Thursday, September 8, 2011

Impress your colleagues with your knowledge about… private builds

One of the little known features of Team Foundation Server 2010 are private builds (a.k.a. “Buddy Builds”).A Private build is just like a Gated check-in build, but without the automatic check-in and enforcement.

It’s a way to manually queue a Gated check-in build and provide a Shelveset name. It provides another sanity check beyond F5. You specify a private build by selecting a Shelveset to merge with the latest source code when queuing a build.


You queue a private build if you want to build the changes that you have put into a shelveset. You can use a private build (also known as a "buddy build") to validate changes to your code before you check it in. By performing a private build of your changes before you check them in, you can reduce the chance that they will break any builds that your team runs regularly (such as the nightly build).

From the MSDN website:
How Private Builds Differ from Public Builds

The results of a completed private build differ from a completed public build in the following ways:

  • A private build resembles a gated check-in build in that you are building code that includes changes in a shelveset. However, your changes are not automatically checked in for you after a private build as they are after a gated check-in build.

  • The following build process parameters are presumed to be False and therefore have no effect, regardless of the setting specified in the build definition:

    • Label Sources

    • Create Work Item on Failure

    • Associate Changesets and Work Items

  • In Build Explorer, the completed build appears next to the following icon: ms181722.Icon_BldPrivateBuild(en-us,VS.100).gif

  • The completed build is named by using the format Build N where N is a unique integer value. This format differs from that of public builds, which you specify by using the Build Number Format parameter.

  • For each build definition, you specify a separate (and optionally different) retention policy to limit the number of completed private builds that are stored in the system.

Queue a Private Build
  1. In Team Explorer, click the appropriate team project.

  2. On the Build menu, click Queue New Build.

  3. In the Build definition list, select a build definition.

  4. In the What do you want to build? list, select Latest sources with shelveset.

  5. Perform one of the following steps:

    • If you already have a shelveset, type its name into the Shelveset name box, or click the ellipsis (…) button to search for the shelveset.

    • If you want to put some pending changes from your workspace into a shelveset and then build those changes, click Create.

  6. Click Queue.

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