March 12th Update


Today, we pushed a small update to the hosted Team Foundation Service, and I wanted to share some insight into our update cadence and what’s new in this particular release. We’re going to be blogging about all of our interesting updates so that you can have an idea about what’s new and pertinent to your use.

As you may know, we’ve been working to accelerate our release cadence for the hosted service, so that we can deliver new value to customers earlier, and so that changes to the product are more evolutionary than revolutionary. We’re currently set up to publish updates every Monday. Since our team works on 3 week sprints, most of the meaningful changes will come on a 3 week update cadence, with primarily bug fixes and small operational enhancements on the Mondays in between.

Today’s update includes one of our 3 week sprint payloads. That said, we didn’t do a ton of visible work on the hosted service last sprint, so there isn’t a lot to showcase in this post. At this point in our development cycle, the TFS team is focused heavily on finishing up on-premises TFS 11. We’re reacting to beta feedback, fixing bugs, and finalizing various out-of-band items like power tools, the TFS integration platform, and compatibility patches. We’re also incubating various operational improvements and some architectural work for the service, but those aren’t very user visible, and much of it is happening in a separate code branch that isn’t yet going to production.

So, that leaves me with 2 items to share for this update:

Updated Terms of Service

Okay, I admit this isn’t the kind of improvement that gets me jazzed about a service update, but we’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about whether people could use the service for production projects. While we’ve encouraged that from the beginning, the existing terms of service were pretty confusing on the subject. We decided we could do better, and the lawyers were great about clarifying things. It’s still a legal document, so it still doesn’t read like a children’s book, and there are plenty of liability disclaimers as you get with all of these documents, but it very clearly states that you can use the service in production. Give it a read, and check out section 3.3 for the production rights details.

Expansion Helpers for Area & Iteration Team Settings

When your area and iteration hierarchies get large, it can become challenging to work with the tree view where you specify the area and iteration nodes that are relevant to your team’s backlog and taskboard. This is mostly a problem for larger teams, or teams within teams, but I’ll tell you we suffer it in spades. The devs added some simple auto-expansion buttons in the UI to toggle through a couple common states, making it much easier to find the tree nodes that are relevant for you. Here’s a screenshot; you’ll find it under your team settings in the administration UI:


And, that is it for this particular update. Look for more in the coming weeks as we continue to ship on this accelerated cadence and work toward even more frequent updates in the future. If you aren’t already using our hosted Team Foundation Service, you can sign up for an invitation code at or ask a friend who has an account to share their 5-use friend code with you. If you’re not ready to jump in but just want to know more, check out the videos and the beginners guide for the high level details.


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