Configure a branch policy for an external service

Last Update: 8/10/2017

Visual Studio Team Services | TFS vNext

Branch policies are a powerful feature to ensure high quality code in your repo by establishing requirements for all pull requests. External services can use the PR Status API to post detailed status to your PRs. The branch policy for external services brings the ability for those 3rd party services to participate in the PR workflow and establish policy requirements. This article guides you through the process of configuring a branch policy for a service that is posting PR status. For more information about PR status, see Create a pull request status server.


Configure the branch policy

  1. Navigate to Code > Branches and find the branch that you want to configure the policy on (typically master or develop). From the context menu, select the Branch policies option.

    Select Branch policies from the context menu

  2. Select Protect this branch then find the policy to Require approval from external services. Select Add service.

    Select the Add service button

  3. Select the service you want to create a policy for from the list.

    Select the policy from the list

    Authorized account is used to enforce that status from only the specified account will be counted towards the policy fulfillment.

    Policy requirement determines whether or not this policy is optional or required to complete pull requests into the branch.

    Status expiration is used to determine when a posted status is no longer valid. If the status posted is specific to the latest code (i.e. a build), use the option to expire when the source branch changes.

Create a new pull request

  1. Create a new pull request into the branch where the policy is defined. For more information, see Create a pull request.

  2. After creating the PR, the new policy will appear in the Policies section of the PR details view. Initially, the policy will appear as not set until the external service has posted status.

    Policy status is visible in the Policies section

    When the service has posted status, the policy will update accordingly. Completion will be blocked until the policy approves the PR.

    Policy status updates

    When the policy criteria are met, and the service posts a succeeded status, the PR will be approved and completion will be unblocked.

    Policy status approved and completion unblocked


In this article, you learned how to configure a branch policy for an external service.