Fix TFS 2015 Build’s Queue is Empty

Today I wasn’t able to select a queue while creating a build definition or queuing a build using the new build engine that comes with TFS 2015. The drop down was blank.

This problem may occur if you don’t have build queues for your Collection or if you don’t have permission to use the queues in your build definition.

Go to the administration site for your collection

Check if you have queues for Collection

If you do, select your queueà Role à Agent Queue Users à Double click on Agent Queue Users à add users or groups

Otherwise click the “New queue” link to create a new queue

TFS Build 2015 Gated Check-in Announced

In case you missed the news, the Visual Studio product team at Microsoft has announced the Gated check-in support for TFS Build 2015 (aka Build vNext) for TFVC repository. For more info visit




Categories: Uncategorized

Maven test runs fail on some machines

Today I got this error when I ran a Maven build with the test goal on the new build server that I configured to compile the Java code.

[INFO] — maven-compiler-plugin:3.1:compile (default-compile) @ xxxxxx —
[INFO] Changes detected – recompiling the module!
[INFO] Compiling 67 source files to C:\Sc\ xxxxxx \target\classes
[INFO] ————————————————————————
[INFO] ————————————————————————
[INFO] Total time: 6.551 s
[INFO] Finished at: 2016-02-08T17:31:25-05:00
[INFO] Final Memory: 11M/61M
[INFO] ————————————————————————
[ERROR] Failed to execute goal org.apache.maven.plugins:maven-compiler-plugin:3.1:compile (default-compile) on project xxxxxx Compilation failure -> [Help 1]
[ERROR] To see the full stack trace of the errors, re-run Maven with the -e switch.
[ERROR] Re-run Maven using the -X switch to enable full debug logging.
[ERROR] For more information about the errors and possible solutions, please read the following articles:
[ERROR] [Help 1]

I have the same .m2 folder as the other build severs. Maven and the JDK are configured properly as well. The only difference turned out to be that this server had a newer version of the Java JDK than the other servers. After inspecting the pom.xml file, I noticed that the maven-compiler-plugin had the javac.exe path hard coded






<executable>C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_66\bin\javac.exe</executable>



I removed the hardcoded path and specified the Java version instead.










You can also follow the instructions at to target multiple versions of the JDK

Categories: Java Tags: , ,

Azure Cloud Load Testing – Part 2

In the previous blog post, I showed how easy it is to initiate a load test from Azure by just providing a URL of the web page you want to load test, specify the number of users and the duration. This is great for websites where requests are GET requests or you are not trying to test a user scenario that consists of multiple steps. In this post, I will show how to use Azure Cloud Load Testing in a more advanced scenario that consists of multiple steps.


In order to record a performance test which will be used for load testing, you need to have Visual Studio Enterprise or Ultimate Edition. You can download a 30 day trial version

Recording a Scenario

  • Open Visual Studio
  • Create a new Web Performance and Load Test project

  • Click the record button on your web test

  • Go through the scenario you want to record. I uploaded the scenario I recorded at
  • I recorded a test to go from the home page to the search page and then perform a search

You can test your script by clicking the run test button

Create a Load Test

A load test can consist of one or more test scenario. You can also define the duration of your test and the number of users to simulate running the test. Let’s create and configure a load test which will run in Azure.

  • Right click on your project
  • Add a load test by right clicking on the project and add a new itm

  • On the wizard, I am selecting a Cloud-based Load Test and click next

  • Select the location where the load will be generated from and click next

  • On the Run Settings page, you select the duration of the run and then click next

  • On the scenario page, name the scenario and select the Think time profile, think time is the duration between your test steps

  • On the Load pattern page, you can select a constant load of users or if you want to start with a smaller number of users and ramp up the user users while your test is running. I am using a constant load but you may want to use the second option if that what you want to simulate.

  • On the test mix page, you can select one or more tests. in my case I am only selecting one web test. You can also selected MSTest unit tests as well.

  • Add the browsers you want your users to use during the test

  • Click the Run load test button

  • Click on the Performance or Throughput buttons to see the graphs. The application button with capture the Application Insights telemetry


In this post, I showed how to create a performance and load test using Visual Studio 2015 Enterprise Edition and leverage Azure Cloud Load Testing to execute the recorded test. I didn’t have to create any Virtual Machines or install test agents to run my load test. I had to push a button and monitor the test run. Cloud load testing would save you a lot of money in infrastructure purchases and labour costs when you want to run load tests to similar millions of users and you want to only run the test scenarios for few weeks a year. The first 20,000 Virtual User Minutes (VUMs) a month are free. Give it a try today.

