Richard Banks' Blog

Software Development and Agility

Hackathon produces a build light with a difference

I just finished running a one day hackathon with a team I'm working with, instructing them to have a go at building anything they like.The results were pretty impressive. One team knocked together a web UI that mimics a screen from their desktop based application as well producing a WebGL based visualisation of data and events,... Read more

Azure DocumentDB at Sydney Alt.Net, August 2014

At last month's meeting of the Sydney Alt.Net group I did a talk on Azure's new DocumentDB offering. That video is now available on ReadifyTV and here as well. Azure DocumentDB Preview at Sydney Alt.Net, Aug 2014 from Richard Banks on Vimeo.Enjoy! Read more

Perth Scrum Master Course - Sep 30th, 2014

This one is mainly for the Perth people (Hi Perth!).I'll be coming your way on Sep 30th & Oct 1st to deliver a Professional Scrum Master course.Usually I deliver private Scrum training, so a public course for is enough of a rarity that I thought I'd mention it here so people know about it.Mentioned! Job... Read more

Estimation: Stop listening to developers. They make stuff up.

Luke Drumm, a (slightly unhinged) colleague of mine, recently put together a short video talking through his views on estimation and the problem with using developer estimates when historical data is available.That video is now available on Readify TV so go on and check it out.As one person described it: "Better than an episode of Myth... Read more

Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook now available

About 18 months ago my Visual Studio 2012 Cookbook was published by Packt Press. Fast forward to a few weeks ago (March 25th in fact, I’m a little tardy on getting this post out) and an updated version of my book has been published, the Visual Studio 2013 Cookbook. I’ve been a little time poor over... Read more

Working as designed, and yet still a massive failure

I just ran across the sad story of yet another failed software project (I missed it first time since it happened across the Christmas period). In this instance we see Avon writing off a $125 million project to revamp their sales systems and doing so after the initial pilot deployment was met with so much hate... Read more

Visual Studio Online (Monaco) prompting for credentials in IE

There’s a funny/strange behavioural difference when clicking the ‘Edit in Visual Studio Online’ link in the Windows Azure management portal between Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. In Chrome you will be taken straight into the development environment and the Monaco editor as expected. That said, if you watch the network trace in Fiddler you’ll actually see... Read more

JavaScript for C# Developers Presentation by Tatham Oddie

At the back end of last year I put together a training course for a few hundred developers that were stepping into the brave new world of AngularJS development and REST APIs. As part of that course there is a section on JavaScript for the C# developer and what they need to get their head around... Read more

A Visual Studio Online screencast

Last night at the Sydney Alt.Net User Group I presented a 30 minute session on Visual Studio Online, and more specifically how you can build an Azure hosted website without ever leaving the browser.That session was recorded and is now available and embedded here for your viewing pleasure.I hope you find it useful! Read more

TFS Internals - How does TFS store Git repositories?

Git in TFS is just Git. Plain old vanilla git. Nothing fancy about it at all.Well, almost. On the server, there is one significant change to be aware of. Files aren’t stored on the file system like they would be when git is running on your local machine. Instead they’re stored in the TFS SQL server... Read more

A little nostalgia with the Wang VS and RPG-II

So this happened on Twitter Which of course led me to write this post showing off a little of the language (just a little). But before I show you the awesomeness that is RPG-II, let me talk a little about the background to this story. I was going through uni to get my computer science degree... Read more

How to configure IISExpress for

This is another case of me blogging something simply because I keep forgetting it.. Quick scenario: I want to use the domain for a site on my local dev machine running in IISExpress (handy for a number of reasons). What do I need to do? 1. In ApplicationHost.config locate the site I’m interested in and... Read more

View the Password of a Disconnected WiFi Network in Windows 8

Disclaimer: This post is a 'note to self' reminder post, though if you find it useful I'm happy I could help.As a consultant I tend to jump around various networks and when working with other consultants it's not uncommon to need to share WiFi passwords for networks that you aren't currently connected to. The problem is,... Read more

Agile 2014, Orlando, Call for Papers is Open

Why am I mentioning a US conference on my blog? When I'm in Australia? Because I'm helping review the submissions for the Development Practices and Craftsmanship track.You can read more about the track and the things we're looking for at Submissions can be made via the conference web site at So go on then, submit an... Read more

GitViz: Live Git Repository Visualisation

Tatham Oddie, Dietloff Giliomee and I are currently delivering developer uplift training for a large number of developers over multiple courses. Part of this training involves teaching the developers, who are very familiar with centralised version control, how to use Git. What we have found is that explaining git concepts by drawing pictures on whiteboards and... Read more

MVP Blog Guest Post - Visual Studio 2013's CodeLens

As part of the launch for Visual Studio 2013 I wrote up a blog post with a run through of the new CodeLens feature and how it can assist in day to day development.That article is now published and you can read it on the MVP Blog at reference, you can also find the link... Read more

How to deploy an Azure website from a Git repository on Team Foundation Service

UPDATE: Azure can now talk to Git on TFService, making this post obsolete.At the time of writing (August, 2013) you can connect a Windows Azure web site to the Team Foundation Service (TFService) for automated deployments, but only if your source is under Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC).If you’re using a git repository then you're currently... Read more

Visual Studio 2012 Quick Tips - Quick Launch

Visual Studio Quick Tips are a bit of an experiment to see if this is a useful way of presenting information and also as a mechanism for me to play around with video production :-)So, to kick this off, here's a short overview of the Quick Launch feature in Visual Studio 2012Feedback is, as always, very... Read more

How do you find and consume technical content?

I’ve been asked by the publisher of my VS2012 book if I want to go on a second date with them and write a VS2013 one. At the moment I’m undecided. The publishing experience was great and the publisher was good to work with, but I’m not sure if a book is the best way to... Read more

Improving Communication with TFS Team Rooms

Within Readify we have a number of different teams working with our customers in a mix of on site and off site arrangements. Regardless of the physical arrangement, a primary element of any engagement is establishing mechanisms for fast, rapid, ad-hoc communication with our key stakeholders. Ideally this is largely built around face to face communication,... Read more