Creating Build Notifications for Visual Studio Online(TFService)

Builds can take time, time that most people don’t have to sit around and wait for to see if everything checked out OK. Notifications allow for multiple team members to be e-mailed as soon as a build kicks off, if it fails, passes, partially succeeds and a whole lot of other parameters to inform you and you team of what’s going on.

For my examples, I’m going to be using Visual Studio 2013 (free download from, trial lasts darn-near forever) and Visual Studio Online for my source code repository.

Build notifications are built-in to VS/TFS and can be easily configured. To start, I opened up Visual Studio and connected to the Team Project I wanted to create notifications for. In the Team Explorer pane, there is a Drop-down arrow which contains ‘Settings’.


After clicking on settings, a smorgasbord of options appears for Team Project and Team Project Collection


The option that we want to set notifications with is ‘Project Alerts’ under Team Project. Since I’m using Visual Studio Online, clicking on Project Alerts opened up a web page to my VSO in order to make the configuration changes.

The page offers BASIC alerts, which are predetermined settings that you can just choose the check boxes you want and have the emails set.


Then there are the custom alerts that let you choose from a starting point – such as a build failure, MY build completes, A file checked in from a specific path, and so on. You can then build on that alert to include specific projects and other ‘if’ and ‘and’ statements.



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