New Book: Pro Team Foundation Service

The last couple of months I have been working together with Mathias Olausson, Mattias Sköld and Joachim Rossberg on a new book project for Apress that has just been published. The book is called Pro Team Foundation Service and covers all aspects of working with Team Foundation Service, Microsoft’s hosted version of Team Foundation Server in the cloud. I have mainly worked on the chapter related to automated build and continuous deployment, but also with some of the other chapters.

It has been a quite hectic  project due to a tight schedule, but at the same time it has been a lot of fun to work on this book together with late night meetings and weekends filled with book writing and chapter editing.

During the project we’ve had great help from several people at Microsoft, Jamie Cool, Will Smythe, Anutthara Bharadwaj, Ed Blankenship and Vijay Machiraju. Also a big thanks to Brian Harry for writing the foreword to the book. In addition I’d like to thank my colleague Terje Sandstrøm for helping out with Technical Review of large parts of the book.

Here is some information about the book, you can find it on Amazon here:

Check it out and let us know what you think!


Pro Team Foundation Service gives you a jump-start into Microsoft’s cloud-based ALM platform, taking you through the different stages of software development. Every project needs to plan, develop, test and release software and with agile practices often at a higher pace than ever before.
Microsoft’s Team Foundation Service is a cloud-based platform that gives you tools for agile planning and work tracking. It has a code repository that can be used not only from Visual Studio but from Java platforms and Mac OS X. The testing tools allow testers to start testing at the same time as developers start developing. The book also covers how to set up automated practices such as build, deploy and test workflows.

This book:

· Takes you through the major stages in a software development project.

· Gives practical development guidance for the whole team.

· Enables you to quickly get started with modern development practices.

With Microsoft Team Foundation Service comes a collaboration platform that gives you and your team the tools to better perform your tasks in a fully integrated way.

What you’ll learn

· What ALM is and what it can do for you.

· Leverage a cloud-based ALM platform for quick improvements in your development process.

· Improve your agile development process using integrated tools and practices.

· Develop automated build, deployment and testing processes.

· Integrate different development tools with one collaboration platform.

· Get started with ALM best-practices first time round.

Who this book is for

Pro Team Foundation Service is for any development team that wants to take their development practices to the next level. Microsoft Team Foundation Service is an excellent platform for managing the entire application development lifecycle and being a cloud-based offering it is very easy to get started. Pro Team Foundation Service is a great guide for anyone in a team who wants to get started with the service and wants to get expert guidance to do it right.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction to Application Lifecycle Management

2. Introduction to Agile Planning, Development, and Testing

3. Deciding on a Hosted Service

4. Getting Started

5. Working with the Initial Product Backlog

6. Managing Team and Alerts

7. Initial Sprint Planning

8. Running the Sprint 

9. Kanban

10. Engaging the Customer

11. Choosing Source Control Options

12. Working with Team Foundation Version Control in Visual Studio

13. Working with Git in Visual Studio

14. Working in Heterogeneous Environments

15. Configuring Build Services

16. Working with Builds

17. Customizing Builds

18. Continuous Deployment

19. Agile Testing

20. Test Management

21. Lab Management

Extending Team Explorer 2012 – Associating Recent Work Items

Extension available at:


I have been playing around a bit lately with extending Team Explorer 2012, mostly because it is fun but also to fix a little nagging feature that should have been there from the beginning. Often I (and a lot of other people) find myself wanting to associate several consecutive changesets to the same work item. The problem is that Team Explorer does not remember this, instead I have to either remember the ID or use a query that hopefully will match the work item.

Where is the work item that I just associated with?
True, when using the My Work page and the teams and sprint backlogs are correctly setup, you can find “your” work items there, but every so often this is not the case, and off I go to locate that work item again.

So this seemed to be a good feature to implement and at the same time learn a little about how to extend Team Explorer in Visual Studio 2012.

There is a great sample posted by Microsoft over at MSDN, it also talks about the main extension points and classes/interfaces that you need to know about. You can find it here: If you have developed extensions to Visual Studio before, you will be relieved to know that this new extension model for Team Explorer is purely based on standard .NET/WPF and MEF, no weird COM interfaces.

You can add new pages to Team Explorer, you can add new sections to existing pages and you can add navigation links to the Home screen. All these extensions are discovered by Team Explorer using the Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF). You just need to attribute your classes with the correct attribute and it will be found by Team Explorer. The attributes also control where your extension will appear. This extension is a Section that should appear inside the Pending Changes page:

Example of attributing a Team Explorer extension

The last property (35) is a priority number that controls when the extension is created and also where it will placed relative to the other sections. The existing Related Work Items section has priority 30, so 35 will place our extension right below it.

We also need to implement the ITeamExplorerSection interface, that contains properties and methods that needs to be implemented for anything to show up.

ITeamExplorerSection interface

The most interesting property here  is the SectionContent property which is where you return the content of your extensions. This is typically a WPF user control in which you can add any controls you like. 

This is how the extension appear inside the Pending Changes page. It will analyze your recent changesets in the current team project and extract the last 5 associated work items and show them in a list.
From the list you can then easily add a work item to the current pending changes by right-clicking on it and select Add. You’ll note that the work item will then disappear from the list, since you are not likely interested in adding it again.


Recently Associated Work Item section

I encourage you to read the MSDN article for more information about the possibilities to extend Team Explorer 2012. Also, try out the extension and let me know it you find it useful!