Visual Studio Team Services VSTS and TFS 2017 Advanced Extension

Build Task

The NDepend VSTS extension consists of a build task that analyses code and code coverage data yielded by the build process. The NDepend VSTS/TFS hub presents the results which embed the NDepend dashboard and makes data actionable by drilling down into any item through a single click.


The hub's Dashboard shows a recap of the most relevant data including technical debt estimations, code size, Quality Gates status, rules and issues numbers. A TFS build can be used as a baseline. All dashboard data is then diff-ed since the baseline. Each Dashboard item is clickable to view more.

Quality Gates

A Quality Gate is a check on a code quality fact that must be enforced before releasing and eventually, before committing to source control. A Quality Gate can be seen as a PASS/FAIL criterion for software quality.

A dozen of default Quality Gates are proposed by NDepend related to measures like technical debt amount, code coverage or amount of issues with particular severity. For example a Quality gate can be written to enforce a certain amount of code coverage by tests ratio on *code added and refactored since the baseline*. A detailed summary of Quality Gates status is available.


More than 150 default code rules are proposed to check against best practices. Support for Code Query over LINQ (CQLinq) to easily write custom rules and query code. CQLinq is used both to write the rule code, and also to write smart C# formulas that estimate the **Technical-Debt for each issue** (i.e the cost-to-fix an issue).

Rules details can be explored. Clicking a rule violation redirects the user to the VSTS Code Search extension, displaying the source code of the culprit code element.

Technical Debt and Issues

Technical debt can be drilled down till the issue level. Clicking an issue results in editing it in the Rules panel. The datagrid is interactive: issues can be grouped, ordered and filtered by rule names, by code elements, by severity or by their status since the baseline (new / exist / fixed).

Issues can be also sorted by estimated Technical-Debt metrics, including issues fix prioritization. Typically severe issues that cost little to be fixed should be fixed first and are prioritized.


The VSTS extension logs Trend Metrics for each build, and Trend charts are shown. More than 70 predefined Trend Metrics are proposed and CQLinq lets write custom ones.

Code Metrics

A panel shows a code metrics recap for each assembly, namespace, class or method. Code metrics include Lines of Code ; Cylomatic Complexity ; Technical Debt (estimated cost to fix code elements issues) ; Code Coverage ratio ; Comment ratio ; # user / # used... The datagrid is interactive: elements can be grouped, ordered and filtered by name and they can also be sorted by metric value.

Build Summary Recap

An NDepend Analysis recap is shown in each Build Summary:

How to configure the NDepend Hub?
  • 1) Enable Scripts to access OAuth token
    The NDepend task gets the baseline data stored in your build artifact to achieve the comparison between two builds. For that you need to enable scripts to access the OAuth token, that will permit to access to the build artifacts using the VSTS Rest API. This option can be enabled from the build definition configuration

  • 2) Add the NDepend task to your build workflow

    If a unit test task is executed, please ensure that the NDepend task is executed after it.

  • 3) Configure the NDepend Task
    • NDepend Project: Specify the NDepend project that contains your rules.The ndproj file is published as an artifact against the source directory. If it's not specified the default ones will be used.
    • Exclude assemblies that match the regex patterns: This option is useful to exclude some dlls from the analysis, like the unit test ones.The regex patterns are separated by ';'.
    • Analyse only Assemblies referenced from the .ndproj: This option is useful to focus only on a subset of all assemblies built by the build VSTS/TFS build agent.
    • Stop the Build when at least one Quality Gate fails.

  • 4) Enable the code coverage
    To get the coverage data from the VSTS test task you need to activate the code coverage:

How to customize rules (add/remove change)?

Please refer to

How to customize Quality gates?

Please refer to

How to customize trends?

Please refer to

How to customize the technical debt rating?

Please refer to