As you probably already know, Orcas Beta 1 has shipped.  Internally, the product team is focused on finding and fixing bugs for beta 2 (and has been for nearly a month now).

The release includes a Virtual PC image with all of Visual Studio Team System plus Team Foundation Server, which you can download now.  There's also an image that has only VSTS on it, but that's not nearly so interesting, right?  ;-)

Be sure to read all of the instructions on the download page.  The release is in the form of a base image, which was also used for the March CTP, and a differencing disk image with the Orcas release on it.  If you've already gotten the base image from the CTP, you don't have to download it again.

From Brian's updated roadmap, here's the high-level list of features in Orcas Team Build beta 1.  Items marked as "new" were not in the March Orcas CTP.  I've added links to blog posts for each of the features.

Build (interview/demo, screencasts)

  • Support multi-threaded builds with the new MSBuild.
  • Continuous Integration – There are many components to this, including build queuing and queue management, drop management (so that users can set policies for when builds should be automatically deleted), and build triggers that allows configuration of exactly how when CI builds should be triggered, for example – every checkin, rolling build (completion of one build starts the next), etc.
  • Improved ability to specify what source, versions of source, and other build properties (BuildStep task, GetBuildProperties and SetBuildProperties tasks).
  • Improved extensibility of the build targets – such as ability to easily execute targets before and after each solution/project is built.
  • Improved ability to manage multiple build machines (see extensibility, screencast).
  • Stop and delete builds from within VS.
  • .NET Object model for programming against the build server (another example; using it via PowerShell: here, here, and here).
  • Simplified ability to specify what tests get run as part of a build (TestContainer support is in Orcas).
  • The ability to store build definitions anywhere in the version control hierarchy (see extensibility).
  • Scheduled builds (new) - You can schedule builds to happen at specified times.
  • Improved build agent communication (new) - We replaced .NET binary remoting with WCF web services, simplifying some configuration and security aspects.
  • Ability to run GUI tests as part of a build (new) - Automated builds used to run tests in such a way as to prevent access to a GUI desktop.
  • New checkin policy for broken CI builds (new) - Preventing checkin while the CI build is broken.

We've made a very large number of improvements to the build process in the form of overridable targets, properties, and new tasks.  We made a substantial effort to address many of the issues that have come up in the MSDN build automation forum where things were either not possible in v1 or required hacks.  We hope that our efforts in Orcas will show that we are listening and responding.

In beta 2, there is support for client certificates (X.509) and HTTPS communication from the application tier to the build agent.  The result of our work there is that it's much easier to have a build agent exposed to the internet.  Our extranet support in build is still not as good as it should be, so there will likely be more work in this area in Rosario.  The changes in Orcas beta 2 are a big improvement, though.

There are a few areas without links, and I plan to update this post with those links as I write about them.