Buck Hodges

Visual Studio Online, Team Foundation Server, MSDN

Team Foundation

  • Buck Hodges

    TFS 2008 supports SQL 2008 SP1


    SQL 2008 SP1 has just been released, and we've gotten a couple of questions about whether it is supported with with Team Foundation Server 2008.  We tested SQL 2008 SP1 with both the original release of TFS 2008 and TFS 2008 SP1, and we do fully support using it with either release of TFS 2008.

    [UPDATE 4/14/2009]  If you are installing TFS 2008 and using an instance of SQL that already has SQL 2008 SP1 applied, you will need to follow the steps in the following KB article: How to install Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Team Foundation Server on a computer that has SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 1 installed.  This is required due to the version number for SQL 2008 SP1 being different than what the TFS 2008 SP1 setup logic expects.

  • Buck Hodges

    Sorting by multiple columns in work item tracking


    Recently I was showing someone the results of a bug query and sorting by more than one column in work item tracking in Team Explorer.  When the person said he didn't realize that feature existed, I decided it would be worth posting.  This also works in Team System Web Access.

    To sort by more the one column, simply hold the Shift key when clicking the column header of the column you would like to sort next.  If you want to sort descending instead of ascending, continue to hold the Shift key and click the header again to flip the sort ordering.

    In the screen shot below, I'm sorting first by Priority and then by Area Level 4.  You cannot tell from looking at the column headers which column gets sorted first.


    This works in the 2008 version and newer of Team Explorer and Team System Web Access.  I was using Team Explorer 2008 SP1 in the screenshot above.

    Since I'm on the topic of subtle but useful features, there's a handy way to diff files in version control by holding the Shift key and double clicking on a pending change.

    Finally, did you know that you can use the formatting toolbar in VS to insert rich text into your work items?  With TSWA it's more obvious because the formatting toolbar is shown just above the text box.  In TFS 2010, the work item editor in Team Explorer also shows the formatting toolbar with the text box.

    [Update 3/23/09]  Sunder Raman, now program manager for the TFS Reporting feature area, reminded me of a couple of great posts he wrote a year ago.  Be sure to check these out for more useful work item tracking tips.

  • Buck Hodges

    Why the CheckInEvent doesn't list all of the files in a changeset


    I recently received a question from someone about the CheckInEvent.

    We subscribe to the Notify event using the BisSubscribe tool. Basically we have many applications that share some projects, but as TFS has no mechanism for sharing we have written our own in house app.

    We have hooked into Notify for the CheckInEvents and we check each file after checkin to see if it is one of our shared files. If it is then we bounce it around to various locations etc..

    All has been working fine until recently we started getting problems on large check ins. After some investigation I have noticed that the string eventXml parameter does not contain all of the check in information. Bascially it seems to only hold a max of 25 checkins.

    I wondered if you'd come across this problem, and if you had any advice??

    What's happening here is that TFS limits the number of changes included in the XML for the event to prevent sending large (or even huge) amounts of data that may not be needed.  To get a list of all of the changes for a particular changeset, you must use the VersionControlServer.GetChangeset() method, specifying the changeset from the XML.

  • Buck Hodges

    New book on MSBuild and Team Foundation Build


    There is now a book dedicated to MSBuild and Team Foundation Build.  The book is written by Sayed Ibrahim Hashimi and William Bartholomew.  Sayed has written about MSBuild before, both in books and MSDN Magazine articles, and William is a Team System MVP with a lot of experience in customizing the build process in Team Foundation.

    If you want to learn more about using build in Team System, you need to get a copy.

    Inside the Microsoft® Build Engine: Using MSBuild and Team Foundation Build

    Product Description
    The build process when code gets assembled to see how and how well it works is a critical step in software development. Developers had few options for customizing the build process before Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008, but the Microsoft Build Engine (MSBuild) enables developers to customize each step during a build. MSBuild is extensible and uses an XML file to describe each step, allowing the build master or developer to easily change and augment how projects are built. This book offers hands-on guidance for customizing MSBuild, and provides a cookbook of examples on Web deployment, automated releases, and other essential topics. It also covers Visual Studio Team Foundation Build, the build engine in Visual Studio Team System.

