Accessing TFS. Why Team Explorer and troubleshooting

Here is the big question, how to enable the “Team tab” in Excel without installing the Visual Studio in manager’s computer J, the answer is obvious, installing Team Explorer on his/her computer, but not always is so straightforward, sometimes we have restrictions from IT and we have to look for workarounds.

The list of options is not so big but we have a bunch of clients that can give us access to Team Foundation Server, with more or less capabilities depending what we want to do and the client.

Primary Clients:

Task-specific clients:

Office-Integration clients:

Let’s stop at Office-integration clients for a minute. These add-ins (COM Objects that have to be installed and registered in our OS prior use in Office) supports Office 2007, Office 2010 or Office 2013.
The way to install them is through the Team Explorer standalone installation or with any edition of Visual Studio.

Non-straightforward and dangerous workaround

You can try to do a workaround that is extract the TFSOfficeAdd-in.dll from the Team Explorer ISO and register it manually in the target OS as follows:
regsvr32 TFSOfficeAdd-in.dll

Uninstalling any previous clients (if exists) using the next script:

regsvr32 /u TFSOfficeAdd-in.dll

Also you would need to install the right .NET Framework version required, 2.0, 3.5 or 4.0, depending on the version that you are using.

Note: Make sure that the DLL is available in C:\Windows\System32\

Note: You have to run it as an Administrator, and in some cases depending on the OS, shut down Windows Defender and Windows Firewall.

After this process is finished go to excel and enable the plug-in:

  1. Open Excel
  2. Click File à Options àAdd-ins
  3. Select COM Add-ins

  1. Check the Team Foundation Add-In

This implies to register it as an Excel COM Add-In in the OS, it will require administrative rights and also the installation of .NET Framework as well. Also if they want to uninstall this from the computer further it will be a dirty job. Extra configuration on MS Project and MS Excel will be required as well.

Note: Verify or configure the .NET Programability Support option in the Install or remove individual Office programs and components:

Last step should be to check the registry of Windows we have to make sure that the Entries for Microsoft Office Add-ins are created properly.
For example, for Excel you would find them here:


You can find extra information about the needed keys here:

Note: This steps can be used as well for troubleshooting in case the Team Explorer repair option doesn’t work.

My recommended choice for a non-invasive installation is to install Team Explorer as a standalone installation.

Why Team Explorer?

Team Explorer is the client software that you use to access the Team Foundation Server functionality. And we can think that it is only to extend Visual Studio in order to connect to Team Foundation Server but it is not the case.

Team Explorer has side-by-side compatibility of Team Foundation clients. You can run Team Explorer with:

  • Microsoft Test Manager
  • Microsoft Project
  • Microsoft Excel
  • PowerPoint Storyboarding.

Even exists a MS Word non official Add-in provided by the Visual Studio ALM Rangers and published in Codeplex here.

How it works?

In MS Project the process is the same:

What can you do with this Team options?

For example, using Excel you can add or modify work items with Excel as well update reports. More info here.

Using MS Project, you can create your backlog and tasks, publishing and refreshing your work items, timelines, resources usage, etc. More info here.

Using PowerPoint, you can turn your ideas and goals for your PBIs in something more visual. Storyboarding is part of the PBI in TFS2012 and TFS2013. More info here.

So here is the main ask for you, how far do you want to go?

As depending on the client that you are using the possibilities will be extended or reduced. It’s not part of this blog post to cover one by one all the features accessible through the TWA, Team Explorer and Office, for that just access to this link and check the Tasks and client support tables, but summarizing what you can do with these clients here a short list:

  • Manage source code and builds
  • Plan a project, track progress
  • Bulk add and modify work items
  • Add and modify work item links
  • Collaborate with team members and stakeholders
  • Happy planning! –

Eduardo Ortega

Links of interest:

Compatibility between Team Foundation clients and Team Foundation Server:
Choose the Team Foundation client to support your tasks:
Connect Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Project to a team project:
Microsoft Project and Microsoft Excel Integration Architecture:
Working with Team Foundation Clients:
Managing Work Using Team Web Access:
Bulk add or modify work items with Excel:
Work in Limited access view or Work Item Only View:
Work in Team Explorer:


Microsoft Visual Studio Team Explorer Everywhere 2010 with SP1:

Microsoft Team Explorer Everywhere 2013:
Visual Studio Team System 2005 Team Explorer:

Microsoft Visual Studio Team Explorer 2010 – ISO:

Team Explorer for Microsoft Visual Studio 2012:
Team Explorer for Microsoft Visual Studio 2013:

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Installing and Configuring TFS 2010 with PS2010, SP2010 and SQL 2008

Today I was configuring a Virtual Machine with TFS 2010, as some of my clients want to integrate it with the PMO and using it together with Project Server 2010, SharePoint 2010 and Visual Studio 2010.

