Team Foundation Server 15 RC1 Trots Out New UI

A release candidate for TFS '15' comes with UI changes on the Web side and a slew of improvements to Agile planning capabilities, Git, Build, and Release Management, to name a few (as well gobs of bug fixes).

With the latest release of Team Foundation Server, dubbed '15' Release Candidate 1, developers can test out a new Web UI that aims to make developers' lives more productive. TFS 15 RC1 also has a slew of improvements to its Agile planning capabilities, Git, Build, and Release Management, to name a few. There are also quite a few bug fixes rounded up in this release.

The Web UI changes are significant, notes Microsoft's Brian Harry, in a blog post. "It's harder to see on the cloud because the changes have been so gradual – almost every sprint has included changes," he writes. "I think it's going to be much more visible when you upgrade your TFS server."

Harry notes that TFS 15 RC1 has reworked the way developers navigate the system by reducing the number of clicks needed to accomplish tasks. "The core of the change is that top level hubs now have menus that allow you to navigate directly to sections of the target hub (Pull requests, for instance) rather than first having to navigate to Code, then to Pull requests," he writes. The new UI is off by default, so developers who want to to test it out and get familiar with it before the changes become permanent in RC2 will need to turn it on through a simple TFS admin setting.

Besides the interface, there are a quite a number of new features being tested out (many of these have been incorporated in a TFS 15 preview that was released a month ago):

  • Code Search: Developers can now search across projects using rich filtering, semantic ranking, and code collaboration capabilities.
  • Package Management: Now allows developers to create and share NuGet feeds.
  • Git: Branch pages redesigned and includes a "mine" pivot showing branches that have been "created, pushed to, or favorited." A new "squash merge" option is available when completing a pull request.
  • Agile Planning Improvements: Reconfigured look and feel for Work Item form look and feel is reconfigured; Follow button on work items now allows change tracking; view live updates on Kanban boards.
  • Dashboard, Widgets: Widget catalog redesigned with search capabilities; Query Tile Widget supports 10 conditional rules and can have a colored background; height of Pull Request widget is customizable; dashboard allows for customization via REST APIs.
  • Personal Access Tokens: Instead of requiring a username and password to an application, personal access tokens allow external user accounts limited access to applications, with ability to control time period and scope of user activity.

A comprehensive look at the changes and improvements to TFS 15 RC1 are outlined in this release note.

About the Author

Michael Domingo is a long-time software publishing veteran, having started up and managed several developer publications for the Clipper compiler, Microsoft Access, and Visual Basic. He's also managed IT pubs for 1105 Media, including Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine and Virtualization Review before landing his current gig as Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief. Besides his publishing life, he's a professional photographer, whose work can be found by Googling domingophoto.

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