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Microsoft Visual Studio ALM Rangers Sabbatical for Coded UI Word Plug-in

Earlier this Summer I had the privilege of working for 16 days onsite at the Microsoft offices in Redmond and Vancouver. The assignment, a "Rangers Sabbatical," is part of the Microsoft Visual Studio ALM Rangers program. It provided me the opportunity to develop a Microsoft Word "Technology Provider" or plug-in for the Visual Studio 2010 ALM Coded UI (CUI) feature. Being onsite I was able to work closely with Microsoft Ranger and Program staff.

The Sabbatical was a great success both professionally and personally. I was the developer on the team. We had a prototype of a Excel plug-in for CUI. I used that as a starting point for the creation of a Word plug-in. The approach involved using the CUI extension classes , a Visual Studio Word 2010 (VSTO) Add-in project and the Microsoft 2010 Word API to enable document specific UI recording, playback and assertions to be developed using the Coded UI Test Builder. I had done some preliminary investigations before going onsite, but the level of effort to actually make this work was still uncertain.

This made for early mornings and late evenings. However, the hard work was quite enjoyable. My accommodations in Redmond were less than 5 minutes’ walk from the office. Bijan Javidi and Chuck Sterling were extremely gracious hosts. They provided me a pleasant work environment and introduced me to many of the Visual Studio program team members. Chuck included me in a test drive of Dev11, and had me over for dinner where I got to meet and talk with one of my all time TFS hero's, Grant Holiday.

As it turned out, the planning, support and hard work paid off. With the help of two key team members, Andrew Whitechapel, VSTO guru, and Mathew Aniyan, the CUI program manager, I was able to get the plug-in working. The plug-in was put to immediate use to create CUI tests for the Rangers Word4TFS product. I have been able to take the knowledge and skills gained during the Sabbatical back to my employer for use and for developing additional plug-ins as needed.

Word CUI plugin document record, playback and selection properties

I wrapped up the Sabbatical by developing training material for the plug-in and leading a training session at the Microsoft Vancouver offices. While in Vancouver I was treated to the special care and hospitality of Willy-Peter Schaub, the Rangers Solution Architect. Willy set me up in the Microsoft offices in Vancouver and showed me around a bit. I could not been better welcomed and treated as a guest.

The Rangers Sabbatical program is a great opportunity to deepen skills and become better equipped as a Ranger and Visual Studio ALM professional. I want to express my sincerest thanks to Bijan, Willy and Chuck for giving me this opportunity and for making it a great experience for me.

Print | posted on Thursday, July 29, 2010 2:28 PM | Filed Under [ Agile SCM Talk Blog ]

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