The cloud service is backed by the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. It uses the same code as the on-premises version of Azure DevOps, minor modifications, and implements the most recent features. Azure DevOps requires no setup. A user signs in using a Microsoft account to set up an environment, creating projects and adding team members. New features developed in short development cycles are added to the cloud version first.
These features migrate to the on-premises version as updates, at approximately three-month intervals. The primary structure consists of an application tier responsible for processing logic and maintaining the web application portal referred to as Team Web Access or TWA. These may be consumed by any client, although the client object model is recommended. The data tier and application tier can exist on the same machine. To support scalability, the application tier can be load balanced and the data tier can be clustered.
A project collection is a database that contains a group of Team Projects. Data from the project collection databases is aggregated into the warehouse database, which denormalizes the data in preparation for loading into an Analysis Services cube.
The warehouse and the cube allow complex trend reporting and data analysis. Azure DevOps can integrate with an existing SharePoint farm. These installations can be on the same system or on different systems.
Build servers, lab management servers, release management servers and proxy servers to reduce some of the load on the application tier , test machines and load test machines can also be added to the infrastructure.
One is a Java SDK, the other is a. Because Azure DevOps is written on a service-oriented architecture, it can communicate with virtually any tool that can call a web service. Another extensible mechanism is subscribing to system alerts: There are approximately 20 preconfigured alerts, and teams can configure as many additional alerts as needed. The data warehouse can also be extended through the creation of custom data warehouse adapters.
Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project are also supported to help manage work items which allows for bulk update, bulk entry and bulk export of work items. Microsoft Project can be used to schedule work when conforming to a waterfall software development methodology. Both Excel and Project support bi-directional updates of data. This allows, for example, project managers to put a schedule in Project, have that work imported into Azure DevOps where developers update the work and then the schedule can be updated without the project manager having to perform extra work.
With Team Foundation Server , Microsoft PowerPoint was also integrated with Azure DevOps to enable rapid storyboard development to help with the requirements management process.
These storyboards can then be linked to work items. In an effort to handle the growing geographic dispersion of teams and to involve stakeholders earlier and more often in the process, Microsoft added the Feedback Client. Azure DevOps also provides for command line tools for both Unix and Windows environments. The Power Tools for TFS include a Windows shell integration that allows users to check files in and out, add files and perform other basic tasks by right-clicking on a file or folder.
Work items[ edit ] At the heart of Azure DevOps is the "work item". A work item represents a thing — it can be work that needs to be accomplished, a risk to track, a test case, a bug or virtually anything else a user can imagine.
Work items are defined through the XML documents and are highly extensible. Teams can choose to use a built-in template or one of the many templates available for use created by third parties. Process templates can be customized using the Process Template Editor, which is part of the Power Tools.
Work items can also be linked to external artifacts such as web pages, documents on a file share or documents stored in another repository such as SharePoint. Work items can also be linked to source code, build results, test results and specific versions of items in source control. The flexibility in the work item system allows Azure DevOps to play many roles from requirements management to bug tracking, risk and issue tracking, as well as recording the results of reviews. The extensible linking capabilities ensure that traceability from requirements to source code to test cases and results can be accomplished and reported on for auditing purposes as well as historical understanding of changes.
Team Foundation Version Control[ edit ] TFVC is a centralized version control system allowing teams to store any type of artifact within its repository. A frequent complaint for this model is that files on the development machine are marked as read-only. It also requires developers to "go offline" when the server can't be contacted. Local workspaces were designed to avoid these problems.
In a local workspace scenario files are not read-only and they do not have to be checked out before working on them. As long as the files are on the developer's local machine, it doesn't matter if the server is connected or not. Conflicts are dealt with at check-in time.
To improve performance for remote clients, Azure DevOps includes the ability to install Proxy Servers. Check-ins are still performed directly against the Azure DevOps application tier so the Proxy Server is most beneficial in read scenarios. As part of the source control engine, Azure DevOps supports a number of features to help developers ensure the code that is checked in follows configurable rules.
This rule engine is called a Check-in Policy. There are several out of the box policies such as the Changeset Comments Policy which will not allow a check-in unless the developer enters a check-in comment. These policies are extensible and can be used to examine all aspects of the code being checked in, the comments and the related work items.
