Team Services Update – Mar 29 2017

This week we begin rolling out our sprint 115 work.  You can read the release notes for details.  As usual, this is a forewarning of the changes, it could take up to 2 weeks before all the changes are visible in your account.  The update should go live in the first public accounts today.

Overall, there’s not any single thing that stands out for me in this release.  A lot of good stuff but nothing revolutionary.

  • We continue to make the pullrequest/code review experience better.  Every sprint we are taking feedback and implementing it.  We’re still not very close to done yet but the experience is pretty darned good now – I’d argue that it’s the best PR experience in any product available today.
  • The new package management UI refresh went live this sprint and I think it has some nice improvements.
  • CI/CD remains, probably, our biggest aggregate investment right now and makes a lot of progress every sprint.  Some stuff we are targeting for the //Build conference in May where I think we’ll be able to unveil a whole bunch of significant advancements in this space.

There are also a couple of themes driving work we are doing right now that I’d like to talk about.

  • Compliance – Increasingly the VSTS code pipeline PR -> CI -> Test -> Release is getting used, both internally and externally, by team with strict compliance requirements.  We’re building more and more compliance supporting features into the pipeline and you can see several in this sprint – the PR review policy changes and the Release management initiator/approver role segmentation are good examples.
  • Accessibility – Something that didn’t really even show up in the release notes but is, none-the-less, a pretty big investment right now is accessibility.  I think it doesn’t show up for a couple of reasons – 1) It’s mostly manifested as bug fixes and 2) It’s work in flight so it’s not done yet.  But, it’s something that will get better every sprint.  A few months ago, we had a blind engineer come and demonstrate for me what using VSTS/TFS was like for someone who is visually impaired.  I have to say it was a humbling experience for me.  We kicked off a significant effort across the product to substantially improve and it’s already getting much better.  I expect this effort will continue until mid-summer, at which point, the product should be very usable by people with visual disabilities.

Thanks and feedback is always welcome,

Brian