Create and queue a build definition

Last Update: 2/12/2017

Team Services | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015 | Previous versions (XAML builds)

A build definition contains all the tasks and settings used to in the build process build and test your code.

Build editor preview

We're offering a preview of a new design aimed at making it easier for your to create and edit build definitions. Click the switch to give the New Build Editor a try.

new build editor switch

If you change your mind, you can toggle it off. However, eventually after we feel it's ready for prime time, the preview editor will replace the current editor. So please give it a try and give us feedback.

The new editor has all the capabilities of the old editor along with several new capabilities and enhancements to existing features.

Learn more

Create a new build definition

Build tab

Select a template

If a template is relevant to your scenario, select it to automatically add some steps and apply typical settings. For example, if you create a new Visual Studio build, you automatically get steps to compile and test, along with other steps and settings you typically need to build a .NET app.

Start with an empty definition

If there's no template for your scenario, select Empty and then add the build tasks you need.

Replicate a definition

If your definition has a pattern that you want to replicate in other definitions, clone it or save it as a template.

Clone a definition

After you clone a definition, the copy appears in your list of builds.

Create a template

After you create a template, your team members can use it to follow the pattern in new definitions.

If you're using the New Build Editor, then your custom templates are shown at the bottom of the list.

Save a draft

If you're editing a build definition and you want to test some changes that are not yet ready for production, you can save it as a draft.

When you're ready you can publish the draft to keep the changes or delete them.

To see, edit, and delete your drafts, go to the All Definitions tab.

Queue a build

You can queue builds automatically or manually.

When you manually queue a build, you can, for a single run of the build:

Build definition concepts

To learn more about build definition settings, see:


Where can I learn step-by-step how to build my app?

Build your app

How do I programatically create a build definition?

REST API Reference: Create a build definition

Do I need a build agent?

You need at least one agent to run your build. Get an agent.

I can't select a default agent queue and I can't queue my build. How do I fix this?

See queues.

I use Team Foundation Server on-premises and I don't see some of these features. Why not?

Some of these features are available only on Visual Studio Team Services and not yet available on-premises. Some features are available on-premises if you have upgraded to the latest version of TFS.