Flare and TFS workspaces

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Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby pvz on Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:13 pm

I'm trying to get Flare to work with TFS and have been struggling now for several weeks. It seems to be the case that Flare will only work when we let *it* define the TFS workspace, and only if there are no other workspaces defined. I'm hoping someone else out there has found a way to get it working reliably when there are multiple workspaces defined for a user.

After much struggle one of our developers was able to get Flare working with TFS by deleting all my existing workspaces and then importing an existing project from source. Doing this allowed Flare to define the TFS workspace. All seems to be well (I hesitate to type that given that so far I've not had anything related to Flare&TFS integration working well for long) until I try to define a second workspace in TFS.

Why multiple workspaces? Several reasons:
1) we've got legacy code branches with RoboHelp source.
2) Flare seems to want to define a workspace down to the directory of the project, and as we branch our code we'll have multiple different versions of our Flare source and will need to work with each of them
3) we also work on test code and need to do so in an isolated workspace

So, anyone out there pleased with how Flare integrates with TFS and more importantly, have any suggestions on how to work with multiple workspaces in TFS?

According to MadCap, there aren't many people using Flare and TFS, but this integration is one of the main reasons we went with Flare, and so far I'm not having results that are making people pleased.

Many thanks in advance,
paul van zwalenburg
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby SteveS on Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:23 pm

I was using Flare/ TFS together in my previous position, and I know what you are going through.

Flare and TFS do play nicely together, once they're properly "introduced". Luckily we had a whizz kid in charge of TFS.

The main trick seemed to be add the project and content files to TFS using TFS. Once you have set it all up with the files in a workspace on your local machine, open them from Flare. Unfortunately i don't have access to TFS anymore, so I can't be more specific.
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby forfear on Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:29 am

we work with tfs over here . although we don't bind our flare projects to tfs too early.

we tend to bind it after we've stabilized a large portion of a new project. Especially for imported projects.
Once its bound we haven't had any major issues, other than an additional lag, but which is to be expected when you're working off a network with any program even in rhelp 5 and vstudio.

when i am a little bit more rested, i'll have a look at the post again and see if theres anything.
i defined my documentation project in one team project,
Create subfolders in team explorer, then
i add projects to them
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby pvz on Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:44 am

Thanks for the replies.
I definitely have learned that you don't want to bind the project in Flare too early! I've done so 4 or 5 times so far (we're working with a converted RoboHelp project) and have had to delete and readd in TFS.... it's not been pretty.

I *believe* I've got Flare and TFS running and cooperating, as long as I'm only using one TFS workspace.
The problems pop up quickly when I attempt to add a second TFS workspace.

One "solution" we're considering is to add a second machine to our group and dedicate that machine to our legacy RoboHelp projects. It's not the way I'd like to go, and it defeats the purpose of TFS workspaces (which act as virtual machines as far as i can tell -- I should add that I'm not a TFS guru by any means and that my limited successes so far are due to one of our developers spending an hour helping me).

So, anyone using multiple TFS workspaces and having luck with Flare?

thanks again for your collective help!
paul
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby forfear on Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:06 pm

When you have multiple workspaces for one tfs project
- are you logging on to from different computers with the same user account?
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby pvz on Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:57 am

Nope, logging on using the same user account from a single computer and switching workspaces within TFS.
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby Richard Ferrell on Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:37 am

Dear Paul,


Thanks for the feature suggestion, As you know Flare currently doesn't support multiple workspaces when using Team Foundation Server. This has been logged as feature request #20510, and if this added to a future version of Flare you will be notifed.
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby pvz on Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:08 am

Hi Richard,

thanks for the reply and the clarification. At least we now know we're not going to be able to do what we wanted.
I'll be posting a new thread asking what other folks are doing to manage source/version control with Flare.

paul van zwalenburg
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby pdenchfield on Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:17 am

Any news on this feature? I didn't see it mentioned in the Flare 4 beta R6 release notes.
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby pdenchfield on Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:23 am

This is a very informative thread - thanks. My contributions below.

