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 we are updating the Team Foundation Service (running on Azure) with a new build. You can read more about the features in the new update on the Visual Studio ALM blog. The process of updating all of the accounts is ongoing as I type this. It will take most of the day and maybe into tomorrow to finish updating them all. In the meantime, you’ll see much of the new UI but if your account hasn’t yet been updated, you won’t see all the features.
We started the service in April of this year and ran a private pilot program for several months. Then, at the BUILD conference in September, we announced it and made available a bunch of registration codes for people to try it out. Since then the service has continued to grow. We’ve been giving out new registration codes at conferences (I gave out several hundred in Europe over the last couple of weeks) and people have been sharing the “social codes” they get when they sign up for an account.
All in all, the feedback has been good – meaning both that people seem to like it and that they have good ideas on how we can improve it. As part of transitioning from just building an on premises product to also building a cloud service, we’ve been changing the way we think about developing and releasing software. Since the build conference, we’ve managed to get to a cadence of weekly updates to the service. For now these updates are just bug fixes and operational improvements but it’s significant that we’ve gotten the development, QA and release cycle down to updating every week. Our larger updates, like this one, are less frequent. We’ve been updating the service about every 3 months since we launched it in April with significant new feature work.
Of course, “significant” takes on a different meaning when you are talking about a few month’s worth of work rather than a couple of years . We are now trying to transition our “major” update cycle to monthly. I won’t promise that we’ll have major new features every month but we’re going to try to move to a cadence where we have new features show up in more months than not. We’ll see. This whole exercise is a bit of a learning experience for us and it’s been both fun and exciting. At the last couple of conferences I’ve spoken at, I’ve started to share some of our learnings from moving to delivering a service. Sometime in the next few weeks I’ll try to write up a blog post about it.
By tomorrow afternoon I’ll be posting another registration code that new people can use to get an account. Stay tuned.
As always, we look forward to your feedback.