Book Review: Practical Microsoft Visual Studio 2015

While the title of the book is “Practical Microsoft Visual Studio 2015”, the author, Peter Ritchie, outlines how you can use Microsoft Visual Studio to effectively develop software and lead a team. Peter covers, a quick walkthrough of Microsoft Visual Studio, how to work with teams, version control, design and architecture, development, deployments, and testing. Anyone getting started with Microsoft Visual Studio or even experienced engineers, architects and leaders can find stuff in this that is useful for their day to day tasks. The best part of this book is the way the author explains each topic in a simple way based on his 20 or so ( 🙂 ) years being in the software field.

Adding Visual Studio Online to an Windows Azure MSDN Benefit Subscription

In my previous post,  I talk about why you can not add Visual Studio Online to an Existing Windows Azure MSDN benefit subscription.  In this post, I will show you how to add and existing Visual Studio Online (formally know as TFS Online) to your existing Windows Azure account.

Create Your “Pay-As-You-Go” Account

If you already, have a “Pay-As-You-Go” account you can jump to the “Link Your Existing Visual Studio Online Account” section

First you have to sign in to your Windows Azure account. You should see something like this.

Add subscription

Click on the Add Subscription button. This will take you to the Add Subscription page. You should see a few choices, scroll down until you see the “Pay-As-You-Go” selection highlighted below.

Select an Offer

You should then be brought to the purchase section,


Note, you might have to validate your mobile number and/or put in a credit card number.  Click purchase, and after a minute or so, your “Pay-As-You-Go” account is established.  You can view it by clicking on the Portal button or visiting the Windows Azure Portal.

Linking Your Existing Visual Studio Online Account

Now that you have the “Pay-As-You-Go” account added to Windows Azure, we can click on the Visual Studio Online tab in the Windows Azure portal Visual Studio Online


or click the new button.

Link to Existing Account

If you click, the new button you will have to navigate to “App Services”, then “Visual Studio Online”, then “Link to Existing”. For me, since my Windows Azure credentials were the same as my Visual Studio Online credentials, it automatically populated the account name.  Click the button and the Link to Existing Account message will appear.

Link Being Created


Once the account has been linked you will see the account ready screen.

Account Ready


Now, from the Windows Azure dashboard, you will see your Visual Studio Online account.

With Visual Studio Online

Visual Studio Online with Windows Azure MSDN benefit

I don’t know about you but when I watched the Visual Studio launch earlier this week I was really excited about some of the cool new features added. The first thing I wanted to try out was Visual Studio Online. I figured I have a Windows Azure account setup through my MSDN subscription so I’d be set.  Unfortunately, like most people found out when they tried to add their Visual Studio Online account they could not.  We were all getting this message…

You have no eligible Windows Azure subscriptions. To buy monthly user licenses or shared resources for your Visual Studio Online account, you’ll need another Windows Azure subscription.

I went to the Windows Azure account portal to make sure that I did have an active subscription, in fact I have two, but I still could not add or link my existing Visual Studio Online account.  I posted a message on one of the Windows Azure list and after a few hours some one pointed me to this forum post. This forum post explains why you can not add an Visual Studio Online account to an existing Windows Azure MSDN account.  It essentially boils down to billing.  The Windows Azure MSDN benefit has the ability to “cap” the spending in Windows Azure.  This does not work for Visual Studio Online. If you think about it, it makes sense. Do you not want to lose access to your source code because you hit your spending limit? Probably not.  In order to add your Visual Studio Online account you have to get create a Windows Azure “Pay as you Go” subscription.  Don’t worry, you get a bunch of the benefits free.

Within a Visual Studio Online account, you simply pay for user plans for the users who join your account and for resources that are shared amongst all users on the account. The first five users with the Basic plan and all eligible MSDN subscribers (Visual Studio Professional with MSDN and above) can join your account at no charge. Learn more about Visual Studio with MSDN.

Hopefully this helps.  My next post will talk about Adding Visual Studio Online to an Windows Azure MSDN benefit.