TFS 2012 Power Tools are now available!

Brian Harry

I know many of you have been waiting patiently.  I apologize for the delay.  They actually shipped yesterday but I didn’t have time to write a blog post about it until tonight.

Team Foundations Server 2012 Power Tools

A few reminders about how Power Tools work and comments on this release…

  1. You can go to the Visual Studio Gallery page listed above to get a summary of what’s in the Power Tools.
  2. All the Power Tools were updated to work with a TFS 2012 server.
  3. The TFS 2012 Power Tools that are Visual Studio add-ins only work with VS 2012.  If you want add-ins for Visual Studio 2010, use the TFS 2010 Power Tools – most of them still work against a 2012 server (a caveat or two below).
  4. Most of the TFS 2012 client Power Tools work with a TFS 2010 or TFS 2008 server (again, a caveat or two below).
  5. The TFS 2010 and TFS 2012 Power Tools can be installed SxS if you use both IDEs.
  6. The Team Members Power Tool was changed radically in this release.  It was modified to take advantage of new TFS 2012 features.  As such it is incompatible with TFS 2010 and earlier and does not run off the same team member definition data as the TFS 2010 Team Members Power Tool, making using the VS 2010 IDE and VS 2012 IDE together with the Team Members Power Tool a bit of a pain (double administration).

For the most part, this Power Tools release is just a port of the existing TFS 2010 Power Tools to TFS 2012 and VS 2012 (along with a bunch of bug fixes).  However, there are a few notable changes.

Storyboard Shapes Power Tool

We added a tool for creating dynamically sizeable storyboard shapes to the Power Tools.  It’s not pretty (it’s a command line tool) but it’s effective – we used it to create all the shapes we’ve released.  This tool was previously released separately on the gallery but we’ve included it in the Power Tools to make it easier to get.

Team Members

As I mentioned above, we radically revamped Team Members.  We did so in two dimensions.  The client was redone to take advantage of the new rich expressive capabilities of Team Explorer.  We also took advantage of new server extensibility features to better integrate with TFS’s groups and identities system rather than the semi goofy model of checked in XML files describing your team information.  The penalty for this is that it’s incompatible with previous TFS versions.  It was a painful call but we decided we wanted to get on the right infrastructure so we could more easily manage it and innovate on it going forward.



Agile Process Settings

We added the ability to edit the Agile Project Management (think taskboard) settings with the process template editor.  For now it’s pretty primitive because all it let’s you do is edit the XML but we expect to replace this with a nice interface for doing it in the future.


Removed Power Tools

Every Power Tools release I’m asked how come “X” is still a Power Tool?  Why didn’t it make it into the product.  Every release, our goal is to take a portion of the Power Tools and integrate them into the product.  I make no promises about when or if every Power Tool will make it into the product, but I promise to try to make progress by integrating some of the most popular ones every release.  Here’s the Power Tools that have been removed because they have been incorporated into the product.

Work item alerts – We added the power of the work item alerts Power Tool to Team Web Access in TFS 2012.  The downside of this approach is that if you are using VS 2012 along with a TFS 2010 server, you won’t have this capability (because it’s on the server in 2012).  You would need to use a TFS 2010 IDE + Power Tools to have this ability.

Comments checkin policy – The comments checkin policy is now in VS 2012.

Rollback – Rollback has been in the product since 2010 but we only had command-line support.  We added GUI support as a Power Tool for VS 2010 and now it’s been added in the VS 2012 product so we removed the Power Tool.

Work item search – The TFS 2010 Power Tools introduced a super simple full text work item search solution.  That’s now been added to Team Explorer in TFS 2012 so it’s been removed from the Power Tools.



I’m super happy to have the TFS 2012 Power Tools finally available.  There has been quite a lot of clamoring for the backup/restore Power Tool because we didn’t include it in the Beta.  Though you won’t notice it, we had to do a ton of work to that Power Tool because it needs to support both SQL 2008R2 and SQL 2012.  This was the first time it’s had to support more than one SQL version so we had some major surgery to do on it.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy using the tools.  As always, we love to hear feedback and will work to address it.




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