Thursday, February 21, 2013

Coming soon(hopefully): TfPlugable, a solution to dynamically deploy plug-ins for TFS

Team Foundation Server always offered a rich extensibility model. It is very easy to create your extensions. The only problem was how to get these extensions to your users.

But this can change…

Martin Hinshelwood started the idea to simplify this process(think ‘NuGet for Team Foundation Server Extensions’). These are the key integration points he wants to cover:

  1. TF Job – These jobs can be schedules or one off and run within the context of the TFS Server Itself. They are a compiled DLL that has to be deployed to a particular folder on the TF Server in order to be loaded and registered with TFS.
  2. TF Event Sink – Events are fired on the TF Server as a result of Work Item, Build, Source Code changes and implement the ISubscriber interface. Again they need to have the containing DLL dropped into the correct folder on the TF Server.
  3. Custom Controls – Sometimes you want to extend the UI of work items capability to display data and this requires both server side and client side components to be deployed.
  4. Check-in Policy – These policies are evaluated at check-in both on the Client and on a Build Server as part of a Gated Check-in. They need to be registered in the system register to be executed but have no special folder.
  5. Soap Events – These are like TF Event Sinks but they are more disconnected from TFS. They do need to be registered with TFS, but it is a SOAP registration rather than integral to the server itself. With the introduction of TF Event Sinks there is little need for this, but if you want to have events from TFS 2008 or TFS 2010 then it may be a viable solution for backward compatibility.

I really like the idea. It would simplify my job a lot.

Hopefully we’ll see the first release appear soon…

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