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Choose the Team Foundation client to support your tasks

To build, plan, and track your software development project using Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (TFS), you have the following choices of clients and tools. Each of these clients, except for PowerPoint Storyboarding, requires connecting the client to a TFS team project.

Primary clients

Use a primary client to manage source code and builds, to plan and track progress using work items, and to collaborate and coordinate your efforts with other team members.

  • Team Web Access (TWA) is automatically installed and updated when TFS is installed or updated. You can access TWA through the following browsers:

    • Internet Explorer, versions 9, 10, and 11

    • Mozilla Firefox, latest version (27)

    • Google Chrome, latest version (32)

    • Safari (supported on Macs only), versions 5, 6, and 7

  • Team Explorer is installed with each version of Visual Studio, or you can install Team Explorer from the Microsoft download center as a standalone client.

  • Team Explorer Everywhere supports access to TFS from Eclipse-based environments and non-Windows platforms. Your team can collaborate from Eclipse or from the command line on the operating system of your choice.

Task-specific clients

The following clients support specific tasks, such as managing testing efforts, providing feedback, or modifying work items.

  • Microsoft Test Manager allows you to manage your test efforts, create and run manual tests, and create and track bugs that are found during test efforts. Test Manager installs with Visual Studio Premium, Visual Studio Ultimate, or Visual Studio Test Professional.

  • Your stakeholders can use Microsoft Feedback Client to record feedback for your application as video, audio, or type-written comments. This client installs with all versions of Visual Studio, or can be installed from the free download. All feedback is stored in TFS and requires stakeholders to have required permissions.

  • TWA - Work Item View Only (WIOV) gives members of your organization who don’t use Visual Studio limited access to TWA. In this view, they can create, view, and modify work items that they have created. This includes bugs, feedback responses, and other work item types.

Office-integration clients

The Team Foundation add-in that is installed when you install any edition of Visual Studio or Team Explorer integrates work item tracking with select Office clients. The add-in supports Office 2007, Office 2010, or Office 2013 versions.

Use the following tables to choose the best client for the task you want to perform. Note that some tasks require that you have been granted Full Access to all TWA features.

Legend:

Required - Designed for the task

Supports task conceptual image - Supports the task

Blank - Not applicable

Task

TWA

Team Explorer

Team Explorer Everywhere

Excel

Project

Query for work items

Required Required Required

Open a query in Excel or Project

Required

Required Required

Add tags to work items to categorize and filter lists

Required

Triage bugs, prioritize backlog items

Required Required Required Required

Bulk add work items (Excel)

Required Required

Bulk modify work items

Supports task conceptual image

Required Required

Create and share work item templates (1)

Required Required

Add formulas to worksheets

Required

Work offline

Required Required

Notes:

  1. To manage work item templates in Team Explorer, download TFS Power tools.

Task

TWA

Team Explorer

Excel

Project

Link two work items

Required Required Required Required

Create a work breakdown structure (WBS)

Required

Required Required

Map backlog items to portfolio backlog items (1)

Required (Requires Full access)

Supports task conceptual image Supports task conceptual image Supports task conceptual image

View and bulk modify hierarchical links (2)

Required Required Required Required

Bulk add or modify predecessor-successor links (3)

Required

Edit the link type of an existing link

Required Required Required

Link source code to work items using My Work (Requires Full access) or Git

Required

Notes:

  1. In TWA, you can quickly map backlog items to portfolio backlog items. Mapping links work items using the parent-child link type. You can edit these link relationships in all other supported clients.

  2. In Team Explorer, you can modify parent-child links by moving items in a tree list query. And in Excel and Project, you can modify parent-child links by cutting and pasting rows, inserting new rows, or indenting tasks (Project only).

  3. When you link tasks in Project, you create predecessor-successor links between their corresponding TFS work items.

Task

TWA

Team Explorer

Microsoft Feedback Client

PowerPoint Storyboarding

PowerPoint

Collaborate in a team room

Required (Requires Full access)

Request feedback

Required (Requires Full access)

Provide feedback

Required

Review feedback

Required Required

Request and respond to code review using My Work (1)

Required (Requires Full access)

Storyboard a feature, user story, or experience (2)

Required

View a storyboard created with PowerPoint Storyboarding (2)

Required Required

Link storyboards to work items through the Storyboards tab

Required Required

Required

Notes:

  1. To request or respond to code reviews, install Visual Studio Premium or Visual Studio Ultimate. My Work appears in Team Explorer with these editions.

  2. To create or view storyboards, you must have Microsoft PowerPoint installed.

Task

TWA

Team Explorer

Microsoft Test Manager

Plan and manage test plans and suites

Required (Requires Full access)

Required

Create manual test cases

Required (Requires Full access)

Required

Run tests

Required (Requires Full access)

Required

Track test results

Required

Query for test cases, shared steps, or other work items

Required Required Required

Notes:

  1. To create adhoc Excel reports, the team project collection that contains your team project must be provisioned with SQL Server Analysis Services, and you must be a member of the TfsWarehouseDataReader security role in Analysis Services.

  2. To view SQL Server Report Server reports, the team project collection that contains your team project must be provisioned with SQL Server Reporting Services, and reports must be added to your team project. To view or create reports, you must be assigned SQL Server permissions.

  3. To view SharePoint dashboards, your team project must have a project portal enabled, be associated with a SharePoint site, and have dashboards added to the site. Also, to view or customize dashboards, you must be assigned SharePoint permissions.

  4. You can use the default reports available in Project to manage details that relate to task scheduling, task dependencies, and resource availability, while maintaining the data and making it available as work item tasks in TFS.

A: If you need to download Visual Studio or TFS, go here. If you need to create a team project, then start here. If it’s your first time connecting to TFS, go here.

A: If the Team menu or Team ribbon doesn’t appear, you might need to re-enable it. To troubleshoot other issues, go here.

A: Most users who interact with TFS must have a Client Access License (CAL), which they get with Visual Studio or an MSDN subscription as described Visual Studio and MSDN Licensing white paper. However, you can provide access to stakeholders who have no CAL for the following activities:

  • Work Item Only View: This view allows stakeholders to create and modify work items that they create using the Work Items page in Team Web Access. In this view, stakeholders can report code defects, suggest a product feature, or review their feedback responses. This view has been designed specifically to provide access to any member in an organization with a TFS deployment who doesn't have a CAL.

    To grant stakeholders access to Work Item Only View, add them to limited access group in TWA.

  • Provide feedback: To allow your stakeholders to provide feedback, you must grant them specific permissions. You can also allow them to view their feedback responses and update them when you grant them limited access to TWA.

  • View dashboards and reports: Depending on the resources configured for your team project, you might have a combination of reports and dashboards that you may want other members within your organization to access. For these stakeholders to view and refresh reports, you must assign them the required permissions.

A: Yes. You can find several open-source clients that have been added to Codeplex.

Also, Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2013 Power Tools provides enhancements, tools, and command-line utilities that increase productivity of Team Foundation Server scenarios.

And, the Team Foundation Administration Console connects to TFS to support administrative tasks.

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