Team Foundation Server (TFS), currently known as Azure DevOps, is a product of Microsoft. It has been developed solely to improve the software development process in companies. You can use TFS in the entire life cycle of software development for purposes such as project management, software requirement gathering, and testing, etc., which results in process improvement, quality output, and improved delivery time. Apart from these, you can use TFS as a collaborative environment tool and also can integrate it easily with the existing development environments.

TFS as a Process Improvement Tool

As discussed earlier, the core of TFS is software development process improvement. The process of improvement includes tracking the development processes and keeping the project stakeholders informed constantly about the project progress. The process improvement also includes collecting all the metrics, report generation, workflows maintenance, item tracking, and notification purposes, etc. All these lead to the ability to understand the development issues, if any, with ease and suitably resolve them. 

TFS as a Multipurpose Tool

Apart from software process improvement, TFS can also be used for various other purposes. Some of these include the following:

  • You can use it as a version control tool.
  • You can use it for ticket maintenance.
  • You can use it for managing records and contacts.
  • You also can use it for updating information.

 TFS Features

Let us now look at the features of TFS. Here they are:

Feature Purpose
Customizable process templates Defines the process of development
Work item tracking Communicates and manage work across the teams
Version control  Manages changes to project artifacts
Team build Integrates team’s work on a regularly basis
Team portal  Improves team collaboration
Build server Provides automated build facilities
Source control Provides robust version control 
Linking Provides a link between artifacts including builds, source code, work items, and project plan
Reporting Provides mining of all the data, which is captured and recorded in the data warehouse, and also generates reports
Microsoft One-click technology Removes the chaos associated with deployment and provides rollout consistency across servers and environments
Reporting and business intelligence Provides information on project status, performance, and quality metrics
 

TFS Benefits

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As a process improvement tool, TFS provides various benefits to the development teams. Some of them include the following:

  • Support for multiple languages: TFS supports a range of languages. These include C#, Python, Java, and HTML5, etc. Since all these are supported on a single platform, you don’t need multiple platforms.
  • Express Version: Even small teams can benefit from TFS. The Expression version of TFS is free and it supports a maximum of five users.
  • Easier to connect with existing tools and services: This is one of the very important advantages of TFS. Using the REST APIs and OAuth 2.0 of TFS, you can easily connect it with your existing environments.
  • Increase in development pace: TFS contains agile tools such as customizable dashboards, kanban boards, and scrum boards, etc. Using these agile tools, you can prioritize tasks with ease and increase the pace of software development. These agile tools also help in fostering accountability among the employees.
  • Improved quality: TFS enables you to detect the bugs in software development in the primitive stage itself. This is due to TFS’s continued integration, support, and delivery capabilities to multiple platforms.
  • Streamlined development process: With TFS, you will have a streamlined process as the workflow is automated. Besides, based on the project history, TFS collects and provides you real-time data. This helps in managing the projects efficiently. 
  • Integrated workforce: Since, TFS works as a warehouse and also links all the stakeholders in the software development, there will be much scope for collaboration, accountability, and transparency across the development chain. It also facilitates better resource management, capacity planning, and risk analysis, etc.
  • Easier access to Microsoft Project Portal: As TFS is directly connected with Microsoft Project Portal; the project managers can get the project related information accessing the portal itself. This is because the portal gets updated constantly with the project information by TFS. There is no need for the project managers to wade through Visual Studio for the required information.
  • Time and money savings:  Since TFS provides managing multiple tasks from a single platform; you can expect a lot of time and money savings as well.

TFS Architecture

Team Foundation Server (TFS) contains a three-tier architecture, which includes the Client tier, Application tier, and Data tier. The following gives an insight into these three tiers:

  • Client Tier: The client tier doesn’t have any user interface. The functionality of this client tire is to communicate with the application tire to create and manage projects and also access the items of a project.
  • Application Tier: The application tier consists of web services, a web portal, and also a document repository aided by SharePoint Services. Among these, the web portal serves as the central point of communication whereas the document repository is used for project items and the revisions, which are tracked. It also can be used for aggregated data and generated reports.
  • Data Tier: The data tier provides data storage services for the document repository.  

If the data tier and application tier are running a Windows Server, they may exist on different physical or virtual servers.

TFS as Azure DevOps and its Features

Team Foundation Server is now transformed as Azure DevOps, which is available in two forms - on-premises and online. The online form of Azure DevOps is also called Azure DevOps Services. It has the back-up of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. The advantage of the online version is – it doesn’t need any setup and it contains the same code as that of the on-premises version. You can instantly start using it to create projects and also to build a team by just login to Microsoft Account.

TFS in its new avatar i.e. Azure DevOps brings more benefits to development teams. You can now work in the cloud leveraging Azure’s cloud capabilities. Some of the features of Azure DevOps include the following:

  • Azure Boards: Using Azure’s agile tools, you can plan and track the tasks and also detect code defects in an easier manner. Azure’s Kanban boards, team dashboards, and backlogs help in this purpose. The tracking features are so comprehensive that you can track ideas at all the development stages and keep the teams aligned with all the changes in code. Azure also has built-in scrum boards and planning tools using which the teams can run sprints and meetings, etc. 
  • Azure Pipelines: The Azure Pipelines provide support to continuous integration and deliveries of the applications in the form of build and release services. Since this feature supports multiple languages/platforms, you can build, test, and deploy with CI/CD, which works with any platform and language. You can also deploy either in the cloud or on?premises.
  • ·Azure Repos: The Azure Repos feature enables source control of code with its Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC). It also provides you unlimited Git hosting and you can connect securely and push code into the repository. Using Azure Repos, you also can use pull requests and advanced file management, which provides collaboration resulting in quality code. Using the code-aware search feature of Azure Repos, you can easily find what you are looking for.
  • Azure Test Plans: Azure test plans provide you multiple tools for testing. You can test your application manually or you can use exploratory testing.  You also can execute the tests across both web and desktop. Besides, you can get actionable data on the defects during the execution itself.  
  • Azure Artifacts: Using Azure Artifacts, with just one click, you will be able to create, host, and share packages with your team. You also can add artifacts to your CI/CD pipelines. Additionally, your teams can share Maven, npm, and NuGet packages from public and private sources.
  • Availability of extensions: Azure DevOps also provides you access to thousands of apps and services, which are built by the community.

Career in TFS/Azure DevOps

DevOps is a big trend these days because of its disruptive prowess in increasing software application development speed and quality. Since Azure DevOps is one of the popular tools used for DevOps and there is a constant increase in demand for Azure DevOps engineers, you can expect excellent career growth learning TFS/Azure DevOps. If you are looking for a DevOps training institute, then join Mindmajix Azure DevOps training, which is rated as one of the best in the country because of its quality and industry-standard course content.