Friday, August 29, 2014

Visual Studio Online (cloud hosted TFS): Unlimited (no cost) users can Create/Access Bugs/Tasks

Microsoft has created a new category of free users for Visual Studio Online (VSOL), namely Stakeholders. This user type has the ability create bugs/tasks and view the status of bugs/tasks including generating reports with regard to bugs/tasks. Even a company that has no desire to use VSOL for source code control has a free, cloud-based bug/tracking and project management software provided by Microsoft.

Thus far the lowest tier of licenses for Visual Studio Online was the "Basic License." Each VSOL account comes with five Basic user accounts for free and each additional is $20 per month (as of August 2014, see: Visual Studio Online User Plans). With this minimum account type comes access to source code control and the project management aspects of VSOL found under a project's Work menu item. This includes creating bugs/tasks and generating reports related to bugs/tasks. An example of the Work menu for a project configured with process template "Microsoft Visual Studio Scrum 2013.3:

For every engineer requiring access to source code control there is a plethora of product managers, QA engineers, non-coding managers and other "stack holders" who require access to the functionality found under the Work menu. Add to this alpha and beta users that require bug creating capabilities and the cost used to be significant. As stated an unlimited number of such users can be added at no cost, simply assign the user to the free Stackholder license type (see below):

The previous screenshot shows user Keyser Soeze being converted from a Basic user (with source code access) to a Stackholder.

S. Somasegar (Corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft) wrote an excellent blog entry introducing this new feature of VSOL: Visual Studio Online - Stakeholder License

There is no free service comparable to Visual Studio Online that provides the following:
  • 5 free Basic users with access to source code and Work functionality (tasks/bugs)
  • Unlimited free Stackholder users with access to Work functionality (tasks/bugs)

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