Thursday, April 16, 2009

TeamCompanion for Outlook v 2.1 released

Earlier this week Ekobit released The TeamCompanion for Outlook v2.1. Although numbered as a minor .1 release this version brings not only bug fixes, improved performance and enhancements to existing features, but also some exciting new features. This way TeamCompanion fulfills its goal to provide the general purpose TFS client integrated in Outlook with rich feature set aimed at nontechnical users, but useful to anyone wanting to combine Outlook’s collaboration and communication features with the ability to access TFS artifacts.

This release is a free update for all existing customers.

Following is the list of new and improved features of TeamCompanion:
Reports (including multiple saved parameter sets for each report)
Support for reports in TeamCompanion lets you use all standard TFS reports directly from Outlook including the ability to send the report as mail or create an Outlook task or an appointment with the report inside. This feature also lets you save the parameters with which you usually execute each report, so that you can access already configured report with just one click. For each report you can save multiple parameter sets. My favorite usage pattern is to add such preconfigured report to the favorite folder and have it there available for fast and easy access. Read more here.

„Query by example“ Work Item Query editor (including full-text search support)

Query by Example (QBE) is a simplified Work Item Query editor that makes it easier to define usual everyday Work Item Queries. Queries are defined by entering values in already available placeholders for specific most frequently used Work Item Fields (like State, Priority, Iteration or Area Path etc.). QBE also supports full text search in any text or html work item field. There is full two way synchronization between QBE and standard grid based Query Editor so that you can edit search criteria in any of these two editors and freely switch between them. Read more here.

Powerful online and offline work item search capabilities including desktop search integration
With Query by Example query editor for full text online search and desktop search integration for full text offline search in any work item field, TeamCompanion gives you all the tools you need to find the information you need.

Attaching mails to work items using drag-n-drop
Just drag a mail to the work item’s attachment tab and drop it there. TeamCompanion will take care of the rest. You can also attach files with drag-n-drop or paste pictures easily too.

Open related object (work item, changeset or build) action for notification mails
Whenever you receive a notification mail from the TFS that refers to some TFS object this feature will let you open that object with just one click. This works not only for work items, but also for changesets and builds. Opening a changeset from a notification mail is my personal favorite, since it gives you the ability to follow source code changes directly from Outlook – you receive a notification, open the changeset, in the list of changed files open the difference and there you have the view of the source code changes. All without leaving Outlook.

Work Item Query management
Configuring "Group by" columns is now a part of the work item query editor. This setting doesn’t change the query itself of course. It rather defines the way the query result will be displayed in Outlook.

Scheduled Work Item queries
With scheduled query feature introduced in TeamCompanion 2.0 end users can configure work item queries to be automatically executed periodically. With this release administrators get the ability to control how frequently queries may be executed to prevent too frequent execution that may cause heavy load on the Team Foundation Server.

For the complete list of features visit the TeamCompanion’s homepage.

TeamCompanion is available as a free 90-days fully functional trial.

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