There were so many announcements at yesterday’s Connect() virtual conference that several great new features may have gotten lost in the flood of demos. While DevOps and Visual Studio Online played a big part in the demos, there’s a lot more under the covers that are going to make developing with Visual Studio and TFS better for teams with many of the features becoming available in the Visual Studio Online product sooner than later. Here’s a quick look at some of those features.

Release Management

tfsreleasemgmtRelease Management features that were previously added to TFS are being added to the Online version effective immediately if you have the Visual Studio 2013 Update 4 installed. The Visual Studio Online version is limited to only deploying to Azure environments for now but more will be coming in later releases.

Cloud Deployment Projects

Cloud deployment projects allow you to define a deployment model using Azure Resource Manager templates and PowerShell scripts and then use those deployments as part of your resource management. In effect you can provision the services and network components required as part of your release management strategy. This service like the release management features is currently limited to Azure environments but in the future Microsoft intends to unite Cloud Deployment projects with the environment management features in TFS Lab Manager.

Smart Unit Tests

smartutBased on the Microsoft Research Pex project, the Smart Unit test tool allows you to generate unit tests that provide close to 100% coverage. To get an idea of the power of Pex, check out this coding puzzle built on the technology.

Web Based Editing

tfswebeditIn addition to being able to edit the text based pages that make up your Visual Studio Online site, you’ll also be able to make direct code edits from the browser.  You’ll also be able to change file names and preview images online.

New Build Service

The build service for VSO has been updated to make customization simpler including removal of the requirement for XAML/Workflow entirely.  Other updates include:

  • A real time build output window to easily track the progress on your build
  • Build definition versioning/auditing so you can know who changed your build definition, what changes they made and why.
  • A web based editing/administration experience
  • The ability to share build agents across projects and collections, making shared build pools far more viable.
  • A cross platform build agent so that you can automate builds for Mac and Linux too (or even builds than span a PC, Mac and Linux).

For more information on the new features for DevOps, check out Brian Harry’s blog post that has even more details on what’s ahead.