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Customized tasks in VSTS builds

The Microsoft Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) have a totally new way of creating build definitions. There are many available tasks right out of the box. It offers tasks to build .NET code, build Xamarin apps, execute Grunt and Gulp tasks, do code analysis with SolarQube, integrate Jenkins jobs, publish NuGet packages, run cloud-based load tests, copy files to a machine, deploy a SQL database to Azure, publish a web app or cloud service to Azure, … It has also many utility tasks and there is a collection with free third-party tasks in the MarketPlace.

But when building your software, quite often you need custom steps. In this article I will cover some techniques how to customize the build process. I will show you how to implement PowerShell scripts, do logging and work with environment variables and arguments, how to load custom C# .NET assemblies and how to create extensions and upload them to VSTS.