Team Foundation Service and Dynamics AX

Microsoft just turned status of its hosted Team Foundation Server from Preview to Released and encourages everyone to try it. It’s not the first hosted TFS, but it’s both free (with some limitations) and for commercial projects, which makes it really attractive.

You can currently use it without any limitations, but the future Free Plan will include only five users and (somehow) limited functionality, e.g. with limited number of builds.

But can we use it in Dynamics AX? I already do! This is a great opportunity for everyone who wants to try TFS but doesn’t want to bother with installation, licenses etc.

Let’s take a look at what you’ll need.

The very first step is going to tfs.visualstudio.com and creating an account. Don’t worry, it’s extremely simple:

Then create a new team project:

Consult the documentation if you’re not sure what process template to choose. If you want just to test basic features, you don’t have to care about it too much in the moment.

When everything is ready on the server side, prepare client components. To connect to Team Foundation Service from AX2012, your local machine must have Team Explorer 2010 with SP1 and KB2662296 (2008 SP1 and KB2673642 for AX 2009). I tested only AX2012 with Visual Studio 2010.

Before trying to connect from Dynamics AX, I recommend to test the connection from Team Explorer. I had some issues with authentication – installation of target website’s security certificate (directly in web browser) resolved the problem.

The last step is to configure version control in Dynamics AX. Just be sure that you append defaultcollection to the URL of your account:

I was concerned about how Dynamics AX handles authentication via LiveID, but it works great (at least in AX2012). A new window opens, you log into it and you’re done!

In just few minutes you get fully working TFS working with Dynamics AX. If you wanted to install it by yourself, you would need few hours, additional hardware and somebody to do it.

TFS offers much more than just version control – work items tracking, access from Excel and Project and drag&drop task board are just few from many available features. It’s time to try it.

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