  • Buck Hodges

    Fix for TFS Build 2008 SP1 to speed up your builds


    Quite a few folks have reported longer build times and noticed that the build details view has a lot more output in it, and as a result of the extra output being logged, the builds are slower.  Aaron has written a post about a hotfix to speed up your builds in the SP1 version of Team Build.  This hotfix, like many others for TFS, is available on the MSDN Code Gallery site.

    KB958845: TFSBuild TargetsNotLogged property fails to cut down noisy builds

  • Buck Hodges

    Team System site overhauled


    Sharon Elkins has written a post about the newly-redesigned Team System web site.  She has some details on the transformation, but one thing that stands out is the page reduction.  It's got about 75% fewer pages, which means a bunch of old stuff is gone.

    Check it out and give her your feedback!

    Technorati tags: ,
  • Buck Hodges

    How to determine the latest changeset in your workspace


    [UPDATE 7/25/14] Added equivalent API calls.

    When you run get for your entire workspace without any argument, you are requesting that the server give you the latest set of files.  Later you might wonder what changeset was used in that get.  To figure that out, you can use the following history command from the root (top) of your workspace.

    tf history . /r /noprompt /stopafter:1 /version:W

    Here's what that command means.  The ". /r" part says to look at the current directory recursively, which is why you must run it from the root (top directory) of your workspace.  Here I've specified "/noprompt" so that I don't get dialog, but that's optional.  The "/stopafter:1" option tells tf to print only one changeset.

    The version option is the part that tells the history command to consider history only up to what you have in your workspace.  The "W" means workspace, and without the workspace name and owner being specified it means the current workspace.  The version option could also be written as "/version:1~W" to explicitly state that you are interested in history only up to what is in your workspace.  The "1~" is implicit when it is not specified.  Changeset 1 is when the root of the repository ($/) was created.

    Since the history command sorts the changesets from highest to lowest, the result is that the command displays the highest changeset version of all files currently in your workspace.

    Here’s the code to do the equivalent using the Version Control client API.

     // The workspace info for the provided path
     WorkspaceInfo wsInfo = Workstation.Current.GetLocalWorkspaceInfo(filePath);
     // Get the TeamProjectCollection and VersionControl server associated with the
     // WorkspaceInfo
     TfsTeamProjectCollection tpc = new TfsTeamProjectCollection(wsInfo.ServerUri);
     VersionControlServer vcServer = tpc.GetService<VersionControlServer>();
     // Now get the actual Workspace OM object
     Workspace ws = vcServer.GetWorkspace(wsInfo);
     // We are interested in the current version of the workspace
     VersionSpec versionSpec = new WorkspaceVersionSpec(ws);
     QueryHistoryParameters historyParams = new QueryHistoryParameters(filePath, RecursionType.Full);
     historyParams.ItemVersion = versionSpec;
     historyParams.VersionEnd = versionSpec;
     historyParams.MaxResults = 1;
     Changeset changeset = vcServer.QueryHistory(historyParams).FirstOrDefault();
  • Buck Hodges

    TFS Branching Guide 2.0 released


    Bijan Javidi announced the release of TFS Branching Guide 2.0 on CodePlex.  Check it out and be sure to send them your feedback on it.  They are always looking for ways to enhance and make it even more useful.

    TFS Branching Guide 2.0

    Welcome to the Team Foundation Server Branching Guidance Community Site! The purpose of this project is to build some insightful and practical guidance around branching and merging with Team Foundation Server. It's a collaborative effort by VSTS Rangers in cooperation with VSTS MVPs, Microsoft Services, and VSTS Product Team.

