TeamCompanion 3.0 - Using the Restore Hierarchy Command

Support for hierarchical Work Item Queries is one of the flagship features of Team Foundation Server 2010, and TeamCompanion would not be one of the best Team Foundation clients without proper support for it. TeamCompanion 3.0 allows you to organize Work Items into a hierarchy for more convenient viewing. When in the Outlook view pane, hierarchical Work Item Queries are displayed in a standard Outlook table view. Outlook table view is very powerful presentation mechanism, but unfortunately, it does not have a notion of hierarchy natively.

TeamCompanion achieves hierarchical display in table view by indenting specific field values for Work Items that are not top-level items. This interferes with the grouping and sorting capabilities of the table view. When not using grouping or sorting features of the table view, hierarchical display is natural. When using the grouping or sorting features, the hierarchy cannot be displayed in a meaningful way. Because of this, the Restore Hierarchy command was introduced. We will go through two examples of when the Restore Hierarchy command can be useful.

Open Outlook and then select some Work Item Query from the Navigation Pane on the left. In this example, we will select Tailspin Toys. On the “Work Item(s) / Query” tab on the ribbon, click on Customize View:

For our first example, we will demonstrate, on grouping, the use of the Restore Hierarchy command. On the dialog that appears, click the Group tab and then add a column (in this example, State) from the list on the left to the list on the right:

After pressing OK, you should get a warning message saying that the hierarchy cannot be displayed when grouping is used:

Dismissing the message box by clicking OK returns you to the main window:

The Work Items are now divided into four groups. Notice how the parent-child relationships of the Work Items are no longer visible in the table view. They still exist; they just are not being shown. Here is where the Restore Hierarchy command comes in. Clicking on Restore Hierarchy on the „Work Item(s) / Query“ tab on the ribbon will make the parent-child relationships visible again:

Now, we will go through another example of the use of the Restore Hierarchy command, this time on sorting.

On the “Work Item(s) / Query” tab on the ribbon, click on Customize View. The same dialog as before appears. Click on the Sort tab of the dialog, and then select the columns that you wish to sort by:

After pressing OK on the dialog, the same warning message box from the example on grouping comes up again:

When you return to the main window after dismissing the message box, you will find that the work items are now all sorted:

Just as in grouping, the parent-child relationships of the Work Items disappear from the table view. Again, we use the Restore Hierarchy command on the „Work Item(s) / Query“ tab on the ribbon to restore them:

The parent-child relationships of Work Items are now visible again.

We hope that the combination of hierarchical Work Item Queries and the power of Outlook table view grouping, sorting and searching capabilities can make Work Item management in TeamCompanion more productive.

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