I recently moved all my development boxes to Windows. That’s right, all those Mac machines, with the exception of one that I need for testing, have been Boot Camp-ed to use the latest and greatest of the Windows 10 ecosystem. As part of this process, I started building some automation scripts - I’ve had that for macOS in the form of shell scripts that I could run whenever I re-installed the system, but nothing like that for Windows.
Back in 2012, I had experienced a situation where one of my Git repositories (I will not mention any specific providers here) suddenly disappeared overnight, with no recovery options. And while I was able to restore some of the code from local backups, it was an all-around bad position to be in. You know how you’re always told to not put all the eggs in one basket? Who knew that it applies to code as well!
I’ve been a big fan of GitHub Actions since last year’s Universe (read the post on building docs with them). As a matter of fact, I was such a fan that I moved my blog publishing process entirely to GitHub Actions and GitHub Pages. Recently, GitHub announced that the Actions engine is changing, which makes workflow management much easier - still in private beta, though. Recently I got an invite to try out the new functionality, though, so I thought I’d write up how I updated the blog publishing workflow to the new experience!
I am big on figuring out ways in which I can spend time more meaningfully. Part of this is a strategy to automate as many of the routine tasks as possible, to make sure that I can focus on the big picture - building products that deliver value to customers. I should also preface this post with some context - I am a remote employee. Sometimes it’s hard to communicate what you’re doing and how you’re approaching the stack of tasks while hundreds of miles away from your team.
There comes a time when one needs to re-assess how and what they are using for their blog software. For years, I have been an avid WordPress user, jumping from shared hosting to shared hosting in search for a good deal, but always encountered issues - there was either little room to customize things, or I had to deal with the ever-growing bloat of a large code base for a little site.
I was just chatting with my good friend Anthony Chu about containers and an idea struck me - I love GitHub Actions, I love PowerShell. I wonder if the two would work together?
Summer is here, the city finally feels like you can take pictures of it from above without being “head in the clouds”, and that also means that it’s time to document how we generate .NET documentation on docs.microsoft.com. A while ago I wrote a post about documenting NuGet packages, and while it was a generally good description of high-level tools, it also missed the key detail - how to use DocFX to render the docs.
In our team (docs.microsoft.com - we are hiring), we extensively use both GitHub and VSTS, for a variety of reasons. The problem of connecting the two came along as we were thinking about our public feedback channel. We ultimately want to have all user suggestions directed to the PM and engineering teams; however, internally all processes revolve around VSTS and engineering work is tracked there. The idea was to build a bot that can create VSTS work items from suggestions in GitHub.
I find organizing many apps at once on the iPhone home screen to be just a tiny bit cumbersome. If you have more than 3 screens worth of apps, shuffling them around back and forth is not just a tedious task, but also one that takes some time. Previously, you could solve that problem with the help of iTunes, where you could connect your phone to the machine, and organize the apps in a virtual screen with it.
As a Program Manager, part of my job is to write technical specification documents. Our team recently switched to using our very own system (yes, we use the docs.microsoft.com infrastructure internally too) to write technical specs – content is on GitHub and Markdown-based. As part of that came the question – how do we aggregate comments when people review them?
A while ago Microsoft released this wonderful thing called the VSO agent – a cross-platform build agent that you can set up on MacOS X and/or Linux and hook it directly to a VSO or TFS instance to handle automated builds with a lot of customization options. You can get it here.
As Windows 8 adoption is growing (as a matter of fact, in the first month there were more than 40 million licenses sold), so is the number of Windows Store applications. I use some of the Windows Store delivered applications, such as Music, Netflix, Bing Weather and Bing Search quite often, but I also spend a lot of time in Visual Studio, which means that I am not in the Windows 8 shell, but I have access to the taskbar.