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Specifying Work Item Form Controls

You can use the information that is provided in this topic as a quick reference to the Control element, its child elements, and attributes. For each field or form control that you want to display on a work item form, you add a Control element. You can customize a work item form to display information to help your team use the form correctly. You can add the work item fields and controls that enable you to enter and view the data that you want to track. The Control element provides nine values for the Type attribute that you can use to add fields or to display plain or hyperlinked text or fields. In addition, you can define special controls to add links and attachments, display Web-based content, or create your own control and add it to a work item form.

In this topic

When you customize your work item form, you typically add a subset of the work item fields that are defined for the work item type that you want to appear on the form. The field definitions control many aspects of which data displays or which data that you can enter into the form. For more information, see Defining Work Item Fields.

Each work item field is associated with a data type. You can use the information in the following table to determine which field type is supported by which Type attribute of the Control element. Use the Label attribute to specify the text that displays next to the control. Use the related LabelPosition attribute to specify where the label appears relative to the control. For more information, see Controlling the Display of Work Item Fields.

NoteNote

You cannot change the values of system fields, which are updated automatically. For example, the Created Date and Created By fields are defined when a work item is first saved. However, you can use these fields in search criteria. For a description of each system field, see Using System Fields and Fields Defined by the MSF Process Templates.

Field type

Control element Type attribute

Usage

DateTime

FieldControl

DateTimeControl

Use FieldControl to provide a text field for the input or display of a DateTime data type field.

<Control FieldName=" MyCompany.Group1.StartDate " Type="FieldControl" Label="Start Date" LabelPosition="Left" />

Use DateTimeControl to provide a calendar picker to select a date for a field, as shown in the following illustration.

Calendar field
<Control Type="DateTimeControl" FieldName="MyCompany.Group.ScheduleStart" Label="Scheduling Start Date:" LabelPosition="Left" Dock="Fill" Format="Short" />

Double

FieldControl

Use FieldControl to provide a text field for the input or display of Double fields.

<Control FieldName="ABC_Company.Statistics.Analysis" Type="FieldControl" Label="Analysis %" LabelPosition="Left" />

History

WorkItemLogControl

You use WorkItemLogControl to provide a control field for History fields that track discussion threads and other historical information, as shown in the following illustration.

History tab and field on work item form

You can use this control only to support the display of the history field of a work item, the System.History work item field. By using this control, you can expand and collapse details about historical revisions to a work item. You can also format text that you add to the history field.

<Control Type="WorkItemLogControl" FieldName="System.History" Label="Detailed Description
and History" LabelPosition="Top" Dock="Fill" />

HTML

HTMLControl

Use HTMLControl to provide a control field that enable HTML fields to capture rich-text formatting, as shown in the following illustration.

HTML field shown on work item form
<Control Type="HtmlFieldControl" FieldName="Microsoft.VSTS.Notes" Label="Notes" Dock="Fill" />

Integer

FieldControl

Use FieldControl to provide a control field for an Integer field.

<Control FieldName="System.Id" Type="FieldControl" Label="Id" LabelPosition="Left" />

PlainText

FieldControl

Use FieldControl to provide a control field for a PlainText field, such as a text box that contains descriptions that may be larger than 255 characters.

<Control FieldName="Microsoft.VSTS.DocName" Type="FieldControl" Label="Vision Doc Location" LabelPosition="Left" />

String

FieldControl

Use FieldControl to provide a control field for a String field. String fields are limited to 255 characters.

<Control FieldName="System.Title" Type="FieldControl" Label="Title" LabelPosition="Left" />

TreePath

WorkItemClassificationControl

Use WorkItemClassificationControl to provide a control field for a TreePath field.

<Control FieldName="System.AreaPath" Type="WorkItemClassificationControl" Label="Area Path" LabelPosition="Left" />

Optional Control Element Field Attributes for All Control Types

The following optional attributes can be specified only for those control types that are listed.

Attribute

Description

Field

Specifies the control that is associated with the work item field.

Label

Specifies the visible text on the form that identifies the control. Specify a string of no more than 80 characters.

NoteNote
You can attach a hyperlink to the label of a field that is added to the work item form by using FieldControl. This control is useful for providing a link to information about how the field is used. For more information, see Providing Help Text, Process Guidance, Web Content, and Links to Web Pages on a Work Item Form.

LabelPosition

Specifies the position of the label that is relative to the control data. Specify a string from one of the following values: Top, Bottom, Left, and Right.

Dock

Specifies the alignment of the label with the specified side of the container, or stretches the field to fill the container. Specify a string from one of the following values: Fill, Top, Bottom, Left, and Right.

Padding

Specifies the amount of space, in pixels, around the inside border of the control. Four values are provided that correspond to the top, bottom, left, and right. For example: (2,0,2,0).

Margin

Specifies the amount of space, in pixels, around the outside border of the control. Four values are provided that correspond to the top, bottom, left, and right. For example: (2,0,2,0).

ReadOnly

Specifies that the field is read-only. Specify True or False.

MinimumSize

Specifies the minimum size, in pixels, that the control should occupy in the form. Two values are specified that correspond to the width and height. For example: (100,100).

Name

Uniquely identifies a control. The Name attribute is required if more than one control on the form is associated with the same work item field.

NoteNote
You use the Name attribute to display the same field in more than one area on the form. You specify a unique value for the Name attribute for both control entries so that the system identifies each control uniquely. It is useful to show the same control in various locations based on the context of tabs.

Optional Control Element Field Attributes for Specific Control Types

The following optional attributes can be specified only for those control types that are listed.

Attribute

Control types

Description

NumberFormat

FieldControl

Specifies the characters that you can enter in the field control. The following values are valid: WholeNumbers, SignedWholeNumbers, DecimalNumbers, and SignedDecimalNumbers.

MaxLength

FieldControl

Specifies the maximum length of characters that you can use for a field control.

Format

DateTimeControl

Specifies the format for the date-time field that corresponds to one value of the DateTimePickerFormat enum. The following values are valid: Custom, Long, Short, Time.

CustomFormat

DateTimeControl

Specifies the custom format that is used for the date-time field that corresponds to the syntax that is defined for the DateTimePicker.CustomFormat property.

The following table describes the Control element Type attributes that provide support so you can manage the attachments of files, create links, display Web-based content, and view other data that is not associated with a work item field.

Control element Type attribute

Usage

AttachmentsControl

Use to attach files to a work item form. This control is usually contained in its own tab group, as shown in the following illustration.

Attachments Control

Example of attachments control

For more information, see Adding the Attachments Control.

LabelControl

Use to display plain or hyperlinked text that is not associated with a field, as shown in the following illustration.

Example of two hyperlinks applied to text

You use the LabelText and Link child and container elements to specify the text, hyperlink, and position of a field or label whose text is partly associated with a hyperlink. For more information, see Providing Help Text, Process Guidance, Web Content, and Links to Web Pages on a Work Item Form, LabelText and Text XML Elements Reference, and Link and Param XML Elements Reference.

LinksControl

Use to create and manage links between work items. This control is usually contained in its own tab group, as shown in the following illustration.

Example of links control added to a work item form

You use the LinksControlOptions to define the link filters and layout of column fields that are used to display the list of links. For more information, see Defining Link Controls to Restrict Link Relationships and LinksControlOptions Elements.

WebpageControl

Use to display Web content in a work item form. This control is usually contained in its own tab group. You use the WebpageControlOptions and Link child elements to specify the controls that are required to load the Web page target in the work item form.

For more information, see Adding Web Content to a Work Item Form, WebpageControlOptions XML Elements Reference, and Link and Param XML Elements Reference.

In addition to the built-in controls, you can add your own custom control to a work item form.

For example, you could add a custom control to capture a screenshot from the Clipboard. Or you could provide a control to capture multiple values by adding a check box for values that are presented in a list or menu.

To implement a custom control, you must specify the name of the control for the Type attribute. For more information, see the Microsoft Web site: Work Item Tracking Custom Controls.

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