An introduction, 1350 posts later

On the Microsoft forums, that, I didn't suddenly eclipse Raymond.   As you probably haven't noticed, this blog has lain dormant for 18 months.  (if blog with no readers falls by the wayside, does it make a sound?)  Meanwhile, the last 11 months have seen a wild experiment in direct customer interaction.  If you have a question about TFS version control, Team Foundation in general, or Visual SourceSafe, odds are good I'll be the one to answer it.  Or even more likely, I already have.

It's the latter conclusion that leads me back to blogging.  As rewarding as it is to answer day-to-day questions and bring that perspective back to the product design table, it's not terribly efficient.  Fortunately several coworkers have done a fabulous job collecting the most common answers; I link them every day.  At the same time, it's the nature of online FAQs to become either too narrow (a single Buck post) or too shallow (Jim's "official" page).  On the forum itself, I will often provide some theoretical context, but I never feel like it's a welcome diversion from a customer's very real need to resolve a specific issue, nor is it very discoverable after the fact.  (who searches the forum for conceptual material?)

There's an ulterior motive here.  You see, even though I'm kicking off a large-scale exploration of Team Foundation Version Control with this post, I don't actually work on TFVC anymore.  A few months ago, I shifted positions from SDET on the TFVC Platform team to 'the SourceSafe guy'.   The latter title deserves -- and will get -- its own post, but suffice to say my responsibilities have shifted away from the magical land of tf merge.  That means I owe my former teammates a braindump.  May as well do it online.

Finally, the new day job requires a lot of nitty-gritty debugging.  Cool stuff, sure, but the contrast will make blogging about concepts and design that much more appealing.  Not only is TFS architecture spiffy and neat by comparison, but I approached it from a different perspective: while QAs at Microsoft share ownership of the product with devs, they ultimately take the customer's point of view.  My exploration may mention tables and queries at some point, but that's not my aim (nor frankly my forte).  I'd much rather leave you with a working mental model than a mere English translation of a sproc, much less a one-off workaround.

Ok!  Any more intro and I'd be leaving myself a fast-diminishing chance of actually living up to it.  Enjoy the exposition...stay tuned for some actual content.