This is a very common combo as in many companies they have a PMO (Project Management Office) where they are tracking all the projects committed in the company using MS Project and Project Server as EPM. SharePoint in these scenarios is a critical tool as it will show all the reports related not only with the project management but also with the development progress, thanks to the integration with TFS 2010.

The trick is how to combine PS and TFS together to link the management with the development and how to leverage SharePoint to gather all the reports we need about both. But not only that, from the Project Server Web Access, you also will be able to approve changes on the product backglog, control the timesheets and how these changes that come from Visual Studio can affect to your project planning and reflect them automatically on MS Project.

But step by step, let’s start by the TFS 2010 installation and for now let’s take a look to the different topologies that we can find when we are facing these scenarios:

Simplest Topology


Here all server components are deployed on a single physical server (this is the case of the smallest VM I have set up for testing.
This is usually designed for small product development team with less than 50 users.

Team Foundation Build and the team’s test components can be installed in the same server as well.For reporting services, you can install SQL Server 2008 with SSRS and SSAS on the same machine and either use Sharepoint Services v3 that comes with the Windows Server or Install Sharepoint 2010 on the TFS Machine.

If you just use the SQL Server Express you have to realize that the integration with Sharepoint will not exist.If you install WSS 3.0 instead Sharepoint some dashboards won’t be available either (

So the final configuration would be something like this:

Using SQL Server 2008 and WSS 3.0 in the same single server.

If we want to have all the reports available on SharePoint we have to install SharePoint 2010 and not WSS 3.0.

The installation process for TFS is so straight forward. Just let me share two guides with you before I go through the process:

Team Foundation Installation Guide for Visual Studio 2010

Administration Guide for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Team Foundation Server

  1. Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 (important to install Service Pack 2 for WS2003 or WS2008). So choose any of these 3 for your server. (you can install it on a Windows Vista/7 but SharePoint and any reporting tools won’t work on them)

  2. Enroll the machine in your AD in case you are working on an Active Directory environment. Just create a user called TFSAdmin with admin rights on the local machine. Verify that the account you will use to install Team Foundation Server is a member of the Administrators security group on the server where you will install Team Foundation Server.Note: Other service accounts should be set up depending on the TFS components that are going to be active. For more information:

  3. Install IIS Web Server with the ASP.NET Extensions with the Required Role Services and also the HTTP Redirection Role Service. As TFS makes heavy use of Windows Authentication, the Windows Authentication role service is also required. And finally the role service for IIS6 Management Compatibility too.

  4. Install SQL Server 2008 with Reporting Services in Native Mode (not SharePoint Integrated mode) and don’t configure the RS yet. Just set up Database Engine Services, Full Text Search, Reporting Services and Analysis Services. Add Client Tools and Management tools and we a ready for the next step.

  5. Install WSS 3.0 in the server or either install SharePoint Server 2010. Make sure that SharePoint user can access to the SQL Server. Just open SQL Server, and add a new Login. Type the fully qualified name for your SharePoint service user in the Login name box. The format of the username is domain_name\username. So, if your domain is MyDomain and the user is WSSSERVICE, you’ll enter MyDomain\WSSSERVICE.

  6. Check that SharePoint is working properly just checking the http://localhost website.

  7. Open the SQL Server Reporting Services Configuration Management Tool and configure the Reporting Services. Don’t forget to use the same user TFSAdmin during the set up process.

