Visual Studio Team Services Sprint 96 is Jam Packed with Features

The latest Web preview of the VSTS rounds up a number of new features -- Agile planning, testing, Git, release management, Office 365 integration, more -- that the Visual Studio Team will be refining over the next few months.

The latest preview of of Visual Studio Team Services comes jam packed with a bevy of new features -- Agile planning, Office 365 integration, release management and others -- that the Visual Studio team will be refining over the next few months.

"This was a particularly plentiful sprint – with updates across most of the product – Agile planning, testing, Git, package management, gated checking support for TFVC in build.vnext, IntelliJ, and release management," writes Microsoft's Brian Harry, in a blog post from earlier this week.

The common thread through most of the new features is testing. One few feature, for example, is the ability to view test results for each release environment, which is accessible via the Test tab that shows up on the Release summary page. For every test that is run, it will show a "count of passed and failed tests, pass percentage, and test duration, for a particular environment or for the entire release, across all environments," writes Microsoft's Aaron Bjork, in the release note for this sprint. Developers can then drill down into each stat without having to leave the Release summary page.

Developers can also perform what's called an "exploratory testing session" for specific work items. "We've added entry points on all cards, grids, and in the Test hub," said Bjork. "This lets you associate the selected work item to your testing session and view the acceptance criteria and description from within the extension." This feature is refined even more with the ability to capture a series of images that show mouse/keyboard/touch actions that derive from each bug while testing. And from the Image Action log, developers can also create test cases during the exploratory test session.

Besides those features getting lots of attention due to developer feedback, he notes that the team is also beginning to "scratch the surface on some Office 365 integration, which I've been hearing increasing requests for." That integration comes in the form of an Office 365 connector that will provide notification to an Office 365 Group of important events from dev projects. The conector should be available through the Visual Studio Marketplace by the time you read this.

Like we noted, this sprint is feature packed, with the ability to create a "gated trigger for a build definition on a TFVC repository," test automation for Azure environments, and cloning to IntelliJ or Android Studio through extensions, to name a few. The release notes contain a good list of the features being tested and refined.

Finally, Harry in his blog notes that "This is the first sprint that pretty much nothing will make it into the TFS 2015 Update 2 on-premises release.  That release is locked down and getting ready to go.  We'll get all of this great stuff to on-premises customers as soon as we can."

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