    Why the 2nd release?

    Since the first release, we have received lots of feedback and change requests. Most feedback indicated a desire for a more practical approach to branching compared to the first release which is more theoretical. With that in mind, we decided to reduce the conceptual part and focus on branching practices with Team Foundation Server.
    What is in the package?
    • TFS Branching Guide - Main 2.0
      • This is the main article which briefly explains branching concepts and introduces 3 levels of the most common branching scenario
    • TFS Branching Guide - Scenarios 2.0
      • A collection of less common branching scenarios
    • TFS Branching Guide - Q&A 2.0
      • A set of most frequently asked questions with answers
    • TFS Branching Guide - Drawings 2.0
      • A set of branching drawings in different formats including a large branching poster
    • TFS Branching Guide - Labs 2.0
      • A couple of examples for hands on labs with step by step instruction for practicing the branching scenarios

    The TFS Branching community

    An important goal for this release is to go beyond just publishing this guide and create a living and ticking community. With your help and contribution, we would like to incrementally grow our libraries for scenarios, Q&As and labs. If for example, you are not able to find a suitable scenario for your branching needs, we encourage you to post a request for a new scenario. This will trigger a small process with a team which owns the development of the new scenario with your cooperation. Your name will then appear as the coauthor of that scenario.

    Release 2.0 scenarios

    The following scenarios are included in release 1:
    • Single Team Branching Model
    • Concurrent Hot Fix, Service Pack, and v.Next
    • Branching by Version Scenario
  • Buck Hodges

    Using Team Foundation Build with BizTalk and SSIS projects


    Unfortunately there are several types of projects that do not work natively with MSBuild.  Jim Lamb, program manager for Team Build, has put together a few posts with pointers on how to get these to work with Team Build.

  • Buck Hodges

    Tools for TFS on CodePlex: TeamReview and Info Kiosk


    In the past I've written posts on tools for TFS on CodePlex.  I'm happy to say that there are now too many to show in a post.  I'd encourage you to take a look using this query for TFS on CodePlex.

    A couple of people have sent me email about new tools for TFS on CodePlex, and I thought I'd mention them. here.


    The first one is TeamReview.  Here's part of the description from the main page.

    Using Work Items to facilitate the code review process creates a completely in-IDE code review experience, the ability to project-manage the code review tasks, and the opportunity to get new value from the code review process through code review forensics.

    There's also a nice set of screen shots that walk you through the use of the tool.  Here's one as a bit of a teaser.



    The second one is a tool that uses Silverlight to display information on bugs and builds in full screen mode for a continuous slide show view.

    TFS Bug Info Page

  • Buck Hodges

    New blog by the Team Foundation Server global support team


    The fine folks that support our customers have started a new blog:  Developer Support Team Foundation Server.  With posts by Trevor Hancock, Jim Saunders, and others on topics ranging from issues with TFS to the BPA (Best Practices Analyzer), you'll want to subscribe to this blog.  They also plan to post monthly summaries of publicly released hotfixes (patches).

    Here's a sample of some of their recent posts.

    Check it out!

  • Buck Hodges

    Why is the TFS 2008 version control security dialog blank?


    If you install Service Pack 1 for .NET 3.5 on the server (application tier) without also installing Service Pack 1 for TFS 2008, you will not be able to view permissions in version control.  None of your data has been lost.  What has happened is that the code in ASP.NET that serializes the permission data on the server does not work properly when .NET 3.5 SP1 is installed, resulting in empty lists being returned to the client.  TFS 2008 SP1 contains a change that makes it work.

    Your choices are either to uninstall SP1 for .NET 3.5 or install SP1 for TFS 2008.


