody wins!

OK, I have a lot more spinning through my head but I think we’ve done enough navel gazing for this post. Stay tuned for more musings in the next week or so.

Tags:

ALM | Application Lifecycle Management | General | Process Methodology | SDLC | Scrum | development

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