On workspaces - Our team is deciding whether to move from Visual Source Safe (VSS) to Team Foundation Server (TFS). We don't know a whole lot about TFS. One of our developers said we'd need multiple workspaces per user if we wanted to work on multiple machines (work from home, laptop vs. desktop, etc.). It would be good to know if multiple workspaces are going to be supported in Flare 4. I have logged a bug (case 6570) for lack of information concerning support of multiple TFS workspaces per user.

On loss of TFS connection - Another issue we're having is consistent loss of TFS connection whenever Flare projects are closed and reopened. (I can re-establish TFS connection by unbinding and rebinding.) I'm seeing this in v4 R7 as well as v3.1. The case number for this logged bug (v3.1) is 6562.

On performance - For v4 R7, we're having considerable lag in performance during refresh of pending check-ins and other source control operations. This case number is 6556.
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby forfear on Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:31 am

pdenchfield wrote:This is a very informative thread - thanks. My contributions below.

On workspaces - Our team is deciding whether to move from Visual Source Safe (VSS) to Team Foundation Server (TFS). We don't know a whole lot about TFS. One of our developers said we'd need multiple workspaces per user if we wanted to work on multiple machines (work from home, laptop vs. desktop, etc.). It would be good to know if multiple workspaces are going to be supported in Flare 4. I have logged a bug (case 6570) for lack of information concerning support of multiple TFS workspaces per user.

On loss of TFS connection - Another issue we're having is consistent loss of TFS connection whenever Flare projects are closed and reopened. (I can re-establish TFS connection by unbinding and rebinding.) I'm seeing this in v4 R7 as well as v3.1. The case number for this logged bug (v3.1) is 6562.

On performance - For v4 R7, we're having considerable lag in performance during refresh of pending check-ins and other source control operations. This case number is 6556.


if it helps, we've been using TFS with our Flare projects, and there doesn't seem to be a major problem. Its a bit slower than running an unbound project but that's to be expected even with VSS. constant disconnection would indicate that the network, HTTP protocol set up is a bit unstable on the network? TFS uses the http protocol.
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby pdenchfield on Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:02 am

Thanks for your reply, forfear. I think the loss of connection might be a Flare issue rather than http protocol because the path in the error message makes no sense - it's my local drive path appended (suffixed) with the network directory used for TFS. This error appears every time I close and reopen a TFS-bound project.
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby SteveS on Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:27 pm

Using different machines is not a problem (ie laptop, desktop. home) - it works the same as if there are different users accessing the project. Each machine has a local copy synced with TFS.

TFS has some great tools if you are working remotely, or without a connection to the TFS server. You have to download the powertoys (powertools?) if you're using 05 but I believe they are a part of 08. There is a command line function called online. Basically anything you have locally that is read (as opposed to read only) gets flagged as updated, you then go through the standard book in procedure to add your edited content to TFS.

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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby lauraj on Wed May 01, 2013 10:25 am

Is this still a problem, five years later? :shock:

I've been trying to bind an existing Flare project to TFS. The project and content files are already checked in (have been for years), but I would like to create the binding, as I need to reorganize the project and would like to be able to use Flare to repair links as necessary.

When I go through the binding process, I end up with this error:
Adding: C:\TFS\IOLS\Trunk\UserDoc\Help\IOLibrariesSuiteAdding files in folder: file:///C:/TFS/IOLS/Trunk/UserDoc/Help/IOLibrariesSuite/
Source Control: All specified files must reside in the same workspace. Workspace LAURAJ1_New contains C:\TFS\IOLS\Trunk\UserDoc\Help\IOLibrariesSuite.

The source control operation finished with warnings and/or errors. Press Close when you are done reviewing the messages.

The binding does not occur, so apparently the message about "All specified files" is a fatal error. I do have several workspaces, but all the project/content files for this project are mapped in my LAURAJ1_New workspace.

Any help would be appreciated.
- Laura
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby Nita Beck on Wed May 01, 2013 12:53 pm

Laura, if I'm understanding you correctly, you are trying to bind to source control a Flare project that is already bound to source control, right? There is no need to "create the binding" for a project that is already bound.

