Custom Fields for TFS Work Items

Posted in software by Christopher R. Wirz on Tue Nov 27 2018



In Team Foundation Server (TFS), teams often desire custom fields to help better organize their collaboration. For example, we can add a Jira Issue Id because check-ins on TFS are related to a work item - whereas Jira may be on a separate server.

To run the Work Item Tracking Administration (witadmin) command-line tool, open a Visual Studio Command Prompt. The witadmin command-line tool installs with any version of Visual Studio. You will need the version, or higher, of Visual Studio than Team Foundation Server (TFS).

Note: witadmin is not supported on Azure DevOps Services.

To export or list work item types, you must be a member of the Project Administrators group or have your View project-level information permission set to Allow. To destroy, import, or rename work item types, you must be a member of the Team Foundation Administrators security group or the Project Administrators security group.

Note: Using Process Template Manager (in Visual Studio) to replace the active template will delete all work items in the TFS collection.

Importing a single item type using witadmin will not delete any data so long as you are adding fields.

First, grab the xml for the Task type.


witadmin exportwitd /collection:http://<server>:<port>/tfs/<collection> /p:<project> /n:Task /f:Task.xml

If successful, you should get the following message.


Operation complete.

Great! Now we can add a Jira Issue Id field. Start by defining the field in the Task.xml file.


...
<FIELDS>
	<FIELD name="Jira Issue Id" refname="Jira.IssueId" type="String">
		<HELPTEXT>Example PROJECT-3</HELPTEXT>
	</FIELD>
	...

Then define how the field is laid out in the form,


...
<FORM>
	<Layout>
		<Group>
			<Column PercentWidth="20">
				<Control FieldName="Jira.IssueId" Type="FieldControl" Label="Jira Issue &amp;Id:" LabelPosition="Left" />
			</Column>
			<Column PercentWidth="60">
				<Control Type="FieldControl" FieldName="System.Title" Label="&amp;Title:" LabelPosition="Left" />
			</Column>
			...

With the work item modified, we can re-import it.


witadmin importwitd /collection:http://<server>:<port>/tfs/<collection> /p:<project> /f:Task.xml

If successful, you should get the following message.


The work item type import has completed.

Now open the web portal of TFS (http://<server>:<port>/tfs/<collection>/<project>) and create a new task.

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