What is Visual Studio Online?

The name “Visual Studio Online” might be misleading. Visual Studio Online is not an online version of Microsoft’s Visual Studio development tool. It is actually an online version of Team Foundation Server (TFS).

Visual Studio Online and Team Foundation Server are complete application lifecycle management tools. The advantage of Visual Studio Online over TFS is it is completely managed by Microsoft in the cloud. All you have to do is create an account and you’re off and running. Microsoft will manage the servers and do the backups for you automatically.

Once you have your account, you and your development team can create any number of projects. Each member of the team can utilize Visual Studio Online to help manage his or her work.

 

Visual Studio Online Home Page

 

 

Visual Studio Online for Analysts

Business analysts can use Visual Studio Online to enter work items and documentation. This documentation can be as detailed and sophisticated as needed. Customizable templates are included to make entering requirements consistent and simple. Documentation is formatted as html and external files like images and models can be added as attachments.

 

Work Item Input Screen

 

 

Visual Studio Online for Programmers

Programmers can utilize Visual Studio Online for source control, automated builds and integrated unit testing. Visual Studio Online integrates seamlessly with Visual Studio, and can be used from other development tools like Eclipse and Xcode as well. Multiple source control systems are supported out-of-the-box. Automated builds can easily be setup to compile the code, run all the unit tests, and even deploy the application to test servers.

 

Source Code Screen

 

Visual Studio Online for Testers

Testers can use Visual Studio Online manage user acceptance tests. Test scripts can be entered. A test runner is included for testers to enter the results. There is sophisticated reporting included to track tests over time.

 

Test Management Screen

 

Visual Studio Online for Managers

Managers can use Visual Studio Online to track team progress. Large projects can be divided into iterations. Work items can be scheduled within iterations and assigned to team members. Team members can easily enter their progress on work items assigned to them. The tool automatically creates product backlogs, Kanban boards and burndown charts.

 

Product Backlog

Kanban Board

 

 

Getting Started with Visual Studio Online

Getting started with Visual Studio Online is easy. There is nothing to install or setup as everything can be done within the browser. Visual Studio Online is even made available for free for teams of five or less. All you need to get started is a Microsoft account.

 

Go to the URL, http://www.visualstudio.com/products/what-is-visual-studio-online-vs for more information. Click the “Get started for free” link to set up your account.

 

 

Visual Studio Online and Team Foundation Server Training

Team Foundation Server makes it easy to manage and track work on any type of project, and this is just a small sampling of the capabilities of TFS. Visual Studio Online makes getting started with TFS easy, and for small teams it is free. To learn more about TFS you may be interested in the following Learning Tree courses-

Doug Rehnstrom

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