Offline Installation of TFS Eclipse Plugin

I was working with one client with a locked down dev environment (i.e. no internet access on dev machines). They use TFS as their ALM tool. Long story short, I wanted to install the TFS Eclipse Plugin. The following are the steps that I went through to install the plugin offline.

Download TFS Eclipse Plugin (version 14.02 is available at

  • Open Eclipse
  • Click on Help à Install New Software

  • Click the Add button then the Archive button
  • Select the zip file for the TFS Eclipse plugin
  • Click the Open button

  • Check The Team Explorer Everywhere plugin and click the next button. Eclipse will calculate the dependency. This may take few minutes

  • Click the next button on Install Details window

  • Accept the license agreement and click the Finish button
  • Click Yes to restart Eclipse

  • Click the Open Perspective button, Select Team Foundation Sever Exploring and click OK

Connect Eclipse to TFS Server

  • Click on Connect to Team Foundation Server then click the Servers button
  • Click the Add button to add a new TFS server
  • Type in the TFS url

  • Click OK and close the Add/Remove TFS window
  • Select your team project and click the Finish button

Categories: ALM, Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

TFS Build: Unable to load task handler PowerShell for task …

While I was trying run a TFS build for the first time on a Windows 2008 R2 SP1 machine, I got the following error

Unable to load task handler PowerShell for task Maven with version 1.0.13

To determine the Powershell version that is installed on your system:

Open Windows Powershell

Type $PSVersionTable.PSVersion

If you have a version that is lower than 3.0, you will need to update to a recent version of Powershell

In my case, I had PS 2.0 installed. I upgraded to PS 4.0 which I downloaded from

and that fixed my issue

PS: read the installation instructions to determine proper file name to download


Categories: ALM, TFS2015 Tags: , , , , ,

Release Management: Communication with the deployer was lost during the deployment (The parameter is incorrect)

At one of my clients, I got this error on Release Management 2015:

Communication with the deployer was lost during the deployment. Please make sure (1) the deployer machine has not rebooted during installation and (2) the component timeout is sufficient to copy the files from the drop location to the deployer machine and install the package.


The Release Management database was migrated from environment to another following the steps at

I didn’t migrate the machine key because we are only migrating the database and not the server.


Open the Deployment Agent log. The default location should be at


Where <user> is the user who initiates the build (e.g. your username, build_service user, etc)

In my case, I had the following error

{“ErrorMessage”:”The parameter is incorrect.\r\n”}
12/14/2015 9:20:32 AM – Error – (9528, 9260) – Error while converting string to XDocument: [Data at the root level is invalid. Line 1, position 1.] [   at System.Xml.XmlTextReaderImpl.Throw(Exception e)
at System.Xml.XmlTextReaderImpl.ParseRootLevelWhitespace()
at System.Xml.XmlTextReaderImpl.ParseDocumentContent()
at System.Xml.Linq.XDocument.Load(XmlReader reader, LoadOptions options)
at System.Xml.Linq.XDocument.Parse(String text, LoadOptions options)
at Microsoft.TeamFoundation.Release.Common.ExtensionMethods.XmlExtensionMethods.ToXDocument(String value, Boolean preserveWhitespace)].

The error doesn’t give a lot of information.

On the Release Management server, take a look at Release Management Services log which is located at

C:\Users\<RM user>\AppData\Local\Temp\Microsoft\ReleaseManagement\14.0\Logs\ReleaseManagementServices.log

Where <RM user> is the username of the RM account


In the ReleaseManagementServices.log, I saw the following error

Request http://rmserver:1000/account/releaseManagementService/_apis/releaseManagement/TfsService/DoesBuildExists?tfsServerId=1&teamProjectName=Services&buildDefinition=MyBuild&buildNumber=BuildName- threw exception: System.Security.Cryptography.CryptographicException: The parameter is incorrect.

The CryptographicException caught my attention. I visited the Release Management release definition and there was an encrypted password field.


Reenter the password in the password field and start new  a release