CI Experience Futures

Chris Patterson (MSFT)

Today we updated the VSO features timeline with some investments we are making in Team Build.  This list is not comprehensive but does cover some of the larger and more interesting features as well as some small things that were missing in the first release of the new version of Team Build.

Team Build Missing Features

With VSO and TFS 2015 we introduced a new version of Team Build that has some great new capabilities, however, we didn’t have time to finish all of the features to bring it to parity with our Xaml build system.  These include, label sources, associate work items and gated builds for Tfvc.  Over the next few months we’ll be delivering these on VSO and then in TFS.

Better Build Resource Management and Visibility

One of the significant improvements in Team Build was the ability to pool agents at your account or server level and make those agents available to multiple project collections.  However, one of the downsides of this broad resource sharing is greater difficulty in determining what your build is waiting on and what resources are being used within the pools. 

Second we have a lot of customers who use very large team projects with many teams working together in them.  With this configuration it is not uncommon to have several pools of agents that you want to partition to different teams. To enable this scenario, we are introducing access control on build queues so you can control which users can configure build definitions to used certain queues.

Improved Visibility into Build Quality and Test Results

Team Build has always had the ability to run unit tests as part of your build definition and the result of those tests are automatically published to VSO and TFS for later analysis.  The analysis experience, however, has been a little limited and requires a lot of extra clicks to get to the results.  To make this better for our users we are bringing the test results much more front and center in the build summary.  You will be able to quickly see test failures and their actionable data.

Along with the test results investment we will enable richer code coverage reports.  We are updating our built-in Ant and Maven tasks with easy configuration for popular code coverage tools, updating the code coverage view for the Visual Studio code coverage engine and enabling you to publish the static code coverage reports generated by many tools.

Build Extensibility Improvements

With the new Team Build we introduced a new extensibility model that provides a very straight forward way to add your own steps to your build definitions. While the tasks are nice there are many cases where you want to have some specific data your task produces rendered on the build summary.  With this new extensibility you will have two options to extend the summary. 

The first option is a very simple markdown document that is very similar to the custom summary section from XAML build.  The second is a VSO App Extension that will let you render a new tab on the summary and give you full control over the layout of the information in that tab

Finally, we will enable VSO Extension to include build tasks.  This enables you to create a single package that delivers your custom build tasks and UI extensions.

Cross Platform

One of the biggest new capabilities of the new Team Build is the ability to run builds on platforms other than windows.  At the time TFS 2015 shipped our xplat agent lagged a little behind the Windows agent.  If you have kept an eye on our repository we have shipped a number of updates to reduce that gap.  We will continue to close the gap with things like Tfvc support.

In order to make it easier for customers to adopt VSO and TFS we need to make it easier by not requiring you to pick up everything at once.  One example of this is our support for building Github repositories using VSO.  Continuing on that theme we will bring support for building Subversion repositories in TFS 2015 and VSO.

Build Experience Fit and Finish

With TFS 2015 and VSO we have moved almost all of the build experience into the web.  As part of that move we created a lot of new experiences and some of them are a little rough and not as intuitive as we would like. We are working hard to improve all of the experiences so keep your eye on the deployments as we deliver the incremental updates each sprint.

We are excited to bring these new features and many others to you over the next few months and I look forward to your feedback.


Chris Patterson


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