Navigating in the web portal

VSTS | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015 | TFS 2013

The web portal provides support for teams to collaborate through the planning, development, and release cycles. You use the web portal to perform both software development and administrative tasks.

You can manage source code, plan and track work, define builds, run tests, and manage releases. The web portal connects you to the team project defined for an account in Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) or within an on-premises Team Foundation Server (TFS).

If you don't have a team project yet, create one in VSTS or set one up in an on-premises TFS. If you don't have access to the team project, get invited to the team.

Note

The images you see from your web portal may differ from the images you see in this topic. These differences result from updates made to VSTS or your on-premises TFS and options that you or your admin have enabled. However, the basic functionality available to you remains the same unless explicitly mentioned.

Code, Pull Request, Active example

Note

Feature availability: The features available to you depend on the platform (VSTS or on-premises TFS), TFS version, features enabled for your team project or collection, and your access level. New features are deployed regularly to VSTS. Many of these features are then made available to on-premises TFS through regular updates.

To get started, from a supported web browser enter the following URL:

VSTS:

https://AccountName.visualstudio.com/DefaultCollection/ProjectName 

TFS (on-premises):

http://ServerName:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection/ProjectName

Note

For TFS, the TFS administrator can configure the following elements: protocol (https vs http), port (8080), virtual directory (tfs), and collection name (DefaultCollection) (See Web site settings and security.) For example, a deployment configured on port 443 with no vdir, an FQDN, and a custom collection name might look like: https://tfs.contoso.com/CustomCollection/ProjectName. If the above pattern doesn't work for you, check with your TFS administrator.

The web portal is one of several clients that can connect to a team project. Different clients support different features and functions. For a list of all clients that connect to VSTS or TFS, see Tools and clients that connect to VSTS and TFS.

There are three main navigational concepts to understand. The first is the collection-project-team structure, the second is the user/administrative context, and the third corresponds to user-focused and team-scoped features that provide quick access to tasks targeted for the logged-in user or for the selected team.

Collection-project-team structure

When you connect to VSTS or an on-premises TFS, you connect to an account or team project collection. Within that collection, one or more team projects may be defined. At a minimum, at least one team project must be created in order to use the system.

When you create your team project, a team of the same name is automatically created. For small teams, this is sufficient.

However, for enterprise-level organizations, it may be necessary to scale up, to create additional teams and/or team projects. These can be created within the single account or collection.

Single team project, team defined within an account/collection
Single collection-project-team conceptual image
Multiple team projects and teams defined within an account/collection
Scaled collection-project-team conceptual image

The collection-project-team structure provides teams a high-level of autonomy to configure their tools in ways that work for them. It also supports administrative tasks to occur at the appropriate level.

To learn more about adding teams and the features that support team autonomy, see Multiple teams and Manage team assets.

User/administrative context

The user context is used to get work done—manage code, plan and track work, define and manage builds, create and run tests, and so on. Administrators use the admin context to configure shared resources and permissions. Tasks performed in this context can impact the team project and team functions.

User context
You and other team members use the user context to collaborate, plan, and build working software.

VSTS, TFS 2017.2
Click any hub to open that hub. Hover your mouse over a hub to access a drop-down menu of pages and other options for that hub. To access administrative options, click the gear icon gear Settings icon or choose the admin level you want from the drop-down menu.

VSTS, User context hubs

TFS 2017, TFS 2017.1

Click any hub to open that hub. Hover your mouse over a hub to access a drop-down menu of pages and other options for that hub. To access administrative options, click the gear icon gear Settings icon or choose the admin level you want from the drop-down menu.

TFS 2017, User context hubs

TFS 2015, TFS 2013

Click any hub to open that hub. Then, click a page within the hub to open that page.

TFS 2015 or TFS 2013, User context hubs

Administrative context
You use the administrative context to set team, team project, and account or collection settings. The hubs and pages available change based on what level of administrative context you're in.

To learn more about each administrative context level, see the Administrative context and team, team project, and account/collection settings later in this topic.

User-focused features

Several features display information based on the logged-in user account or the selected team context. First off, users can set their preferences through their profile or account menu:

VSTS, My Profile link on Account menu

In addition, they have access to special queries—Assigned to me query, Followed work items, and more— dashboard widget such as the Assigned to me widget, and the ability to save favorites under a My favorites folder. Here's an example of the Assigned to me widget that you can add to a dashboard.

VSTS, web portal, user profile/account menu

Note

If you work in VSTS, you can also use your account hub to view and quickly navigate to teams, team projects, branches, work items, pull requests and other objects that are relevant to you. For details, see Work effectively from your account hub.

Team-scoped features

Teams access their set of team-scoped features by choosing their team context. Each team gets access to a suite of Agile tools and team assets. These tools provide teams the ability to work autonomously and collaborate with other teams across the enterprise.

