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Thomas Rümmler
Thomas Rümmler ist Senior Software Consultant und Projektleiter bei AIT. Er hilft Unternehmen ihre Software unter Einsatz des Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Servers effizienter zu entwickeln. Seine Erfahrung gibt er als Autor und Sprecher im Microsoft ALM Umfeld weiter.

Thomas Rümmler

WordToTFS Xmas Release 4.4

Dienstag, 23. Dezember 2014

Just before Christmas we are happy to announce the Xmas Release of AIT WordToTFS. There is a bunch of new features in version 4.4 that are outlined in this blog post. WordToTFS Xmas Logo

Default Connection and Auto Connect

There are many scenarios where it makes sense to save the user from being asked for the TFS connection. It is rather useful to predefine the connection in the WordToTFS template, e.g. if there is exactly one production environment. For that purpose you can define a default connection per WordToTFS template. As shown in Figure 1 the document is connected to Team Project FabrikamFiber of the Team Project Collection FabrikamFiberCollection on server VSALM.

Figure 1: Document automatically connected to the right Team Project

Figure 1: Document automatically connected to the right Team Project

In that case the chosen WordToTFS template FabrikamFiber (in the red frame in Figure 1) is configured to use a particular server connection. Figure 2 shows an excerpt of the template configuration. For more information on configuring WordToTFS templates refer to the WordToTFS Online Help in section Customizing the template configuration: w2t file.

Figure 2: Default Connection and Auto Connect

Figure 2: Default Connection and Auto Connect

The configuration in Figure 2 also shows that the attribute AutoConnect is set to true. This means that as soon as the appropriate WordToTFS template is selected, the connection to the specified Team Project is established automatically without any further user interaction.

Refresh query every time a connection is made

In some scenarios, Word is used as one out of many authoring tools. However, the TFS database always provides a consistent and valid data source. In those cases users may always want to ensure to work on the latest version of requirements, product backlog items & co. Therefore WordToTFS templates can now be configured to automatically refresh document content always after the connection has been made. Figure 3 shows document content that has been manually created by executing a work item query in WordToTFS.

Figure 3: Get Work Items in WordToTFS

Figure 3: Get Work Items in WordToTFS

After that the last product backlog item in the document (ID: 242; Title: Technician can send GPS location from iPhone.) has been modified using another editor, e.g. Web Access (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: Product Backlog Item modified in Web Access

Figure 4: Product Backlog Item modified in Web Access

The next time, WordToTFS connects to the Team Project, the document gets refreshed automatically with the latest changes. As Figure 5 shows, the user is notified about the update process. Due to the configured default connection and auto connect (see section before), the update is started directly after the document has loaded.

Figure 5: Auto Refresh Work Items

Figure 5: Auto Refresh Work Items

After the refresh succeeded, the user can see the updated document content and can continue working on an up to date data base (see Figure 6).

Figure 6: Updated document content

Figure 6: Updated document content

As the red frames in figure 6 show, the new title is available and also the revision of that particular product backlog item has been increased from ten to eleven. By using that feature, every user of WordToTFS always works on the latest work item revisions. Therefore it might be necessary to define more than one WordToTFS templates, e.g. for using different work item queries per product release. This actually depends on the use case and may be different from team to team.

Customizable UI Behavior

Another new feature is the ability to modify some UI elements. This enables users to be more aligned with customer specific terminologies that might have been established. Thus users can use WordToTFS more intuitive in their specific environment. Figure 7 shows all buttons of the WordToTFS ribbon that can get customized lables by configuration. For more information on how to customize the buttons, please refer to the WordToTFS Online Help in section Customizing the buttons of the ribbon.

Figure 7: Customizable UI Elements

Figure 7: Customizable UI Elements

Additionally, administrators can define if users can use the template manager or chose between different templates using the template selection dropdown in the ribbon. The configuration (MappingConfiguration) has two new attributes EnableTemplateManager and EnableTemplateSelection. Details on that are documented in the WordToTFS Online Help in section Customizing the template configuration: w2t file.

