Category Archives: Visual Studio Online

Extending Visual Studio Online

Since I adopted Visual Studio Online a few weeks ago, I am more and more happy with it. I have also recently adopted a help desk online software called SmarterTrack (from SmarterTools, the same company that provides SmarterMail) to support questions from users of my MZ-Tools family of add-ins. I am now at the point of automating the creation of TFS work items from some help desk tickets (bugs or feature requests). SmarterTrack allows you to include custom menus in the window of a ticket than can make an http get call (although not a http post call with JSON). But I can make an http get call to some page of my server and then make whatever I want once I extract the parameters.

Fortunately Microsoft made Visual Studio Online fully extensible, as recently announced at TechEd North America 2014. There is a new Visual Studio Online Integrate portal with the scenarios that you can use:

  • Calling Visual Studio Online from any other tool through REST APIs with OAuth.
  • Make Visual Studio Online to call any tool when an event happens (without the need of polling).

There is also a lot of 3rd party tools that provide integration with Visual Studio Online, as explained in this TechEd session:

Using Third-Party ALM Solutions along with Visual Studio Online

Investigating how to use the REST APIs of Visual Studio Online I found yesterday this upcoming ebook of MVP fellows Jeff Bramwell and Mike Douglas:


Extending Team Foundation Server And Visual Studio Online

And to buy it:

Only some chapters are already written but the table of contents is promising and I am sure it will be great:

Part I – The Basics

Chapter 1: Overview of Team Foundation Server
Chapter 2: A History of Team Foundation Server APIs
Chapter 3: A REST Primer

Part II – Using the Team Foundation APIs

Chapter 4: Our First REST API Call
Chapter 5: Work Items
Chapter 6: Team Foundation Version Control
Chapter 7: Git
Chapter 8: Build Definitions
Chapter 9: Builds
Chapter 10: Workspaces
Chapter 11: Team Room Management
Chapter 12: Team Room Activities
Chapter 13: Reporting and Charts
Chapter 14: Projects and Teams
Chapter 15: Service Hooks

Part III – Other Resources

Chapter 16: Using Fiddler
Chapter 17: Using OAuth


Given the lack of books about Visual Studio Extensibility (add-ins, packages, DSL, etc.) after all these years it is great that a book about Visual Studio Online Extensibility is appearing so early (and so cheap!).

Adopting Visual Studio Online (formerly TFS Service)

Brian Harry has written a post referencing this other post: “How Visual Studio Online won me over in under 90 minutes“. It happens that I also adopted Visual Studio Online less than I week ago and I am thrilled about it since then. In the past I used and investigated source code providers (Perforce, Subversion, TFS, …) installed locally but I was looking for some solution to the repository backup/restore “annoyance” (after a failed restore that I suffered long time ago). While I already played with TFS Service some months ago, it was not until the past Wednesday when I gave it a serious chance. I uploaded a solution of one of my projects that is part of a bigger source folder and after realizing that it was better to make some adjustments in the folder structure before uploading last Friday I uploaded all my Visual Studio solutions. Since then I am enjoying it a lot because of the following new scenarios:

– I have a backup on the cloud each time that I check-in some file (instead of a making a backup by hand from time to time).

– I can use more than one computer at home (I have a tiny MacBook Air 11″ and a huge iMac 27″) to develop without copying code through USB drives or having a central “server”.

– I can use any device (such as a tablet or smartphone) with an internet connection to view the source code of the files, whenever I want.

– I can see and create/update work items from any device (instead of using Excel or the tasks of an Outlook .pst file as before). Or rather than using a separate application such as Trello.

Now I am playing with gated check-ins, code analysis execution, automated tests, etc.

Visual Studio Online has several plans, one of them (Basic) completely free for up to 5 users:

And some videos to get started are:

Getting Started with Source Control with Visual Studio Online

Getting Started with Visual Studio Online

Welcome to Visual Studio Online