The evolution of Microsoft’s solution for Application Lifecycle Management: Team Foundation Server – Part VI

Part I: Introduction

Part II: Diving into the basics of ALM and how did Microsoft start with an ALM solution?

Part III: Heterogeneous Software Development

Part IV: A fully integrated testing experience with TFS 2010

Part V: TFS 2012 and Continuous Value Delivery

Part VI: TFS 2013 and Visual Studio Online

The latest release of Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server (Visual Studio 2013) will empower development teams to live up to the demand of a new breed of applications, to develop and manage modern software that provides the best experience across multiple screens and devices, always-connected services. The wave of extra ALM features will help to become more productive and eases the collaboration between team members with improved support for agile development practices: Agile Portfolio Management, Team Rooms, Test Management from the browser, Work Item Charting, on-premises support for Git repositories, Code Health Indicators (CodeLens), Cloud Load Testing via Team Foundation Service, the connected IDE experience across all your Visual Studio instances …



An important trend which continued to be reflected in the 2013 release is the improved integration towards other Microsoft products (for example System Center and Windows Azure). In that respect we will probably also see some upcoming modifications in the integration with InRelease, a release management solution from InCycle. Microsoft reached an agreement to acquire InRelease on June 3, 2013. The solution allowed software development teams to automatically deploy and track applications (from Team Foundation Server) as a whole to multiple environments – up to production – based on a business-approval workflow.


While the official release of Visual Studio 2013 was planned on November 13 with the Launch Event, the RTM bits were already made available on October 17, 2013.

Before the official release, the public could experience already the more tight integration with Windows Azure. For example:

Visual Studio Online

But, important new announcements were made at the official Launch Event. Team Foundation Service became Visual Studio Online in the perspective of broadening the complete offering to indicate that Visual Studio Online will become the services component of the developer tools for the future.


Visual Studio Online, formerly Team Foundation Service, is the home for your project data in the cloud. Get up and running in minutes on our cloud infrastructure without having to install or configure a single server. Set up an environment that includes everything from hosted Git repos and project tracking tools, to continuous integration and an IDE, all packaged up in a monthly per-user plan. Connect to your project in the cloud using your favorite development tool, such as Visual Studio, Eclipse or Xcode.

Visual Studio Online is now running in Commercial Preview mode (paid usage is enabled and price plans have been announced) and will shift to General Availability somewhere in 2014, after all billing services have been put into place. Until that time, everyone may still freely use the system as an early adopter. Cloud Build and Cloud Load Testing as described above are already part of the released features of the service, while 2 new preview features have also been announced at the Visual Studio 2013 Launch event: Application Insights and Monaco.

Application Insights, Build-Measure-Learn

This Visual Studio Online feature now provides a 360 degree view of running applications by collecting, processing and displaying a wide variety of telemetry in three areas: performance, usage and availability.


Without any effort during the development lifecycle (seamless integration experience), development teams will benefit from the extensive set of collected diagnostics to analyze what’s going on in their deployed applications. With these valuable insights, future (to-be-developed) improvements can be more focused and impactful. Application Insights will be able to deliver the required metrics to adopt validated learning and to move into a real Build-Measure-Learn cycle.

Monaco, Visual Studio in the browser

In an attempt to bring the client development experience in Visual Studio to the cloud, Microsoft released a preview of Monaco which immediately enables the development of Windows Azure Websites directly from any modern browser on any device. It complements the Visual Studio desktop IDE as a low-friction entry point that will help any developer to get started or make quick changes to an existing cloud service. It has support for C#, VB.NET, HTML5, JavaScript applications and PHP.


Time to wrap-up this article on the evolution of ALM/TFS in the final Part VII.

Part VII: Conclusion


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