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Building on the Cloud: The Team Foundation Services Story Continues...


March 27, 2012

Microsoft is making of noise around Team Foundation Server (TFS). Just recently they announced a new version of TFS to help small development shops. The TFS Express Edition provides small shops of five or six developers to be able to tap into some of the features of TFS. Prior to that Microsoft had announced the ability to use cloud-based TFS services. Today they made yet another announcement.

Microsoft’s Brian Harry, Technical Fellow, presented a change to Team Foundation Services. TF Services is most of what is available from Team Foundation Server, but running on the Cloud (Azure). At the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) last year, Microsoft announced this service publicly and opened up a preview. To access the preview, you had to get an invitation code. These codes were easily available on the TF Services preview site.

Today at both DevConnections and VSLive!, they announced a new Build Service that has been added to TF Services. While you can set up your own build service in TFS, what is new is the addition of build services to Team Foundation Services. With TF Services Build Services, you don’t have to do any setup. Microsoft has preconfigured the build environment. They have taken care of making sure the software is patched and up-to-date. You simply use the service.

Of course, if the configuration isn’t exactly what you want — say you don't want the latest updates or the latest version of an API, then you would need to set up a NuGet package or MSI task as part of your build. Of course, this will slow down your build. The point, however, is that do have some ability to make the build service work the way you need it to.

This new build service is now available. Existing accounts that have TF Services will have this enabled on their accounts today. New account will come with it.

If you want to try out the new build service, you can request an invitation code by going to the TFS site. Note there is no charge for these services; however, the software is only a preview.

For more information, check out Brian Harry’s blog.

It is worth noting that Microsoft is evolving Team Foundation Server in much the same way other companies are evolving software products. The box product that comes on a DVD or in a box is starting to disappear. The Internet has been taking the place of the distribution channel. Now, with the Cloud, the Internet is also becoming the place where products can live and be hosted. It is safe to assume that more products from Microsoft and other companies will likely be following this same path from box product to services in the Cloud.

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