February 20, 2014

Getting Started with Visual Studio Online

After spending far too long using Visual Studio 2010 for SharePoint development, I recently started a project using Visual Studio Online/2013. And it's fantastic! This post will take you through the initial steps of creating a new project in Visual Studio Online and loading it in Visual Studio 2013.

To get started, you'll need to sign up for Visual Studio Online (VSO) with your Microsoft account. Once complete, you'll have your own fancy new personalized URL!

Once you login to your new site, it's time to create a project. Under "Recent projects & teams," click "New." Fill out the four fields in the form, wait a minute, then click the "Navigate to project" button. Hooray!

If your project involves more than one developer, you should follow the best practice of managing stories and tasks in VSO/TFS, and enforcing the rule that all code check-ins be associated to a task. From your new project site, under the "Work" heading, click to visit the "Backlog" page. Then create a story and task for your work, and move the story to the current iteration so it can be used to check things in.

Now, assuming you have Visual Studio 2013 installed, you can just click the "Open in Visual Studio" button to launch the application within the context of your new project. Now you can do your work in Visual Studio just like you always would. Once you're ready to check things in, just click on "Pending Changes" from the Team Explorer view and review the list of changes. It is very important to always include a comment and associate work items with your check-ins! You can easily grab the IDs of your tasks using the "Queries" page under the "Work" tab of your VSO site, or directly from the Team Explorer view in VS2013. Once you're ready, hit the "Check in" button and your code will be stored securely in TFS!

While the basics of creating and developing a project with Visual Studio Online seem straightforward, things really get fun and interesting once we set up an automated build, the cornerstone of the continuous integration process. Stay tuned for that post in the near future.

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