Well, the last 3 weeks were busy.  We announced our Azure Continuous Deployment support and removed the invitation codes to open the service up to everyone.  As I wrote in my Spring wrap up post, we’ve kind of emptied the pipeline of all of the big stuff we’ve had in progress.  So this sprint, we’ve got a few nice little enhancements to the service but nothing that’s going to change your life or blow your socks off.  This is the denouement after the climax Smile  We’re building a new pipeline now but it’s probably going to be fairly tame for a couple of sprints.  Let’s not forget that we still have to tie the bow on TFS 2012 so there’s not a lack of things to keep us busy.

The changes you might notice in this sprint include:

Next/Previous Buttons on the work item form – We’ve gradually been chipping away at some work item tracking usability improvements.  In my post on the 6/4 service update I described the addition of next/prev buttons to the triage view.  Now we’ve added them to the work item form so you can still have a simple forward and backward experience even with a full screen work item. 

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Links & Attachments tabs show count of contents – Now you don’t have to go to the page to see if there is anything there.  The tab itself will show you whether or not there’s anything to look at.  A nice little click saver.  Notice that Storyboards, Implementation, All Links and Attachments all have counts next to them.  Test Cases would too if I had created one.

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Generate a query for your backlog – A common request, since we introduced the new backlog tools, has been – how can I get my backlog in some other form – Excel, Project, VS query, etc.  The problem is that the query that generates the backlog is not exposed.  But not any longer.  You can now generate a query that will match your backlog (both for the product backlog and sprint backlogs).  You can then save that query in any query folder and then use it any way you can already use a TFS query – like opening it in Excel, etc.

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Visually remove items from backlog – Another bit of feedback we’ve gotten is that the backlog is confusing when you edit a work item from the backlog and change its state to “Removed”.  That’s supposed to delete it from the backlog – because you’ve “cut” the feature but it still shows up until you hit refresh.  Not any longer.  We’ve changed it so that when you change a work item (change the state, the iteration, etc) in some way that causes it to no longer match the backlog criteria, it will automatically be removed from the view – you won’t have to hit refresh.  Maybe we’re being a bit too anxious about this but we’re a bit worried that people will get freaked out by things disappearing from their backlog so we’ve added an info bar that tells you when we’ve removed something and gives you a link to get details on why we removed it.

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Animation on the task board – Another piece of feedback we’ve gotten is that when you’ve got a lot of tasks on the task board and you are moving them around, it can sometimes be hard to see where in the pile of cards the dragged task landed.  To help with that, we’ve added a little animation to glide the card into position.  That way, it’s easier for your eye to catch where it landed.  It’s a bit hard to show the animation with a screenshot and I don’t want to mess with a video right now so you’ll just have to wait to see it for yourself Winking smile

Add Azure xaml template to existing Team Projects – We’ve had enough people struggle with the manual steps to get Azure Continuous deployment configured for pre-existing Projects.  We’ve decided to go ahead and add the new Continuous Deployment build xaml template to everyone’s project.  It should be pretty seamless for you but that file will show up in your build templates folder.

We’ve also done a bunch infrastructure and performance work but if everything keeps being fast and reliable, just consider it successful Smile

Of course, as always, not all of these will show up in your account instantaneously.  It will take several hours to get through updating all the accounts.  As I said, it’s not an earth-shaking list of changes but it’s a bunch of small, nice things – largely driven by customer feedback.  As we get new post Spring work ramped up and as TFS 2012 work ramps down, I hope to see the sprint deployments get even more interesting.  I hope you enjoy the improvements and, as always, we appreciate any feedback you have.

Brian