Archives for November 2014

VSO in Europe

Great news for those of you who want to use VSO (Visual Studio Online) but did not like the idea of having all your data in the US.

VSO is now hosted in Europe as well! To be more precise it is hosted in the Netherlands.

This should make VSO a viable option for many organizations and government agencies in Europe. For those of us in Europe not restricted by law or company policy it is still great news as it offers a VSO option with lower latency.

So, a short summary:

  • For now you have to create a new VSO account for this
  • It will be possible to move your account from “South Central US” to “Western Europe”, but not yet. You have to wait a few months for that.
  • The entire account has to be hosted in one place. You can not have some of your Team Projects hosted in the US and some in Europe unless you create them on different VSO accounts.

You can read more about the details on Brian Harry’s blog.

Release Management 2013 licensing change

When Microsoft acquired InRelease, later Release Management for Visual Studio in 2013 you had to pay a license for each agent deployed on every server you wanted to deploy to. Even though you got licenses together with Visual Studio Ultimate these agents would cost a lot of money for big companies.

Effective January 1, 2015, target servers receiving automated deployment from Release Management Server will no longer require a Visual Studio Deployment license, in other words, it’s free!

From the licensing whitepapers:

To utilize the Release Management solution in Visual Studio 2013, you must acquire licenses for the following:

  1. Each person using the Release Management Client for Visual Studio 2013 for creating, updating or deleting a release pipeline sequence must be licensed for either Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN, Visual Studio Premium with MSDN, Visual Studio Test Professional with MSDN or MSDN Platforms.
  2. A Team Foundation Server CAL is not required to approve stages or sign off on a release.

Read more about in in the Visual Studio and MSDN Licensing White Paper


TFS 2013.4

TFS 2013.4 is out with a lot of nice stuff


My favorite is the new Stakeholder access level

You probably have a lot of Stakeholders who are interested in using TFS web access. Up to now to use the Backlog and other features you needed a TFS CAL.

Now Microsoft have decided to let Stakeholders use much of this for free a new Stakeholder license replacing the “Limited User Access”.

What will be able to do with the Stakeholder access level is:

  • Full read/write/create on all work items
  • Create, run and save (to “My Queries”) work item queries
  • View project and team home pages
  • Access to the backlog, including add and update (but no ability to reprioritize the work)
  • Ability to receive work item alerts

What they won’t be able to do

  • No access to Code, Build or Test hubs.
  • No access to Team Rooms
  • No access to any administrative functionality (Team membership, license administration, permissions, area/iterations configuration, sprint configuration, home page configuration, creation of shared queries, etc.)

The basic access level

You need a TFS CAL for this

  • View My Work Items
  • Standard Features
  • Agile boards
  • Basic backlog and sprint planning tools
  • Agile Portfolio Management
  • Chart Viewing
  • Code
  • Build
  • Administer account
  • Advanced home page
  • Advanced backlog and sprint planning tools

The Advances Access Level

You need MSDN Premium, Ultimate or Test Professional for this

  • View My Work Items
  • Standard Features
  • Agile boards
  • Basic backlog and sprint planning tools
  • Request and Manage Feedback
  • Test case management
  • Team rooms
  • Agile Portfolio Management
  • Chart Viewing
  • Chart Authoring
  • Code
  • Build
  • Administer account
  • Advanced home page
  • Advanced backlog and sprint planning tools
  • Advanced portfolio management


Agile planning

There are lots of new small Agile planning features. Here are some of them.

  • Full screen mode in all HTML fields
  • Sometimes Teams want to have the bugs in the backlog and sometimes not. Now each team can choose regardless of project template.


  • They have increased the number of items you can have in the first and last columns on the Kanban board to 999.
  • Charting as a nice and easy way to create chats from Work Items Queries, with 2013.4 we get trend diagrams.


There are also new test features connected to TFS Web Access.

Before TFS 2013.3 Test Plans and Test Suites were not stored as work items, now they are. In TFS 2013.4 Microsoft added new features for this, here are some of them.

You can work with all test work item types from Excel and even enter test steps this way.


You can work with Tags and modify your Test Cases the same way as all other work item types.

If a Test Case is connected to several Test Suites you can now see all suites it is connected to.

We get charts to show test status and you can of course pin them to you Team homepage.