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.

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.

Tasks and client support

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 TWA features.

Legend:

Required - Designed for the task

Supports task conceptual image - Supports the task

Advanced access - Requires Advanced access

Blank - Not applicable

Manage source code and builds

Task

TWA

Team Explorer

Team Explorer Everywhere

Add source code to Team Foundation version control

Set up Git on your dev machine

Add files to version control (Eclipse)

Required Required

View, browse source code

Required Required Required

Map workspaces

Required Required

Develop code and manage pending changes

Required Required

Download (get) files from Team Foundation version control

Required Required Required

Download (get) files from Git

Required Required

Check in and check out code

Required Required

Download source code as a Zip file

Required

Create build definitions

Required Required

Manage builds

Required Required

View and rate the quality of builds

Required Required Required

Manage permissions:TFVC or Git

Required

Plan a project, track progress

Task

Team Web Access

Team Explorer

Excel

Project

Create and organize the backlog

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

Work with portfolio backlogs

RequiredAdvanced access

Supports task conceptual image Supports task conceptual image

Track progress with the Kanban board

Required

Work in sprints with the task board

Required

Forecast sprints

Required

Supports task conceptual image

Add teams and Administer team activities

Required

Bulk add and modify work items

Task

TWA

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 TWA, you can open Excel or Project and open a query that you created in TWA.

  2. 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)

RequiredAdvanced 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 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.

Collaborate with team members and stakeholders

Task

TWA

Team Explorer

Microsoft Feedback Client

PowerPoint Storyboarding

PowerPoint

Collaborate in a team room

RequiredAdvanced access

Request feedback

RequiredAdvanced access

Provide feedback

Required

Review feedback

Required Required

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

RequiredAdvanced 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.

Create, manage, and run tests

Task

TWA

Team Explorer

Microsoft Test Manager

Plan and manage test plans and suites

RequiredAdvanced access

Required

Create manual test cases

RequiredAdvanced access

Required

Run tests

RequiredAdvanced access

Required

Track test results

Required Required

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

Required Required Required

Manage test permissions

Required

Monitor and report progress

Task

TWA

Excel

Project

Report Server

SharePoint Dashboards

Cumulative flow chart

Required

Task burndown

Required

Team velocity

Required

Required

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

RequiredAdvanced access

Generate query-based pie, column, and trend charts (Excel) (2)

Required

Monitor code quality, project progress, test plans, and track bugs (3, 4)

Required Required Required

Customize team home page

Required

Customize dashboards (4)

Required

Project timeline (5)

Required

Resource usage (5)

Required

Notes:

  1. To author charts, you must belong to the Advanced access group. To author pie, column, or bar status charts, TFS 2013.2 update must be installed. To author trend charts or create a chart that sums field values, TFS 2013.4 update must be installed.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

Q & A

Q: How do I get started?

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 TFS, go here.

Q: How do I get my Office-integration client to work?

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

Q: Are there compatibility issues depending on my Team Foundation client version?

A: Yes. For details, see Compatibility between Team Foundation clients and Team Foundation Server.

Q: Can stakeholders who don’t use Visual Studio participate on our team?

A: Yes. You can provide access to stakeholders who have no CAL for the following activities:

Q: Are there other clients that connect to TFS? Are there other tools I can use?

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.