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So everyone wants to have the ultimate system that never breaks can handle ‘all’ the users and shows no strain when doing so. How do you accomplish something like this? Well you could hire developers that know all the best ways to do everything, experts in everything related to configuring applications to run the best that they can on the hardware and software it sits on but what’s the odds of that happening. The other option is to have a bank account that is never ending and throw ‘all’ the hardware at your application to make sure it doesn’t ever have a slow day but then how are you making your money, how do you know when ‘all’ the hardware isn’t enough.

You need to know how much load you can handle and it’s not ideal to figure out this limit when customers are browsing your site. I have read about a lot of stories lately where rather popular and big online sales companies have amazing specials for a limited time only where some of them even doubled there on-premise hardware to hopefully manage with the load that they were expecting they could get.

Load testing is an important part of running any online system because you need to know where your limits are before customers help you find them. Lots of companies for various reasons including legal can’t run their systems in the cloud and so what they usually do is run a lot more hardware than what is required because auto scaling hardware on-premise is not as easy as in the cloud. Load testing could help you figure out how much load you can handle with your current system and then help make hardware purchases for hardware that is required and not for hardware that you think you may need.

One way to load test could be to use the Load Testing tools in Visual Studio but then without using the cloud you can only generate as much traffic as the machine running that test can output. This is where you can benefit from running load tests in Azure because you can choose how much load you want to generate and Azure would spin up as much hardware that is required to meet your requirements, hardware that you would have to additionally purchase if you did this on-premise.

Let’s run through how this works today in Azure.

Linking your VSO account

So first off to use this functionality you need to have a Visual Studio Online account. Luckily linking this is very easy and is part of the flow of setting up the load testing. Let’s navigate to a website that we want load test and click on Tools, in my case I’m going to choose my blog.

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In the develop section you will notice a Performance Test link, click on that link

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You will now be taken to the Performance tests blade, as you will notice if you haven’t been hear before you need to link a VSO account before you can get started.

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Click on the Set Account button in the toolbar

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This will open the Account Settings blade, go through this blade as you would any other settings blade selecting an option from each of the options on the blade. Note if you don’t have a VSO account you can also easily create one from here using the Or Create New link

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After you have selected your account you will see that the Subscription and location should auto fill for you, the Subscription should come from the current subscription you have selected in the azure portal at the current time. The location will be locked down to North Central US, this is probably because the feature is still in preview. Click ok at the bottom of the blade to make this VSO account be the selected account

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This will now show that you have no performance tests yet and you are now able to create your first performance test.

Creating a performance test

At this stage we have our VSO account linked and can now click the New button to get started

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You will now be asked a could things in order to create your load test

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Firstly you need to give the url to the page to put under load and a name for this load test. You then will need to select the location to generate tests from, note you are shown where your app is currently running in the list of locations

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You will then need to specify the virtual user load to generate

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and then lastly you select the amount of minutes to run your test for

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Now all that is left to do is click Run test at the bottom of the blade

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Test Results

You should see the following happening, your test should show in the Recent runs as Queued

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After a small bit you should see a start time being populated

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And then very shortly later you will see the progress change to InProgress and at this point your  load test is under way

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And then lastly it would switch to Completed and you would see the Average Response Time in seconds

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While the test is running you are able to click on the test row and see the results which looks like the image below

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You can hover your mouse over the graph to get information on what the values were at certain times in the test run

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As you can see I have some work that I need to do Smile, or increase my scaling in Azure Open-mouthed smile.

More info about load testing in Azure

A nice touch that I haven’t noticed before with other services (and it could have just been a coincidence) is that when I started my load test I received a mail from Microsoft giving me more links and information about this new functionality in Azure. Some links are below

Have a good idea for a new feature? Head over to the Visual Studio User Voice site and add it Smile.

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So if you haven't heard yet VSO Extensions are now in a private preview where you can sign up to get into the preview on extensions integration site. These extensions in the shortest sentence a supported way of doing customizations to VSO that will replace any of the "hacky" extensions that you may be playing around with at the moment like Tiago Pascal's Task Board Enhancer or maybe you have even created your own following similar steps to what I show in my TFS 2013 Customization book.

This post aims to give you a super quick guide on how to get started, you will need to go through the integrations site to really get into detail. It has most of what you will find in most posts but gives you a little something extra that most posts wouldn't have like tips on free stuff Smile

File, New Project

The easiest way to get a basic something in VSO is to just create a new project.

