Before going into VMRCplus itself or tips, tricks, and such related to the tool I would like to talk a bit on the history.
VMRCplus was developed by Paul Despe. It was created as a developer tool and assisted in easy test of Virtual Server. Why? Because it had a Windows UI; basically it was a Winform application.
Paul put a lot of stuff in there to cover features that were mostly used. However development was stopped roughly early 2005 when I got my hands on it. I was super enthusiastic and provided numerous feedback on it to Paul. But Paul had little time to fix things. And with several issues I pointed him to the code where and what to fix.
I felt like enhancing and completing the tool to cover all functionality of Virtual Server. Therefore I suggested taking over the code and putting my energy in fixing and enhancing. I also discussed public release with Paul and he would really like this to happen but did not know how to get it done.
So I set two goals for myself; enhance the tool and make it publicly available.
It was approximately one year ago that I took over the code and started fixing, rewriting, enhancing, etc. I received code written in VB.Net from VStudio 2003.Net and ported all to VStudio 2005. I replaced .Net Framework 1.1 stuff with 2.0 controls. There was a lot of cleaning up to do; VB allows for easy coding but I wanted strongly typed code. I like to know what types my variables are and what goes into them.
It was not my code so I first had to understand the logic. Then create structure to be able to sustain the code. And gradually I figured out how several functions were designed or expected to function.
I promoted VMRCplus internally through a DL, internal site and Groove workspace. In the past last year I received a lot of very positive feedback from many throughout Microsoft. It was downloaded over 5000 times. I added more features to cover Virtual Server functionality and started to enhance it to the user. Meaning creating a better User Experience with Virtual Server; VMRCplus tells the user in many situations what the problem is and how to correct it.
A last step in coding was the creation of a Windows Installer package. This was done from scratch using the WiX toolset. Although a great toolset, you need to understand Windows Installer to fully understand how to develop the database. Just to clarify, the WiX toolset is a development tool to develop the installer.
Of course the above is a very short description of what went on and what has been done to end with VMRCplus as it currently is.
Could I have released VMRCplus at an earlier stage? Yes. But I deliberately did not want to do that. Virtual Server R2 SP1 was in development and I ship Virtual Server binaries with the tool. I kept up with SP1 developments and wanted to wait until RTW before shipping parts with VMRCplus.
The other challenge was to get it released publicly. Well, that was a huge challenge. We don't just compile code and ship it. Products go through a release process which involves a lot of checks. Although VMRCplus is not a product and not supported, it went through the same process products do.
In a short story, this is the history of VMRCplus. I hope that you like its current capabilities, I plan to fix and enhance it in the near future.