Learning from “The Better Tools”


I have been working on the .NET platform for over 8 years or so now. Prior to that as a student I used to program in a lot of languages (really lot I can count 16 as of now). It goes as long as inception of Microsoft Windows, I wish I could have boasted about life before basic, but during my technology study many years later, I did get a chance to program x86 Microprocessors. It was just like working in museum. You can always relish the feeling but you cannot make good use of it in the more advanced world. Ever thought of running Steam Engines in production in today’s world.

It is difficult of course. Something similar goes with the process, over the period of time we had processes and tools which were just right for programming languages for those days. Building software has always been quite complicated, and with the level of  abstractions growing higher and higher, it has added to more complexity to the system.

I started to feel the need of a better process and a tooling system from one of our old products which we acquired from a company. Unfortunately, things didn’t go well in the process area as the mind-set was not there, and we could not have experimented due to protected IP. However, I was tracking my cheese (Remember Who Moved My Cheese??), Team Foundation Server or TFS in short was there around the block when I first encountered it in its earlier states I guess 2005 or so.  Now with TFS 2010, I could see a better and more mature product, which has the capability of rounding out the complete ALM picture. Also with the advent of TFS 2010, Microsoft also recognized a group of people “The ALM Rangers” round the world who were actively contributing to the process templates and other areas of the product. Reading their documentation is “eye opener” in some cases.

Having said all the above, based on my experience I found TFS to be better suited tool for our needs. Now, was the big challenge, how to incorporate or blend the beauty of the system to help other products which are not native to Visual Studio, that’s the Theme of this blog. Thanks to better extensibility of the system we were able to put our innovative ideas to work for us. The journey is still on and there are miles to go.

In the future posts, we will start with some key areas of mind-set changes with Agile and of course we would also discuss about the TFS tooling we created for Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

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About ssmantha

A Technologist and Evangelist, with more than 9 years of extensive experience in Microsoft and related Technologies. Working as Technical Solution Architect in To-Increase India since Sep 2006 Role - Technical Solution Architect responsible for creating cutting edge solutions in the Microsoft Dynamics Ax and NAV using .Net framework. Satya enjoys work involving implementation and integration of .NET and related Microsoft Technologies including Microsoft Dynamics AX and NAV, apart from playing around with new software technologies. He successfully built development tools which assists ERP teams to develop better solutions using Agile Practices. Using TFS 2010, Visual Studio 2010 he integrated the Development Processes with the Microsoft Dynamics Ax and NAV. By automating the development processes using the tools and technology, he was able to educate the practices, which in turn is helping people focus more on building innovative products rather than maintaining them. His latest work include a successful integration of ERP on Cloud, a pretty stable integration interface to a third party vendor. Another feather in his cap, automating TFS builds for Dynamics Suite of products on both AX and NAV. He is currently focusing on technologies surrounding ERP on cloud, Mobile Connectivity, XRM 2011 and many more. His areas of interest also include helping Development Teams work in a more structured way using Agile practices. Currently, Satya is working on the a Next-Generation of Business Integration Solutions for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013. Using industry proven architecture, he and his team are working on simplifying the domain of integration. Some key work areas he contributed on, Document Processor, Created a Data Model Mapping language and compiler working in tandem with XSLT transformation, and modular Integration Pipeline Architecture design.

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