Agile tool team assets

Also, teams can set their query and build favorites within Team favorites folders. For more information, see Manage team assets.

User context: hubs and tabs

You perform the bulk of your tasks by accessing a page within one of the these hubs—Home, Code, Work, Build and Test —and their corresponding tabs—such as Overview, Backlogs, Queries. For an overview of each hub, see Essential services.

The next sections liste what you can do, based on the hub and page you select.

Welcome page, dashboards, and plan and track work

The Home hub supports a configurable Welcome page and dashboards. From the Work hub, you gain access to a highly configurable suite of Agile tools to plan and track your work.

Source code control: Git and TFVC repositories

The Code hub supports management of your source control repositories. You can choose between two types of repos: Git (distributed) or Team Foundation version control (centralized). For a comparison of the two repos, see Choosing the right version control for your project.

Build, test, and release

The Build & Release hub supports defining and managing builds and releases to deploy your software to different staging and production environments. From the Test hub, you can create test plans, test cases, and run tests.

Administrative context and team, team project, and account/collection settings

From a user context, open the admin context by clicking the gear icon gear Settings icon. The tabs and pages available differ depending on which admin context you access.

Below we show the admin context for the team project level.


VSTS, TFS 2017.2

Open any admin page by clicking it's name. Click or hover over the gear icon to access other administrative options. Note that you can click any of the user-context hubs of Home, Code, Work, and so on to return to the user context.

VSTS, Admin context, team project level

TFS 2017.1

Open any admin page by clicking it's name. Hover your mouse over a hub to access a drop-down menu of pages and other options for that hub. Click or hover over the gear icon to access other administrative options. Note that you can click any of the user-context hubs of Home, Code, Work, and so on to return to the user context.

TFS 2017.1, Web portal, Admin context, team project level

TFS 2017

Open any admin page by clicking it's corresponding hub. Hover your mouse over a hub to access a drop-down menu of pages and other options for that hub. Click or hover over the gear icon to access other administrative options. Note that you can click any of the user-context hubs of Home, Code, Work, and so on to return to the user context.

TFS 2017, Web portal, admin context

TFS 2015, TFS 2013
Open any admin page by clicking it's corresponding hub.

TFS 2015, Web portal, admin context

From within the admin context, click one of the breadcrumb links to access the settings available at the account/collection, team project, or team level.

Web portal admin settings links

You must be a member of the listed administrator group or role to perform the tasks listed.

Server-level settings (TFS only)

Required membership: Team Foundation Administrators

Now that you have an understanding of how the user interface is structure, it's time to get started using it. As you can see, there are a lot of features and functionality.

If all you need is a code repository and bug tracking solution, then start with the Git get started guide and Manage bugs.

To start planning and tracking work, see Get started with Agile tools to plan and track work.

Additional resources you may find of interest:

User accounts and licensing

To connect to the web portal, you need your user account added to the team project. This is typically done by the account owner (VSTS)) or a project administrator (TFS)).

For VSTS, five account users are free as are Visual Studio subscribers and stakeholders. After that, you need to pay for more users (VSTS).

For TFS, limited access is available to an unlimited number of stakeholders for free; most regular contributors must have a TFS client access license (CAL). For details, see Work as a Stakeholder.

All Visual Studio subscriptions and paid VSTS users include a TFS CAL. Find out more about licensing from the following pricing pages:

Refresh the web portal

If data doesn't appear as expected, the first thing to try is to refresh your web browser. Refreshing your client updates the local cache with changes that were made in another client or in TFS. To refresh the page or object you're currently viewing, refresh the page or choose the Refresh icon Refresh icon if available.

To avoid potential errors, you should refresh your client application under the following circumstances:

  • Process changes are made
  • Work item type definitions are added, removed, renamed or updated
  • Area or iteration paths are added, removed, renamed or updated
  • Users are added to or removed from security groups or permissions are updated
  • A team member adds a new shared query or changes the name of a shared query
  • A build definition is added or deleted
  • A team or team project is added or deleted.

Clients that connect to VSTS or TFS

In addition to connecting through a web browser, you can connect to a team project from these clients:

Differences between the web portal and Visual Studio

Although you can access source code, work items, and builds from both clients, some task-specific tools are only supported in the web browser or an IDE, but not in both.

Web portal

Visual Studio

Can I open a query in Excel or Project from the web portal?

To open Excel from the web portal, install the VSTS Open in Excel Marketplace extension. Otherwise, you can open Excel or Project and then open a query that you've created in the web portal.

Feedback and support

We welcome your feedback.

Send suggestions on UserVoice, and follow us on Twitter @vsts.

See also our comprehensive feedback and support page.