TFS 2018 RC1 is available

Team Foundation Server 2018 RC1 is now available for download.  This is the first available build for what we have been calling TFS V.next.  And, as you can tell from the title of this post, the official name will be TFS 2018.  Here’s all the important links:

There’s a lot I want to say about this release…

Like all of our Release Candidates, this is a “go-live” release, meaning that it has been tested and is ready to be used in a production environment.  At the same time, it’s not done and there’s a much higher chance you’ll hit a bug than with a more final release.  However, we’ve been using it in production and it’s reasonably stable.  On our current trajectory, we’ll ship an RC2 in a month or so and then a final release at some point after that.  Precise timing depends somewhat on the feedback we get along the way.  This RC *is* localized, though you will find some English strings.  We will have complete localization by the time we release.

This is a “major” release of TFS.  The primary thing that means in these days of continuous delivery is there are breaking changes and system requirements updates.  Our customer promise for our Updates is that they are the same as RTM, just better.  However, our, roughly annual “major releases” are our opportunity to make bigger changes that might be more disruptive.  Here’s a link that includes the latest TFS system requirements and another that focuses on the requirements changes between TFS 2017 and TFS 2018.

Keeping in mind that the last major feature release was TFS 2017 Update 2 (released only just over a month ago), this TFS 2018 release candidate has a bunch of VERY nice improvements.  You can read the release notes for details but let me summarize the highlights…

A new Release Definition Editor

We’ve done a major update of our release management UI.  The highlight for me is the new visual release definition editor that allow you to visualize and configure your code release pipeline.  We’ve also improved the task editing experience, adding templates for common app patterns, etc.

 

Multi-machine deployments with Deployment Groups

Our release management solution now supports deployment agents on the targets that greatly simplify the deployment of multi VM applications.  It greatly simplifies the authentication issues associated with deployment.  It also includes the ability to do rolling deployments so your app can stay available during upgrade.

 

Wiki

We now have a Wiki built into the product.  You can write pages with a mix of markdown and HTML.  You can organize pages into a table of contents.  It’s a simple and fantastic way to share project information with your team and with visitors.

 

Maven Packages

We’ve added support for Maven packages to our package management solution – so now you can use TFS to manage your Nuget, NPM and Maven packages.

 

Pull Request improvements

This release contains innumerable improvements for pull requests.  We continue to iterate rapidly to make them better and better – making code easier to review, notifications better, policies and validations better and much more.  The release notes have lots of details.

 

Git Forks

We’ve included the first generation of Git Forks.  It allows users without write permission to a repository to fork it, iterate on the fork independently and, ultimately, submit a pull request to have their changes included in the original.  For now, all forks of a repo need to be in the same Team Project Collection as the original.  We will relax that requirement in a future update.

 

Mobile work items

This release brings our first installment in making the TFS experience good on mobile devices – mobile work items.  You can view a work item, launched from an email or any other location. in a nice phone form factor optimized experience.  You can also get simple lists like work assigned to me or that I’m following and view work items from there.  Over time, we’ll expand our mobile experience to other parts of the product too.

 

Much, much more

My summary, of course only captures a few of the highlights.  You can check out the release notes for more.  This RC1 release is mostly feature complete.  There was only 1 sprint of feature work that missed RC1 and will first show up in RC2.  Probably the biggest news in that set will be support for GVFS to enable enterprises with even very large, complex, intertwined codebases to adopt Git if they choose.

As always, we really appreciate you taking the opportunity to install it and give us feedback.  The best place to report problems is on our Developer Community site.  I’m excited about all the improvements in this release.  And when you combine that with the improvements that shipped in Update 1 and Update 2 (since TFS 2017 RTM), it’s a pretty amazing leap above what was available just a year ago.

Thanks a ton and looking forward to hearing your feedback,

Brian