Binary promotion of Visual Studio Team Service Extension

05 Mar, 2016
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When creating a Visual Studio Team Services extension (such as a collection of build tasks), it makes sense to publish it as a private extension first. You can do this by overwriting the extensionid from the commandline, but there is no direct commandline switch to override the visibility of an extension. I used to patch the extension manifest, but today finally uncovered the correct way of doing it.

It turns out that the TFS cross platform commandline (tfx) has a –override option which you can pass a piece of json to which will override any json in the extension.

So if your standard publish command looks like this:

tfx extension publish –extension-id vsts-tfvc-tasks –publisher jessehouwing –vsix package.vsix

Then the command to publish the private test version would look like this:

tfx extension publish –extension-id vsts-tfvc-tasks-TEST –publisher jessehouwing –override “{“”gallerySpecs””: [ “”Private””, “”Preview””], “”public””: false }” –share-with jessehouwing

Instead of passing the json on the commandline, you can also specify an –overridesFile.

Or, on the safer side, make the extension-manifest you commit to your source control repository always do a private preview release, and then use the –override option to merge the real publish settings.

Note: ensure you escape every double quote in the JSON by doubling it up.

Now I can setup a Visual Studio Release Management template to publish the tasks, test against my personal account and then promote that vsix unmodified to the marketplace. But that’s for the another blog.

Jesse Houwing
Jesse is a passionate trainer and coach, helping teams improve their productivity and quality all while trying to keep work fun. He is a Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) through, Microsoft Certified Trainer and GitHub Accredited Trainer. Jesse regularly blogs and you'll find him on StackOverflow, he has received the Microsoft Community Contributor Award three years in a row and has been awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award since 2015. He loves espresso and dark chocolate, travels a lot and takes photos everywhere he goes.

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