Create/Configure Project

We are going to create a new Type Script project

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You should have something like below now

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Configure SSL in IIS Express

When you have the VSO Time Ticker project selected head over to the properties window

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Change SSL Enabled to True

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Take note of the SSL Url that is now available to you.

Add a extensions.json

Let's add a extensions.json manifest file that will be used to inform VSO what our projects actually about

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and drop in the content below, replace the baseUri property to include the port you have been assigned for SSL for the project.

{
"namespace": "VSO-Time-Ticker",
"version": "0.0.1",
"name": "Time Ticker",
"description": "A simple extension for Visual Studio Online of a Time Ticker",
"provider": {
"name": "Gordon Beeming"
},
"baseUri": "https://localhost:44300/",
"icon": "https://localhost:44300/images/some-icon.png",
"contributions": {
"vss.web#hubs": [
{
"id": "time",
"name": "Time",
"groupId": "home",
"order": 22,
"uri": "index.html",
"usesSdk": true,
"fullPage": false
}
]
}
}

Get the SDK

Navigate to GitHub to the samples project and grab the VSS.SDK.js file. Save a copy of that to a scripts folder inside a sdk folder and add it to your project.

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Include our App js files

While we here let's build the project, show hidden folders and add the app.js and app.js.map files to the project

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If you are using source control you should also at this point undo those files being added source control and then also add them to be excluded otherwise you may get a weird error when it comes time to build your project on a build server (TypeScript : Emit Error: Write to file failed...).
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The reason we want these as part of the solution is so that when we do web deploy later they are deployed as well Smile.

Add our app icon

Make a images folder and add a image called some-icon.png to it
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Move App js file

Move your App.ts, App.js and App.js.map into a scripts folder. If you have source you might need to re undo and ignore those extra files.

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Setup index.html

This is a rather simple step, replace the reference to app.js with one to sdk/Scripts/VSS.SDK.js so it will look something like

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Add the following script just inside your body tag

<script type="text/javascript">
// Initialize the VSS sdk
VSS.init({
setupModuleLoader: true,
moduleLoaderConfig: {
paths: {
"Scripts": "scripts"
}
}
});

// Wait for the SDK to be initialized
VSS.ready(function () {
require(["Scripts/app"], function (app) { });
});
</script>
So at this stage your full index.html page will look like
<!DOCTYPE html>

<html lang="en">
<head>
<meta charset="utf-8" />
<title>TypeScript HTML App</title>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="app.css" type="text/css" />
<script src="sdk/Scripts/VSS.SDK.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
<script type="text/javascript">
// Initialize the VSS sdk
VSS.init({
setupModuleLoader: true,
moduleLoaderConfig: {
paths: {
"Scripts": "scripts"
}
}
});

// Wait for the SDK to be initialized
VSS.ready(function () {
require(["Scripts/app"], function (app) { });
});
</script>
<h1>TypeScript HTML App</h1>

<div id="content"></div>
</body>
</html>

Update App.ts

In your App.ts file remove the window.onload function and replace it with it's body so your App.ts file will look like below

class Greeter {
element: HTMLElement;
span: HTMLElement;
timerToken: number;

constructor(element: HTMLElement) {
this.element = element;
this.element.innerHTML += "The time is: ";
this.span = document.createElement('span');
this.element.appendChild(this.span);
this.span.innerText = new Date().toUTCString();
}

start() {
this.timerToken = setInterval(() => this.span.innerHTML = new Date().toUTCString(), 500);
}

stop() {
clearTimeout(this.timerToken);
}

}

var el = document.getElementById('content');
var greeter = new Greeter(el);
greeter.start();

Run App

Running your app with ctrl + F5 you will get a blank app that does nothing Smile

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Changed the url to point to the SSL version of your site just to make sure everything is working

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Our App is now complete Open-mouthed smile

Install your extension

If you have signed up for the private preview you should see a tab in the admin section of your account called Extensions like so

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Click Install, and then Browse 

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browse for your extension.json file
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Click Open and then OK

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Your extension is now installed

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View it on VSO

Go to a team project home page and you should now see a Time hub, click on it

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Once you land here you will the time Smile

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That's 1 extension in the bag but having this run on your local machine is probable not want you would want because nobody else can see it.

Publishing you app

You could buy an SSL certification but that costs a lot and most people don't have that kind of money laying around for fun apps and extensions so we'll turn to Azure. We will now right click on our project and click publish

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If you setup an Azure site already you can import the publish settings but I haven't so I'm going to click on Microsoft Azure Web Apps

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and then click on New (again if you have a site already you can select it in this list)

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Select a name and click Create

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it will now take a small bit to setup your azure resource

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and then auto magically configure everything you need Smile, click Publish

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After the publish is finish your site will launch

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Something that you will notice is that this is http but and not https as we said earlier we require. So let's see what happens if we add a s in there Smile

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Everything still works Open-mouthed smile.

