VST08-Automate Your Builds with Visual Studio Online or Team Foundation Server


Thanks for attending my session at Visual Studio Live Orlando.

The intention of this post is to add some information and give pointers to some details that could fit due to time constraints and to give some details about specific questions attendees have asked my during or after the presentation.

If you noticed, I’ve never once in my talk, mentioned DevOps, while a build system is obviously DevOps, it is something that is an important piece of DevOps. If you didn’t had the chance to attend Don Jones & Brian Randell keynote about DevOps, you should take a chance to see it online.

Team Foundation Build 2015 (v.next)

This is the starting document learn about team build, and it has overview what team build is and has all the resources how to build a bunch of different project types (Visual Studio, Java, XCode, Cordova) how to deploy code to Azure, references to detailed documentation about Team Build and a detailed description of the (currently) available build tasks.

If you are still using the (now old) XAML builds and wondering if you should switch (you, should but don’t take my word for it)

Colin has written a nice post explaining why you should switch to build vnext

But don’t worry, you have plenty of time and you can do it in small steps. XAML builds can exist side by side with the new build system.

Felllow MVP Jeff Bramwell has put a great list of resources on the Team Foundation Build References blog post which also includes videos

Concepts and configuration

Some basic concepts

Understanding Pools and Queues in VSO

Understand how you can manage permissions queues Custom Build Task Permissions in VSO

Understand how TFS/VSTS chooses which build agent to use based on capabilities and demands in the post Using the Build vNext capabilities and demands system and learn how you register capabilities on your build and release management agents


Adding tasks

If the provided tasks are not enough you can install more tasks.

For example some available on github

Or just head to the markeplace and install them into your account(s) easily with a few clicks


Build your own tasks

If you wish to create your own tasks here are some resources to get you started

Developing a Custom Build vNext Task: Part 1

Developing a Custom Build vNext Task: Part 2

Since last week you can also package your build tasks as a VSTS extension

Remember all the tasks shipping with TFS and available on Visual Studio Team Services are available as open source on githib

The task I demoed on the session is also available in github


Other Features


How to create build badges for your build on these are great to add on the your team dashboards (for example using a markdown widget)


XPlat MACOS builds


On my session I did a demo how to build an objective C IOS application built in XCode. For that I’ve used the Xplat agent running in a Mac Mini, a day after my talk Microsoft announced on the Connect event the MacinCloud offering an hosted Mac OS build agent. (see the announcement)




One of the attendees asked if I was going to make available my End to End build demo, unfortunately it is not possible to export a build definition

However I’ve documented the end to end demo here

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