  8. Now it is time to Run the TFS Set-up installation.
  • Select Team Foundation Server. At this point we don’t want to install the Team Foundation Build Service (also is recommended to install it in a separate server).
  • After the installation finish, select the checkbox “Launch Team Foundation Server Configuration Tool” and click on Configure.
  • Now is when we have to decide the topology of our TFS. As we mentioned before, Basic or Advance configuration can work as we are installing our TFS in a single server that can have/not have SQL Server and SharePoint installed on it. If we check both configurations we can see de difference:

  • In my case I will go for the Advanced
    topology as I already have installed SharePoint Server 2010 and SQL Server 2008. Just make sure you are filling up correctly the wizard blanks like the SQL Server Instance (use the Instance name that you have created and click on Test)Account name for running the TFS Services:
    The IIS Web Site Default Name, port and Virtual Directory:
    And finally the default Project Collection
  • It’s very important that we kkep attention to the Readiness Checks to validate all the data input before and to check if something is wrong with our services or accounts.
  • Finally once is done, you will be ready to go, just install the Team Explorer 2010 or Visual Studio 2010 to Start Creating and Managing Team Projects!
    If you are using Eclipse or other development tools you can also download Microsoft Visual Studio Team Explorer Everywhere 2010 with SP1.

 I highly recommend to install the respective Service Packs:

  • SharePoint 2010 SP1
  • SQL Server 2008 SP1
  • Windows Server 2008 SP2
  • Team Foundation Server 2010 SP1

Wrapping up,

There are a lot of tools and software to install, of course my first recommendation would be to acquire Team Foundation Server 2013 for several reasons (main one are integration, capabilities, templates, reports,…), but still there are many customers out there with TFS2010 and a lot of CALs, and it is a very good product, despite is 4 years old. The greatness of TFS is the integration, doesn’t work alone, it integrates completely with Project Server, with SharePoint, with SQL Server, with Visual Studio, MS Project, MS Excel and not only with Microsoft Technologies but also with Eclipse, XCode, GIT…

I recommend to take a look to this video from Channel 9 where you can see all the power of TFS 2010 in action, called Microsoft Project Server 2010 and Microsoft TFS 2010, better together: (video).

That’s all for now, just let me drop you below some recommended installs for the scenario.

See you next time!

– May the plan be with you –

Eduardo Ortega Bermejo


In the Application tier we would need:

Team Foundation Server 2010 RTM with the following updates installed in the correct order:

In the Database tier, SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1 (or TFS installation will block you).

Clients (Visual Studio & Microsoft Test Manager):

The MSSCCI Provider allows non-Microsoft tools to connect to TFS:

Team Explorer Everywhere (TEE) is an Eclipse IDE/Java implementation of the TFS client:

If you work in a cross-platform environment, you may also want to install the build extensions that allow you to execute Ant or Maven 2 builds and publish any JUnit test results back to TFS.

If the scenario also includes Project Server, is highly recommended to install the Feature Pack for Visual Studio Team Foundation Server and Project Server Integration, only available through MSDN Suscriptions..


Team Foundation Installation Guide for Visual Studio 2010:

Microsoft Visual Studio Team Explorer 2010 – ISO:

Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation server 2010 SP1:

Dashboards (Agile):

TFS 2010 Power Tools – December 2011:

Reporting Services Configuration Tool:

Posted in TFS | Leave a comment

Testing for Continuous Delivery Free eBook!

For those that are still on vacations and want to enjoy some free time reading, here is another one of my favorite summer books and again brought to you from Microsoft folks.

Testing for Continuous Delivery with Visual Studio 2012 


Inside you can find the meaning of ALM Tools for testing, the importance of testing and you will go throughout a journey plenty of tests.

Do you want to know how to use Unit Testing? How to create Manual or Automatic Tests? What about to set up your lab environment?

Don’t waste your time in summer in come back to work in September being more productive!

  • Happy Testing! –
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hands On Labs and free book for TFS 2012. How to build a release pipeline?

For those that are into SDLC and ALM, here you have a fantastic guide. No matter what size business you have, customers now expect features such as real-time customer service and frequent releases.

The goal of this guide and HOLs is to provide you an excellent guide to the principles and practices of continuous delivery.

By continuous delivery, we mean that through techniques such as versioning, continuous integration, automation, and environment management, you will be able to decrease the time between when you first have an idea and when that idea is realized as software that’s in production. 

You will find this book an indispensable resource:

PDF and epub: Building a Release Pipeline with Team Foundation Server 2012
Kindle (Mobi): Building a Release Pipeline with Team Foundation Server 2012

Paperback versión (Amazon): Building a Release Pipeline with Team Foundation Server 2012

– Happy planning!



