I’ve been a fan of Visualstudio.com and VSTS for some time. I moved most of my demos to this platform a couple years ago and I’ve been pretty happy with it since then. There is tremendous flexibility in how you can use automation and dashboards to build software and coordinate the activities of your team.
The VSTS system underwent a rebranding and reorgnaization renently. The various pieces of the system were renamed a part of Azure DevOps, with the different parts being given new monikers such as Azure Pipelines, Azure Boards, and more. This was combined with an initiative from Microsoft to better support open source projects by giving them unlimited build minutes for public Github repositories on a variety of platforms such as Windows, OSX, and Linux.
I’m not a bit fan of name changes, as I think that if the software performs well and provides value, it will succeed. However, marketing people need work, too, and management inside a company often rearranges things to put their own mark on a project. I’m actually glad the marketing effort was ramped up as I think the Microsoft platform based on TFS for tracking work, version control, builds, and releases has become a fantastic platform for anyone building software. That’s not to take away from some other products like Bamboo and Octopus Deploy, which might work better for you. If they do, they plug into the Azure DevOps platform easily.
If you haven’t tried Azure DevOps, I’d urge you to give it a try. There’s an all day recording of various parts of the system being used to produce software that will show you how to get started and use the system. I’m sure there will be more information and talks this week from Ignite. There aren’t a ton of database tools, but there are some add-ons from various companies to help you build and deploy databases alongside your application software.
While there are challenges with databases, I’d argue that incorporating a known process will increase reliability and lower risk for making changes. This won’t help you build better code. That’s something you still need to ensure your developers are doing. This system just helps ensure simple, silly mistakes aren’t made and everyone knows exactly how your changes will be deployed to your production environment.
Give Azure DevOps a try today and see how you can build a smooth, repeatable, reliable process for your software.