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Microsoft puts more team into Visual Studio Team Services

Paul Krill | Jan. 30, 2017
The cloud-based ALM service also adds improvements for mobile access, Git repos, and Node.js

Microsoft's Visual Studio Team Services cloud-based application lifecycle management service is being fitted with improvements in team alignment and deployment, mobile access, Git repos, and Node.js capabilities.

The enterprise agile Delivery Plans feature previewed this week helps align teams by overlaying several backlogs onto a delivery schedule, or iterations. Users can tailor plans to include the backlogs, teams, and work items they want to view, and interactive plans allow for adjustments as projects proceed. Featured as part of sprint 112 of Team Services, the Delivery Plans extension is available at the Visual Studio Marketplace.

"This feature is designed to enable you to look across teams and see how work is aligned," Microsoft's Brian Harry, vice president for cloud developer services, said. "This is still a very early preview, and we have lots of plans to continue to evolve it, but there's enough functionality there for you to try it and start giving feedback."

Microsoft also is releasing a preview of a mobile-friendly work item form for Team Services. The form is accessible on a mobile device via @mentions or by accessing work items from within new account pages. Optimized controls like area and iteration selectors, multiline text fields, and tag creation/removal history are included. Microsoft is still working on optimization, mobile pull requests, views, and other functions.

With the upgrade, Microsoft is fulfilling a common request by offering finer-grained permissions on Git repos. Users can be given permissions to create repos without having full administrative control over them.

Team Services also is set to add a capability to run build tests using Visual Studio 2017, an upgrade to the IDE that's now in a release candidate stage. For Node.js and JavaScript, Team Server feeds will be able to transparently proxy and cache feeds from npmjs.com, the Node package manager; developers will only need to download a package once, with future requests for that package served directly from a Team Services account.

Other improvements rolled out in Team Services during the next week include a build editor that simplifies build definition creation, and branch policy capabilities that group required and optional policies into sections for better clarity. Microsoft also is improving the comments capability for pull requests, with additional decorations to identify new comments. Most improvements offered in Team Services will make it into the behind-the-firewall Team Foundation Server ALM server with TFS 2017 Update 1.

 

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