TFS11 RC – Simple Build Summary Customization

So, I did a few posts when TFS 2010 released on how developers could customize the Visual Studio Build Details View. However, it required creating a VS Add-In or Package and then deploying that to all your clients. Well, with the RC release of TFS 11 and Visual Studio, there is a much easier way to add simple content to your Build Details Summary view.

Simply add the new activity “WriteCustomSummaryInformation” to your build process template (*.XAML). It has several properties that allow you create a new Section and add text to that section…

  • SectionKey – Specifies a unique identifier for the section.
  • SectionDisplayName – Specifies the name to display on the Build Details View.
  • SectionPriority – Specifies the relative priority of this section.
  • Message – This is the string that is displayed inside the section.

Here are some examples of WriteCustomSummaryInformation and what the XAML would look like in notepad…

<mtbwa:WriteCustomSummaryInformation SectionKey="NewSection" SectionDisplayName="My New Section" SectionPriority="75" Message="This is message 1” />
<mtbwa:WriteCustomSummaryInformation SectionKey="NewSection" SectionDisplayName="My New Section" SectionPriority="75" Message="This is message 2. Click [here]( to open” />
<mtbwa:WriteCustomSummaryInformation SectionKey="NewSection" SectionDisplayName="My New Section" SectionPriority="75" Message="This is message 3. Click [here](vstfs:///WorkItemTracking/WorkItem/1) to open the first work item in this collection.” />

And here is how that would look on the Build Details View…



More Details….

Priorities: 0 is the highest priority for a section. The standard sections start at about 100 and continue in increments of 100 for the most part.

Adding to an existing section: You can find out the Key and priority of existing sections by hovering your mouse over them. Using that Key, you can add messages to the top of existing sections. You cannot remove existing sections but they will take on the priority that you provide. Thus, you could move them to the bottom by providing a very high priority.

Links: By using the syntax (link) you can embed hyperlinks into your messages. links that start with “vstfs:” are assumed to be valid TFS artifact links and will be evaluated that way. All other links will be passed to the OS for evaluation.

Customizing the old way: The 2010 way of customizing your Build Details View still works and provides a lot more customization than we have provided in this feature.

I hope this makes your customizations much easier and allows you do more with Build!

Happy Customizing!

Comments (12)
  1. Mattias Sköld says:

    It would be greate if you could replace the exisiting section , or replace/modifyl indivual lines/paragraphs.

    For exampel, to display the testrun name in the test results sections.

  2. Nagaraj says:

    Hi Jason,

    This is indeed very good post. I have implemented the above scenario, but I wanted to do little bit advanced scenario where after compiling the application I will run say for example code coverage/any test cases outside TFS/VS and I want to provide link in Build Summary to code coverage/test case results which will be residing in some location. Also I was looking through Jim Lamb's blog on parallel template, It works for different configuration (x86 and x64) not  for platform (debug, release) it gives error regarding same label accessing issue. And I tried to use it for build multiple solutions parallel it not working.

    It would be great if you could help in the above points.

    Thanks & Regards,


  3. Hi Nagaraj,

    You can add links by using the format "[text](hyperlink)" in your message. You second issue seems like you will have to change the template to only do the label once. It may be trying to label twice for the same build. If that doesn't help, please ask your question on the forums.



  4. Hi Jason,

    Nice feature.  Are there any plans to put in in the TFS web page on a future TFS update?  The summary information shows fine in the Visual Studio UI, but when I view the build from the web portal, it's not there.



  5. Hi Jeremy,

    Actually, we have already done the work for Web Access. You should see it in the next version that is released. No, I can't tell you when that will be 🙂



  6. Patrick Conboy says:

    Hi Jason,

    I've run into the exact same issue as Jeremy.   Being able to display the customized build summary data in Web Access is extremely important to us.  Are there any workarounds or a ETA on when that feature will be available?



  7. Patrick Conboy says:

    Nevermind!  Upgraded to update 2 and it worked like a charm.  Thanks!

  8. k says:

    At first I liked the idea very much, but after trying it out, I have two problems.

    1. If a link contains a 'n' character sequence, it is interpreted by VS as a newline character, making the link useless.

    2. The custom summary information is not included in alerts like the Build Completed alert.

  9. Brandon Hawbaker says:

    Also, I'm curious how you would launch an activity like this outside Visual Studio or the team build process, if you have the related assemblies available?  This would be useful if you were working to abstract custom logic outside of the XAML processes into powershell scripts, cmdlets, etc.  I don't see how to provide the TFS URL, build, etc.  From experience, XAML activities are powerful and useful, but it's also important to be able to call activities from external processes.

  10. dario_279 says:


    I want to include a message in ConfigurationSummary section but I cannot do it because the builder says that   Microsoft.TeamFoundatio.Build.Client.ConfigurationSummary is not accessible in this context because it is friend.

    Is it necessary that I have to create a new section or can I introduce my message in the existing sections?

    Thank you!

  11. David says:

    Any idea how to make a "sub section" with the expandable triangle?

  12. Diego Spinella says:

    As I copy a particular part of the error log for the summary?

    Using this process you showed.

    I need show in Summary.

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