  • Buck Hodges

    TFS 2008 SP1: New setting to delete a build without deleting the build label


    We've heard from a few customers that they would prefer not to have the build labels deleted when builds are deleted.  In Team Foundation Server 2008 SP1 we added a feature to control whether build labels are deleted when the build is deleted.  This feature is really a stop-gap measure, and it changes the behavior for build deletion on the entire server (i.e., you cannot change it for particular build definitions).  In TFS 2010, we've added GUI options to allow you to control this for each build definition, and the setting is stored in the database along with the build definition.

    To use the feature in 2008 SP1, add the following to the appSettings section in the web.config on the server (application tier).


      <add key="PreserveLabelsOnBuildDeletion" value="true" />


    It's not clear at this point whether the TFS 2010 upgrade process will be able to automatically migrate this setting to the build definitions.  In the worst case, you may need to enable this setting on each build definition after upgrading to TFS 2010.

  • Buck Hodges

    TFS Build 2010: Build summary screen shots


    The build summary view (sometimes called the build report) in TFS 2005 and 2008 leaves a lot to be desired.  We wanted to rework it in TFS 2008 but lacked the time.  Well, we've completely revamped it for TFS 2010.

    Chris Burrows has posted screen shots he captured from Jim Lamb's interview and screencast on TFS Build 2010 (it's basically a hybrid, which works really well).

    I'll post one of the screen shots here, which shows a compilation error.  For the rest and the explanation of this one, take a look at Chris' post.  You'll be able to see it in action in the new CTP that'll be released this fall.


  • Buck Hodges

    Pre-checkin validation tool for Team Foundation Build 2008: TFS Check-in Validation Tool


    Mohammad Jalloul, a developer on the Developer Division Engineering team, has released a new tool on CodePlex called TFS Check-in Validation Tool.  This tool provides the ability to have a checkin validating by a build prior to being checked in.  This is similar to a feature in TFS 2010 called Gated Checkin, which is integrated into VS and TFS (you can learn more about Gated Checkin and other TFS Build 2010 features in this video).  With both of these the goal is to prevent build breaks from being checked in by validating them beforehand.  I refer to this as "pessimistic" continuous integration in contrast to traditional continuous integration where developers check in optimistically and react to build breaks.  Mohammad's tool gives you the capability to do this now with Team Foundation Server 2008.

    Mohammad has put a lot of effort into this tool and already has an internal team using it.  He has also recruited William Bartholomew, a VSTS MVP, to be a project coordinator.  I look forward to hearing what you think about it and encourage you to try it out.

    TFS Check-in Validation Tool

    Project Description

    The TFS Check-in Validation Tool extends TFS Team Build 2008 by enabling buddy build queuing (pre-checkin), validating checkins using shelvesets, and build agent pooling, all from the VS 2008 IDE.

    TFS Check-in Validation Tool Features

    The TFS Check-in Validation Tool is a collection of tools that allows you to perform the following functionality that is not provided by Team Build 2008:
    • Check-in Validation/Buddy Build functionality allows running buddy builds against one or more shelvesets by utilizing your existing Team Build Definition
    • Add one line to your TFSBuild.proj script to make it buddy-build enabled
    • The ability to check in shelvesets upon buddy build success
    • Ability to have a buddy build or a regular build request go against a Build Agent pool rather than queuing against the single build agent that was configured in the build definition
    • Custom MSBuild tasks that extend Team Build to allow running buddy builds
    • The ability to assign a weight to each build agent in the pool (for example, you might want to favor the agents with better hardware by assigning a higher weight to them to get them selected more often) and also to restrict your build pool size to a subset of the agents registered with the Team Project



    See the Installation Guide for more detailed screenshots:

  • Buck Hodges

    Improving the performance of the work item tracking client with TFS 2008 SP1


    Martin Woodward has written a great post that describes a feature that was added in TFS 2008 SP1 to reduce the amount of work item tracking metadata cached by the client.  Depending on the number of team projects on your server and the number of fields and rules used by all work item types, this could result in a nice performance gain, particularly for remote users.

