This lab will familiarize you with Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and get your environment set up for your database development.

Note: The look of VSTS changes on a regular basis, so the images below might be out of date. However, the basic flow should remain intact.

DevOps MPP Course Source


  • Internet and email access.

Lab Tasks:

  • Create a Visual Studio Team Services(VSTS) account
  • Create a Project for your code
  • Browse a project

If you already have a VSTS account created, you can skip the first section and just create new projects for our database development labs.

Estimated Lab Time:

  • approx. 20 minutes

Task 1: Create a Visual Studio Team Services(VSTS) Account

The account you will use for all future database labs.

  1. The first step is to create an account on VSTS. Using a modern browser, navigate to At the time of writing this lab, the page looked like this (but it does change regularly):

    Screenshot of the Visual website.

  2. Click the Free Visual Studio button in the upper left. This will send you to the Microsoft Free Developer Offers page. There are several offers here, but we are looking for the free account offer (shown in the middle below). Developer Offers, which include the option to download Studio Community, Sign up for a Free Account with Visual Studio Team Services, and download Visual Studio Code.

  3. You might be taken to a login page if you are not logged in with a Microsoft account. Here you can enter your credentials or sign up for a new account. If you do not have an account, you might find that you need to go through a security process and verify that you are the owner of the email account.

    Screenshot of the Visual Studio sign in page.

  4. After this is complete, you might be taken to a My First Project page, or a list of your projects, depending on whether this is a new account.

Task 2: Create Development Projects

This will be a smaple project where you will store your code.

In this section, we will create a project. If you received the image below when you created a new account, ignore this. We will create two new projects separately from this one.

Note: If you are prompted to create a new Visual Studio Team Services account, follow the prompts to create one, specifying Git as the communication method.

  1. After your new account is created, you will see a dialog like the one below.

    The MyFirstProject page displays with settings for getting started on your new project. Options are to Clone your computer, Push an existing repository from command line, Import a repository, or initialize with a README or gitignore.

  2. Click the icon in the upper left corner to go to the overview for your account.

    Screenshot of the account overview icon.

  3. On the account overview, you will see a list of your projects. Click the New Project button (upper right) to create a new project.

    The Account overview page displays. Under Projects, MyFirstProjects displays.

  4. The new project form is simple. We will create a new project for our state-based development. You can provide any name and description, but I have used WideWorldImporters-SSDT for my project name. Click Create to continue.

    On the Create new project page, the Project name is WideWorldImporters-SSDT, Version control is Git, Work item process is Agile. A Description field says this is a database development project using SSDT from the DevOps for Databases course.

  5. The project is created and you are prompted to clone this project to your computer. We will do that in another lab.

    The WideWorldImporters-SSDT page displays. Under Get started with your new project is an option to clone your computer.

  6. Repeat the previous steps to create another project WideWorldImporters-RR.

Task 3: Browse a project

Get oriented with Visual Studio Team Services and learn where the different locations are for tasks.

  1. After the projects are created in the lab above, you should have the last project selected. In the image below, we can see WideWorldImporters-RR in the upper left of my screen.

    On the VSTS header, the WideWorldImporters-RR tab is selected.

    All of the icons to the right of the project name are used to browse the project. We will walk through them briefly in this lab.

  2. Click on Dashboards and you should see an image like the one below:

    On the VSTS page, the Dashboard tab is selected. Six panes display: Welcome; Work assigned to sjones; Team Members; Sprint Burndown; New Work Item; Visual Studio.

    This is the overview of your project. By default, there are several widgets that give you information about your project or allow you to perform tasks. For example, on the left, there are several possible options in the first pane. Below that is a chart that is currently shown without any dates entered.

    In the middle, I can see my work. I don’t have any yet. Below that, I can begin adding work. To the right, I see other widgets that are useful for understanding other information.

    In the upper right of each widget, as I hover over it, is a set of three dots that I can click to get other options. For example, on the “Work assigned to sjones” widget, I get these options.

    In the Work assigned to sjones pane, the top, right ellipses is selected, and its menu displays with the options to Configure, Copy to dashboard, and Delete.

    We will not discuss this in detail, but be aware that there are numerous capabilities in VSTS that are useful for software development teams. You can learn more here.

  3. Click Code at the top of the page. You should get a page that lets you know this repository is empty. That’s expected because we just created the project.

    On the Files tab, a message at the top says to add some code. Below, the option to Push an existing repository from command line is selected. The HTTPS tab is selected, and git commands display.

    In another lab, we will learn how to connect our Visual Studio projects to this repository.

  4. Click Work at the top of the page. This provides the area where we can plan and track the various tasks that our project needs.

    The Work tab is selected, and a callout displays for Backlog, explaining that this is where you plan and manage requirements for your project.

    We will not spend much time explaining this page, but there is additional documentation on the VSTS site.

  5. Click Build&Release at the top of the page. You should then see a page with a set of tabs. The visible one is the Builds tab, and is underlined.

    The Build and Release tab is selected, and a second row of tabs displays below, on which the Builds tab is selected. Under this are four more tabs: Mine (selected), All Definitions, Queued, and XAML.

    There are additional menus, as you can see in the image above. The page is opened to my personal build definitions, but there are tabs for all project builds, the queued builds, and the raw XAML used for builds.

    In a future lab, we will create a new build definition.

  6. Click the Releases tab. You should see that there are no release definitions defined yet.

    The Releases tab is selected, and no releases display below.

    In a future lab, we will create more release definitions.

  7. Hover over the gear icon to the right of the top menu. From the drop-down menu that appears, click Agent queues.

    The Project Settings (gear) icon is selected, and its menu displays below.

  8. This will open the Agent queues list. There are several queues to the left, some are hosted and one is a default queue. In the center, click the Download agent button to download the VSTS agent software.

  9. Unzip and configure the local agent. This is a process that is better described in the Deploy an agent on Windows documentation. We will use this agent to run our builds and deploy our software.

    Note: The commands for configuring the agent will not work if executed interactively in PowerShell. They should be executed in an elevated (Run as Administrator) command prompt.

    Agent Queues page displays. In the left menu pane, Default is selected. The right pane says no agents are registered or you do not have permissions to view them.


In this lab you completed the following tasks:

  • Create a Visual Studio Team Services account
  • Create a Project for your code
  • Browse a project

There are many, many more features in VSTS, but these are the main items we will use in future labs. If you want to learn more, the main VSTS documentation is located at