When organizations adopt TFS Now (or indeed TFS itself) they get access to Team Build. Team Build is a distributed “build engine” that allows build masters to request that a build be performed on a remote machine that has the Team Build agent installed on it. When we pulled together the TFS Now SaaS offering we were very keen on enabling the use of Team Build.
When you get a TFS Now account provisioned we automatically set you up with a build server which is capable of building both .NET 2.0 and .NET 3.0 code-bases. When you kick off a build this build server is made available to you.
Custom Build Servers?
For more complex build scenarios you can also setup your own Team Build server which your hosted TFS instance can connect to across the Internet. This is useful if you have special dependencies that we can’t (currently) replicate in our hosted environment.
Having said that I am interested in hearing from you if you do have custom build server requirements because we want to enable this scenario in the not to distant future and understanding your requirements would help us greatly.
Continuous Integration Support
A little while ago Readify developed a tool called TFS Integrator. TFS Integrator plugs a hole in the Team Foundation Server 1.0 feature set where Continuous Integration wasn’t built into the product. When customers provision a TFS Now instance we automatically enable the use of TFS Integrator. This is really useful for multi-person development teams who need to make sure that the code that they are adding to the repository is generally stable – at least from a build point of view.
Once you are up and running with TFS Now you are probably going to need to spend a little bit of time getting your build sorted out. To do this you will need to become familiar with MSBuild. MSBuild is the build scripting language that Team Build calls out to when it wants to build one of your solution files. I recommend that you check out the following resources when skilling up on MSBuild.