Last bit of manifest changes

Now that we have a publicly accessible website running on https (for FREE) we can take that url and replace what we currently have in our manifest so it will now look like this

{
"namespace": "VSO-Time-Ticker",
"version": "0.0.2",
"name": "Time Ticker",
"description": "A simple extension for Visual Studio Online of a Time Ticker",
"provider": {
"name": "Gordon Beeming"
},
"baseUri": "https://vso-hello-world.azurewebsites.net/",
"icon": "https://vso-hello-world.azurewebsites.net/images/some-icon.png",
"contributions": {
"vss.web#hubs": [
{
"id": "time",
"name": "Time",
"groupId": "home",
"order": 22,
"uri": "index.html",
"usesSdk": true,
"fullPage": false
}
]
}
}
Re-install your extension

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and refresh your extension in VSO

image

You will notice now that it obviously still works Smile, if you close Visual Studio and it still works you know it working Smile and I suppose you can check fiddler for where it's reading the files from.

Links

For more info on VSO Extensions visit http://aka.ms/vsoextensions.

A pretty neat getting started post is also on that site at https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/integrate/extensions/get-started/visual-studio.

Microsoft has a project out on GitHub as well that is quite advanced in the API's that it uses and can be found at https://github.com/Microsoft/vso-team-calendar.

If you want a light overview over everything then you can get their VSO Extension Samples out on GitHub as well using the link https://github.com/Microsoft/vso-extension-samples.

Complete Sample code for this post is also out on Github at https://github.com/Gordon-Beeming/VSO-Time-Ticker

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This post is part of an overall Series on Visual Studio Online.

Click on the gear icon in the top right corner of VSO

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Then click on Iterations

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You should now see your Iterations for this Team Project

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From here you can add New child iterations to an existing iteration

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Set Iteration dates

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Move sprints around with drag and drop

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and select which Iterations are currently visible for this team (not Team Project)

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You can see this updating if you look at the work tab. You can also add new Iterations in line with the currently selected one by clicking on New, fill in sprint details as before and click Save and close

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All the operations mentioned above are also available from a context menu by right clicking on any iteration or clicking the little arrow to the left of the Iteration

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And as you can see in the context menu you can set the team's backlog iteration, just right click on a iteration and choose Set as team's backlog iteration

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Notice how when you do this all iterations outside the tree of the backlog iteration are "unchecked" and not available for inclusion into the teams backlog iterations

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This will reflect in the work tab as well because only checked iterations are shown

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This post is part of an overall Series on Visual Studio Online.

So for the developers we have connected Visual Studio to VSO but what about something for the QA guys. Well we all know that they spend a lot of time in Microsoft Test Manager so here's how you connect MTM to VSO. Open Microsoft Test Manager

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MTM will open asking you to choose a Team Project, your Team Project Collection and Team Project should be in the list, if it's not then click Add Server

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You will then be asked for the url, enter the full url that is shown on your account page and click Add

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The Team Project Collection list will now refresh, select your Team Project Collection and Team Project that you want to connect to and click Connect now

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Your MTM client is now connected to Visual Studio Online and you can now add/connect to Test Plans and then manage your testing "bits"

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This post is part of an overall Series on Visual Studio Online.

Long Way

After you have a new Team Project in VSO you would eventually want to connect your Visual Studio to it. Open Visual Studio

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Open Team Explorer by click View and then Team Explorer

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When Team Explorer pops up click on the Connect to Team Projects button

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and then click on Select Team Projects

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Click on Servers

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Visual Studio conveniently loads a list of your servers connected to VSO for you if you signed in, if you don't see your newly created account in the list click Add

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Enter the full url to your account as it was on your account page and click OK

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You account will now exists in the servers list, click Close and then the Connect to Team Foundation Server window will auto load your Team Project Collection and it's Team Projects, tick the checkbox next to the Team Projects you want to be able to connect from in Visual Studio and click Connect

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Your Team Project is now connected to Visual Studio and you can now setup your builds, clone code repositories, etc

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Slightly more steps than before.

Short Way

Of course if you wanted to open the project the easy way you could simple navigate to the Team Project and click on Open in Visual Studio 

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this would then launch a new instance of Visual Studio and connects to your Team Project

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