With the recent release of Visual Studio 2015 Preview, the on premise Release Management feature is now introduced in Visual Studio Online. Release management allows you to create a release pipeline and orchestrate the release of your application to different environments. Using the Visual Studio Online edition for release management allows you to scale your release operations on demand and realize the benefits of using a cloud based service.
The Visual Studio Release Management client is what you will still use to configure releases in your Visual Studio Online account.
Specify your Visual Studio Online URL to connect and start configuring the release template. There are four stages to configuring release management in Visual Studio Online.
- First you need to configure the environment. This would include among other steps, configuring the different stage types to represent the steps to production.
- Next you need to configure the environment and server paths.
- Once you are done with the first two steps, you can then create a release template. If you are using any tools you can add them. You can also add your actions to augment the built-in release management actions.
- Start managing the release.
You could potentially define your stages as testing (/ QA), pre-production (/ UAT), and then finally production. Configure these under the stage types as shown below. The goal is to configure them in the line up to production which is the ultimate release you will manage.
In addition, you can also optionally specify the technology types to determine what is supported by each environment.
Next step, you should configure your environment for release. If this is a Microsoft Azure environment, then you can directly retrieve the details from your subscription as illustrated below.
If you have PowerShell scripts from an existing application to deploy to an environment, you can use them directly without using an agent. Alternatively you can also use an agent to deploy.
Next step you can define custom actions that you will use during the release management process. Predefined release management actions for some common activities are already available with the client and are supported in Visual Studio Online as the following figure shows:
You are now all set to create the release template components and then use them to build an automated or approval based release process.
The release template provides a workflow style interface to allow you configure different stages in the release pipeline. You can also use tagging to allow reusing stages across environments.
Visual Studio 2015 is bringing a host of new additions including significant ones around developer productivity. Watch out for a future post on them!