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New 'Sprint' of Visual Studio Online Adds Functionality

The Visual Studio Online site is also experiencing growing pains.

A new "sprint," or iteration, of Visual Studio Online has been released, and it adds one of the most oft-requested funtions from developers -- the ability to configure working days so that backlogs don't appear from time off.

Brian Harry, a Microsoft Technical Fellow, blogged about the VSO update. He called the update "sprint 59". "Sprint" is a common Agile development term for a short turnaround cycle. Harry said that another key update in the sprint is support for querying on tags: "...(we only supported filtering initially)", he wrote.

He also noted that the No. 2 UserVoice suggestion was that the "Burndown" chart that tracks a project's progress should not include non-workdays. The request complains that "You may leave the office on Friday looking like everything is on track only to return Monday 2 days behind." Harry said the sprint adds that ability.

UserVoice is a feedback Web site for Microsoft-focused developers. A developer can request a feature or fix for Visual Studio, and other developers vote on it, giving Redmond an idea of how widespread a complaint or request is in that community.

Harry also mentioned that there have been some instability problems with some recent deployments of Visual Studio Online. He alluded to a deployment that "hit a performance issue in the Application Insights pages that caused the site to be unusably slow for a bit.  We had to back out that change and get a fix."

Harry also said that there are likely to be issues that will cause "hiccups" on future deployments. "...the service has simply gotten big enough (both in functionality and adoption) that the earlier processes weren't enough," he blogged. He added that he expects things to smooth out soon; in the meantime, though, developers should be careful about relying too much on Visual Studio Online for mission-critical purposes.

Visual Studio Online is Microsoft's cloud-based version of Team Foundation Service. Announced last November, it's an end-to-end set of services enabling developers to build apps in the cloud or on devices. Contrary to what some think, it is not a cloud-enabled version of Visual Studio, as columnist Mickey Gousset recently pointed out.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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