    Filtering WIT Client Meta-data

    In TFS 2008 SP1, a new feature was quietly introduced, WIT Client Metadata Filtering.  This feature could boost the performance of your Team Foundation Server experience, reduce the amount of traffic flowing over your network and reduce the data porosity of your TFS instance. Yet it is not enabled by default. In this post I'm going to explain the feature, what it does and how and when to enable it.


  • Buck Hodges

    How to set up TFS 2008 SP1 to use TSWA links in checkin notification emails


    One of the new features available in TFS 2008 SP1 is that a TSWA URL can be configured in the server so that checkin notification emails will have links to the Team System Web Access page for the changeset, which allows you to see the diffs for each of the changes.

    You can find the documentation for this feature at How to: Configure Work Item Hyperlinks to use Team System Web Access.  You must also install the following fix (QFE) in order to use the feature: KB957196 - Checkin event e-mail alert notification doesn't work (download).  Without the fix, turning on the new feature will result in checkin notification emails not working at all.

    You may be wondering why work item tracking email notifications do not also use the TSWA URL.  This unfortunately fell through the cracks.  The four simple manual steps that you can take to enable this are documented at Links for Team System Web Access 2008 Power Tool are enabled only for check-in notification e-mail.

    If you are curious about how to construct your own links to TSWA pages, you can find documentation here.

     [UPDATE 10/21/08]  If you want to remove the TSWA URL from registration, you can run the following command after installing the hotfix (the RTM version of the command does not support removing the TSWA URL).

    tfsadminutil configureconnections /tswauri:

  • Buck Hodges

    Visual Studio Team System 2010 Week on Channel 9!


    Brian Keller has recorded a series of interviews, some of which include demos, that are being published on Channel 9.  You can find them at Visual Studio Team System 2010 Week on Channel 9.



    Some of the videos have already been posted.  Be sure to check the page periodically or subscribe to the RSS feed to keep up with them as they come out.

    The week of September 29th is Visual Studio Team System 2010 week on Channel 9! We'll have 20 videos going live this week featuring interviews with the Visual Studio Team System product team including several screencast demonstrations of the latest bits.

    Stay tuned to http://channel9.msdn.com/VisualStudio/ for all of the action. Here's the lineup:

    Monday, September 29th:
    - Announcing Visual Studio Team System 2010

    Architecture Day (Tuesday, September 30th):
    Cameron Skinner: Visual Studio Team System 2010 - Architecture
    "Top-down" design with Visual Studio Team System 2010
    "Bottom-up" Design with Visual Studio Team System 2010 Architect
    ARCast.TV - Peter Provost on what’s coming for Architects in Visual Studio Team System

    Business Alignment (Wednesday, October 1st):
    Achieving Business Alignment with Visual Studio Team System 2010
    Agile Planning Templates in Visual Studio Team System 2010
    Enterprise Project Management with Visual Studio Team System 2010
    Requirements Management and Traceability with Visual Studio Team System 2010

    Software Quality (Thursday, October 2nd):
    Better Software Quality with Visual Studio Team System 2010
    Manual Testing with Visual Studio Team System 2010
    Historical Debugger and Test Impact Analysis in Visual Studio Team System 2010

    Team Foundation Server (Friday, October 3rd):
    Brian Harry: Team Foundation Server 2010
    Branching and Merging Visualization with Team Foundation Server 2010
    Enterprise Team Foundation Server Management with Mario Rodriguez
    Team Foundation Server 2010 Setup and Administration
    An early look at Team Foundation Build 2010 with Jim Lamb
    A first look at Visual Studio Team System Web Access 2010
    Update on Team Foundation Server Migration and Synchronization

    Stay tuned, we hope you enjoy it!

  • Buck Hodges

    CodePlex launches support for TortoiseSVN


    The CodePlex team has announced that CodePlex now supports TortoiseSVN "natively."  In their blog post they explain that they are running the SVNBridge on their server, so there's no need to install anything on the client other than TortoiseSVN.

