Game over

Sunday, 11 August 2019

This year I decided to return to playing basketball socially after a break of about 5-6 years. Like most other sports I’d tried, I didn’t have much natural talent, but enjoyed participating.

This season did not start out well. The first game back, I was enjoying being back on the court (if also realising how unfit I was!). But as the match progressed, my heel was getting sorer and sorer. Later diagnosed by the Physio as tendonitis - probably caused by going out way too hard after such a long time of not running at all.

A week off and some daily stretching (that I’m still doing months later) and I was feeling ok to get back again. A few more games and then more problems..

My back had been feeling a little uncomfortable earlier in the day, but I figured lots of stretching and I’d be fine. I played with out any issues and then drove home. But as I got out of the car, I felt my back go!

Some Chiro on the Monday, more stretching and trying to stand (instead of sitting down) at work meant, after another week off, I thought I’d be ok to come back again. I played last week without incident, though I was a little sore the next day.

Yesterday, my back was still not 100% but I figured I’d see how I went. That was probably a mistake. Part-way through the second half of the game, I went to chase the ball and felt my back go again. I took no further part in the game. Time to listen to my body and give it a proper rest.

And that’s how my 2019 basketball season unceremoniously ended. Maybe I can give it another go in 2020, but if I do I think I’ll need to invest in a lot better preparation. It would be disappointing if it turns out that I can’t play again, but that’s also a possibility. And better to retire my basketball boots and still be able to do other things, than really injure myself badly.

Azure DevOps - Default permissions for force push on a branch

Monday, 8 July 2019

This error caught me by surprise today:

C:\dev\git\project [feature ↓1 ↑2 +1 ~0 -0 !]> git push --force-with-lease
Enumerating objects: 22, done.
Counting objects: 100% (22/22), done.
Delta compression using up to 8 threads
Compressing objects: 100% (5/5), done.
Writing objects: 100% (12/12), 1.61 KiB | 824.00 KiB/s, done.
Total 12 (delta 6), reused 8 (delta 4)
remote: Analyzing objects... (12/12) (8 ms)
remote: Storing packfile... done (115 ms)
remote: Storing index... done (81 ms)
 ! [remote rejected]       feature -> feature (TF401027: You need the Git 'ForcePush' permission to perform this action. Details: identity '93086622-abb9-4886-b994-502e7f2afc21\[email protected]', scope 'branch'.)
error: failed to push some refs to ''

I was trying to push a change to a Git branch in Azure DevOps Repos. I’d just done an interactive rebase to update history on the branch and was trying to force push my changes - something I’ve done countless times before.

Reviewing the permissions for this repository, the Force push (rewrite history, delete branches and tags) permission was Not Set (eg. neither explicitly allowed nor denied). Checking other projects and repositories, this was also the case, so what’s different?

Well one thing that’s different is that I didn’t create this branch - it was created by another developer. Force pushing to a shared branch is generally frowned upon (as if it isn’t coordinated it can cause all kinds of problems), and so it seems DevOps helps guard against this problem by defaulting to granting the Force Push permission just to the branch creator (and also to users who are the Project administrator - as set in the Project details page of Project Settings).

Azure DevOps Branch user permissions

Because I didn’t create the original branch and I was not a project administrator in this particular project, no push for me!

Check out the descriptions of the different permissions for Git repositories and the default Git repository and branch permissions.

In the garden - Winter 2019

Saturday, 6 July 2019

It’s been a while since my last garden update. Things are cooling down in Adelaide. Not to the extent of other places that get regular snow and ice, but still chilly enough.

Jonquils flowering

Our apple trees are starting to mature now and we’ve had good crops from both trees this year. The Pink Lady still has fruit hanging on the tree, and they’ve coloured up really nicely and the family are enjoying eating them.

Pink Lady apple tree bearing fruit

The mandarin is doing a great job. The fruit are so much tastier than the ones you buy in the shop. So far this year I have had no problems with possums/rodents eating the fruit, so I haven’t worried about netting the tree. The fruit might be a little smaller than previous years, possibly due to an incredibly dry January/February. Some late rains came just in time.