Posted in ALM, Visual Studio | Leave a comment

[#ALM]Agile estimation, Story Points and Planning Poker

Agile estimating and planning is not an art, is a supernatural force that guide us and makes our lives miserable during a project execution with surrealistic delivery dates and weekends in company of our beloved fellas, sleeping in a blanket, near the computer, on a turn based programming day.

Estimation or the fine art of guessing is what is considered the biggest headache of every project and is because somewhere along the line people forget that high-level estimates are guesses, usually are bad and we tend to be optimistic about those.

At the beginning of a project we have too many unknowns that the degree of accuracy is far to be good. Only after building something you can get a better estimation and refine it with time.

So what we need is a way to make estimations that allows us to create budgets, make a plan for the future and remind us that our estimates are guesses, we are not storytellers and the complexities that we can find will be only estimated writing software.

Let’s focus on the steps to follow to make an agile estimation:

Keep it simple

We can think that the best way to do it is create individual stories and make an estimation for each one following the next guesses: Documentation, Analysis, Design, Programming and Testing. We are not so far from the truth but what really makes an agile estimation is relative sizing.

Relative Sizing

When we try to do absolute estimation, it’s impossible to success as we are getting our best guessing, for example, if I ask you what the sizes in cm2 of these two triangles are:

Triangle1Triangle2 You cannot truly say the size in cm2 of each but what you can say is that the blue one is 4 times the size of the blue one.

Triangle3  So estimating how bigger is the blue one respect to the yellow is easier for you, isn’t it? That’s because we are very good at estimating relatively. We call this “relative estimation” and it forms the corner stone of agile planing.

Once we know how fast the team can go and our stories are sized relatively, we can start setting expectations around dates and the velocity of our team will be set up.

Estimates are unit less

It is a common mistake to assign our relative measures to calendar days or hours. We don’t have a unit to track time! Different people think on different speeds.

What we can do is to make a point based system, and say.

1 pt = small task (maybe a day?)

3 pts = medium task (maybe 2 days?)

5 pts = large task (maybe a week?)


The way to work is to get 3 user stories of different sizes, one with a small estimation (1pt), another one relative to this one with 3pts, and another one big (5pts) just to establish a baseline, with small, medium and large size stories for the project.

Story points are relative values, not fixed. There is no direct correlation between hours and points. Story points are created by and are specific to the team that estimated them, will likely include a degree of complexity that is understood only by the team, and are not absolute. For example, we cannot say that a one point story is equal to 8 hours because stories on this range can vary depending on the tasks assigned to it and maybe can take 10 hours to complete them. Similarly, you cannot compare one team’s story points with another’s with any degree of certainty.

This is really great, but how we can make it even better?

Team Planning

It’s not about what you can estimate, is about what you and your team agree on estimating the value of a user story.

It works like this:


A team estimate is always better than one person.

Now, how to do this more effective and at the same time more fun?

Planning Poker

After you’ve chosen your unit of measurement and established your scale, it’s time to estimate.

Many of the Agile teams where I worked before uses planning poker to estimate the relative size of the stories. This is very popular among agile teams as the objective is to measure subjective estimations taking in consideration the expertise, experience and point of view of all the members in the development team. The key of planning poker is participation of everyone in the team, including designers, architects, developers, even that guy that is just playing Pac Man all day that will participate on the project as a QA tester, everyone.

There are plenty of panning cards in the internet or no so regular shops, even you can make your owns (we will see this in another post). Each card has one of the numbers in your chosen range of story points (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc.). Every participant is dealt a “hand” that contains the full range of available story points.

The cards in the deck have numbers on them. A typical deck has cards showing the Fibonacci sequence including a zero: 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89; other decks use similar progressions.

At the estimation meeting, each estimator is given one deck of the cards. All decks have identical sets of cards in them.

The meeting proceeds as follows:

  • A Moderator (Scrum Master), who will not play, chairs the meeting.
  • The Product Owner provides a short overview.
  • Each individual lays a card face down representing their estimate.
  • Everyone calls their cards simultaneously by turning them over.
  • People with high estimates and low estimates are given a soap box to offer their justification for their estimate and then discussion continues.
  • Repeat the estimation process until a consensus is reached.

