Solution Guidance Packager for Visual Studio – Feature Builder Power Tool

Recently a good friend and former co-worker of mine, Michael Lehman released the Feature Builder Power Tool for Visual Studio 2010 Preview for RC on the Visual Studio Gallery.  This is a power tool that is intended to help Technical Leads or Solution Architects (.Net focused) to extensions, code snippets, guidance maps of tasks or steps, models which can be shared within Visual Studio or with others in the Visual Studio Gallery. 



The tool can create two different kinds of extensions using Feature Builder. 

  • Standard Feature Extension –  can contain tools, code, and a simple map – it will run on the Visual Studio Premium and Visual Studio Professional editions (in the final version of this tool). 
  • Ultimate Feature Extension – can contain everything a standard Feature Extension can contain, as well as rich modeling and visualization tools that can take advantage of the modeling platform inside the Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate edition (required). These tools can be used to provide a logical view of your target solution, and to visualize your existing code. This is the preferred type of extension to use if you intend to provide architectural guidance or share specific refactoring or pattern knowledge.


An introductory video (which includes a "hello world" example) is available on Channel 9: .


Additional information and support will be available via the Visual Studio 2010 Architectural Discovery & Modeling Tools Forum  


Microsoft Office 2010 Suite RTM


Earlier today Microsoft announced the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) milestone for Office
2010, SharePoint 2010, Visio 2010 and Project 2010. This is a big milestone for Microsoft and much anticipated. 

The key dates for folks are:

  • April 27th – Release for SA/Volume Licenses Customers
  • May 1st – General Availability
  • May 12th – Launch Party (to participate in the launch go to:

So what do you do if you have already installed the beta and kicked the tires a bit. Well in traditional fashion the folks at Microsoft have made it impossible to have an upgrade path from the Beta bits to the RTM bits. See the following post form a third party source: 

In Microsoft's defense, this should be expected as this is the normal mode of operation for pre-RTM bits. For those that have done more than the OOB, chuck it up to experience with the new platform.

The reason behind this decision is, during 2007 Beta->RTM upgrade process,
some customers got garbage left (orphaned objects, for example) inside their
installations. This caused a lot of support issues in the past and even today
they are still coming. When support engineers got a call and dug into the
customer's envoriment, after spending a few hours they finally found it was
caused by those garbage left.  It is a general understanding that Beta software
is not supported by CSS for general public as there're not enough bandwidth and
resources, so to avoid the problems that would hurt you someday in the future,
we decided to make clear that this upgrade should be avoided, unless you have
the go live license and are supported by CSS for this process.

Like I
said, migrate the data from a public beta farm could be possible for some
content. For example, you can write a program that reads the list items in Beta
farm to a database table or XML and then put them to a list in RTM farm, keep
metadata and permissions. However I cannot answer you if you use a specific API
to export data is a correct way or not, that depends on how you use it. There
could be 3rd party solutions from microsoft partners.
Jie Li  - vs Windows Azure – From Setup to Hello World

Lately I have been doing an evaluation of Cloud Platforms from a variety of providers. I ran across this interesting video that walks through the setup process and the creation of a simple hello world web application from beginning to end. 

The configuration, setup and provisioning steps are often overlooked and it was really good to see someone put this together.  

Take a look, I think you will be surprised.

I tried to look for a similar comparison to Amazon, Google and IBM but came up short. If anyone has these I would really like to see a balanced evaluation across the cloud providers.