Process template and plug-in files

VSTS (Hosted XML) | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015 | TFS 2013

Important

This topic applies to team project customization for Hosted XML and On-premises XML process models. For the Inheritance process model, see Customize a process. For an overview of process models, see Customize your work tracking experience.

You customize the initial configuration of team projects by customizing one or more process template files. You can customize several types of template files, which include the root XML file, plug-in files, and XML definition files. By customizing these files, you can define the initial configuration of all team projects that are created from the process template.

For information about the default process templates, see Choose a process. To learn about customizing a process template, see Customize a process template.

Client support for team project creation

Depending on whether you work from the VSTS or TFS, you can create a team project from the web portal or from Visual Studio/Team Explorer.

Client VSTS TFS 2018 and TFS 2017 TFS 2015 and earlier versions
Web portal supported supported not supported
Visual Studio/Team Explorer not supported supported supported

(supported- Supported; not supported - Not supported)

When you create a team project from the web portal, the following plug-in files are ignored.

  • Build: Default security permissions are defined for build functions.
  • Lab Management: Native build and release management tools replace the previous lab management tools. To learn more, see Use Build and Release Management instead of Lab Management for automated testing.
  • Reports: See Add reports to a team project to add SQL Reports after you create the team project.
  • Version Control: Default security permissions and TFVC check-in policies are defined for git and TFVC functions.
  • Windows SharePoint Services: TFS 2018 and later versions no longer support native integration with SharePoint products. See About SharePoint integration to learn about the options available to you. For TFS 2017 and earlier versions, you must use Visual Studio/Team Explorer to add SharePoint Integration.
  • Custom plug-ins: Not supported.

For details, review Plug-in file descriptions and PCW support.

The root process template file

You customize the root XML file, ProcessTemplate.xml, to define the sequence of plug-in files to be processed and the dependencies of each plug-in. The ProcessTemplate.xml file contains all task groups that must run to successfully create a team project. Each task group references a subordinate XML plug-in file (often in a subfolder) where the specific tasks are defined. For more information, see Define the root tasks.

Plug-in file descriptions and PCW support

Each plug-in file configures a specific functional area by defining one or more tasks. Tasks specify to upload a file, set permissions for a group, or configure some other functional area. For example, the Work Item Tracking plug-in configures the work item types, queries, categories, and process configuration for a team project.

The following table describes each plug-in file and whether or not it is supported when creating a team project from Visual Studio/Team Explorer or the web portal.The order in which the plug-ins are called is determined by the root process template file. Except for the Classification plug-in, plug-ins can also be deleted from the process template.

(supported- Supported; not supported - Not supported)

Plug-in folder and file Client Web portal Description
Build
   Build.xml
supported not supported Defines the initial security permissions used by Team Foundation Build and uploads build template files.
For VSTS and TFS 2017.4 and later versions, this plug-in is ignored and only default permissions are defined.
Classifications
   Classification.xml
supported supported Configures the initial area and iteration or sprint paths. Also uploads the Microsoft Project Mapping (FileMapping.xml) file that defines how work tracking fields map to Office Project fields.
Groups and Permissions
   GroupsandPermissions.xml
supported supported Defines the initial security groups, teams, team members, and their permissions.
Lab Management
   Lab.xml
supported not supported Defines the initial security permissions that are assigned to identities for Visual Studio Lab Management.
For VSTS and TFS 2017.4 and later versions, this plug-in is ignored and only default permissions are defined. Going forward, native build and release management tools replace the previous lab management tools. To learn more, see Use Build and Release Management instead of Lab Management for automated testing.
Reports
   ReportsTasks.xml
supported not supported Creates the Report Manager site for the team project and uploads the Reporting Services reports. Only supported for on-premises TFS.
For TFS 2017.4 and later versions, you can only create team projects through the web portal which ignores this plug-in. To add reports after creating a team project, see Add reports to a team project.
Test Management
   TestManagement.xml
supported supported Defines the initial test variables, configurations, settings, and resolution states of a team project. This plug-in also uploads the information contained in the following files:
  • localrun.testsettings: Defines the default test settings for a local test run.
  • testconfiguration: Configures the default test configurations (hardware and software) that are defined for a team project. After the project is created, you can delete these configurations and create other configurations.
  • testresolutionstate: Defines the test resolution states that are used by Test Runner, Microsoft Test Manager, and the web portal Test hub. You can't change these states after the team project is created. To change the resolution states after you've created a team project for an on-premises TFS, see Customize and manage the test experience.
  • testsettings: Specifies the initial test settings files. Only one file is specified, localrun.testsettings.
  • testvariable: Defines the initial test variables. After the project is created, you can modify these variables and create other variables.
Version Control
   VersionControl.xml
supported not supported Defines the initial security permissions for Git and Team Foundation version control (TFVC), and for TFVC, check-in notes and whether exclusive check-out is required.
For VSTS and TFS 2017.4 and later versions, this plug-in is ignored and only the default settings and permissions are defined. After you create a team project, you can manage TFVC check-in policies or permissions from the web portal.
Windows SharePoint Services
   WssTasks.xml
supported not supported

