Monday, 17 September 2018

So... what happened to VSTS?

Yes I know – it is a bit of an old news, but I was on holiday and I realised that there are so many crumbs of information around, hence a nice summarising post would help.

On 10th September, Visual Studio Team Services became Azure DevOps. First things first: does this mean that now you cannot target on-premise, AWS or GCP? You couldn’t be more wrong – there is no change on that front. You are free to use any technology and to target any environment with it, it just happens to fall under the Azure umbrella.

I personally feel that the new name, despite being a huge change, underlines the fact that the stack is a business driver, not just a development tool. If you are an existing VSTS Azure DevOps user, what changes for you is how the product is packaged – if you had to get all of the VSTS Azure DevOps services before, now you can choose what to actually get: Boards, Pipelines, Repos, etc.
So you will get a nice per-project selector:

This means that if you want to use an Azure DevOps project just for the Work Item Tracking features and completely hide the Repos, you can totally do that.

Also, the whole UX changed. For the better, I reckon – I find it much improved in pretty much all areas, it just feels better to use. The URL formatting changed (from <org> to<org>), but it won’t break anything – Microsoft is well aware of this, and it is not going to touch the URLs for the foreseeable future.

Then, the elephant in the room – the open-source offering for Azure Pipelines. When I first heard about it, I had to double check I was not making a mistake. Ten free parallel jobs (effectively it is like having ten build machines) with unlimited minutes for OSS projects, regardless of what technologies you use. The agents run on Windows, Linux and MacOS, making it really cross-platform and open to everyone.

Put aside technology for a moment, and think about it. Ten parallel builds with unlimited minutes, for free. It would a relevant cost that is completely slashed away, making end-to-end OSS delivery as easy as drinking a cup of coffee. I believe it is quite unprecedented, and kudos to Microsoft for offering this.

Eventually, Team Foundation Server is going to be renamed to Azure DevOps Server from the next major release. No other changes on that front, it is still a regular snapshot of Azure DevOps brought on-premise. And no, I don't think it is going to be discontinued anytime soon!

That’s it in a nutshell. It’s a large revamp, but the underlying pillars are still there. Enjoy it!

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