Mandarin tree with fruit

The lemonade just keeps powering on. Such a productive tree. I’ve had to give it a few haircuts as it’s really growing tall.

Lemonade tree with fruit

Narelle did a great job planting out some potted colour a few weeks ago, and we’re continuing to enjoy the results.

Dianthus flowering in a pot

And we got to enjoy some late flowers from this rose. Very pretty.

Orange rose in flower

Time to get back in the garden and do some weeding!

Congratulations 2019-2020 Microsoft MVP!

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

I received a really nice email last night:

MVP Letter

Great to be a Microsoft MVP for another year!

I first received the Microsoft MVP award in October 2015 (which happens to be about 14 months after I took over organising the Adelaide .NET User Group). Each year since then, I wonder if I’ll be renewed. So far, so good.

It’s a nice way for Microsoft to show their appreciation for the various things I do for the developer community - running the user group, speaking, and lots of open source contributions. It’s also been a great avenue for meeting new people, visiting new places and also providing feedback direct to Microsoft’s product teams.

It’s also something I’d love more people being recognised for (especially in Adelaide). If you are doing things in the development or IT community (or know someone who is), then let me know in the comments - I’d love to nominate them.

MVP Logo

TeamCity conditional build configurations - master vs other branches

Friday, 21 June 2019

TeamCity doesn’t currently support conditional build steps (Vote on this issue). So how can you have different steps for a master builds vs. other branches?

This is not an uncommon scenario - you might want to perform similar build steps for all builds, but for a master build there may be some extra steps (eg. publishing NuGet/NPM packages to a repository, triggering an external activity) that you don’t want to run for a branch build (eg. a build for a pull request).

It is possible to work around this limitation by creating multiple build configurations - one for master and another for non-master branches. But how can you do that efficiently? One approach is to enable Versioned Settings using Kotlin.

Kotlin is a language created by JetBrains that targets the JVM (and is now the recommended language for Android development). But it’s also one of the language choices when you enable Versioned Settings in TeamCity. (The other is XML, which will look familiar if you’ve ever played with TeamCity’s meta-runners).

I’m not a Kotlin expert, but I managed to figure out that you can use it to generate the different variations, such that when TeamCity parses the Kotlin, it ends up creating multiple build configurations.

One thing to be aware of is that TeamCity parses the Kotlin up-front to create the build configurations. It doesn’t evaluate it as the build runs (so it isn’t possible to have an expression that tests an environment variable or parameter)

The following example shows generating two build configurations - “Build_CI_Master” and “Build_CI_Branches”. The difference is that the Master build configuration enables package indexing. The build configurations use different branch filters to control whether they apply to master or non-master branches.

import jetbrains.buildServer.configs.kotlin.v2018_2.*
import jetbrains.buildServer.configs.kotlin.v2018_2.buildFeatures.nuGetPackagesIndexer
import jetbrains.buildServer.configs.kotlin.v2018_2.buildSteps.PowerShellStep
import jetbrains.buildServer.configs.kotlin.v2018_2.buildSteps.powerShell
import jetbrains.buildServer.configs.kotlin.v2018_2.projectFeatures.nuGetFeed
import jetbrains.buildServer.configs.kotlin.v2018_2.triggers.vcs
import jetbrains.buildServer.configs.kotlin.v2018_2.ui.*

version = "2018.2"

val variations = listOf("Master", "Branches")
project {

    for (type in variations) {

    features {
        nuGetFeed {
            id = "repository-nuget-project_feed"
            name = "project_feed"
            description = ""

class KotlinExample(val variant: String) : BuildType({

    name = "CI $variant"

    buildNumberPattern = "1.0.%build.counter%"

    vcs {

    triggers {
        add {
            vcs {
                if (variant == "Master") {
                    branchFilter = "+:<default>"
                } else {
                    branchFilter = """

    steps {

        step {
            /* additional steps */

    features {
        if (variant == "Master") {
            nuGetPackagesIndexer {
                feed = "project_feed/project_feed"