  • Buck Hodges

    Team System Web Access 2008 SP1 is now available!


    We've now released the final version of TSWA 2008 SP1, which had previously been released as a community technology preview (CTP).  There are some fantastic new features in this release, including the ability for users without CALs to create work items.

    Also, this release includes 10 languages: Japanese, Korean, Spanish, German, French, English, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Russian, and Italian.  All 10 languages are included in the download.

    Since the installation package includes all ten languages, you may wonder why you can choose the language on the download web page.  It turns out that the installer itself can only support one language for the installation wizard.  So, when you choose the language on the download web page, you are choosing to download the installer in that language.  The actual product that gets installed is the same for all languages and includes all languages.

    Download Team System Web Access 2008 SP1


    New features in TSWA 2008 SP1 (compared to TSWA 2008)

    • Work item only view (accessed at http://tswa-server:8090/wiwa) provides access for users within your company that don't have a TFS client access license (CAL), which was made possible by a licensing change in TFS for the 2008 release.  It allows you to create new work items and edit work items you have created.  Users of the full TSWA features must have CALs. The feature was previously available as a separate download called Work Item Web Access (WIWA) in the CTP.  We've consolidated it into the TSWA installation process for the final release.
    • This release supports running a single instance with multiple languages.
    • Work item template URLs allow you to easily create an URL to include in emails, for example, so that users file bugs with particular fields pre-filled according to your needs.  I wrote a post about this very useful feature in TSWA tip: How to use the new TSWA template URL feature (initial value URL).
    • Share ad-hoc work item queries by including WIQL in the URL.  Normally, queries can only be shared by saving them as Team Queries in Team Explorer.  Using this feature, you can embed the query in the URL by using the work item tracking query language directly.
    • Find and view Shelvesets from within TSWA.  For example, you can use this feature to perform code reviews using only your browser.
    • Improved work item search syntax (e.g., Title:"Bug Bash") provides greater flexibility in searching for work items, greatly expanding the original search feature.  The search syntax follows Outlook and web search engine syntax.  You can find some more examples of using it in my post about the release of the CTP (second half of that post).

    Additionally, I've posted periodically about the great features in TSWA in posts tagged TSWA Tip.

  • Buck Hodges

    Automation with MSBuild 3.5 and Team Build 2008 recording is now available


    Charles Sterling announced a new interactive forum called MVP TV earlier this month.  The first event was Automation with MSBuild 3.5 and Team Build 2008.  Now the recording for this event is available.

    The debut of MVP TV

    Attendance: 92 attendees

    Thursday, August 21st, 2008 | 9:00am – 10:00am (PDT, Redmond time)

    Public: This Product Group Interaction is public and open to All MVPs and all World Wide public audiences.

    All the Interaction of the MSDN Chats but with the richer experience of Live meeting and hosted by the recognized world technology leaders –the Visual Studio Team System Microsoft MVP’s. In this opening session of MVP TV, please join one of the most celebrated and recent Team System MVP Steve Andrews covering off Automation with MSBuild 3.5 and Team Build 2008. Did you know that .csproj and .vbproj files are really MSBuild files?  More than build processes though, MSBuild is a full-featured automation language. It includes structured control flow, variables, refactorability, error handling, logging, and powerful extensibility. You can easily integrate MSBuild into your own enterprise processes and start adding value right away.  We’ll also look at how Team Foundation Build extends on MSBuild and adds robust integration with Team Foundation Server. This is one show you will not want to miss!

    About Steve Andrews: Steve Andrews has been working as a developer for more than 9 years. During this time, he has designed and developed applications in such widely varying areas as trust accounting, medical information management, supply chain management, and retail systems. He is currently employed at RDA Corporation in Philadelphia, PA, as a Software Engineer and a team member in their Architectural Guidance evangelism team. Steve is also an MCP, ICSOO, Speaker Liaison for the Philly .NET User Group, and all around .NET fanatic.