Track Changes Automatically Disabled

Since WordToTFS works with tables that represent work items, there are a lot of changes in table content and structure whenever work items are refreshed. Mostly users using change tracking in MS Word, manually disable the Track Changes (see Figure 8) feature in Word before updating Work Items from TFS. However, if a user updated work items having change tracking enabled, the result was often changes that can hardly be reviewed manually.

Figure 8: Track Changes in MS Word

Figure 8: Track Changes in MS Word

For that reason WordToTFS automatically disables Word’s change tracking feature just before work items are retrieved from the server. After the process finished, change tracking is enabled if it was before. This makes it easier using change tracking in Word for “real” changes of content, made by the user.

Test Reporting

The Test Reporting capabilities have been expanded as well. Since Test Suite Work Items are typically used to define the structure of a Test Plan e.g. using Microsoft Test Manager or Web Access, these items are available in WordToTFS as well. To be even more flexible in designing the test reports using WordToTFS, now there can be defined three different templates for representing a test suite. The tool differentiates between test suites on root level of the test suite tree, test suites on leaf level of the test suite tree, and all other test suites that do not match the criteria before. Figure 9 shows an excerpt of a sample configuration.

Figure 9: Test Specification Configuration Sample

Figure 9: Test Specification Configuration Sample

Further more there is a new way to query items from the TFS database: Object Queries.

Object queries help to query additional information connected to test management objects. Currently the following objects are supported:

  • Builds
  • Configuration
  • TestCases
  • TestResults
  • TestPoints

Object Queries can be defined using certain filters and options. During report generation the queries are executed and the results can be used by a Replacement tag as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10: Usage of Object Queries

Figure 10: Usage of Object Queries

For more information on object queries please refer to the WordToTFS Online Help in section Using Object Queries to query additional  Data for Test Management  Objects.

Further improvements

Beyond the new features mentioned above there are some more improvements regarding the Stack Rank field as well as the Pre and Post Operations of the Test Reporting.

Whenever users manipulate work items and choose Publish Selected to write only certain changes into the database, the Stack Rank field is not touched anymore. This makes using the Stack Rank field even more stable and leverages the capabilities of TFS together with WordToTFS for ordering work items.

Last but not least the Pre and Post Operations, already available in the Test Reports, can now be used for all work item based documents. To get an up to date list of those operations for document manipulation, please have a look into the WordToTFS Online Help in section Customizing the template configuration: w2t file.

Install the Update

Attention: This update is available for major release 4, only. Please find the full details of the different versions under http://bit.ly/EnWordToTFS.

Anyone who has not installed WordToTFS, yet, can download the application from the URI mentioned before for free.

For users of WordToTFS 4.x:

If you have already installed a version 4.x of WordToTFS, it automatically searches for updates regularly. Nevertheless the update mechanism can be manually enforced by using the update button in the WordToTFS ribbon (see Figure 11).

Figure 11: Enforce update manually

Figure 11: Enforce update manually

We appreciate any feedback on WordToTFS. We are glad to help you, just contact us.

Thank you and Merry Xmas

Now it is time to give thanks to all users of WordToTFS for their great and valuable feedback. Without you it would have been hard to make WordToTFS as useful as it is today. A big THANK YOU!

Since we got that much feedback, we have already scheduled the next update with further improvements for the first quarter of 2015. We’re going to keep you up to date on this blog.

Furthermore the complete AIT team wishes Merry Xmas and a happy new year. See you soon!

