No I’m not talking about Rugby, although I like that too. I’m talking about an Agile Management practice being quickly adopted by companies all over the world. But that’s not really what I’m writing about today. What I want to talk about is the lack of free tools on the web. Go ahead, try to Google for them.
Okay, I’m a bit impatient here so let me do it for you.
Got it? There’s a ton of results! But have you actually reviewed any of them? I have, and let me tell you, it’s not pretty. Most that are free are really buggy. They lack any kind of community support, and are only free trials. Or, they have a license limit that will drive you insane. Eventually, I gave up trying to find one that would fit our needs at work, and set out to start building my own. Currently, all we need is a way to manage our Backlog without using Excel. Don’t get me wrong, Excel is a great tool, but it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to Scrum management.
But alas, I didn’t want to just build another application even if we had a purpose for it. I wanted to learn something in the process. I keep hearing about ASP.NET MVC – it’s hot, it’s cold, it’s old, it’s new. It can’t seem to make up its mind as to what it is. But I can and I have an opinion. It’s awesome! Pure genius! I think I’m in love. Oh, and I also wanted to try out ADO.NET Entity Framework. That’s another “new to me thing” from Microsoft; and, although it’s buggy it certainly helps you get a project off the ground in record breaking time. So far, I’ve invested less than 16 hours in this tool. I have sprints, user stories, products, tasks, priorities, etc… lots of things. It’s really blowing my mind, how quickly this got up and running.
Keep in mind that this was my first time cracking open two brand new technologies. I’m sure I didn’t do everything perfect, and I’m sure I made mistakes… you’ll probably find a multitude of things wrong. With that being said, I want to start giving back to the community that has given so much to me over the years and share my project with you! I’ve never done this sort of thing before; so, I’m going to start out small and give you a zip file that you have to setup yourself, on your own servers.
Here are the steps for getting this up and running – as best as I can remember them. As there may be holes in the process, please feel free to post comments and I’ll try and address them if you haven’t figured out a way to handle them yourself.
- Make sure you have IIS installed.
- Create a new web site (BackLogger)
- Open the Properties on the new web site
- Click the “Directory Security” tab
- Click “Edit” under “Authentication and access control”
- “Uncheck” the “Enable anonymous access”
- Make sure “Integrated Windows authentication” is checked.
- Click the “Home Directory” tab
- Point the “Local path” to empty directory we’ll drop the files in here later.
- Make sure “Execute permissions” is set to “Scripts only”
- Click the “Configuration” button (Ignore this section if you have IIS 7 installed.
- Click the “Insert” button
- In the “Executable” text box enter without the quotes, “C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\aspnet_isapi.dll”
- Make sure to “Uncheck” the “Verify that file exists” option.
- Click the “Documents” tab
- Make sure “Default.aspx” is configured.
- Make sure you have a MS-SQL database installed.
- Create a new database, I suggest BackLogger, but it doesn’t matter what you call it.
- Make sure you set up a user to use for the application to have access.
- I suggest making it simple, but this will also support Integrated Security if you feel so inclined.
- Download & Install ASP.NET MVC 2 Preview 2
- You may need to download ADO.NET Entity Data Model at this point, but I think VS 2008 already has it.
- Download BackLogger
- Unzip the file BackLogger.zip file to any directory you can find.
- You’ll find a SQL script. You’ll want to execute this in the database you created earlier.
- Now you’ll want to move the files in the BackLogger folder to the IIS directory you set up earlier.
- One last step, simply alter the web.config file in two locations to get it connecting to your database and using the authentication method of your choosing.
- Look for Line 25 (Ctrl+G) or find the section under <configuration> called <connectionStrings> You’ll want to alter the line that starts with “<add name=”BackLoggerEntities” …”
- Search for <Your Database …> values and replace them accordingly.
- Next go to line 65, (Ctrl+G) or find the section with <authentication mode=”Windows”>
- If you alter it to something other than “Windows” it may throw errors, if it does let me know I haven’t tested that part and I’ve got kids that want my attention for bedtime!
I hope I didn’t miss anything! I probably did though!