Because planning poker expresses estimates in points, it is ideally suited for estimating the product backlog. The sprint backlog, however, should be estimated in hours.

You can use planning poker at the beginning of any project and throughout its lifecycle as new information reveals itself, priorities change, and clarity surfaces.

I hope this post helps you to reconsider the way to make estimations for your projects and avoid bad situations within your team and with your customer.

–  Happy planing! –

Eduardo Ortega

Posted in Agile and Scrum, ALM | 1 Comment

[Enterprise Mobility]IBM and Apple together?

I’m still quite shocked with the agreement between IBM and Apple to sell and support iPads and iPhones in the enterprise but it is not a surprise.

IBM counts with more than 150 business apps and Apple has some of the best consumer devices with no enterprise integration at all. Microsoft has a great combo of devices + consumer apps + commercial apps + enterprise integration, but still needs the “cool factor” of Apple or the pricing of Android devices.

Having said that, I think this new friendship is a very serious matters as IBM services are really good (despite they are bloody expensive) and iPads and iPhones ara also very good devices as well.

We have to remember that IBM was ranked as a leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile application Development Platforms this year and ranked second just after Microsoft in the ALM Quadrant.

Amongst the main Mobility Enterirpse products on IBM we have the new IBM Worklikght Platform, the IBM mobile services for Bluemix, the Cloudant, the IBM WebSpehere MQ and the IBM MessageSight, and these are only some of the so many services that IBM is providing for Enterprise Solutions.


Still, for me Microsoft Mobile Strategy is the best right now but if Apple and IBM begin to work together… interesting times are coming 🙂


Some references:

Posted in Enterprise Mobility | Leave a comment

[#ALM]Why we use agile methodologies?

 In one of my favorite books , I read something concerning:

“In the Standish Group’s 2011 CHAOS Report found that more than half of software projects conducted between 2002 and 2010 were either de- scribed as challenged or complete failures; just 37 percent were classified as successful”

21% of these projects failed and 42% were challenged, and this is the real challenge.

We are wasting money, resources and time on bringing solutions and applications to the market just because we are not using and agile way to work.
Why are you not using AGILE? There are not excuses for don’t use agile methodologies anymore, and it is not anything new, as AGILE methodologies have been living with us during the last 10 years.

Still, when I’m visiting many of my costumers I see unstructured teams, following old methodologies like Waterfall or dinosaurian ones like CMMI in short projects. But when you have to talk about have a model adaptable, fast, responsive, incremental, collaborative and when you are realizing that 1 of every 2 projects that you are delivering have delays, causing low morale to your team and also you are struggling adapting to the constant changes from your customer,…. then is when you have to rethink on your strategy and maybe move to an AGILE approach.


Use an AGILE methodology like Scrum, doesn’t mean that we have to forget writing the documentation or do the planning on demand but it means that you have to be focus on the most important part of the project, the software.

We have to go back some years to 2001 when the Agile Manifesto was introduced. Since then, the Agile Movement, with all its values, principles, methods, practices, tools, champions and practitioners, philosophies and cultures, has significantly changed the landscape of the modern software engineering commercial software development in the Internet era.

The meanings of the manifesto items on the left within the agile software development context are:

  • Individuals and interactions – in agile development, self-organization and motivation are important, as are interactions like co-location and pair programming.
  • Working software – working software will be more useful and welcome than just presenting documents to clients in meetings.
  • Customer collaboration – requirements cannot be fully collected at the beginning of the software development cycle, therefore continuous customer or stakeholder involvement is very important.
  • Responding to change – agile development is focused on quick responses to change and continuous development.

The Agile Manifesto is based on twelve principles:

  1. Customer satisfaction by rapid delivery of useful software
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development
  3. Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months)
  4. Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers
  5. Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
  6. Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location)
  7. Working software is the principal measure of progress
  8. Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
  10. Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential
  11. Self-organizing teams
  12. Regular adaptation to changing circumstances

There are hundreds of thousands of developers world wide  using Agile methodologies since then. There is no the right one, each one will be better for you and your team depending on your way to work, projects, timing, but all of them share the same principles.

