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Boris Wehrle
Boris Wehrle ist Senior Software Consultant und zertifizierter Projektleiter bei der AIT.

Boris Wehrle

Automatic creation of build processes for feature branches

Montag, 15. September 2014

TFS functions enhanced and simplified using the TFS ASAP

In order to decouple the implementation of features and their requirements it is recommended to use feature branches. When a certain stability is achieved the source code changes are integrated into the main branch.

To validate the source code quality in terms of compilability, executability of tests and compliance with the code analysis rules it is useful to set up an additional continuous build process for each branch. This leads to an automatic quality check after each check in.

While creating a feature branch is straightforward and only a matter of seconds setting up the build is quite complicated and time consuming. Why can’t this not be that simple as well? It can be.

The easiest way to set up a build process is cloning an existing. For this purpose, appropriate permissions are required.

Then a number of settings have to be adjusted:

– Name (according the conventions)

– Trigger (Rolling builds)

– Source Settings

– Projects, which should get compiled

– Test Categories, Symbol Server Settings, Retention Policy, etc.

The proper modification of one of the parameters will quickly be forgotten. That’s why, the first build of a new feature branch is almost always going wrong.

This complicated and especially error-prone step can be automated through the use of the TFS Automated Servicing & Administration Platform. To enable this automation rule a configuration file needs to be added to the directory in which the feature branches will get created afterwards.


The configuration file refers to the build definition which should be used as a template and contains all different settings.

For all the branches that are created under the directory, a suitable build process will automatically be set up by the server in the background. Hereby the application of a feature branch with associated build process is as quick and easy as the previous application of a branch without a continuous quality check.

In addition, the build definition is generated even if the user does not have the necessary rights. A softening of the rights concept is thereby avoided.

You have  small extension through the TFS Automated Servicing & Administration Platform with great effect which leads to improved quality and more time to concentrate on the really value-adding tasks.

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