I think that, instead, you want to get a fresh copy of the bound project in Flare so that you can then do the reorganization you have in mind. To make that fresh copy, start up Flare and then create a new project by Import(ing) from Source Control. Flare will ask you for the URL to the project in the source control repository and will fetch from there everything it needs to load the project as a new, clean copy.

Make sense (assuming I haven't completely misunderstood your question...)?
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby lauraj on Wed May 01, 2013 1:28 pm

No, the project is NOT bound to source control. All the project files and content files are checked in; I work with the project by checking out files in TFS, editing them in Flare, and checking them back in with TFS. Flare does not know that the project is in source control: it is not bound.

I did it this way because the project was in TFS before Flare supported binding to TFS, and because when Flare first supported source control binding, it was hopelessly slow. It works fine as it is, until I have to move files around in the project: if I move a file in TFS, Flare doesn't know to patch up links to that file, and if I move it in Flare, TFS gets hopelessly confused. Since I'm doing a reorganization that will involve moving many files, I was hoping to bind the project to TFS, which makes moving files much easier.
- Laura
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby Nita Beck on Wed May 01, 2013 1:52 pm

Then I misunderstood your circumstance and am not sure what to suggest. Could you check the entire project out of TFS (rather than just some of the files) so that, if you move things around in Flare, Flare will be happy? Then later could you check the entire project back into TFS and it'll take care of all the moves? I don't use source control this way, so I'm trying to make some educated guesses. If I'm totally full of soap bubbles, sorry. Just trying to be helpful.
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby lauraj on Wed May 01, 2013 2:04 pm

Thanks, I appreciate that you're trying! But if I do it the way you suggest, TFS will not know what has moved where - the server will still have old checked-out copies of the files in their old locations, and I'd have to add them as "new" files in their new locations, which would break their history. :(

I think if I can't bind, I'll have to move the files twice. I'll check the whole project out, make a local copy of it, move the files in Flare, then move them in TFS, then copy the local copy (whose links will be correct) back to my TFS workspace and check it in. It will work. :roll:
- Laura
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby Psider on Wed May 01, 2013 10:09 pm

As far as I know, multiple workspaces still causes problems for Flare. At least, when we started using Flare 6 we had to delete the custom workspaces normal for our release software. We don't ever change from the base workspace now. I don't remember seeing anything about it being fixed, but I may have missed to note. :)

For getting Flare source control functions in a project already in TFS, you can manually add the following code into the .flprj file, but do this at your own risk as it's not documented, and I just figured out what appears to work through experimentation. Or, remove the project from source control, and add back in via Flare.

SourceControlBound="true" SourceControlDatabase="your tfs server details here" SourceControlProviderType="Microsoft Team Foundation Server" SourceControlDatabaseRoot="$/Source/Control/Path/To/Project"

The easiest way to get the required details is to copy from a Flare project that is already connected to TFS. If you don't already have one, you could create a test project and add to a similar location using Flare.

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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby lauraj on Thu May 02, 2013 7:54 am

Thanks Amber! I will keep that .flprj hack in mind in case I ever (really, truly) need it.

I'm coming to the realization that Flare binding to TFS is still more trouble than it's worth, for me. I *could* delete all my workspaces except one, but then what happens when I need to add others? I could remove the project from source control and add it back in, and lose a decade of history. And in return, I get some convenience in the process of moving files, and I get Flare to manage checkouts/checkins and only occasionally do nonsensical things (like creating changesets with no comment), as long as I remember not to every check out or check in via TFS directly, because Flare can't cope with that. :?

Or I could use the workaround I described above to do my reorganization. I actually did that yesterday, to get it done while the process was clear in my mind. (Yeah, I wrote it down too. :wink: ) Then I could continue working the way I've been doing.
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Re: Flare and TFS workspaces

Postby Wendy_Pod on Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:01 am

Anyone know of what became of feature request #20510 as mentioned above? Was this ever integrated?
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