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6 Antworten zu “WordToTFS Xmas Release 4.4”

  1. Matthias Back sagt:

    Hi AIT-Team,

    ich nutze WordToTFS jetzt bereits seit einigen Jahren (ab Version 2.5) und bin ein echter Fan des Tools. Wenn ich mir für künftige Versionen etwas wünschen könnte wäre das folgendes:

    Einen Lösungsansatz wie man Userstorries und Testcase überschriften des Workitems in das Wordinhaltsverzeichnis und damit in die Word Navigationsstruktur einbinen kann ohne die Überschriften doppelt erfassen zu müssen

    Gruss
    Matthias

  2. Thomas Rümmler sagt:

    Hallo Matthias,

    vielen Dank für dein Feedback. Dies ist uns immer wichtig und es freut uns natürlich zu hören, dass dir WordToTfs ein nützlicher Helfer ist.

    Den von dir angefragten Use Case unterstützt WordToTfs bereits. Schau dir in der Anwenderdoku (http://wordtotfs.aitag.com/2013/Download/AIT%20WordToTFS%20User%20Guide.pdf) am besten das Kapitel „Enhanced Document Structure“ ab Seite 21 an.

    Die Kurzfassung: Du formattierst die Titel der Work Items bereits im WordToTfs Template als Word-Heading 1-n und hast dadurch die Möglichkeit im Word die Standardmechanismen, wie das Generieren eines Inhaltsverzeichnisses zu nutzen.

    Beste Grüße
    Thomas

  3. Matthias Back sagt:

    Hi,

    die Lsg kenne ich, leider aktualisiert mir Word zwar das Inhaltsverzeichnis, nicht aber die Navigation Pane (Ansicht, Navigationsbereich)

    habt ihr hierfür auch ne Lsg?

    Gruss
    Matthias

  4. Thomas Rümmler sagt:

    Hallo Matthias,

    bei Word verhält es sich so, dass Überschriften, die innerhalb von Tabellen auftreten, zwar als solche referenziert werden können und damit auch im Inhaltsverzeichnis auftauchen, jedoch werden diese in der Navigation Pane nicht angezeigt.
    Dies ist ein Verhalten von Word, welches sich leider nicht verändern lässt.

    Gruß
    Thomas

  5. Jörg Kunert sagt:

    Hi Thomas,
    danke für den Hinweis.

    Wir sind auch auf der nach der Möglichkeit unsere Exports zu strukturieren. Am besten würden wir es finden wenn sich die AreaPath Struktur aus dem TFS auch in unserem Dokument als Überschriften wiederfindet.

    Ist so etwas jetzt schon möglich oder ließe sich das Tool dementsprechend erweitern?

    Grüße
    Jörg

  6. Thomas Rümmler sagt:

    Hallo Jörg,

    man kann die Dokumente teilweise anhand des Area Paths strukturieren. Dabei wird zwischen folgenden Fällen unterschieden.

    1. Test Spec Report bzw. Test Result Report
    Wird eine Testspezifikation oder ein Test-Report mittels einer der beiden Buttons Test Spec Report bzw. Test Result Report erzeugt, so kann man in der sich dann öffnenden Pane in Word das Häkchen „Create document structure“ mit der Auswahl „Area Path“ verwenden. Das Ergebnis sind Überschriften auf unterschiedlichen Ebenen entsprechend der Struktur des Area Paths.
    Dazu bitte auch in der Doku die Kapitel „Test Management Reports“ sowie „Customization of the Configuration File“ unter „Test Report Settings“ beachten.

    2. Get Work Items
    Wenn man ein Dokument über Get Work Items generiert, kann man mit den Standard-Templates von WordToTFS keine Struktur über den Area Path erzeugen. Dies ist nur in die umgekehrte Richtung möglich. Man kann manuell s.g. Header einfügen und damit das Dokument in Teile des Area Paths zerteilen. Siehe dazu in der Doku das Kapitel „Using Headers“.

    Sollten diese Möglichkeiten für euer Szenario nicht ausreichen, dann sollten wir uns näher abstimmen, um eine Lösung zu finden oder ggf. WordToTFS zu erweitern. In dem Falle gerne unter thomas . ruemmler at aitgmbh . de an mich wenden.

    Beste Grüße
    Thomas

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