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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Today at the BUILD conference, we announced availability of our Windows Azure based Visual Studio Team Foundation Service Preview. If you’ve been following my blog, then you know we’ve been working on it for a while now. We’ve had a private preview going for the past several months and are up to several hundred users. We’re ready to take the next step and open it up to a broader audience. As part of the announcement at the BUILD conference we gave invitation codes to all attendees to sign up for an account.
Everyone who signs up for an account can invite as many people as they like to use it with them. In addition, everyone who gets an account can get another invitation code that they can hand out to 5 friends for them to create their own accounts.
Now you are thinking to yourself: Dang! I didn’t go to BUILD. What do I do? You’re not totally left out in the cold J I’ve included below a registration code you can use. It’s good for the first 250 people that use it. Each of those 250 people get the same benefits I described above (creating a project, inviting friends and handing out 5 accounts to friends).
250 use activation code: “bharry”
To use the code, visit http://tfspreview.com. Below you’ll find a walk through of the sign up experience.
Our hosted TFS Service is a quick and easy way to get started with TFS. In only a few minutes, you can have an account and be productive with your team regardless of where they are around the world. It takes away the time and hassle of arranging for hardware, installing software, providing network infrastructure, etc. The service takes care of all of that for you and lets you focus on your project.
Although the service is pre-release at this time and is not complete, much of the TFS functionality works today. You can use:
You can use most of the TFS clients – including VS 2010 and Test Professional 2010 (with an available client patch), VS 11 (CTP to be available soon), Team Explorer Everywhere (compatible update available here), Microsoft Office integration, etc.
To try out our TFS service yourself, browse to http://tfspreview.com. You’ll be greeted with this screen (though the video will have changed by then):
You can watch the video (hosted from Channel 9) to learn more and when you are ready, just click Create Account. You should see the sign up screen. Here I’ve entered and account name (bharryblog) in the server url field. And an invitation code (bharry) to authorize me to create an account. If you attended the BUILD conference, please use the invitation code you received in your goodies bag. Accept the terms of service and then click Sign Up.
You’ll need to sign in with a Windows Live ID. Note, you can only create one account per Windows Live ID.
And it will walk you through the steps. Your account is created (make sure to make note of the url to get you to your account) but you need to create your first project. Do that by clicking create team project.
And that will allow you to name your Team Project and choose a process template. When you have filled out the form, click Create Project.
You’ll get a progress dialog:
And a completion screen:
At this point you can go one of two directions. You can click “My Team home page” and begin playing around with the web experience. Or you can click close and download the VS client patch. The simplest flow (and what I show below) is to go to the Team home page. You can download the client patch later. If you choose to close this and go download the client, you just need to be aware that you are left in “administration mode” in the web UI and need to click the “EXIT ADMINISTRATION” link in the upper right to get back to “normal” mode. Our usability studies have told us this is not intuitive and we plan to fix it for the next update. If you click the My Team home page, you’ll see your team’s home page and you are ready to explore the product.
Enjoy and don’t forget my overview post on the Agile Project Management features. I’ll write more in subsequent posts. Once you’ve played around, you can invite others to join your project by selecting your project in the upper left of the nav area and choosing Manage teams and project groups.
Select your team (or or other group you want to add them to, but your team is easiest) and click add members.
Type their Live ID and click Save Changes. Note you are in administration mode in the UI and you need to click EXIT ADMINISTRATION in the upper right to get back to “normal” mode. Did I mention we’d be improving that? Roughly speaking you can add as many people as you like to your account.
Or if you want to invite a friend to create their own account, you can click the ADMINISTRATION link on the upper right and select ACCOUNT in the nav area. On the lower right, you can click on “invite others” and it will generate an invitation code (good for 5 accounts).
As I mentioned earlier, this release is a preview and the product is not yet complete. Most of the functionality is in place but I want to mention a few notable things that are not yet available:
If you find anything else that seems to be missing and you want to know if it’s a bug or simply an unfinished feature, let me know.
We’ve been running the service for months now and it’s been working reliably. I suspect now that they can talk about it, you’ll be able to find some of our early adopters blogging about their experiences. But, like the product, the service isn’t fully finished yet either and there are some things to be aware of:
Overall, I think you’ll be very pleased with the service. The feedback from our early adopters has been very positive. Most have reported very good availability and performance.
We very much want your feedback on the service. Feedback comes in many forms and we’ve provided a number of avenues for you to provide it:
Feature suggestions: http://visualstudio.uservoice.com
Bug reports: http://connect.microsoft.com
Support questions: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/TFService/threads
Eventually, we plan to have a nice self-service way for you to check on the status of the service and make sure everything is running smoothly (to help you determine if a problem you are seeing is service wide or specific to you). For now, we’ll be using a blog to keep you informed about the state of the service. You will find it here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/TFService. You can also use this Twitter url: http://twitter.com/#!/tfservice.
And, of course, I’m always here on my blog to help you if I can.
It’s an exciting time for us. We’ve been working hard on getting this service ready and we’re thrilled to be able to offer it for you all to try it out. We’re eagerly awaiting your feedback and, at the same time, working hard on the next update already. One of the things that you’ll find is that a service is very different from an on-premises product from a release cadence stand point. Right now we are upgrading the service with new capabilities about every 2-3 months. We’re working on further decreasing that cycle time but you should expect us to keep bringing you fresh capabilities and reacting to your feedback on a pretty regular basis.