Configuring a SonarQube analysis with VSTS / TFS2015 vNext build

I must admit setting up a SonarQube analysis on the new build platform of VSTS / TFS2015 is a breeze compared to the previous approach.

In the old days it could take me a week to setup a TFS build server, capable of running a SonarQube analysis including unit testing and code coverage analysis. One had to deploy all kinds op OSS tools for unit testing and code coverage analysis or customize the build process template to transform the Visual Studio Test Results to an XML file SonarQube would accept.

All that is completely gone. You don’t even necessarily have to add a file to your Visual Studio Solution although you could. However there was one challenge which took me half a day to finally resolve. And for this reason I reckoned it would be a good idea to share the solution for this challenge with this post.

-Note. Unfortunately due to a server crash the images of this post got lost. Restore of the images is still in progress. –


Obviously you need a SonarQube server up and running to publish the SonarQube analysis results. The SonarQube server requires the C#  version 5.0 plugin, a plugin with is compatible with SonarQube 4.5.2+ (LTS). If you are on an older SonarQube version, you will be required to upgrade.

You also need your SonarQube Endpoint configured on TFS and have a build agent available with the capabilites java, msbuild, visualstudio and vstest. If you can’t find out how to do this, just drop me a comment and I’ll explain this in another blog post.

Basic approach

To get started just add the following build steps to your definition as shown on the picture below:

  1. SonarQube for MSBuild – Begin Analysis
  2. Visual Studio Build
  3. Visual Studio Test
  4. SonarQube for MSBuild – End Analysis
SonarQube build process overview
SonarQube build process overview

Configuring SonarQube MSBuild – Begin Analysis Step

One could say this build step is the new and improved replacement of the file, which was used to configure sonar-runner. With just 5 settings you are all set.

SonarQube Server
In the SonarQube Server section the SonarQube Endpoint has to be selected from the top down list. If you don’t know how to configure the endpoint, just drop me a comment.

SonarQube Project Settings
In the next section you configure your project key, project name and project version. The Project Key is the technical identification of your project in SonarQube. In my example I used com.capgemini.DevOps. The project name is your common name for your project, in my case DevOpsDemo. And the Project Version, is obviously the current version of your solution you are working on, in my case 1.0.

My biggest challenge with the SonarQube analysis was getting the Visual Studio Unit Test results published in SonarQube. To my surprise, although the unit test coverage results are uploaded with no additional settings, the unit test results themselves are not. I suspect this to be an undocumented minor bug in the SonarQube for MSBuild – End Analysis task, currently on version 1.0.36.

To workaround this issue it is required to set the following Additional Setting:


Common.TestResultsDirectory is a one of the default build variables available to tweak your build process to the actual environment the build agent is running in. This variable will be set to the local path on the agent where the test results are created.

Configuring Visual Studio Build Step

Just configure this step as you see fit. For a SonarQube analysis no special configuration is required.

Configure Visual Studio Test Build Step

Again you can basically configure this step as meets your unit test requirements. However for the SonarQube analysis you want to enable the option “Code Coverage Enabled”.

Configure SonarQube for MSBuild – End Analysis STEP

Although this is the build step which actually executes the SonarQube analysis, the build step itself requires no configuration, except for the step has to be Enabled, which is the default setting.

Configure General Settings

As already mentioned in the preparation section above a SonarQube analysis requires the capabilites java, msbuild, visualstudio and vstest from the build agent.

To assure you build ends up at an agent with these capabilities you need to add these four capabilities to the Demands section on the build definition’s General tab with the type “exists”

Setting the required Agent capabilities.
Setting the required Agent capabilities.


With the settings described above you are basically all set to run your SonarQube analysis. Obviously a build definition needs some more configuration with regard to Options, Repository, Triggers, General settings and Retention, but I consider these out side of the current scope of this blog post. If you want to know about these, just drop me a comment.

