A developer environment is typically a development machine where the product sources and corresponding unit tests are present in an enlistment. Many a times, a developer may need to block their feature development in order to run unit tests for some of the bugs in their queue. It is a productivity blocker because many instances of unit tests needs to be run in unattended mode[ in case of Functional tests specially ]

Visual Studio Team Test [VSTT] comes to the rescue in these situations !

VSTT encompasses a Test Controller-Test Agent setup for facilitating Remote Execution of automated tests. The following will briefly give an idea of the High level architecture .

Prerequisites :
  • Development machine has Visual Studio Team System installed with product and test sources
  • A Test machine that is a mimic of the Developer machine [ where the tests will be run ]
Setting up the Controller - Agent :
  • Install VSTT Controller on the Developer machine using the below steps and configure it appropriately
  1. Enter the credentials, in case the tests needs to be run on a different credential from Network Service
  2. Apply Settings


  • Install VSTT Agent on the test machine, which is already setup with all the needed configuration and settings for the unit tests to run
    1. Enter the credentials, in case the tests needs to be run on a different credential from Network Service
    2. Connect the Agent to the configured Controller which is setup above
    3. Apply Settings


Note : In case of running Automated UI tests [ or CodedUITest ], the Agent should be running as an Interactive process instead on Service to act on the UI Components under desktop.

Running Test using Controller - Agent :
  • Open the product sources in Visual Studio along with the corresponding test entities [ including *.testSettings ]
  • Open Test-Settings file and Click on Role, and Select "Remote Execution" and Enter the Test Controller machine name .


  • In order to control the load on each of the agents, we can Filter the Agents in which the tests needs to run by giving a Attribute Name and Value condition. These Attributes are assigned via "Manage Test Controllers" options under "Test" menu in Visual-Studio IDE


  • Start running tests from Test View and see the results in "Test Results" pane.
Advanced Options :

Controller - Agent setup allows the test to collect more information from the test machine using "Data Collectors"

  1. Some of the Data Collectors are Event Log, System Information and Code-coverage
Deployment :
  1. Test Binaries and dependant binaries needs to be given as Deployment Files and Folders in Test settings
  2. So the best practice would be to build the solution with Outdir path set in Build Command and use the corresponding Folder in Test settings

Note : The Symbol “*” beside the name of the Agent indicates that it is running as an Interactive process and is ready top run CodedUITest or any Automated tests that interacts with desktop