Compact Framework

Use Team Foundation Service for Embedded Projects

Microsoft’s hosted TFS ( provides a cloud hosted TFS project collection which is free for small teams. It works neatly with VS2012 which is fine for Windows Store and Windows Phone project types but for .NET Compact Framework development we are still stuck with using Visual Studio 2008. Luckily with a few patches it is possible to connect to a Team Foundation Service collection from Visual Studio 2008. I recently had to rebuild my Windows 8 desktop machine so for reference thought I would blog the instructions for setting this up. You’ll need to install the items in the following order:-

No before you ask I didn’t make up the name of that last one, I actually shortened it for you 🙂

To open a project from the server open your shiny up-to-date VS2008 IDE and go to File > Source Control > Open from Source Control. You’ll get a blank dialog with a drop down box for servers and an empty list of projects. Select the Servers… button and then click Add..

You’ll notice that after these updates the dialog allows you to enter a fully formed Url for the server and will grey out the connection details below. You must specify https and include the DefaultCollection indicator, this Uri will always be of the form <yourchosenname> When you click okay VS2008 will connect to the service and then prompt you to authenticate with your Microsoft ID. Once this is successful you’ll see the following:-


It will show you the display name of the account you are logged in as at the bottom left (not on this shot) and a Sign Out option. Things get a little complicated if you regularly use different Microsoft IDs because you can get into a situation where VS2008 shows error messages from the service but doesn’t show what account it thinks you are logged in as or give the option to log out and back in with different credentials. Still haven’t found a neat way around this yet other than making sure you log out from your Microsoft ID in your browser and possibly also the browser within the VS shell. It seems to be a cookie issue and possibly compounded if you use a Windows 8 account signing in with your Microsoft ID. If you’ve successfully got to this step you can select a project, assign a local path and work as you would with a local TFS back end. As well as the source control the work items sync back and forth with the web front end. I don’t think there is any capability to use the “Preview” build services for Embedded projects and doubt if this functionality will be added.

By Peter Foot

Microsoft Windows Development MVP