Visual Studio Team Services Sprint 109 Caps 2016

As the year winds down, so does the work being done by the Visual Studio Team Services team as it rolls out Sprint 109. Micrsoft's Brian Harry highlights build task versioning, pull request tracking, and support for Linux hosted build pools in this one.

As the year winds down, so does the Visual Studio team, but not without another sprint to close out a productive year of updates to Visual Studio Team Services. This final sprint tackles build task versioning, pull request tracking, and support for Linux hosted build pools, and a host of other features across the board.

As Microsoft's Brian Harry explains in a blog post of the sprint highlights, build task versioning is a "capability that enables an author to roll-out a new version of their task without affecting people currently using their task." He says that capability came about as a result of the team rolling out an update "to a build task on our hosted pools and it broke pretty much everyone's builds." Some investigation led to some revelations relating to how build tasks are validated and rolled out, one of which is that there was no formal method of managing that process.

Harry said that build task versioning provides for that process by labeling versions of build tasks as either major or minor. Major versions are lockable, and new major versions can be created without affecting builds. When the new major version is ready to be tested, that version can be updated to the build definition.

A few small but important capabilities have been added to pull requests. The ability to follow a pull request is one example, now added to a context menu as an option. Once active, a developer is alerted via e-mail to any changes to a pull request. Another related feature is the ability to restart a merge. Once changes have been updated in a target branch, developers can restart a merge to verify the changes don't break a pull request build. The code review policy on pull requests has also changed, with the default not allowing pull requests to be completed when it's rejected by a reviewer down the line. (It can be toggled off, though.)

Harry notes that there's also a preview of a Linux hosted pool that will provide developers with the ability to use them for build and release. Configuring a private agent won't be necessary, as the agents are already running inside an Ubuntu host inside a Docker container that already has the needed Java, Node, Docker, and .NET Core tooling contained within it.

Details on these features and others not mentioned in Harry's blog are contained in the release notes here.

As Harry notes in his blog, there won't be any more sprints until the middle of January 2017.

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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