    View Recording

  • Buck Hodges

    July 2008 release of the power tools for TFS 2008 is now available


    The download is available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=00803636-1d16-4df1-8a3d-ef1ad4f4bbab&displaylang=en.

    Brian recently wrote a post about the new features: http://blogs.msdn.com/bharry/archive/2008/07/08/july-08-tfs-power-tool-preview.aspx.

    This release also includes some bug fixes to the build notification app.


  • Buck Hodges

    TSWA tip: How to use the new TSWA template URL feature (initial value URL)


    One of the new features we've added to TSWA for the SP1 release is the ability to create URLs that are effectively work item templates by virtue of the fact that they have the values for the work items embedded in the URL itself.

    Since constructing these URLs manually is really painful, we have an icon on the work item editor when you are creating a new work item that creates the URL and places it in the Windows clipboard.

    Bring up the new work item form, fill in whatever values you want to get automatically set each time you use the URL, and then click the "globe with chain link" icon below the Save button.


    Then you’ll get a pop-up message like this letting you know the template URL is now in the clipboard.


    When you paste the contents of the clipboard, you'll get a link like this.


    That link will create a new Orcas Bug work item in the Orcas team project that I can use to quickly file a bug on the TFS Build feature.

    • Title starts with "Bug Bash:"
    • Area Path is "Orcas\Build\Team Build"
    • Iteration Path is "Orcas\Rosario\Beta"
    • Issue Type is "Code Defect"
    • Severity is "2"
    • Priority is "2"
    • Build is "21022.08"
    • Branch is "Orcas RTM"
    • How Found is "Dogfooding"
    • Source is "Development"
    • Product Unit is "TFS"
    • Team Level 1 is "Team Build"
    • Blocking is "Not Blocking"

    With all of that filled in automatically, all I need to do after clicking the link is fill in the Description and Repro Steps.  That's a lot faster!

    Previous tip: TSWA tip: Copy a bug to quickly file a new bug in an area related to the original

  • Buck Hodges

    Team System Web Access 2008 SP1 CTP and Work Item Web Access 2008 CTP are now available


    Hakan has announced the availability of the new TSWA community technology preview (CTP) in his post, What's New in TSWA 2008 SP1.  Personally, I would say this release is beta quality or better, so don't let the CTP designation scare you too much.

    Also released is the first CTP release of what we are calling Work Item Web Access (WIWA).  You may recall that we published a spec for it recently, referring to it as a "bug submission portal."  WIWA provides you with the ability to have folks create work items and view work items they have created without needing a client access license (CAL) for 2008.  This was a new condition that was added to the TFS 2008 license agreement.  Hakan has more details in his post on WIWA.

    Both the CTP of TSWA and the CTP of WIWA have the same requirements as the previous release of TSWA 2008 (e.g., you must have Team Explorer 2008 installed as a prerequisite).

    This release of TSWA has some really great new features.

    • Single instance with multiple languages
    • Support for specifying field values in the URL for creating new work items (works in both TSWA and WIWA)
    • Share ad-hoc work item queries
    • Shelveset viewer
    • Improved search support

    I want to call out two features in particular that I really like.

    Support for specifying field values in the URL for creating new work items (works in both TSWA and WIWA)

    How often have you wanted users or testers to file bugs and needed to have them fill in certain fields with particular values so that the work item shows up in the correct area?  We now support providing field values in the new work item URL.  Here's the example that Hakan provided.

    http://<server>/wi.aspx?pname=MyProject&wit=Bug&[Title]=Bug Bash&[AssignedTo]=Hakan Eskici&[Iteration Path]=MyProject\Iteration2&[FoundIn]=9.0.30304

    This will open a new work item editor window with the following initial values:

    • Team Project = MyProject
    • Work Item Type = Bug
    • Title = Bug Bash
    • Assigned To = Hakan Eskici
    • Iteration Path = MyProject\Iteration2
    • Found in Build = 9.0.30304

    Now you can start sending your users and testers a link with all of this already filled in!

