Team Foundation Server (TFS) “15” Preview

A couple of weeks ago, the Visual Studio team announced and released Team Foundation Server (TFS) “15” Preview. This release includes recent product breakthroughs and advancements that had been available in VSTS (Visual Studio Team Services) and are now available for your on-premises installation.

One thing to note is that the system specifications have changed for this release from previous versions. Windows Server 2016 will be supported, but more importantly, the minimum SQL Server edition is SQL Server 2012 SP1. You will need to consider this when the product is finally released and you plan your upgrade. You can learn more about the specifications here.

A few of the new features that we are excited about:

Package Management Service

The new Package Management Service allows you to smoothly share and create NuGet feeds within your organization. You can use Package Management provisions to manage and publish the Open Source Solution (OSS) packages you use. Out-of-the-box build tasks are administered through continuous integration in order to promote utilization of these packages in your builds.

Git Improvements

In TFS “15” Preview some huge changes have been made for Git. There has a been a complete redesign for the Branches page. You have greater visibility of how your branches are structured, branches that you are most interested in, as well as being able to see Stashed branches. There’s even the ability to create a branch from the Branch tab rather than having to do it elsewhere.

There is a new option to perform a “squash merge” upon completing a pull request. This option will create a single commit containing the changes from the topic branch. This can help keep your commits to your branches nice and neat.

TFS 2015 Update 2 brought Git LFS support. In TFS “15”, you will be able to view the contents of the large files by clicking on the file in the repo. This is really useful if you are dealing with a lot of large files in Git like audio or video files, or even large datasets.

Agile Improvements

The TFS Kanban board is constantly evolving to provide teams with as much real-time information about the tasks that need to be completed during a given sprint. Prior to TFS “15”, to view the latest information on the board, you would have to press the F5 key or refresh your browser. In TFS “15”, there is an icon on the Kanban board that you can toggle to now get real-time updates as they get updated. This is a great way for leads, Scrum masters, etc., to see how things are progressing through the day of a Sprint.

Summary

In this article, we barely touched the surface of all the functional areas that have been improved upon in TFS “15” Preview. There are so many more enhancements and improvements to Agile planning then just the Kanban board we mentioned. The Build system, Test hub, and Administration console have all had additional improvements and enhancements.

For an exhaustive list of what’s new and improved in TFS “15” Preview, you can view the release notes here.

Please remember: This is a preview release, which means there is *no* Go-Live license or support that comes along with this. Install this on a non-production environment and do not use it for production development.

Note: Microsoft is still calling this TFS “15” because that’s the version number of the bits. The final release may be called either TFS 2016 or TFS 2017. Stay tuned!

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