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,

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 
    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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