Defines the project portal based on a template for a SharePoint site. Only supported for on-premises TFS.

TFS 2018 and later versions no longer support native integration with SharePoint products. If you're planning to upgrade to TFS 2018, read About SharePoint integration to learn about the options available to you. For TFS 2017 and earlier versions, you must use Visual Studio/Team Explorer to add SharePoint Integration. Or, to add a project portal site after creating a team project, see Configure or add a project portal. Creating a team project from the web portal will ignore the WssTasks.xml plug-in.

This plug-in also uploads the information contained in the following files and folders:

  • Process Guidance: Uploads a set of .htm files which contain a URL that opens process guidance topics when a user clicks the Open process guidance for work item help icon from the client version of a work item form. These files can be customized to point to other resources for process guidance.
  • Samples and Templates: Uploads one or more Excel workbooks (.xslx files) to support bug triage and track issues.
  • Shared Documents: Uploads one or more sample document and template files as a starting point for creating work products.

Process template files do not include dashboards or Microsoft Excel reports. These files are added to the team project, depending on selections that are made when a team project is created. If no SharePoint site is provisioned for the team project, no dashboards or Office Excel reports are available. For more information about these artifacts, see the following topics: Project portal dashboards, Excel reports (Agile), and Excel reports (CMMI).
Work Item Tracking
   WorkItems.xml
supported supported Defines the initial work item types, queries, and work item instances of a team project. Team members use work items to track work. A work item type defines the fields, workflow, and form used to track work. To customize any of these objects after you create a team project, see Customize your work tracking experience.

This plug-in also uploads the information contained in the following files and folders:

  • Categories.xml: Defines the XML definition file for the categories used to group work item types.
  • LinkTypes:
    • SharedParameterLink.xml: Defines the link type that supports linking shared parameters to test cases.
    • SharedSteps: Defines the link type that supports linking shared steps to test cases.
    • TestedBy: Defines the link type that supports linking test cases to work items such as product backlog items, user stories, requirements, and bugs.

    Additional link types may be defined based on the process template. For a description of all link types, see Link work items to support traceability and manage dependencies.

  • Process: Defines the ProcessConfiguration.xml file that specifies the default configuration for the Agile tool backlogs and boards.
  • Queries: Defines several work item queries (defined as .wiq files) within the Queries folder.
  • TypeDefinitions: Defines the 15 or more work item type XML definition files contained within the TypeDefinition folder. The definitions differ depending on the process template selected.
  • Work items: Defines one or more work items. No definitions are defined within the default process templates.
    For VSTS and TFS 2017.4 and later versions, definitions for work item instances will be ignored when creating team projects.

The schema definition for process templates uses a mix of camel-case and all capitalized elements. If you encounter errors when validating your type definition files, check the case structure of your elements. Also, the case structure of opening and closing tags must match according to the rules for XML syntax. See Process template plug-ins: Index to XML element definitions.