Create Development Server, DevOps Branch, Workspace for Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

This post is a part of the series we are covering on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Azure DevOps. In our last post, we created an Azure DevOps project, linked it with Lifecycle Services (LCS), created a build server, main branch, and build pipeline.
Deploy development server
Applies to:
  • Dynamics 365 Finance
  • Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management
  • Dynamics 365 Commerce
In today’s post, we are going to create a development server, convert the folder into a branch, create a development branch, map Visual Studio workspace with Dev branch.

Video tutorial – Subscribe

LCS: Deploy Development Server

You can deploy a tier-1 server either as a managed environment (License) or as a cloud-hosted environment (azure subscription).
To deploy, go to LCS Project, Environments / Cloud-hosted environments section, and hit the + sign.
Select application and platform version, environment topology, and environment name & size.
Change other parameters if you want but at this point, we are done with the important settings. You can Save and hit Next.
LCS will put the deployment in Queued/Deploying status.
Note, it will take somewhere around 4-5 hours for deployment to be completed.

LCS: Environment Details page

Once the deployment is complete, you can click on the environment tile and it will take you to the Environment Details page. Environment details page contains all the necessary information, to access or maintain the environment.
Download the RDP file, and credentials mentioned on the page to access the server.

Development server

Connect Visual Studio to DevOps Project

Open Visual Studio as Administrator. Go to Team Explorer and open Connect to Team Projects dialog.
Select the DevOps Account/Server and the project you want to connect with. This is the project that we created in our earlier post to hold our code repository.
Open Source Control Explorer to validate, it is the right project and contains our Trunk/Main folder that we created while Deploying the Build Server.

Convert DevOps Folder into a Branch

Let’s convert folder Main to a branch.
From the Source Control Explorer, right-click on Main folder under Trunk, and select Convert to Branch.


So far we only have Main branch. For smaller projects, we can work with one branch only but for slightly larger projects we can also have a separate branch for Development where we check-in all our development work.
I like to go with simple branching strategy as we start the project and evolve/expand it as we go along.

Keep it simple! Start small, expand later.

Create Development Branch

Let’s branch out a new branch from Main, and call it our Development branch.
In the Target Branch Name, type Dev.
At this point, we have our Dev branch created.
You can validate on DevOps projects as that we got our Dev branch in place.

Development Workspace

Now before we can start doing development, we need to create a workspace and map it with the local repository.
Metadata folder will be mapped with the PackageLocalDirectory. This is where all the source code is stored.
Projects folder can be mapped to any directory on your system.
Open File menu > Source Control > Advanced > Workspaces..
Make sure we map the Metadata folder to the PackagesLocalDirectory.
Also, let’s change the permission to Public workspace. This will help other developers to use the same machines and workspace with their credentials.

This completes our walkthrough on development servers and their setup with DevOps. In our next post, we will create a model to start developing for Dynamics 365 Finance. We will also talk about build pipeline, release pipeline and how to setup CI/CD in our next post.

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Rahul Sharma
Rahul is a technology enthusiast, solutions architect, trainer, and blogger, working on various Microsoft and open source solutions with more than 18 years of industry experience. He specially takes interest in designing enterprise applications, cloud integrations, IoT, and other architecture rich business solutions. Rahul is a guest author with us and shares his knowledge through technology blog posts.
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