Visual Studio and TFS 2013.4 (Update 4) Release Candidate

It’s time!  The Release Candidate of Visual Studio 2013.4 and Team Foundation Server 2013.4 is here.

I’ve written some posts about the CTPs along the way.  But I’ll give a high-level recap of the ALM improvements and talk about a few of the new things showing up in this RC.

Work item tracking and Agile project management improvements – This update includes a ton of “smallish” improvements to work item tracking.  Things like trend charts, area path search, better embedded url support, performance improvements, full screen support and more.  No single thing is likely to blow your socks off but, in the aggregate, it’s a very nice set of improvements.

Stakeholder license – Update 4 includes the licensing changes I announced a while back that enables people who just need access to basic work management capabilities and project status tracking to do so at no charge.

Pull requests – Support for Git based pull requests/code reviews.

Additional improvements showing up in this Release Candidate include:

Bugs on the backlog – Some teams want their bugs to show up on their backlog, some teams only want user stories/requirements.  In Update 4, you can now choose your preference.  As part of this, bugs can also now appear on the kanban board.  It’s a step to also enabling them fully on the task board.

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CodeLens performance improvements – We’ve seen a number of issues, of TFS, with the CodeLens jobs consuming a lot of CPU or disk space.  We’ve made a bunch of improvements to make the CodeLens processing up to 10X faster and to cap the amount of SQL server space it uses for temporary processing.  This should address all of the CodeLens server side issues I’ve seen come up.

Associated Test Suites – A test case can be shared among multiple test suites.  It sure would be nice to know when you are changing a test case which suites you are affecting.  With Update 4, you can with the Associated Test Suites pane.

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Recent Test Results – Similar to the Associated Test Suites pane, we’ve added a new pane that also makes it super easy to see what the recent results for a test case are.  I’m actually showing you the RTM screenshot here because the RC one doesn’t look as good – but this is what it will look like when we ship it.

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Test case charting – To provide better visibility into what’s happening with Testing we’ve added a new Test charting ability that allow you to visualize test planning and test results.  You can pin these charts to your project homepage and everyone can see them – even Stakeholders.

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That’s about a wrap.  This is the last pre-release before the final Update 4 RTM.  If you haven’t yet, now is the time to give it a spin and let us know if you have any issues.  Of course, VS Online is also a really easy way to try out most of this.

Brian