Getting Started with Build vNext on TFS2015RC

Because my experience with regard to the deployment and configuration of a Build vNext agent along side of my on-premise TFS2015RC test configuration which was everything but an easy walk in the park, I decided to share a little write-up about what I have discovered till today because it might be of value to anybody who wants to get started with the new build architecture of Team Foundation Server 2015

In this blog post I describe how to deploy and configure the build agent. In the second part I intend to describe the creation and configuration of a build definition. I already have a built up and running, it is just I currently don’t have the bandwidth available for the write-up.

This blog post refers to the experience provided by TFS2015 RC. Be advised today my experience with the new TFS build architecture is still limited. The guidance provided is just to get you started on this subject and is not intended for use in software development production environments.


The objective is to deploy a Build vNext agent on a dedicated build server, have the agent build get the latest version of the source code, retrieve required NuGet packages, build the application and drop the build result in TFS.


My TFS2015RC environment consists has the following configuration:

Server Role
tfs14dc01 Domain controller for the domain TFS14
tfs14at01 TFS2015RC application tier
tfs14dt01 TFS data tier leveraging SQL Server 2014
tfs14rm01 TFS2015RC build server
Tfs14ws01 Visual Studio Enterprise 2015 RC workstation

In TFS2015 I have created a Team Collection and Team Project, both with the name TFS2015, and submitted an out of the box C# Single Page Application web solution with the name Mvc to source control. Just to be clear on this point, the NuGet packages the solution depends on are not submitted to source control and need to be retrieved from during the build.

In source control the base folder for the solution is $TFS2015Mvc

Figure 1. Source Control
Figure 1. Source Control

1. Create Build service account

To be able to run the agent as a service I created a dedicated build service account on the build controller tfs14dc01. In this example this account is TFS14svcTfsBuild.

This build service requires authorization to access the solution in TFS Source control. To accomplish this I browsed to the Member page of the Project Collection Build Service Accounts on the Security Panel of the team collections control pannel and added the build service account as a member.

Figure 2. Build Service Accounts
Figure 2. Build Service Accounts

Because my solutions lives in the Team Project TFS2015, I decided to create a dedicated build pool for this team project. To accomplish this I browsed to the Agent Pool tab on the root of the control panel and created a new Agent Pool with the name TFS2015.2.  Build pool configuration.

Figure 3. Agent Pool Creation
Figure 3. Agent Pool Creation

Next step is to expand the new Agent Pool in the tree explorer, select the Agent Pool Service Account in the tree explorer and double click on the Agent Pool Service Accounts group in the main window. A window pops up and in this window I added the build service account to the group.

Figure 4. Agent Pool Service Account
Figure 4. Agent Pool Service Account

You need to be a bit cautious here. With the above approach my build service account has been added to a group, which members are authorized to act as agent pool service accounts for all build pools. This fits my personal requirements, as I am planning to reuse the same service account across all my build pools. However if you just want to authorize the build service account for this specific build pool, you should add your build service account directly to the pool-level security list by clicking the Add button in the main window.

3.     Avoid the Build vNext Agent provided with TFS2015RC

With the previous 2 steps completed we are all set to install and configure the Build vNext Agent. This step actually required some time and effort to figure out and complete successfully.

Figure 5. Agent Pool Configuration Screen
Figure 5. Agent Pool Configuration Screen

4.     Get yourself  a Visual Studio Online account

If you would follow the current guidance from Microsoft on your build server you would browse to the Agent Pool configuration screen of your TFS server and hit the Get Latest Agent button above the Build Pool explorer. This provides you with the version of the build vNext Agent installation package which was shipped with TFS2015RC. I ventured off this path only to discover the package still has tons of issues, which is to be expected for a preview. After trying to resolve all the issues, with not much success I must say, I was about to quit my investigation of the new build architecture. At the same time Microsoft announced the new build architecture was released for public preview on Visual Studio Online. Taking an educated guess the build agent provided on VSO, would most likely be an improved version, I took a gamble and decided to continue my effort with build agent available on VSO. I don’t know for sure if with this approach I inadvertently opened up a can of worms, but at least, as you will see, till date the approach turned out to be the road to success.

