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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


Book Review: Pro Team Foundation Service


Team Foundation Service is Microsoft's hosted version of Team Foundation Server in the cloud. It has been around for a while but it is now called Visual Studio Online. If you've never tried Team Foundation Server, using Team Foundation Service or Visual Studio Online is the best way to get started. If your project has less than 5 users, you can use this service for free. All you need is a Microsoft account to get yourself a cloud-based Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solution.

Team Foundation Service provides importantly version control, a build system and Agile planning tools. It is a very useful but complex product as it provides a lot of options. If you're a complete newbie to TFS, it'll take some effort to wrap your head around Team Foundation Service jargon and some time to experiment and put it to practice. Next to the official Getting Started documentation, the book, Pro Team Foundation Service by Mattias Olausson, Joakim Rossberg, Jakob Ehn and Mattias Sk├Âld is the most exhaustive resource I have found. It is possibly the only comprehensive non-Microsoft resource currently available on Team Foundation Service.

This book is special because it provides adequate context on Agile and Visual Studio topics relevant to Application Lifecycle Management for even beginners to get started. This must have been a tough book to write as Team Foundation Service being software provided as a service, Microsoft deploys a new version every third week, with new improvements and features. If the authors (and no wonder there were multiple authors) had taken a longer time writing this book, it would have been called Pro Visual Studio Online!

Team Foundation Service offers 2 different source control systems:
  • Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC)
  • Git - a distributed source control system
It offers 3 development process templates:
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Scrum
  • Microsoft Solution Framework (MSF) for Agile
  • MSF for Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)
I was interested in TFVC & Scrum and this book covers those topics as well as the TFS functions of Requirements gathering, Version Control, Build Automation, Continuous Integration pretty well. This book has helpful ALM  tips & best practices. From some of the screenshots in the book, it appears that Team Foundation Service was used to plan & track the writing of this book. This is an interesting use of Team Foundation Service similar to how GitHub is being used for non-software projects.

This isn't a perfect book as it has little imperfections but I'm glad this book exists as it meaningfully collates a lot of information all at one place and saves you from scouring the Internet to make sense of  Team Foundation Service.

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