Choose the client to support your tasks
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Choose the client to support your tasks

 

Updated: July 15, 2016

To build, plan, and track your software development project using Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) or 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 team project. You create a team project in Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) or an on-premises TFS.

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.

  • The Web portal is automatically installed and updated when TFS is installed or updated. You can access the web portal through the following browsers:

    • Internet Explorer, versions 9, 10, 11, and 12

    • Mozilla Firefox, latest version (27)

    • Google Chrome, latest version (32)

    • Safari (supported on Macs only), version 7

  • Team Explorer is installed with each version of Visual Studio.

  • 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 Test Manager installs with Visual Studio Test Professional and Visual Studio Enterprise.

  • 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 the work item data store and requires stakeholders to have required permissions.

Office-integration clients

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

  • Use Excel and Project to add and modify work items. Using Project you can plan projects, schedule tasks, assign resources, and track changes. You have access to features that TFS doesn’t support, such as a project calendar, Gantt charts, and resource views.

  • With Project Professional and the Team Foundation Server Extensions for Project Server you can manage projects that synchronize data that exists in both TFS and Project Server. Project managers and software development teams can use the tools that they prefer, work at the level of precision that supports their needs, and easily share information.

  • PowerPoint Storyboarding lets you illustrate user stories and requirements using PowerPoint. When you install Visual Studio Premium, Visual Studio Ultimate, or Visual Studio Test Professional, the Team Foundation add-in installs to your existing PowerPoint client.

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 Advanced access which provides access to all web portal features.

Legend:

Required - Designed for the task

Supports task conceptual image - Supports the task

Advanced access - Requires Advanced access

Blank - Not applicable

Task

Web portal

Team Explorer

Team Explorer Everywhere

Excel

Project

Query for work items

Required
Required
Required

Open a query in Excel or Project (1)

 

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 (2)

Required
Required

Add formulas to worksheets

Required

Work offline

Required
Required

Manage area-level permissions

Required

Notes:

  1. Although you can’t open a query directly from the web portal, you can open Excel or Project and open a query that you created in the web portal.

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

Task

Web portal

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

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 or Git

Required

Notes:

  1. From the web portal, 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

Web portal

Team Explorer

Microsoft Feedback Client

PowerPoint Storyboarding

PowerPoint

Collaborate in a team room

 Required 

Request feedback 

 Required Advanced access

Provide feedback 

Required

Review feedback 

Required
Required

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

Required Advanced 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

Web portal

Excel

Project

Report Server

SharePoint Dashboards

Capacity planning

Required

Cumulative flow chart

Required

Sprint burndown

Required

Team velocity

Required

Required

Create query-based pie, column, and trend charts

Required 

Generate query-based pie, column, and trend charts (Excel) (1)

Required

Monitor code quality, project progress, test plans, and track bugs (2, 3)

Required
Required
Required

Customize team home page

Required

Customize dashboards (3)

Required

Project timeline (4)

Required

Resource usage (4)

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, start here. If it’s your first time connecting to a team project, 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: Yes. You can provide access to stakeholders who have no CAL for the following activities:

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

Also, Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Power Tools provides enhancements, tools, and command-line utilities that support increased productivity.

And, the Team Foundation Administration Console connects to an on-premises TFS to support administrative tasks.

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