Well-known agile software development methods and/or process frameworks include:

Just to finish these remarks, let’s introduce briefly ALM, as in Wikipedia is explained:

Application lifecycle management (ALM) is the product lifecycle management (governance, development, and maintenance) of application software. It encompasses requirements management, software architecture, computer programming, software testing, software maintenance, change management, project management, and release management.

This means that Modern Apps need a Modern Lifecyle, and for me here there is only one Winner, Visual Studio.

First) Because Microsoft is providing you a full set of integrated tools that cover the whole development cycle, and yes, INTEGRATED. It means that you don’t have to be installing tools from different vendors but also, if you want to install them, they will be integrated with the Visual studio Suite.

For example, I remember some of my projects in my previous company, Symphony Teleca, where we were implementing Scrum using “Open Source/Non Microsoft/Almost free” tools. For the source repository we used GIT (very good btw, truly recommendable), JIRA, Sharepoint and txt files 🙂

Our main IDE was Visual Studio, which you can integrate manually with GIT, but not with JIRA (there is a plugin from atlassian but very immatture and when you want to go for something more effective they are hidden costs on this “freeware” version), and the rest of the systems are disconnected. The TDD environment was isolated of the management and reporting tools and the team was also working in a “ghost” collaborative mode.

Nevertheless, opting by the Visual Studio approach, you get the full ALM cycle covered:
–  Set up: 
Set up TFS, create a team project, and add team member accounts.

–  Code: Share and build your code using Team Foundation version control (TFVC) or Git.

–  Work: Plan projects, track work, collaborate as a team, and report progress.

–  Build: Set up your on-premises build server and define your build processes. Or, set up continuous integration builds using Visual Studio Online.

–  Test: Test your application..

Also, Visual Studio includes some of the most common AGILE frameworks templates included like Scrum, CMMI, and Agile. But we will talk about TFS and Visual Studio in other posts.

Here some good readings about Agile methodologies to start the week with something new, I hope you like it:


 The Scrum Guide


Happy planning!
Eduardo Ortega



–  Scrum (Software Development)

–  Kanban for TFS

–  Kanban (Development)

–  TDD

–  Agile Manifesto





Posted in ALM, Visual Studio | Leave a comment

Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 RC

It has been a couple of weeks since Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 RC was available for download, so I guess that many of you already have the chance to play with it a bit, but just let me go through the new capabilities and features for those that didn’t explore it in deep.

First say that as part of the continue integration that Microsoft is doing with Visual Studio, we have had a bunch of improvements during the last 9 months. Most of these like the Update 2 were put in place to bring us access to the new Universal Apps and the support to Multi-Device Hybrid Apps for Visual Studio.

You have to realize that Microsoft is doing a lot of efforts bringing the multi-platform and universal development to Visual Studio, for example, with the Multi-Device Hybrid Apps pluggin you will be able to develop hybrid apps that run on iOS, Android, Windows and Windows Phone, using a single project based on HTML and JavaScript.



With Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 (RC), Microsoft is bringing you more new features and improvements:

  • CodeLens
  • Code Map
  • Visual Studio IDE improvements
  • Windows Store Debugging
  • Managed Memory Dump Analysis
  • Graphics Debugging
  • Performance & Diagnostics Hub
  • Test Case Management
  • Release Management
  • Sharepoint Apps and ClickOnce

Between the Visual Studio IDE improvements you can find also the multi-monitor configuration for Windows 8 apps debugging and a configuration option to put CAPS or no caps menus in the IDE.

We will be visiting one by one all these new features but let’s talk for a second about one of my favorites and also the most simple one, it is the Multi-Monitor configuration with Windows Store Apps.

When debugging a Windows Store app with a multi-monitor configuration, we used to have problems with the screens dragging all the time the app to the secondary screen, now, Visual Studio will remember which monitor your app was last run on. Example:



Let’s review all these features in further posts but in de meantime download the Update 3 RC and happy coding!

Eduardo Ortega




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TechEd Europe Registration is OPEN!


And what a better place to celebrate than in my country Spain! Come to Barcelona in October to attend to the biggest Microsoft event in Europe for IT Pros and Developers and attend to more than a hundred technical sessions on our core technologies.

TechEd Europe provides the latest technical education, product evaluation, and community resources you need to plan, architect, deploy, manage, and secure a connected enterprise.

Encourage your team and manager to register early for Early Bird price of €1,695!

