Alexander Vanwynsberghe

"There is nothing impossible to him who will try"

Microsoft Feedback Client using TFS11

bg

When your team is developing software, it is really important to capture feedback from the project stakeholders like end-users and the product owners. This way, you can ensure that the progress that the team is making is on track to meet the requirements that the stakeholders have in mind. In the next version of Team Foundation Server, there is a new tool called ‘Microsoft Feedback Manager’. I mentioned this in a previous post, but now I will handle this subject a little bit more in depth using the brand new TFS11 beta.

 You can start the Feedback tools in two ways. The first way is ‘voluntary‘, where you decide to gather some feedback without being asked. The second way is ‘on request‘, where you got a request to give your feedback about a particular part or feature of an application. To start a ‘voluntary‘ feedback session, go to Start -> All Programs  -> Microsoft Visual Studio 11 -> Microsoft Feedback Client. The first thing you have to do is connect to your Team Project. After you select the Team Project, the feedback client is running on the left side of the screen:

There you see in the Instructions that you’re running the tool in ‘voluntary’ mode. In this mode, you don’t have any instructions available about the feedback session. The other way to start the feedback client is by making use of the ‘Request Feedback’ link on the TFS11 Web Access.

In the “Request Feedback” screen, you select the Stakeholder(s) you want to invite. You also provide some information about the product/application and what you expect as feedback. This can be anything related to a particular feature or about a general thing

When you click on ‘Send’, you should receive an email with the request for a Feedback session. In this email, there is link which will open the Feedback Client. The first time you do this, you’ll get a dialog asking you to open the Feedback client

When the Feedback client is started, you now see that the ‘Application‘ and ‘Instructions‘ have the same content as you provided in the previous dialog on the Web Interface

When you click ‘Next‘, you’re ready to gather some feedback. Do what you have to do (described in the instructions) and enter as much feedback as you can. The Feedback client has support for audio, video, screenshots and attachments. Using this functionality, you can create rich feedback to the developers. When you make a Feedback Request, you can also request multiple feedback items. In the Feedback Client tool, you will see multiple items to gather feedback for.

The last step is to Publish your feedback. Just click on ‘Next‘ and you will see a summary of the feedback you provided. You will also see the location where the feedback will be stored.

Now your feedback is submitted to TFS. The person who requested the Feedback can check your session. You can do this using the TFS Web interface. Go to the ‘Work Items‘ section of you Team Project, select ‘Shared Queries‘ and open the ‘Feedback Requests‘. There you will see you feedback request and the actual feedback session.

One of the nice things is that you automatically get the System Information which can be very useful for Web Application, because it will also show you the browser version and some additional information. Actually, this information is linked to your Feedback Response Work Item.

Now you have an idea what the possibilities of what the Feedback Client can do for your. It’s really a powerful tool to help you collection all information you want from your stakeholders. It’s nicely integrated in the Visual Studio 11 suite and it looks slick in the new metro-style. Thanks for reading!

Cloning Microsoft Test Manager 11 Test Suites

tcm_img

With the next version of Microsoft Test Manager, MTM11, there is a possibility to clone test suites across plans. This is something which can be very helpful if you’re working on multiple releases. This way, you can clone an existing Test Suite from a previous release, and just change the necessary things related to the new release. When you clone a test suite, the new suite will contain the copies of all test cases in the source suite. However it will not retain all historical data like the previous test runs, the related bugs, old results. It provides a clean starting point.

Getting started

This feature is available through the command line utility tcm.exe. You can start this utility using the ‘Developer Command Prompt‘ from Visual Studio 11 (beta). Start->All Programs->Microsoft Visual Studio 11->Visual Studio Tools. Enter ‘tcm‘ to see the list of available commands:

We will continue with the ‘tcm suites’ command. This command will provide us all operations related to Test Suites, like listing and cloning. The first thing you can do is get a list of all available Test Suites using the ‘tcm suites /list’ command. This will give you a list of Suites with an ID and a Name. This ID is useful to know when you want to clone from one Suite to another Suite. For each command you want to execute, you have to provide the URL of your Team Project Collection and the Team Project Name you want to work with. In my case (using the great HOL VM from Brian Keller), the command is:

tcm suites /list /collection:http://vsalm:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection /teamproject:FabrikamFiber

In this example above, I have “TestPlan1” containing the ‘A Demo Suite‘ test suite. What I want to do is clone this test suite into “TestPlan2“. So I want Id 3 to be cloned in Id 2. To do this, just use this command:

tcm suites /clone /suiteid:3 /destinationsuiteid:2 /collection:http://vsalm:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection /teamproject:FabrikamFiber

When this command is executed, the clone operation is ongoing. This command returns an operation Id back. This Id is an identifier of the actual clone process. In some cases, a test plan/test suite can contain a large number of test cases, resulting in an operation which can take a serious amount of time. In my case, it’s only a small one. What you can do to follow the process of the clone operation is executing the following command:

tcm suites /clone /status:2 /collection:http://vsalm:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection /teamproject:FabrikamFiber

As you can see, the operation ‘2‘ has succeeded. You also have some information about the clone operation like the number of test cases cloned and the cloned shared steps.

Each clone operation is stored in the TFS_DefaultCollection (or TFS_YourTPC) database. You can get an overview using table ‘tbl_CloneOperation’ where you have the same information as in the screenshot above.

This is a nice (hidden) feature in the new improved version of Microsoft Test Manager 11. I hope they will include this command in the interface so you don’t have to use the commandline version of the tool. Thanks for reading!