    Improved search support

    Have you ever wanted to search for bugs assigned to someone in particular or in a particular area without writing a query?  In the past, you could only search the Title and Description fields in a work item, which I described here.  Now you can enter the following into the search box in TSWA to find any bug assigned to me that also has the word "exception" in the Title or Description.

    exception a="Buck Hodges"

    The core fields have shortcuts.  Any field can be used by specifying the reference name for the field.  Here's the equivalent without using the shortcut.

    exception System.AssignedTo="Buck Hodges"

    Here are the shortcuts for the core fields.

    • A: Assigned To
    • C: Created By
    • S: State
    • T: Work Item Type

    You can use TFS macros, such as @me, in search.  For example, find all work items containing "watson" in the Title or Description that are assigned to me that are in the Resolved state and are work items of type Bug.

    watson a=@me s=Resolved t=Bug

    Now, if you really want to do something cool, there are the "contains" and "not" operations.  The "=" operator matches exact phrases, whereas the ":" operator is used for "contains" clauses.  The following search looks for bugs assigned to Active (i.e., not assigned to any particular person yet) where the word "repro" is contained in the History field.

    a=Active History:repro

    This example illustrates the difference between the two operators.  The first example finds all work items where the Title is exactly "Bug Bash" with no other words or characters in it.  The second example, which uses the contains operator (colon) rather than the exact match operator (equals), finds all bugs where the Title contains the phrase "Bug Bash" along with any other words or characters.

    • Title="Bug Bash"
    • Title:"Bug Bash"

    Personally, I find myself almost always using the contains operator.

    Finally, you need to be able to exclude certain things from your search.  For that, there is the not operator, which is represented by the hyphen ("-").  The following example finds all work items with "watson" in the Title or Description fields that are not assigned to me and that are not closed.

    watson –a=@me –s=closed

    The not operator only works with field references, so you can’t use the following to find all work items containing "watson" but not containing "repro" in the Title and Description fields.

    watson –repro

    However, you can accomplish this by specifying the Title field explicitly with the not operator.

    watson –Title:repro

    Please send us your feedback on both the new features and Work Item Web Access!

  • Buck Hodges

    Spec available for "Codename TFS Bug Submission Portal"


    Hakan Eskici, program manager for Team System Web Access, has posted the spec for a new power tool that's based on TSWA that is designed to help customers comply with the new licensing changes in TFS 2008 while getting the most out of the product.  Please read this, as well as the other Rosario specs, and give us your feedback.

    Spec available for "Codename TFS Bug Submission Portal"

    We've published the spec for the "Codename TFS bug submission portal" power tool on Rosario Specs website (1).

    Note (1): Although it appears on Rosario specs website, this is a power tool for TFS 2008 (Orcas).

    Here's some background:

    Team Foundation Server 2008 Standard Edition allows using some of the work item tracking features even without a Client Access License (CAL).

    “You do not need a CAL to access work item tracking functionality to create new work items, or view and update work items you opened

    Even thought the EULA enables these scenarios, there's no out-of-box UI that will help customers to make sure they're in compliance with the license terms. Therefore, we have built a power tool based on TSWA that will enable these 3 core scenarios:

    As a user without a CAL, I can:

    create new work items

    edit the work items I’ve created

    see the list of work items I’ve created

    The codename for this power tool is "TFS Bug Submission Portal" for now, and the official name will probably be different.

    To learn more about the details, please take a look at the spec. Your feedback is very important for us, so please make sure you express your thoughts on the spec discussion forum, we're looking forward to hearing from you!

    Hakan also posted Wednesday about the Anniversary of the devBiz acquisition.  It's amazing how quickly a year goes by, and how much can be accomplished.

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