Everything you want to know about Visual Studio ALM and Farming
Brian Harry is a Microsoft Technical Fellow working as the Product Unit Manager for Team Foundation Server. Learn more about Brian.
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One of the fairly common requests we get is for some way to organize build definitions. If you have more than a dozen or two build definitions in a single Team Project, the Team Explorer starts to get unwieldy. At our MVP Summit a couple of months ago, one of our MVPs presented a cool Team Explorer extension he had built for organizing build definitions. I was really impressed with how simple it was.
Basically he just recognizes a naming convention for build definitions and presents them as folders. So, for instance, a build definition called Foo.Bar.Baz would be rendered as:
The “.” is a separator character (he made it configurable, of course). I just installed it and opened up our DevDiv dogfood server just to see what it would look like. It turns out, completely coincidentally, we had already been using “.” as a way to categorize our build definitions, so when I opened up Terje’s extension, I automatically had some nice organization. Here’s a screenshot of our Team Explorer window with a few folders expanded.
One nice thing about this tool is that not everyone has to use it. Because it just uses naming convention, people who don’t have the tool installed just see build definitions with “.”s in the name and everything keeps working. It’s a very cool tool and has been very stable in my limited use of it. I encourage you to check it out if you have lots of build definitions.
For our next major version, we are looking at Team Explorer improvements and among them will be improved ways to manage build definitions. Until this, this add-on looks like a great solution.