BizTalk Server 2013 and TFS 2012 – Why can’t I lock the files?

By Nick Hauenstein

This post is the twelfth in a weekly series intended to briefly spotlight those things that you need to know about new features in BizTalk Server 2013.

This week’s post will be a little bit shorter than the rest so far, as I’m getting prepped for some last minute travel to teach our TFS 2012 Developer Fundamentals class over in Houston, TX.

Since TFS 2012 is already on my mind, I decided to align this post accordingly. In this post we’re looking into some more differences that come about due to the “upgraded platform support” found in BizTalk Server 2013.

Here I’m assuming that you have taken three giant leaps at the same time: (1) You have upgraded to BizTalk Server 2013, (2) You have upgraded to Visual Studio 2012 (i.e., you intend to do some development with BizTalk Server 2013, (3) You have upgraded to Team Foundation Server 2012. Another assumption that I am operating on here is that you have (4) started a new project within a new Team Project Collection.

If those assumptions are all true, then you may run into a change in behavior when it comes to working with the rest of your team – your ability to take an exclusive check-out lock will be missing1.

What has been passed down to us?

A few years back, there was a pretty decent guide on the TechNet Wiki. for using TFS version control with BizTalk Server 2009. One of the tips it gave related to disabling multiple checkout for your BizTalk Server projects. The theory there was that this could prevent files that were typically edited from within a designer (and full of generated code) from going through a painful merge process where someone may be confronted with trying to merge a mix of XML and XLANG/s.

Is this advice still valid? Well… yes and no. Mainly yes, but it can be no. Let me take a step back, and maybe it will make a little more sense.

What has Changed?

In TFS, the mechanism behind the whole concept of preventing multiple checkout (essentially preventing two people from editing the same file at the same time)  is a lock – specifically a check-out lock.

A quick perusal of the TFS 2012 docs will reveal the following:

In Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012, check-out locks are generally not effective because of local workspaces (see Decide Between Using a Local or a Server Workspace). Specifically, check-out locks are:

  • Not enforceable because other users might be using local workspaces

Yes – that’s right – check-out locks are not enforceable. This is because if you create a new Team Project Collection in TFS 2012, the default setting is to have the users use local workspaces (if that doesn’t mean anything to you, click the link in the quote above).

The implication is that Visual Studio no longer has to communicate with the TFS Server every single time a file is touched – this results in less server chatter, the freedom to use multiple tools without dropping into Source Control Explorer to check out a file first, and it also results in the inability for the server to step in and say that someone else has a lock on the file.

To make it a little bit more confusing, each developer can configure their machine to use either a server or a local workspace :-/

How Do I Get My Locks Back?

Don’t get me wrong here, there are huge advantages of local workspaces, and I love them lots. However, if your team’s workflow depends on check-out locks to get the job done, and that’s going to be your best bet – then I want you to know what your options are2.

First, you can change a setting at the Team Project Collection level to ensure that new developers coming into contact with the Team Project will end up with a more traditional Server Workspace (which communicates with the server upon check-out):


Second, you will want to make sure that each developer re-configures his/her workspace to ensure that it is configured as a server-side workspace:



The End for Now

Hopefully that will help you out, if you find yourself in the situation of completely unenforced check-out locks. If you don’t find yourself in that situation (maybe because you never used them in the first place), then great.

As I mentioned above, I’m going to keep this post brief and to the point. I’ll be back into the swing of things next week with another mini-series within the new features series that’ starts to get into the REST support in BizTalk Server 2013. Until then, have a great week!

1 The option shows up, but it’s not necessarily effective.

2 I have included this disclaimer since I will take some heat on twitter regardless of which style of workspace I might seem to favor. For those that want to complain about my personal taste in source control, it’s @nickhauenstein 😛

Microsoft Exam 70-497: Software Testing with Visual Studio 2012

By moniquebu

Congratulations to Anthony Borton on becoming a Microsoft Quality Enablement Specialist. Anthony is Quicklearn’s lead TFS trainer and courseware developer and earlier this week he passed Microsoft exam 70-497: Software Testing with Visual Studio 2012. This is one of three exams Microsoft have recently released focusing on TFS 2012.

If you’d like to become a Microsoft Quality Enablement Specialist, the best way to prepare yourself for the exam is to attend one of our upcoming courses.

Our Software Testing with Visual Studio 2012 course is a 2-day course that gets you up to speed with all aspects of testing using Microsoft Test Manager 2012.

Student feedback from the most recent course has been overwhelmingly positive and here’s just one example from an attendee.

Anthony was FANTASTIC! Did a great job of keeping it interactive for the full 2 days. He explained things very well and at a level for all attendees, especially with the diverse backgrounds and work experiences.” – October 2012.