Build your GCC C/C++ app

VSTS | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017.2

Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and Team Foundation Server (TFS) provide a highly customizable continuous integration (CI) process to automatically build your C/C++ application whenever your team pushes or checks in code. In this quickstart you learn how to define your CI process for a C/C++ application compiled with GCC/g++.


  • A VSTS account. If you don't have one, you can create one for free. If your team already has one, then make sure you are an administrator of the team project you want to use.
  • While the simplest way to try this quickstart is to use a VSTS account, you can also use a TFS server instead of a VSTS account. Make sure that you have configured a build agent for your team project, and that you have GCC installed on the agent machine.

Get sample app code

You can copy this sample app code directly into your version control system so that it can be accessed by your CI build process. To get started, copy this URL to your clipboard:

To import the sample app into a Git repo in VSTS or TFS:

  1. On the Code hub for your team project in VSTS/TFS, select the option to Import repository.

  2. In the Import a Git repository dialog box, paste the above URL into the Clone URL text box.

  3. Click Import to copy the sample code into your Git repo.

Set up continuous integration

A continuous integration (CI) process automatically builds and tests code every time a team member commits changes to version control. Here you'll create a CI build definition that helps your team keep the master branch clean.

  1. Create a new build definition.

    Navigate to the Files tab of the Code hub, and then click Set up build.

    Screenshot showing button to set up build for a repository

    You are taken to the Build and Release hub and asked to Select a template for the new build definition.

  2. In the right panel, select Empty, and then click Apply. This template allows starting from scratch and adding your own build tasks.

  3. For the Agent queue:

    • VSTS: Select Hosted Linux or Hosted macOS. This uses a VSTS pool of agents that have the software needed to build your app.

    • TFS: Select a queue that includes a Linux or macOS build agent.

  4. Click Get sources and then:

    Observe that the new build definition is automatically linked to your repository.

  5. Click the + icon on Phase 1 of the build and then:

VSTS and TFS 2018

  1. Search for the Shell Script task and click Add to add it to your build.

  2. Click the Shell Script task and set its field values as follows:

    Field Value
    Version 3.* or later
    Type Inline
    Script make

TFS 2017.2

  1. Search for the Command Line task and click Add to add it to your build.

  2. Click the Command Line task and set its field values as follows:

    Field Value
    Display name Build C++ application
    Tool make


  1. Click the Triggers tab and enable the Continuous Integration trigger. This will ensure that the build process is automatically triggered every time you commit a change to your repository.

  2. Click Save & queue to kick off your first build. On the Save build definition and queue dialog box, click Save & queue.

  3. A new build is started. You'll see a link to the new build on the top of the page. Click the link to watch the new build as it happens.

View the build summary

  1. Once the build completes, select the build number to view a summary of the build.

    Navigate to build summary

  2. Notice the various sections in the build summary - the source version of the commit in build details section, list of all associated changes, links to work items associated with commits, and test results. When the build is automatically triggered by a push to your Git repository, these sections are populated with all the relevant information.

Publish your build output

Add the Copy Files and Publish Build Artifacts tasks to your build to save its compiled output as a build artifact.

Next steps

You've just put your own CI process in place to automatically build and validate whatever code is checked in by your team. You can also automatically deploy your app. To learn more, see one of these topics:

You can also modify this build definition to meet the needs of your team. To learn more see one of these topics: