February 9, 2012 6:48 PM
by Ed Blankenship
In TFS 2005, TFS 2008, and TFS 2010, the alerting system has always been based on a “self-subscription” model which means if you want an e-mail alert then you need to create it for yourself. This could be problematic if new team members didn’t know about the self-subscription model. Now, you could use the Alerts Explorer from the TFS Power Tools to create e-mail alerts for other people but then those alerts are actually owned by the person creating them and not able to be managed, edited, or disabled for the person they are intended. There are other potential workarounds that people have discussed for any of the TFS versions I mentioned above. A good question on Stack Overflow has some discussion as well.
In the latest builds of the Team Foundation Service Preview (which ultimately will be features we will see in the next version of TFS – TFS 11), we can now see that administrators are able to create team alerts that help the scenario I described above. Managing personal and team alerts are exposed in Team Web Access. Notice in this Work Item alert, the new [Me] value that is available for the filter clauses.
You can also create other types of alerts like Build Alerts and Code Review Alerts.
What I also noticed is that administrators can view & troubleshoot other user’s e-mail alerts that they have created including personal alerts. That was particularly troublesome for TFS Administration in the past but should help out quite a bit for user’s who report problems in the future. An administrator can now even help craft the appropriate e-mail alert for the user using the right filters and grouping of clauses which I find to be the most commonly reported issues with creating alerts.
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Ed Blankenship is a Product Manager at Microsoft for Visual Studio Online. I am an author of a few books, former Microsoft MVP of the Year, and former ALM consultant. I hold Office Hours each week if you are interested in chatting.
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