Team System Web Access Power Tool Available!

Brian Harry

Today we released the first “official” power tool release of Team System Web Access.  You can download it from here.   Let me put this in context.  When Microsoft first acquired DevBiz, we provided v1.0 of TeamPlain for download.  Based on customer demand, we uploaded a preview of TeamPlain 2.0.  Neither were supported by Microsoft customer support but both were available for download by all Team Foundation Server licensed users. With our release today of the Team System Web Access Power Tool, several things have changed.  This new version is based on the TeamPlain 2.0 code base but a great deal of work has gone into it since March.  Although, it is still not yet an officially released Microsoft product it has taken some great strides, including:

  • Microsoft Customer Support Services will now support it.
  • The code has been run through the Microsoft release process which is an extensive gauntlet of checks that help ensure quality.  Among the more important ones is a security review to make sure the code is not susceptible to attack.
  • We have tested it to a moderate degree (including internally dogfooding it for a couple of months).
  • It contains numerous bug fixes beyond what was in the last available download.  Some notable ones include:
    • Work item editor page times out when opening certain work items.
    • Temporary attachments cause locks and an exception is thrown.
  • Because of dogfooding we have made substantial additional performance improvements – particularly on first page load and work item load and save.
  • We have re-branded it as Microsoft Visual Studio Team System Web Access – yes, it’s a ridiculously long name 🙂
  • We’ve improved (we hope) some of the graphics and visuals.
  • We removed all of the old licensing code that required separate keys to be entered.
  • Improved error logging and added Dr. Watson support so reports of any crashes you experience can be sent to us for investigation.

Of course, it also includes most of the features originally on the TeamPlain 2.0 feature list, including: General Improvements

  • Better, faster and easier with the new Ajax user interface
  • Dramatic performance improvements for large team projects with a lot of work items, queries, area paths, and people
  • Theme support for the user interface (and a new Olive theme)
  • Manage alerts, subscribe to custom alerts
  • Home page customizations
  • Many dialogs open in their own window now, such as the work item editor, report viewer, file viewer and build results

Work Item Tracking

  • Ajax style design to avoid page reloads and to provide live feedback about the status of the work items
  • Work item type icons
  • Context sensitive menus for work items
  • Improved web controls to handle large datasets better
  • Improved query editor with grouping
  • Edit multiple work items at once (bulk editing)
  • Add related work item
  • Create copy of a work item
  • Send work items and query results as email
  • Copy queries between team projects

Build There is a new “Build” tab in this release, allowing to manage team builds.

  • View the list of builds, and apply filters
  • Start a new build
  • Monitor build progress live
  • View build logs, errors or warnings
  • Stop running builds
  • Delete a build
  • Change the quality of a build

Source Control

  • Faster browsing
  • Visual Diff for text files
  • Annotate (a.k.a. Blame)
  • Download the latest or a previous version of a file

I believe you will find this to be a fantastic release of the web access tool.  Please give it a try.  If you’ve already installed a previous version, you will need to uninstall it and install this version. As I mentioned above, this is still not an official Microsoft released product, however for most practical purposes, it is close.

  • It is still available free of additional charge to all licensed TFS users.
  • You can use the newsgroups to get help.
  • You can call CSS to get help.
  • If you hit a blocking issue, you can call CSS and request a hot fix and we will handle the request the same way we do for the shipping product (we deliver the vast majority, but not all).
  • It does not yet have docs.
  • It has not been localized.
  • It does not yet fall under the standard Microsoft 10 year extended support plan.
  • We can not deliver hot fixes/SPs as patches, but rather all updates require uninstall and reinstall (a fairly short process).

I hope you will find these constraints acceptable.  We plan on releasing updates periodically and expect to have a “final” release in the Orcas timeframe.  This “final” release should eliminate most of the exceptions listed above.



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