Hello VSO - Extending Visual Studio Online


Instead of extending Visual Studio, today I'm going to highlight a new extensibility target, extending Visual Studio Online (VSO).

Gordon Beeming, Visual Studio ALM Microsoft MVP has written up a great Hello VSO World tutorial, taking you from New Project through deployment of your new VSO Extension.

But first, you all know about VSO, right? Okay, just in case, here's a refresher..

Visual Studio Online

Services for teams to share code, track work, and ship software – for any language, all in a single package. It’s the perfect complement to your IDE.

  • Unlimited free private code repositories
  • Track bugs, work items, feedback, and more
  • Agile planning tools
  • Continuous integration builds
  • Develop in any language
  • Use Visual Studio, Eclipse, or your own tools
  • Enterprise-grade services scale to any team size
  • Free for up to five users

What is Visual Studio Online?

Cloud collaboration tools for the entire team

It’s not an IDE, it’s everything else. Visual Studio Online provides a set of cloud-powered collaboration tools that work with your existing IDE or editor, so your team can work effectively on software projects of all shapes and sizes.

Version control

Unlimited, private, secure

Store and collaborate on code anywhere with private team projects backed by version control. Use Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC) for one massively scalable repo, or multiple Git repositories for maximum flexibility

Kanban, Scrum, dashboards

Be agile, on your terms. Capture, prioritize, and track work with backlogs and customizable Kanban boards. Work items link directly to code to ensure transparency, and can be used to build rich dashboards for easy reporting.

Languages and tools

Eclipse, Xcode, and more

Use your favorite language and development tool. Version control supports any language, as well as any Git client (including Xcode). Java teams can access code and work items through a free plugin for Eclipse – and run continuous integration builds based on config files from Ant or Mavin.


Up-front pricing, free to start

Get all these and more with a free account. Add users and additional capabilities at a monthly rate, with no limits on team size or usage.

  • 5 FREE users
  • Unlimited stakeholders
  • Unlimited eligible MSDN subscribers
  • Unlimited team projects and private code repos
  • FREE workitem tracking for all users
  • FREE 60 minutes/month of build
  • FREE 20K virtual user minutes/month of load testing


Open and extensible

We make it easy to integrate your custom tool or third-party service with Visual Studio Online using open standards like REST APIs and OAuth 2.0. We also support a set of ready-made integrations that can be easily configured from your account dashboard.

Learn more about integrating your app or service with Visual Studio


Yeah, free as in free... AND it's extensible too!

A 'Hello World' for VSO Extensions

So if you haven't heard yet VSO Extensions are now in a private preview where you can sign up to get into the preview on extensions integration site. These extensions in the shortest sentence a supported way of doing customizations to VSO that will replace any of the "hacky" extensions that you may be playing around with at the moment like Tiago Pascal's Task Board Enhancer or maybe you have even created your own following similar steps to what I show in my TFS 2013 Customization book.

This post aims to give you a super quick guide on how to get started, you will need to go through the integrations site to really get into detail. It has most of what you will find in most posts but gives you a little something extra that most posts wouldn't have like tips on free stuff

File, New Project

The easiest way to get a basic something in VSO is to just create a new project.


Our App is now complete

Install your extension

If you have signed up for the private preview you should see a tab in the admin section of your account called Extensions like so...


Your extension is now installed

Generic Episode Image


View it on VSO

Go to a team project home page and you should now see a Time hub, click on it



Publishing you app

You could buy an SSL certification but that costs a lot and most people don't have that kind of money laying around for fun apps and extensions so we'll turn to Azure. We will now right click on our project and click publish



For more info on VSO Extensions visit https://aka.ms/vsoextensions.

A pretty neat getting started post is also on that site at https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/integrate/extensions/get-started/visual-studio.

Microsoft has a project out on GitHub as well that is quite advanced in the API's that it uses and can be found at https://github.com/Microsoft/vso-team-calendar.

If you want a light overview over everything then you can get their VSO Extension Samples out on GitHub as well using the link https://github.com/Microsoft/vso-extension-samples.

Complete Sample code for this post is also out on Github at https://github.com/Gordon-Beeming/VSO-Time-Ticker

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