What's new for Team Foundation Server 2015

You can use Visual Studio Team Foundation Server to manage your product lifecycle, reduce risks, and improve efficiencies. This page highlights some important features that are available with TFS 2015.

To learn about what's new with the cloud service offering, see Visual Studio Online Features update.


version control


When you use Git, it's easier than ever to work with branches and see how the changes in your history diverged.

See What's new in version control.



We've built a brand new scriptable build system that's web-based and cross-platform. We believe all new and most existing customers should use it instead of the XAML build system.

See Overview of Team Foundation Build 2015



release management


An updated version of Release Management is available for Visual Studio 2015. This is very similar to the existing Release Management for Visual Studio 2013, but provides improved performance in the following areas:

  • The release management client launch page, which shows an overview of the release process and notifications.
  • Rendering and interactivity in other release management client pages, through additional caching.
  • Synchronization of Active Directory and TFS security groups.
  • Creation of new releases.

Developer productivity and Application Insights

cross platform support

Developer productivity

Code maps: Find out more about your code’s design, while reading less code, when using Visual Studio Enterprise. Code maps now:

  • Make it easier to see containment context as you add items to maps.
  • Render more quickly and are more responsive.
  • Allow you to filter elements and relationships to make maps easier to use.
  • Have a much better organized and more intuitive shortcut command menus.

Find out more about code maps.

Layer diagrams: Update these diagrams using Class View and Object Browser. Read more in the release notes, or find out more about layer diagrams.

UML diagrams: You can no longer create UML class diagrams and sequence diagrams from code, and you can no longer import UML elements from XMI files. You can still create these diagrams using new UML elements. Find out more about UML class diagrams and UML sequence diagrams.

You can no longer use Architecture Explorer to work with code maps, layer diagrams, and UML class diagrams. Use Solution Explorer, Class View, and Object Browser instead. Read more in the release notes.

With CodeLens you can find patterns in your code's change history to understand their impact. CodeLens shows change history as a chart. It is also now available in Visual Studio Professional edition. Read more in the release notes. Or, find out more about CodeLens.

application insights

Application Insights

After you've deployed your application, find out what users are doing with it, and detect and diagnose any performance or availability issues. It's now easy to add Application Insights to your Visual Studio project with just a few clicks.

  • Add Application Insights to an existing or new project with just a few clicks.
  • Got a web application that needs some attention? Diagnose performance issues in a live application without rebuilding or re-deploying.
  • Compare multiple metrics such as load, response times, dependency call times, and many others, to help diagnose issues.
  • Create custom telemetry to understand usage patterns.


  • JSON REST APIs enable a lightweight way to work with TFS from virtually any device, platform, or technology stack, including Windows, Android, iOS, Node.js, and others. You can create and query work items, queue a build, get recent team room messages, access source code, and accomplish almost any team or code management task.

    Go here to get started.

  • Service hooks: make it easy to integrate with external services such as Trello or Campfire, and to build an app experience that is instantly notified when events are triggered in TFS, such as completed builds, commits/check-ins or work item changes. You'll find the Services hooks hub under project administration.

    A service hook subscription controls what action to perform on a target, external service when a specific type of event happens. Similarly to an email alert subscription, a service hook subscription is associated with the user who created it. When an event occurs and a service hook attempts to match a configured subscription to an event, a permission check is performed to ensure the user who created the subscription has permission to access to the resource associated with the event. For example, a user (likely a project administrator) creates a service hook subscription that is triggered on all “work item created” events. When a new work item is created under an area path that this user does not have access to, the permission check will prevent the subscription from matching and therefore avoid any external notification from being sent via this subscription.

    However, because service hooks make it easy to integrate with external services, you should make sure that the data that the creator of a subscription has access to is not made available to other users who might not have the same level of access. For example, a subscription that is defined to send all “code push” events to a Campfire room could result in information being improperly disclosed to users who do not have access to the repository associated with the event (but would be able to see the information because they have access to the Campfire room).

    Learn more about working with service hooks.

Agile software development

Run your project and support your team with tools that promote collaboration, agility, and transparency. With Agile tools you can align projects across the enterprise while providing teams with the autonomy they need to work effectively.

Backlog and bug management

You manage your product roadmap with Agile backlog tools to quickly define, prioritize, and group work that your team plans to deliver.

Portfolio backlog

The following enhancements have been made to the backlogs and task boards:

Kanban boards

With Kanban boards, you're able to visualize the flow and progress of your projects from idea to completion.

Kanban board

You now have access to these enhances on both your product and portfolio backlog Kanban boards:

Identity selector support for distinct user selection and query on identity fields

Prior to TFS 2015, you couldn’t distinguish between users with the same display name when assigning and querying work items. With TFS 2015 and the addition of the identity selector, you can quickly choose the user you want within work items and queries. The identity selector works within Visual Studio 2015 and the web portal. The identity selector chooses the correct user from among those users who share the same display name based on their account name.

Identity selector

What does this mean for queries? When querying with Visual Studio 2013 or earlier versions, queries return results of everyone who shares the same display name. With Visual Studio 2015 and later clients, as well as the web portal for TFS 2015, queries return results only for the user you selected through the Identity selector.

Work item form and query enhancements

Two enhancements have been made to the query process:

  • @CurrentIteration macro allows you to create queries that automatically update based on the team's current iteration. The macro is fully supported in queries that you create from the web portal, Visual Studio, and Team Explorer.
  • With the addition of the Key word filter control added to the toolbar, you can now quickly filter your query results based on key words contained within the displayed columns, including tags.
  • Query progressive disclosure improves the query experience when opening queries which return a large result set. With progressive disclosure, the results display include only the first two levels. Loading of additional results occurs on demand.
  • The History control has been optimized to make discussions easier to read. Specifically, we’ve reduced the vertical space required so that you can get to the discussions you want to see more quickly.

Process template enhancements

  • Renamed process templates are locked and versionless: Agile, CMMI, and Scrum. Locked process templates prevent changes being made to them. You can still use these templates to support customizations you want to make by exporting them, giving them a new version type, and importing them using the Process Template Manager.
  • Support provided for Scaled Agile Framework: To support SAFe methodology as described here, the following enhancements have been made to the Agile, CMMI, and Scrum process templates:
    • Added the Epic WIT and portfolio backlog, a parent to the Feature portfolio backlog
    • Full backlog and Kanban board functionality support the Epic and Feature portfolio backlogs
    • Team-configurable opt-in of the Epic portfolio backlog
    • Support for tracking Business vs. Architectural for all backlog items by adding the Value Area field. By default all Value Areas are set to Business. With this field, you can more easily track your architectural roadmap by defining Architectural Epics, Features, and User Stories.
  • The Time Criticality field has been added to Epics and Features. Additional field and workflow changes are described in Changes made to process templates.

Access levels and licensing changes

The following new features have been introduced and are available with Basic and Advanced licenses:

  • Web-based test execution
  • Analyze test results and manage machine groups

The following features which previously required an Advanced license are now available with a Basic license:

In addition, you can storyboard your ideas using Storyboarding using PowerPoint when you download the free Visual Studio Community edition, or other Visual Studio 2015 product.

Administration tools

Project rename

Project rename allows you to change the name of your team project.

Related notes

Learn more about the latest updates available from these resources: