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"I really like the way you can access your work items from within Outlook. I like the way you can bring up the full work item forms, make edits, and save immediately to TFS. It was great to create new meeting requests or mail messages from the work items."

Lori Lamkin
Product Unit Manager for Team Foundation Server at Microsoft

"These types of products are important to the industry."

Joel Semeniuk
CEO and co-founder of ImagiNET Resources Corp.

"I know of a good number of companies that will love having something like this - getting their timesheet management into TFS (so it can be reported on, especially) will make life a lot easier for them."

James Manning
Software Design Engineer for Visual Studio project at Microsoft

"I like the idea of being able to link work items to e-mails and meetings. I also like that it provides non-technical information workers the option of working with TFS in a more familiar environment. Congratulations to TeamExpand on the release!"

Jason Barile
Principal Test Manager for Visual Studio Team Foundation Server at Microsoft

"TX Chrono, by TeamExpand, allows users to easily track how they are spending their time, store that information in TFS, and make it available for reporting in the warehouse."

Brian Harry
Product Unit Manager for Team Foundation Server at Microsoft

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TFS Timesheet

Blog

TFS Management with New TFS Add-ins

August 9th, 2011
by

The TFS team is in the process of final testing for the August release of the TFS Power Tools. These TFS add-ins allow boosting efficiency and productivity when working with Team Foundation Server. Here are the main improvements and new features of the upcoming release requested by TFS users and implemented by the TFS development team.

Windows shell extension updates

The login support was added to enable users enter their credentials when they use anything other than a domain account. This change in the Windows shell extension TFS add-in also enables you to work with hosted TFS deployments as soon as this feature is made available.

Work Item Search

A new search box on the work item tracking tool bar was added to enable to search work items within Team Explorer. This TFS add-in improvement allows doing a full text search of work items and display the results like in any other query.

Other TFS add-in improvements include:

    • Rollback to TFS was added to the UI. Now you can do rollbacks not only from the command line, but also from the Source Control Explorer
    • Build automaton utilities: a set of new features for handling build process templates was added.
    • Maven 3 support was added to the list of supported build systems for TFS build add ins. TFS now supports Ant, Maven 2 and Maven 3.
    • Setup improvements: you no longer have to uninstall the old Power Tools, you can just install the new ones and this TFS add-in will upgrade them.
    • Test Attachments clean-up: a tool that can be used to clear out old and unused test data that has been accumulated in TFS.
    • Best Practices Analyzer updates with the latest diagnostic strategy that TFS support team uses.

The download link for the new TFS add-ins will be available in a couple of weeks.

Posted in TFS Management, Visual Studio Add-ins | No Comments »

TFS Add-ins: Where to Find and How to Share?

December 15th, 2010
by

Visual Studio provides great capabilities for extending its functionality. TFS add-ins help design solutions, manage projects, and test applications with the tools that are most convenient for different users. You can download, install, and manage TFS add-ins from the Visual Studio Gallery Web site by using Extension Manager, which is available on the Tools menu.

The Visual Studio Gallery contains thousands of TFS add-ins. It provides quick access to tools, controls, and templates to help you get the most out of Visual Studio. Each contribution is licensed under a License Agreement by its owner, not Microsoft. You can also obtain TFS add-ins by getting them directly from other developers and third-party Web sites.

TFS developers can create extensions, wrap them in deployment packages, and share them with TFS community. Visual Studio supports three formats for deploying extensions: Visual Studio Extension (VSIX), Windows Installer (MSI), and Visual Studio Content Installer (VSI).

When you upload a TFS add-in in the VSIX package format to the Visual Studio Gallery Web site, users can find and install it by checking for online extensions in Extension Manager. The MSI format supports most application and extension types. Extension Manager will show and install MSI-based extensions, but cannot enable or disable them. The VSI does not support uploading to Visual Studio Gallery, uninstall, or writing to the GAC or the system registry. However, TFS developers can use it to deploy TFS add-ins, which the VSIX format does not support.

Posted in Visual Studio Add-ins | No Comments »

Visual Studio Customization with Visual Studio SDK

November 16th, 2010
by

Developers can utilize a rich set of Visual Studio customization tools with the new Visual Studio SDK that enables to create TFS add-ins, TFS plugins, and other Visual Studio extensions. The Visual Studio SDK is a set of tools and documentation to create new features that are integrated into Visual Studio. Here are some tips on how you can utilize this SDK for Visual Studio customization:

    • Add commands, windows, and other features to the integrated development environment (IDE)
    • Extend the Visual Studio editor using a set of extension templates
    • Enable support for a new language
    • Extend data designer functionality to external data sources
    • Add your own project templates
    • Integrate custom source control
    • Customize the VS debugger or create your own
    • Create and manage test suites

The Visual Studio 2010 SDK includes project templates that enable to create tool windows, menu commands, isolated shell projects, and editor extensions. The editor extensions include text adornments, colorizers, and margins. Visual Studio customization enables to create tasks to build and debug extensions. This SDK also provides shortcuts to online documentation, samples, and other resources on the Start menu

The SDK provides Visual Studio customization using C#, Visual Basic, or C++ languages. Developers can package their extension and share it on the Visual Studio Gallery. Once you share your extension, anyone with Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 will be able to see it and download it through the Extension Manager.

Posted in VSTS Development, Visual Studio Add-ins | No Comments »

TFS Plugin: Productivity Power Tools Release

November 2nd, 2010
by

The Productivity Power Tools TFS plugin provides a number of excellent tools that can improve software development efficiency. In this third enhanced Power Tools release, the significant improvements were made to the Solution Navigator and the Tab Well UI. Today, I will review some of the main features of these TFS plugins .

Solution Navigator

The Solution Navigator is a new tool window that acts like an enhanced Solution Explorer. This TFS plugin enables to

    • Expand code files to navigate to its classes and expand classes to navigate to their members
    • Search the entire software solution, all the way down to class members
    • Filter the solution and projects to see only opened files, unsaved files, etc.
    • View related information about classes and members
    • Preview images by hovering over them, or preview information by hovering over code items
    • Support for multiple selection and drag & drop was added in the Productivity Power Tools August 2010 release

The Solution Navigator combines the functionality of the Solution Explorer, Class View, Object Browser, Call Hierarchy, Navigate To, and Find Symbol References tools in a single window. This TFS plugin is an excellent way to quickly find files in your solution. The ability to fix the mixing of tabs and spaces within the source code is undoubtedly a great feature. This TFS plugin can be very handy for those developers, who want to keep their source code clean.

Tab Well UI

According to TFS users’ opinions, the most useful feature of this Power Tools release is the Tab Well UI. It includes the ability to pin and sort the open document tabs, apply color coding to tabs by project, and change the display of tabs in many ways. This TFS plugin allows you to completely customize the behavior of your document tabs from the Productivity Power Tools Options—the new feature that was added in the August release of Productivity Power Tools.

TFS is a robust editor with many superb tools, windows, and features. Sometimes it is quite challenging to find, where the code and other project elements are located. It is also hard to remember a variety of shortcuts that show different windows. Productivity Tools TFS plugin makes all these activities much easier and faster.

Posted in Visual Studio Add-ins | No Comments »

New TFS Add-in: SCOM Management Pack 2010

October 15th, 2010
by

If you need to keep an eye on the health of your TFS system, wait no longer. The other day, the TFS development team and ALM rangers released a new TFS add-in—the Team Foundation Server 2010 Monitoring Management Pack that provides monitoring of Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010.

Keep in mind that this management pack only works with TFS 2010 servers. The new TFS add-in features include:

    • Auto discovery of TFS components
    • Containment hierarchy, reflecting logical architecture of the Product
    • A proper health model using Monitors
    • Tasks, diagnostics, and recovery for certain failures
    • Events that indicate service outages
    • Alerts that show configuration issues and connected data source changes
    • Verification that all dependent services are running
    • Triggers targeted on running of BPA against TFS Servers from Operator Console

This new TFS add-in is a substantial upgrade compared with the TFS 2008 Management Pack. It includes new features, such as auto discovery of complex TFS server topologies and monitoring of application tiers, building machines and proxy servers.

It took the team over 10 months to provide this Monitoring Management Pack, since the new TFS 2010 release. It’s been quite a long time, partially because they have been running a pilot version of this TFS add-in for the last several months, continuing to refine it, and ensuring it works fine.

The new TFS add-in provides a comprehensive view on TFS server’s health. I’m sure, it is worth the effort put in it, so let’s check it out!

Posted in Visual Studio Add-ins | No Comments »

TFS 2010 and TFS Add-ins for Better Project Management

October 14th, 2010
by

The new TFS 2010 release provides greater opportunities for architects, developers, testers, analysts, and project managers. Today, I would like to share some thoughts on how TFS 2010 supports project management and what TFS add-ins you can use to make it even more powerful.

When organizing and tracking work of the development team, project managers and team leads face numerous issues:

    • They spend a lot of time on tracking project management data, such as project plans, tasks, issues, risks, etc. They need to frequently organize meetings, but the time spent during these meetings affects team productivity, as well.
    • Time tracking data is generally captured in Microsoft Project or Microsoft Excel. This creates multiple copies of the data, which makes it difficult to get an overall view of the project status.
    • Project data exists in multiple documents, therefore creating project reports becomes a manual and thus a time-intensive process.
    • Project managers have to work in multiple environments, such as MS Outlook, Excel, Project, TFS, etc., which is really time-consuming

The project management tools in TFS and various third-party TFS add-ins help solve all of these problems. Project Managers can create tasks, using MS Project, and save them to TFS. Other team members can view and update these items in their development environment. Project managers and team members get even more value with the new TFS 2010 release, which helps them

    • Define requirements and create task hierarchies using Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Project, Team Explorer or Team Web Access.
    • Create relationships among requirements, tasks, and test results to effectively track how requirements are implemented and tested.
    • Track project’s progress using new reports and dashboards and easily generate Excel reports from work item queries.

In addition, project managers can use TFS outlook add-ins to work in a single environment. They can set alerts, assign tasks, plan meetings, send notification to team members, create and manage reports from MS Outlook. They can also leverage TFS timesheets to monitor time spent on various tasks, track billable and non-billable items, plan developers’ tasks in accordance with their workload. As you can see, TFS 2010 release powered with timesheets and TFS outlook add-ins, makes TFS really enjoyable for project managers.

Posted in Best practices, Visual Studio Add-ins | No Comments »

TFS Add-ins: New Power Tools. Part 4

October 7th, 2010
by

With this post, I finish the overview of the TFS Power Tools September 2010 release. So today’s (and final) part will be devoted to Windows Shell Extensions and Work Item Templates.

Windows Shell Extensions

This tool provides integration with Windows Explorer and the common file dialogs. With this TFS add-in, you can perform version control operations directly from the Windows shell without having to run Team Explorer or a command-line tool.

Windows Explorer displays icons that indicate the status of files. It also includes a right click context menu that contains the most common version control operations. You can open file dialogs in MS Notepad, Word or any other application that uses the common file dialogs. This TFS add-in is sure to make Team Foundation Server more convenient for business users.

TFS Add in: Windows Shell Extensions

Work Item Templates

This TFS add-in appears in the Team menu in Team Explorer.

TFS Add in: Work Item Templates

This power tool enables to create, apply, capture, set, and organize work item templates. The add-in allows you to open a blank work item form, define the values of fields, and then apply that set of values for any work items.

TFS Add in: Work Item Templates

New TFS Power tools are sure to make working with TFS more fun and easy. TFS team did a great job and there are many thankful users already.

Posted in Visual Studio Add-ins | No Comments »

TFS Add-ins: New Power Tools. Part 3

October 6th, 2010
by

Today’s the turn of three more TFS 2010 Power Tools to be overviewed: TFPT.EXE Tool, Team Members and Windows PowerShell Cmdlets for TFS.

TFPT.EXE Tool

This updated TFS add-in is a command line tool that you can use to work with files and directories. Depending on the command you choose, you might be required to provide additional parameters. Also, some commands display a graphical user interface when run. Currently there are 19 supported commands that allow you to manage version control, team projects, and work items in TFS.

Team Members

This is a new TFS add-in to Team Explorer that enables you to organize users into sub-teams. It also provides new options for accessing and customizing messaging tools, such as IM and e-mail. You can also download and install custom TFS components with this tool.

TFS Add in: Team Members

You need to right click on a user in the Team Explorer to open a menu of the Team Members TFS add-in. There are plenty of functional things that you can do with people and teams now.

TFS Add in: Team Members

The new TFS add-in functionality also includes customized instant messaging settings and the ability to launch communicator by double clicking on the identity. Now Team Members can communicate through TFS even if Active Directory doesn’t have their e-mail addresses or if their IM address is different from the e-mail address. There is an option that allows users to customize their Instant Messaging username and address for greater flexibility when integrating TFS with IM profiles and tools.

Windows PowerShell Cmdlets for TFS

This TFS add-in provides a Windows PowerShell interface that supports key version control commands and enables scripting. PowerShell is a relatively new scripting technology that integrates with the .NET Framework. Many software products are adopting PowerShell as their primary administrative scripting interface. This is an initial PowerShell implementation into TFS, we are expecting more to come in the next Power Tools releases. If you type ‘help *-tfs*’ you will get the full list of TFS PowerShell commands.

I will definitely tell you more about new TFS add-ins—Windows Shell Extensions and Work Item Templates—in my next post.

Posted in Visual Studio Add-ins | No Comments »

TFS Add-ins: New Power Tools. Part 2

October 5th, 2010
by

In my previous post, I told you about the first portion of the new TFS add-ins. Today, I continue to overview the TFS Power Tools September release, so here comes the second portion of descriptions and screenshots, covering such TFS Tools, as the Check-in Policy Pack, the Process Template Editor, and the Team Explorer Enhancements.

Custom Check-in Policy Pack

Team Foundation Server 2010 comes with four check-in policies out of the box: Builds, Code Analysis, Testing Policy, and Work Items. This TFS add-in provides an additional set of four custom check-in policies to enforce constraints whenever files are checked into source control:

    Changeset Comments Policy requires users to enter check-in comments in the pending changes window.
    Custom Path Policy allows you to scope other check-in policies to specific folders or file types, you can control when other check-in policies are applied.
    Forbidden Patterns Policy prevents users from checking in files with the filenames that contain forbidden characters.
    Work Item Query Policy allows you to specify a work item query, the results of which will be the only legal work items for a check-in to be associated with.

TFS Add in: Custom Check-in Policies

Process Template Editor

A TFS add-in to the Tools menu, the Process Editor provides a GUI for editing Team Foundation Server process templates. It features support for defining link types; for work item type categories; for query folders; for new work item form controls: label, link labels, new links control; for adding build and lab template settings; for editing permissions on source control, build, lab, queries/query folders.

This TFS add-in also provides a GUI for viewing the values assigned to all fields defined in a project collection. By the way, when releasing the Process Template Editor 2010, the TFS team fixed 158 bugs!

TFS Add in: Process Templated Editor

Team Explorer Enhancements

This updated TFS add-in provides additional Visual Studio menu options and functions to optimize working with source control. The tool now provides the ability to search for files and folders in Source Control Explorer by status or wild card. You can label files and folders in Source Control Explorer. The new functionality also includes opening folders using Windows Explorer.

And that is not all about TFS Power Tools 2010, so, obviously, I will proceed with the overview of new TFS add-ins in my next posts.

Posted in VSTS Development, Visual Studio Add-ins | No Comments »

TFS Add-ins: New Power Tools. Part 1

October 4th, 2010
by

As promised, I keep on telling about the TFS Power Tools, useful TFS add-ins developed by Microsoft to enhance the Visual Studio working environment. With this post I start an overview of September 2010 TFS Power Tools release with screenshots and short descriptions.

Alerts Explorer

There is a robust alerting system in TFS that allows users to self-subscribe to different types of alerts. Alerts Explorer is a TFS add-in that provides a graphical user interface to support flexible subscription of alerts based on check-in, work item change, or build completion criteria. You can subscribe to these alerts and view any of them with the Alerts Explorer.

TFS add in: TFS Alerts Explorer

Team Foundation Server Back Ups

This new TFS add-in can schedule backups for the various databases used by TFS: the configuration database; the database for each team project; the databases that Team Foundation Server uses in conjunction with SharePoint; the databases that Team Foundation Server uses in conjunction with SQL Server Reporting Services.

TFS Add in: TFS Back ups

This tool includes the Restore Wizard that provides restoring your entire deployment to new hardware, or selectively restores team projects for an earlier period of time.

Best Practices Analyzer

TFS Best Practices Analyzer is designed to diagnose TFS configuration and operation problems quickly and easily. As you know, TFS is a pretty complex installation. This TFS add-in gathers configuration information and performs specific tasks on the TFS deployment. The tool analyzes the collected information according to the specific rules and reports the results as information, warnings, or error messages. Best Practices Analyzer also features links to articles that provide information on how to resolve warnings and error messages.

TFS Add-in: TFS Best Practices Analyzer

More on the new TFS add-ins to come in my next posts!

Posted in VSTS Development, Visual Studio Add-ins | No Comments »




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