The inclusion in Azure DevOps means that the analysis can run against code checked into the server and during automated builds. This is not a Microsoft specific implementation but a standard implementation based on the libgit2  library. This is the same library that powers the popular GitHub and the code is freely available from GitHub.
Because Microsoft took the approach of using a standard library, any Git client can now be used natively with Azure DevOps in other words, developers can use their favorite tools and never install the standard Azure DevOps clients. For example, both Xcode and Android Studio support Git plug-ins. Using Git does not preclude the benefit of using Azure DevOps work item or build system.
When checking code in with Git, referencing the work item ID in the check-in comment will associate the check-in with the given work item. Likewise, Team Build will also build Git projects. This gives developers some choices when choosing the type of project and work style that works best for them.
Reporting[ edit ] Reporting has been a core component of Azure DevOps since its initial release in Since these are standard database and cube structures, any tool which can point to these data sources can report from them. This includes tools such as Cognos, Tableau, Excel and other reporting tools.
Included with each out of the box process template is a set of reports for reporting services which cover Build information, Test results and progress, project management, agile reports Backlog Overview, Release Burndown, Sprint Burndown and Velocity , bug and issue data. More specialized reporting is available for load test results. This data is available directly within Visual Studio and can be exported to Excel for detailed analysis.
TFS introduced a new feature called "light-weight reporting" which provides for the ability to create real-time reports based on query results and which do not rely on the warehouse or cube.
The build capabilities have continued to evolve with each subsequent release of Azure DevOps. In TFS and , the WF templates Extensible Application Markup Language files were stored in source control and could be edited and versioned directly from source control. In TFS , these files were removed to eliminate clutter and streamline the build process. The WF templates can still be downloaded, edited and stored in source control if desired and TFS does not break existing TFS or build process templates.
Windows Workflow controls the overall flow of the build process and Azure DevOps includes many pre-built workflow activities for managing common tasks that are performed during a build. The build system is extensible with users being able to create their own workflow activities, the ability to inject MSBuild into the process and to execute external processes.
The workflow nature of the build allows for unlimited flexibility, but it may take some work to achieve that flexibility. Shared  and open source projects have been started to build community backed activities to enhance the capabilities of Team Build. The build process can be configured for various types of builds including scheduled builds, continuous integration , gated check-in and rolling builds.
A gated check-in build will shelve code that a developer checks in, perform a "get latest" on the server code and perform a build. If the build succeeds, the code is checked in on behalf of the developer who submitted the code.
If the build fails, the developer is notified and can fix the code before trying another check-in. Builds have retention policies with them so that they do not accumulate when not needed or builds can be directed not to produce any saved output or build output can be locked and saved forever. New with TFS is the ability to check in the build results into source control. This was a necessary enhancement to support automated builds on the Azure DevOps Services where there is no drop location to place the builds.
In the on-premises version build output can be configured to end up in any accessible shared folder location. The build process in Azure DevOps is also part of the traceability mechanism in that Team Build brings together many of the artifacts that are created and stored in Azure DevOps. Assuming developers associate source code with work items on check-in, Team Build has the ability to report on the changes in each build - both source code changes and work item changes as well as test results this includes unit testing results as well as automated functional testing CodedUI results.
As bugs and PBIs are resolved and integrated into builds, the work items which track these artifacts are automatically updated to indicate in which build they were successfully integrated.
Combined with the testing tools, testers then get an integrated view of what code was changed in each build, but also which bugs, PBIs and other work changed from build to build. Windows, Mac, and Linux build agents are currently supported. Azure DevOps provides for elastic build capabilities via build hosting in Microsoft Azure. This capability complemented the automated build and testing processes by allowing a true continuous deployment solution. The Release Management capabilities give teams the ability to perform a controlled, workflow provided by Windows Workflow Foundation driven release to development, test and production environments and provides dashboards for monitoring the progress of one or more releases.
The new version of Release Management leverages the web browser as the client and relies on the same agent architecture as Team Foundation Build. This first version of Team Foundation Server was released March 17,
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