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Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio Team Foundation Server

Manage your team’s code, build and test your apps, and plan and track your team’s work with Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server on your own server, or Visual Studio Online in the cloud.

Set up TFS

Set up: Set up TFS, create a team project, and add team member accounts.

If you don’t want to manage an on-premises server, you can use Visual Studio Online.

To understand all deployment options available, see the TFS install guide.

Version control conceptual image

Code: Share and build your code using Team Foundation version control (TFVC) or Git.


Develop your app with TFVC or develop your app in a Git repository.

Conceptual image for working as a team

Work: Plan projects, track work, collaborate as a team, and report progress.

Create your backlog, work in sprints, chart progress, and collaborate using team rooms. Storyboard ideas and get feedback on working software.

Build conceptual image

Build: Set up your on-premises build server and define your build processes.


Or, set up continuous integration builds using Visual Studio Online.

Test conceptual image

Test: Test your application.

Plan tests and track progress for each milestone. Run manual or automated tests, including performance and stress tests.

Deploy your applications into virtual environments to enable more sophisticated development and testing. Virtual machines can run on any virtualization framework that is managed by System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM).

Once you’ve got your project up and running, you can use these additional tools to support the design, code quality, and deployment of your applications.

Architecture, model, design conceptual image

Design: Model your application to better understand and meet user requirements.

Design functionality either on top of existing assets or develop a new application. Use architectural diagrams to visualize the code and communicate critical information about your team's software.

Developer diagnostic tools conceptual image

Diagnose: Improve your application using diagnostic tools.

Write, unit test, debug, analyze, and profile your application.

Deploy conceptual image

Deploy: Improve the process of managing the release of your app.

Deploy your app to a specific environment for each separate stage. Manage the steps in the process with approvals for each step.

Monitor: Make sure your live app is running OK and find out how it’s being used.

Instrument your live web app to measure its performance and watch for anomalies or exceptions, as well as monitoring its availability from around the globe. Log usage data in your deployed Windows Phone or web app to tune it better to your users’ needs.

Application Insights is in preview.

Expand or change your deployment capabilities

Administer: Configure servers, add functionality, manage access and permissions, and maintain server operations.

TFS is designed to scale to support small development groups to large enterprises.

Conceptual image for customization tasks

Customize: Customize project tracking data, forms, workflow, and other objects.

To meet your business workflow processes and organizational structure, you can customize many elements within TFS.

Developers, architects, and testers typically connect to TFS through Visual Studio. They can also connect using a web browser to Team Web Access (TWA), Microsoft Test Manager, and Visual Studio Online.

The following table shows which TFS tools are available, based on the Visual Studio edition. For a more detailed comparison of features, go here.

Application lifecycle

Visual Studio Professional 2013

Visual Studio Premium 2013

Visual Studio Ultimate 2013

Visual Studio Test Professional 2013

Source code management (TFVC or Git)

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Test (see note 1)

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Collaborate (work item tracking and Agile planning tools) (2)

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Architecture, modeling, and design

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Diagnostic tools

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Deploy/Lab Management

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  1. Microsoft Test Manager, a separate Team Foundation client, lets you manage and execute test cases and create and manage physical or virtual environments. It installs with select Visual Studio editions.

  2. Access to select tools and features, such as Agile portfolio management and test management from TWA requires Full access.

  • Visual Studio Professional is a unified development experience that enables developers to create multi-tier applications across the web, cloud, and devices.

  • Visual Studio Premium offers an integrated ALM solution to bring together stakeholders, users, and software development functions to deliver compelling applications as a unified team.

  • Visual Studio Ultimate is the comprehensive ALM offering for organizations that develop and operate highly scalable software applications and services. It provides architecture discovery and validation tools that enable teams to maintain a high degree of architectural integrity and efficiently manage technical debt.

  • Visual Studio Test Professional is ideal for testers, business analysts, product managers, and other stakeholders who need team collaboration tools, but not a full development IDE.

Additional Team Foundation clients support program managers and other stakeholders to connect to TFS. Team Explorer is installed with each version of Visual Studio, or you can install Team Explorer from the Microsoft download center as a standalone client. Team Explorer supports connecting to TFS and access to additional Team Foundation clients. To learn more, see Choose the Team Foundation client to support your tasks

A: Start here to get access to the Visual Studio product guide, cases studies, white papers, forums, and other resources.

A: Yes. Although the following books address Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012, many of the concepts and methods apply to Visual Studio TFS 2013.

A: You can download the software from here.

A: Yes. You can connect to TFS from Eclipse-based environments and non-Windows platforms using Team Explorer Everywhere (TEE). TEE supports version control, build, and work item tracking.

© 2014 Microsoft