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Microsoft Teams Is New and Part of Visual Studio Team Services

Microsoft Teams is a new chat-based service that's part of Office 365, used for real-time conversation and collaboration among various team members connected to projects. It's also being incorporated into Visual Studio Team Services.

Add another chat-based service to the growing market of Slack-like collaboration tools: Microsoft this week introduced a preview of a new chat-based service called Microsoft Teams. It's a part of Office365, and its extensibility makes it a natural fit for use within Visual Studio Team Services.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella introduced Microsoft Team at an event in New York. There's currently no indication that the service is a result of any technology acquisition and may be scratch-built from the ground up.

In a post on the Office blog, Office Corporate Vice President Kirk Koenigsbauer describes Microsoft Teams as an "an entirely new experience that brings together people, conversations and content -- along with the tools that teams need -- so they can easily collaborate to achieve more."

"It's naturally integrated with the familiar Office applications and is built from the ground up on the Office 365 global, secure cloud," he adds, and Skype technology -- specifically, voice and video capabilities -- have been incorporated into it. Besides hooks to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, PowerBI and OneNote, it hooks to less familiar Planner, Delve and Graph apps. (Redmond Editor Jeffrey Schwartz provides a comprehensive view and impact report of Microsoft Teams in this article on Redmondmag.com.)

For developers, Microsoft Teams is already incorporated into Visual Studio Team Services. "Starting today, Team Services users can stay up to date with alerts for work items, pull requests, commits, and builds using the Connectors within Microsoft Teams," writes Derrick Fu, a program manager with VSTS, in a blog post. "Each Connector event is its own conversation, allowing users to be notified of events they care about and discuss them with their team."

Teams are also incorporated into VSTS Kanban boards, which means live refresh, card styling, tag coloring, extensions features will be available while tracking work items. This capability, as well as release alerts, will be rolled out on November 9.

Microsoft is also releasing a software development kit will allow developers to hook their apps to Teams, and will be building services into the Microsoft Bot Framework that will allow developers to build Bots for using chats to automate team interaction and data acquisition (more about bots can be found here). Developers interested in getting access to those capabilities can find out more about gaining access to the Microsoft Teams Developer Preview.

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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