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.

Unattended TFS server installation?

Is it possible to deploy Farm based TFS Server deployment?

Answer is Yes, you can do the Basic, Standard or even advanced setup installation and configuration of TFS unattended.

look for tfsconfig command for details. This exe is available at :

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Team Foundation Server X.0\Tools\

X is your TFS version number. For example for TFS 2013 it would be 12.

The whole installation and deployment is very quick.

You get the complete control over options to configure something similar you do using wizard.


Cool feature and very – very handy for TFS Admin..


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..



New WorkItem Type but Hidden in Microsoft TFS 2012

I assume The reader has basic understanding of what is Work item type in TFS and how to create a new work item type.

Else visit


Sometimes we need to create a new WorkItem type but do want to allow user to have direct access to create entries in it as we do with Task WI or Bug WI.

In my case i wanted to maintain a build register but was not willing to allow any user to create a new item in it.

You can hide a WI Type by modifying the Categories in Process Template.

Download the process template on your local machine.

Search for categories.xml file.

Open it in Notepad

Add entry for new WIT in the section where you find: Hidden Types Category

In this section, add a new entry for Build Register and you are done..

<CATEGORY name=”Hidden Types Category” refname=”Microsoft.HiddenCategory”>
<DEFAULTWORKITEMTYPE name=”Code Review Request” />
<WORKITEMTYPE name=”Code Review Response” />
<WORKITEMTYPE name=”Feedback Request” />
<WORKITEMTYPE name=”Feedback Response” />
<WORKITEMTYPE name=”Shared Steps” />

    <WORKITEMTYPE name=”Build Register” />

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.

Best ALM Tools in Market

Time-to-market pressure is driving the application development life cycle management market to evolve and expand.
The application development life cycle management (ADLM) tool market is focused on the planning and governance activities of the software development life cycle (SDLC).

Key elements of an ADLM solution include:
Software requirements definition and management
Software change and configuration management
Software project planning, with a current focus on agile planning
Work item management
Quality management, including defect management

In addition, other key capabilities include:
Integration to version management
Support for wikis and collaboration
Strong facilities for integration to other ADLM tools
Survey conducted by a reknowned group, came up with this:


Clearly TFS by Microsoft is the market leader.

TFS Build customization: Validate Code and Design Quality as you build.

Validating the quality of the code and the design of the application is as important as creating the build.

TFS 2010 and onwards, provide 2 ways to integrate 3rd party tools with build process for validating the build quality:

–>Build Activity

–>Custom build event

For first option, since the TFS build is now WWF based, build template is modified to configure parameters. These parameters work as input for validating the metrics. 3rd party tool use these parameters and generate a report that is again consumed by build process. Based on the report the final build may be passes or failed.

In custom build event method, Post Build Event of project is modified to call the 3rd party tool. If the build pass the metrics test of 3rd party tool, the final build dll are copied to a particular location, signifying the build dll has passed the metric test.