Ever wanted the possibility to pick a work item, email it to someone with a comment, change the state and have the comment added to the discussion of the work item? Many ticketing system have this capability, mostly called Manual notify, but as a TFS user, there hasn’t been a good solution, until now.
Moving a lot of teams and organizations to tfs, I sometimes come across the need for manual notifications, and this week I did again, then I occasional talked to a colleague over coffee and he complained about him being forced to do double entry of work item data, due to the lack of manual notifications in TFS.
Can’t be done
In the discussion one thing triggered me, apart from being a known feature gap, and that was the fact that my colleague had been told it couldn’t be fixed with TFS. After looking at the current solution he had in the other ticketing system, and matching it to what I have come across earlier, I had a clear picture of the need, and how to solve it.
A flu and a couple of evenings = Minimal Viable product
having a need and an idea how to solve it, the only thing lacking was time. (Un)fortunately, I had managed to catch a slight flu, which prevented me from normal, sensible, activities during the evenings of the week. With the time at hand, and a little (but very important) help from Neno, I created the first minimal viable product to at least solve the problem for some people.
TFS Notify – a Visual Studio Extension available at Visual Studio Gallery
I choose to implement the solution as a Visual Studio extension at first hand, mainly because it is a solution that has the lowest distribution and adoption barriers and the best user experience. For me it’s also very easy to get started and productive. The extension is available for download at Visual Studio Galley http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/aa48c2c8-e420-469f-8d20-3bcea2c97b24
The future of TFS Notify
My immediate plans for TFS Notify is to develop a solution/extension that works with the TFS web access. Apart from that I got some ideas on the backlog for the Visual Studio extension, but as time is time is scarce and I have many ideas, the future of the TFS Notify extension is dependent on the on the traction and feedback it gets.
Alert me & Alert people for specific work items
An easy way to create alerts for me and for other people on a specific work item with one or two click, is also a fairly common ask from teams adopting TFS. The TFS Notify extension provides a platform for adding that capability fairly easy, but as usually, time is a scarce commodity