Release Definition Editor Preview

Last Update: 5/25/2017

This topic describes the preview of the release definition editor. Turn on this editor by choosing the Try it link in the Releases page. You can also turn the new editor on and off at any time. See Enable preview features for more details.

Turning the new editor on and off

The editor currently contains four tabs: Pipeline, Tasks, Variables, and History.

Pipeline tab

This tab displays a graphical view of the pipeline of environments in your definition. The layout and linking of the environments reflects the settings specified for the triggers defined for each environment.

Pipeline editor annotated screenshot

The features of the pipeline editor include:

  1. The Artifacts details. This shows the artifacts linked to the definition.

  2. An icon that opens the Release schedule editor panel. Here you can specify a scheduled trigger that will initiate a release.

  3. The Environments panel. This shows the pipeline of environments with links to indicate the triggers that will initiate deployment to each environment. It clearly illustrates whether you have a direct (straight line) deployment pipeline, or a parallel (forked and joined) deployment.

  4. Each environment has an icon that opens the Pre-deployment conditions editor panel. Here you can specify the triggers, pre-deployment approvers, and deployment queue settings for just that environment.

  5. Each environment has an icon that opens the Post-deployment conditions editor panel. Here you can specify the post-deployment approvers for just that environment.

  6. A drop-down list where you can add a new environment to the definition, or clone an existing environment.

  7. A link that makes it easy to switch back to the non-preview definition editor.

  8. A drop-down list opened from the ... icon where you can configure security permissions for the definition.

  9. An icon to save your changes to the release definition.

  10. An icon that opens the Continuous deployment trigger editor panel where you can configure continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD).

  11. A drop-down list where you can create a new release or a draft release from this release definition.

  12. Icons to add a new environment to the definition, and to clone the selected environment. These icons are visible only when the mouse pointer is over the environment.

As you change the triggers for each environment in the Pre-deployment conditions editor panel, the layout and links to the environments is updated to show the new deployment pipeline. Notice that you can change the type of trigger for the environment here; it can be when a release is created, when deployment to a previous environment succeeds, or manual. The automated triggers can be set to a schedule if required.

Tasks tab

This tab makes it easy to edit the tasks defined for each environment.

Tasks editor annotated screenshot

The environments you have defined are shown as tabs (in this example, "Dev", "Test", "Staging", and "Production"). For each environment, the features of the tasks editor include:

  1. The environment selector bar showing the environment name. Select this bar to edit the name. Use the ... to open a shortcut menu where you add phases to the environment.

  2. A selector bar for each phase defined in the environment. Select this bar to edit the name and properties of the phase.

  3. A selector bar for each task in each phase. Select this bar to edit the name and properties of the task. Drag and drop the task bars to reorder the tasks.

  4. The property (or argument) editor panel for the selected environment, phase, or task. See Define processes in an environment and the individual build and release tasks for more details about the available tasks and their arguments.

To add tasks to a phase, select it and use the + icon to open the Add tasks panel.

Add tasks pane annotated screenshot

  1. The icon to open the Add tasks panel.

  2. Select the type of task you need, or view all tasks.

  3. Search for tasks by name.

  4. Get additional tasks from the Marketplace.

Variables tab

Use this tab to define the variables that you will use in your tasks and definition settings.

The Variables tab

The features of the variables editor include:

  1. The list of variables, and the scope of each one.

  2. A link to add new variables.

  3. Use the "padlock" icon when you define a variable to secure and hide the value.

  4. A drop-down list where you can specify the scope of the variable to the entire definition or to a specific environment.

For more information, see Variables in Release Management.

History tab

For information about using the History tab, see Release history.

FAQs

Q: Is the new editor fully functioning and complete?

A: No, there are several features not yet implemented. However, we are looking forward to your early feedback. We believe that editing the environment configuration and the deployment tasks is the primary activity when editing release definitions. Work in progress includes:

  • The ability to link to artifacts.
  • Seamless navigation between environments in the Tasks tab.
  • Configuration of variable groups, release retention, and other options.

Q: Can I edit release definitions with both the existing and the new editors interchangeably?

A: Yes, you can use the new editor to manage tasks and triggers, and fall back to the existing editor for configuring options that are not yet available in the new editor. Simply select Releases in the Build & Release menu, select the release definition, and choose Edit.

Q: Is there any specific feedback you are looking for?

A: Yes, we're keen to hear your feedback about:

  • Setting deployment triggers and approvals.
  • Navigation from the Pipeline tab to the Tasks tab.
  • The visual representation of the deployment workflow.

Please send your feedback to vsin_secore@microsoft.com

See also

Help and support