To be able to complete this step you do require access to Visual Studio Online. Considering I expect most of my readers to have an MSDN subscription with one of the benefits provided being a Visual Studio Online account, I trust you will be able to figure out yourself how to setup a VSO account.

Figure 6. MSDN Subscription Landing Page
Figure 6. MSDN Subscription Landing Page

5. Prepare build server

To run the build agent it is currently required to install Visual Studio 2013 of 2015 on the build server. You will also need to have PowerShell 3 or newer available.

6. Authorization for build service account on build server

Because I ran into all kinds of authorization issues with the build service account when  trying to get the build to run, at some point in time I decided to provide the build service account with System Administration privileges on the build server.  To accomplish this added the build service account to the local Administrators group of the build server with Computer Management.

Figure 7. Computer Management Console
Figure 7. Computer Management Console

7. Download Build vNext Agent from VSO

Obviously, considering it is possible to trigger a PowerShell script during the build, this authorization  puts you build server at risk for malicious scripts. I definitely need to revisit this configuration at a later date and investigate how the build service account can be locked down by providing just enough authorizations.

It is about time to head down to Visual Studio Online to get a copy of the build agent. On the build server browse to the Agent Pools tab on the Control Panel of your VSO subscription available at URL https://{youraccount} and  click Download  agent to download the file containing the agent. Safe the zip to disk.

Figure 8. Agent Pool tab on Control Panel on VSO
Figure 8. Agent Pool tab on Control Panel on VSO

I decided to unzip the downloaded file to the directory c:Agent, which provides the directory structure shown in the picture bellow. I recon this structure will be subject to change as the agent evolves in future releases.

Figure 9. Directory Structure
Figure 9. Directory Structure

8. Configure PowerShell environment

(I grabbed the guidance in this paragraph  from , section “Download and configure the agent for Visual Studio Online” which you might just want to check for an update)

  1. Run PowerShell as Administrator.
  2. Enable PowerShell to run downloaded scripts signed by trusted publishers:
     Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned
  3. Disable strong name signing. Make sure to run both versions. (Applies only if you downloaded the agent software. We expect to eliminate this step when we ship the RTM version.)
     C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft SDKsWindowsv8.2AbinNETFX 4.5.3 Toolssn.exe -Vr *,*
    C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft SDKsWindowsv8.2AbinNETFX 4.5.3 Toolsx64sn.exe -Vr *,*
  4. Change to the directory where you unziped the agent.
     cd c:Agent
  5. Unblock the PowerShell scripts.
     Get-ChildItem -Recurse * | Unblock-File

You can skip the paragraph the next time you configure the agent.

9. Configure the build agent

While you are still in the PowerShell as Administrator in the directory c:Agent execute the following command:


The build agent’s PowerShell  configuration script will kick off and it will ask you to provide input for following questions:

Enter the name for the agent?

Respond with: Agent1.
Enter the url for the Team Foundation Server?

In my case I responded with: https:// tfs14at01:8080/tfs/
Configure this agent against which build pool?

In my case I responded with : TFS2015, refering to the build pool created in section 2.
Enter the path of work folder for this agent?

I my case I responded with c:agent1.
This will create a subdirectory which will contain the file work space for the build agent.
Would you like to install the agent as a Windows Service? (Y/N)

I responded with Y.
Enter the name of the user account to user for the service? (default is NTAUTHORITYNetwork)

I responded with my build service account: tfs14svcTfsBuild.

Next you will be prompted for the password of the build service account.
Next question will be if you would like to unconfigure any existing agent(Y/N).

Just respond with N and the configuration script will start with the actual configuration of the agent.

You do want the read the messages
“Configure agent succeeded. Agent is running as a Windows Service.

10. Check result

If you want to check if the  agent indeed registered correctly with TFS, just head down to the Agent Pool s tab on the Configuration Panel of your TFS server. In the TFS2015 pool you will see Agent1 listed with a green bar at the left, indicating the agent is available and in good health.

Figure 10. Running Agent1 running in TFS2015 agent pool
Figure 10. Running Agent1 running in TFS2015 agent pool