TFS source control - Watch your application grow like a garden

Start little and grow a garden
Figure: Not a garden yet, but everything starts small

On every project that I am part of, I setup an email alert that sends me an email for each check-in that happens.
This helps me to follow what's going on on the codebase and to watch the application grow. I say "grow" because we construct software by growing it like a garden, and *not* constructing it like a building.

"Architecture is a bad metaphor. We don't construct our software like a building, we grow it like a garden."
from Craig Larman, http://www.infoq.com/articles/large-scale-agile-design-and-architecture



TFS checkins - follow how your application grows
Figure: You can easily follow how your application grows - GERMAN screenshot

TFS2010 alert emails - Follow how your application grows
Figure: TFS2010 alert emails - Follow how your application grows  - English screenshot

 

To get those emails in your project, you have to

  1. Install TFS Power tools http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vstudio/bb980963 
    They contain the "Alert Explorer" that we need later
  2. Open VS2010
  3. Go to [1] Team explorer
  4. [2] RIght Click on your Team Project
  5. Select [3] Alerts Explorer
    Alerts Explorer
  6. Add „New Alert“
    New Alert
  7. Select "Check-in to a specific folder happens"
    Check-in to a specific folder happens
  8. Enter your email address and you are Done!


  9. I would recommend to create an Outlook rule to move those emails out of your inbox… Otherwise you get flooooded…

 

Tip: We use these emails as private little code review mechanism as well, but all developers in 1 room with 1 beamer is much better!

 

Note: I am strong believer in "small check-ins" as I mentioned already on my Keyboard tips

  1. Focus your work on small tasks
  2. Easier to describe what you did in your check-in comment
  3. Clear code history
  4. Easier merging if you really need to branch and merge
  5. Fast code reviews
  6. and more…

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