What's in this chapter?
After version control, automating the build is the second most important thing you can do to improve the quality of your software. This chapter defines build automation and examines why it benefits the overall software engineering process. This is followed by a look at the high-level capabilities and limitations of Team Foundation Server, and a comparison with other common build systems in use today. Finally, some general advice is provided to assist in adopting build automation in your environment today.
Subsequent chapters of this book dive deeper into Team Foundation Server's build capabilities, discuss how to customize the build process, and demonstrate this by working through a series of common build customizations used in real-world scenarios.
Team Foundation Server 2013 and Visual Studio Online have shipped with some improvements to the automated build system that make it easier to get an automated build running and to quickly extend the build functionality. These improvements include the ability to host your build servers in Windows Azure, store build outputs in the Team Foundation Server or Visual Studio Online server, and extend your build to perform custom actions using PowerShell scripts. Each of these will be discussed further in this and in the following chapters ...