VSTS get a glimpse Series-1

Hi all. It’s been a good 2 years since TFS services online were made available by Microsoft. So much has changed since then in and around the world as well as in the TFS services online features.

So I thought to again visit the portal and get a glimpse of what all are now available? Writing this blog which is a 10 post series covering all the major features available as on 20 Jan 2016.

By the way 2 weeks back Microsoft renamed it from VSO to VSTS (Visual Studio Team Services). To me this new name make the right step. The On-premise version can continue to be called as TFS.

Time to Explore VSTS……………

As a first step i used a new login account and got the URL for my portal as: https://hemantmahajan.visualstudio.com/

As soon as you open this URL, following contents are presented to you in browser: On the left bottom is a link to create a new project, so click ‘New’.

Fill the details required to create a new project. This include Project name, Description, Template type and Version control (TFVC or GIT)

It may take a while for VSTS to create a project for you.


Once the project is created you land on the following page:

To start with we will explore the ‘Manage Work’ option first. Below is the screen I got after I clicked ‘Manage Work’ option.

In my next post of this series I will start exploring these links one by one starting with ‘New work item’ section ( at the bottom centre)

Stay tuned!

‘Value Area’ new field on WI’s in TFS 2015

A new “Value Area” field to all work items has been introduced in TFS 2015, that appears on a backlog, that is: Epics, Features, and (depending on your process template), the field also appears on Product Backlog Items, User Stories, and Requirements.

The Value area has two values:

a) Business

b) Architectural

The default selected value would be Business for all Epics, Features, and Stories.

To create an Architectural Epic, Feature, or Story, set the value to Architectural.

With this functionality, now you can also define Architectural Epics, which in turn break down into Architectural Features and Stories, allowing you to track your architectural roadmap across your organization.

TFVC vs GIT in 2015

We all know that TFS 2013 and onwards 2 types of code repository are supported. TFVC is Microsoft own product for code management. Git is Distributed version control system, was initially designed and developed by Linus Torvalds for Linux kernel development in 2005.

Feature TFVC Git Comments
Alerts Y Y
Android Studio integration N Y
Build support Y Y Both Xaml builds & Build V.Next. Also have support for both for Jenkins
CodeLens Y Y Some differences. Git works offline. TFVC has a couple more indicators – like incoming changes.
Code review Y Y TFVC has “in IDE” code review.

Git has web based pull requests.

Later this year the two will be

converged and have web and IDE

experiences for both

Code search N Y Code search is in private preview

and currently only has Git

support. MS recently added this support in TFVC

Cross platform command line Y Y
Data warehouse Y N TFVC exposes some warehouse

data like code churn. Git does not. Stay tuned with MS.

Eclipse Integration Y Y
Gated checkin Y N
High availability/DR Y Y
Welcome pages Y Y
Work item linking Y Y Some small differences. TFVC can resolve workitems with checkins, Git can’t. Git can #reference work items in commit comments, TFVC can’t. We’ll get parity later this year.
VS integration Y Y TFVC support is a little ahead

with Source Control Explorer, a

little better Team Explorer

integration, Merge visualization,


XCode integration N Y

TFS 2012: Create New Build Service for another Collection

Multiple collections exist in our TFS server 2012 eco system. If you open TFS Administration console, it gives you option to configure build service and corresponding controller/ agent for one Collection.

How do I activate Build controller for other collections?

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jimlamb/archive/2010/04/13/configuring-multiple-tfs-build-services-on-one-machine.aspx link is of really very useful post by Jim lamb. Thanks Jim.

Here is the steps:

1. Create a new build service on your Build Server.

2. Set env variable

3. Start the TFSMgmt ( Admin console) on command prompt. Admin console Interface will not recognize the env variable.

4. Configure Controller/ Agent as usual. Puhh.. Done..



Team Foundation Server 2013 Customization

Team Foundation Server 2013 Customization

New book on TFS 2013, cutomization written by Gordon Beeming, talks about all the possible customization of TFS, at one place, which is good. This book is kind of quicker reckoner for any particular. However if you are looking for details and limitations/ drawbacks/ benefits of each customization in detail, this book misses that information.