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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

A brief description of the new features in WordToTFS 4.5

Freitag, 26. Juni 2015

Some weeks ago we released version 4.5 of WordToTFS, our extension for MS Word that makes it even easier to handle requirements, user stories, and other work items as well as test specifications and reports in a document oriented manner. With this post we do not want to miss describing the latest features and changes that hopefully bring value to you and your daily business.

Basically the changes can be grouped into the following sections:

  • Console extension
  • UI improvements
  • HTML formatting changes
  • Installation checks
  • Bugfixes

In the following we drill down into the details of every group mentioned before.

Console extension

We start with a major change. There are some scenarios, users do not want to interact with Word using the GUI. They only want a document to be generated. By getting a step further, it might make sense to plan document creation like a scheduled task. And here we go with the console extension of WordToTFS. By this functionality, mainly the following use cases are supported:

  • Automatic creation of a test report that shows the latest test results
  • On-demand creation of a document that contains the latest state of a requirement

Commands

For these use cases we introduced the following four commands that can be used with the new WordToTFS.exe that is shipped with this release of WordToTFS:

  • GetWorkItems
  • TestSpecReport
  • TestSpecReportByQuery
  • TestResultReport

These commands basically reflect the options already known from the UI of WordToTFS to generate a Word document that contains data from the TFS database, e.g. work items or test results. Each of the commands above can be controlled by a configuration file that specifies parameters like server connection, filename, and some other basic settings. Since there are a lot of configuration options this makes the command line call less complex and allows easily versioning different versions of the configuration. The following picture shows an extract of such a config file.

Sample configuration file

Please find the complete documentation of parameters that are configurable with the config file in the WordToTFS documentation in section “Customization of the Configuration File”. Furthermore we provide a sample configuration as well as some sample calls from the command line. You can download the samples here.

However, the GetWorkItems command can also work without the configuration file. Since the options for this command are much simpler than for the other ones, you can specify all parameters directly within the command line call. The following table outlines the parameters of the GetWorkItems command.

GetWorkItems Parameter

A call might look as following:

WordToTFS GetWorkItems –w = ”49,723” –s = ”devtfs2013\WordToTFSDev” –p = “CMMIProject” –t = ”MSF for CMMI (2013)” –f = “OutputFileName” –h = “true” –o = “true”

All the commands are described in section “Commands” in the WordToTFS documentation.

Enable Console Extension

Since WordToTFS is a extension for MS Word, which typically is not an executable, the user can enable this feature, which modifies the path-variable so that WordToTFS.exe can be called independent from the actual directory. Therefore the user can use the new settings dialog to enable the console extension feature as shown in the following screenshot:

Enable Console Extension

Please confirm the question with yes to modify the path variable and hence enable the console capabilities.

UI improvements

First we added the settings window that you have already seen in the section before. This dialog now contains the option to activate logging in WordToTFS. Furthermore you can directly open the log file from that dialog.

In addition to that we added a small button to the list of work item queries as shown in the following screenshot.

Work Item Query Close Button

Whenever the list of work item queries in that view is long enough to overlay the actual drop down box, the only way to close the work item query list was to change the selected query. However, if the user actually does not want to change the selected item, but simply close the view, the little red “x” now helps.

Another ui helper is that the user can see the actual file location of WordToTFS templates within the Template Manager (see next screenshot).

Show template location

Just by hovering the cursor over the name of the desired template source, a tool tip shows the path. This makes it easier to detect where templates come from.

HTML formatting changes

Under the hood we did a lot of changes regarding the HTML mechanism. It is not as simple as it look like to handle Word’s HTML representations of a table cell as well as Team Foundation Server’s HTML representation of an HTML attribute. A good sample is the usage of bullet point lists. In many cases when users use bullet point lists e.g. within a description field, Word has changed the font family at the end of the list.

Even if there might be open topics in terms of “translating” word content into an HTML code that is correctly interpreted by TFS / web access as well as Word at a later point in time, we are sure to have reached a next step of maturity.

Installation checks

Since WordToTFS relies on the client API of Team Foundation Server, we need some prerequisites installed. Now we added some checks regarding prerequisites. For instance the user gets notified if Team Explorer is not installed. Please find the complete list of prerequisites on the product website: http://bit.ly/EnWordToTFS

Bugfixes

Beside the new features mentioned above, we fixed a bunch of bugs. Please find the list below:

  • Fixed bug leads to quality loss of pictures
  • Fixed bug that leads to missing images
  • Fixed bug that leads to loss of OLE objects
  • Fixed bug that leads to “ghost revisions” when a field contained multiple blanks
  • Fixed bug that created incomplete work items in TFS when a validation failed during the publish process
  • Fixed bug that prevented publish with hierarchy relationships
  • Fixed bug that occurred when test results had incomplete attachments with the size of 0 bytes
  • Fixed the mapping between test results and test plans
  • Fixed bug that showed wrong build number during generation of a test report
  • Fixed bug that showed too many items when an object query was used
  • Fixed bug that up scaled pictures unintendedly

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 the  next screenshot).

Start update

Summary

There is a bunch of stuff in that update and we hope you find some of the features pretty useful. However, do not hesitate giving us feedback. We’re already working on version 4.6 with some minor improvements. Since Visual Studio and TFS 2015 are not that far away, the upcoming update 4.6 of WordToTFS will probably be the last one of the major version 4. After that we will focus on supporting Visual Studio and TFS 2015. We will blog about more details on that soon.

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