  • €300 discount is available through 7 July
  • Bulk pricing is available:
    • Buy 10 passes, get 1 free (9% savings)
    • Buy 15 passes, get 3 free (17% savings)
    • Buy 20 passes, get 5 free (20% saving)

Do you need an extra help to get the approval from your boss?
We help you to convince him! #TEE14

Discuss, Plan and Connect w/peers. Start a thread on the #TEE14 forum!
Europe Registration is OPEN! Register by 7 July and save €300 for #TEE14

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Starting with Windows Embedded Apps

First thing you have to know about writing applications with Windows Embedded, is the version that you are going to use of it.

In this article, I’m going to show you how to create applications for Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld, that is the version that is running on most of the mobile POS devices (like for example the BM180 Pidion from Bluebird).

To develop for this version of WEH you just need two things:

– Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC or higher (any version, but recommended Ultimate if you want to have quality testing)

– Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld SDK RC (

So just download and install the SDK in your computer before start working with it.

image image

During the installation process you will be warned that is not only the SDK with the documentation and the APIs the one to be installed but also the Emulators in case you don’t have an Embedded device.

Once is done, let’s see how to create an app.

Go to Visual Studio

1. Create a new Windows Phone Project, let’s call it BarCodeScaner, normal Windows Phone 8.1 Silverlight project

So the first thing you will notice is that we have new emulators installed:


2. Add the following statements to the top of your class file:

using Windows.Devices.PointOfService; // The Windows RT point of service APIs

3. Add the following variables inside your class:

private BarcodeScanner scanner;
private ClaimedBarcodeScanner claimedScanner;

scanner stores the instance of the default scanner object.
claimedScanner stores the instance of the barcode scanner object that is reserved for exclusive use by your application.

4. Generate the next method in your main class:

    private async void ClaimBarcodeScanner()
            scanner = await BarcodeScanner.GetDefaultAsync(); // get the default instance of the scanner
            //fakeScanner = new FakeScanner(scanner.DeviceId);
            claimedScanner = await scanner.ClaimScannerAsync();//Attempts to get an exclusive access to the scanner.
            claimedScanner.DataReceived += claimedScanner_DataReceived;
            await claimedScanner.EnableAsync(); //Gets the barcode scanner into a ready state.
            claimedScanner.IsDecodeDataEnabled = true; // provide decoded label data

5. Now that we have the ClaimBarcodeScanner method created, we are ready to start getting data from the barcode scanner, just let’s read the information captured on the claimedScanner_DataReceived event:

async void  claimedScanner_DataReceived(ClaimedBarcodeScanner sender, BarcodeScannerDataReceivedEventArgs args)
            string label, data; //Label and data are de values returned by the scanner
            UInt32 symbology = args.Report.ScanDataType; // the symbology of the scanned data
            using (var datareader = Windows.Storage.Streams.DataReader.FromBuffer(args.Report.ScanDataLabel))
                label = datareader.ReadString(args.Report.ScanDataLabel.Length);
            using (var datareader = Windows.Storage.Streams.DataReader.FromBuffer(args.Report.ScanData))
                data = datareader.ReadString(args.Report.ScanData.Length);

            await this.Dispatcher.RunAsync(Windows.UI.Core.CoreDispatcherPriority.Normal, () =>
                tbData.Text = data; //Send the data to the UI through the dispatcher. tbData is a textbox in the UI
                tbLabel.Text = label; //Send the data to the UI through the dispatcher. tbLabel is a textbox in the UI
6. Just to finish it, you can call the new method from your constructor to execute it once you start the application.

WP_20140518_002 That’s all! Just deploy the application into your device and play

Now you can scan any kind of barcode you have at home or in your warehouse.

If you want to check with symbologies are recognized, check this website out, as the list is very long! But think on any kind of  barcode.

Just for extra information, the following most common barcodes are supported by the decoder:
UPC-A, UPC-E, EAN-8, EAN-13, Code 39, Code 93, Code 128, ITF, Codabar, MSI, RSS-14 (all variants), QR Code, Data Matrix, Aztec and PDF-417.

And if you are wondering how can you get a barcode using the camera instead the scanner, here you have a library that can do it: but this is a topic for another article 🙂

– May the code be with you –


WEH 8.1 MSDN :

WEH 8.1 SDK:

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