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TFS Power Tools Updated With Support for VS 2012 Update 2

Microsoft has updated its Power Tools, a suite of enhancements for Team Foundation Server (TFS) projects, to work with Visual Studio 2012 Update 2.

Now, those of you paying close attention to the Visual Studio team's constant stream of updates may wonder why Power Tools is now being updated to support Update 2, when Update 3 was just released as a go-live production Release Candidate (RC). Microsoft Technical Fellow Brian Harry, on his blog, chalks it up to taking "longer than we had hoped" to prep the Power Tools.

But Harry goes on to explain that new Power Tools update (officially called TFS 2012.2 Power Tools update) includes a change that should bring it fully in line with the new Visual Studio release method of frequent, incremental updates instead of infrequent, service-pack-level updates every year or two as in the past. Harry writes:

"Our Power Tools setup has traditionally had a block to prevent it from working with the next version of VS (which is why the Power Tools from Update 1 wouldn't work with Update 2).  This is a bit of a hold-over from before we started doing the regular update cadence.  At that time, it was pretty likely that we'd change something in the 2 years between updates that would break the Power Tools and we'd work hard to have new releases of Power Tools ready before the final release of VS/TFS."

The block has been removed, and Harry says "we fully expect" that this latest revision will work with Update 3. In fact, he's installed it on his version of VS 2012.3 (i.e. Visual Studio 2012, Update 3 -- the RC) and he says it's working well. Of course, your mileage may vary, so tread carefully.

Harry added that there are no significant changes in the new version of Power Tools; just some bug fixes and the removal of the "back/restore" Power Tool. The main reason for the release was because, Harry says, Microsoft heard from "a number" of its TFS customers that they uninstalled VS 2012 Update 2, rather than give up their Power Tools.

This is why it's good to bring your complaints to Microsoft. There remains a perception that large companies don't listen to their customers; or even if they do, that making changes to products in response to those complaints takes forever and a day. This Power Tools update shows that, at least for the Visual Studio/TFS teams, they are listening; also, that the new, agile release methodology is paying dividends.

Posted by Keith Ward on 05/08/2013

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