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My Top 4 Favorite Team Concert Features

I am a software developer on the Jazz Team Build Component team. The Jazz project has been self-hosting on Rational Team Concert since before it was called Rational Team Concert . :-) It’s easy to get so used to the tool that I fail to notice how convenient some operations are and how much I’ve come to rely on features that didn’t exist in the tooling I used previously. To combat that complacency and replace it with a renewed appreciation, I offer here a list of my favorite features.

To get on this list of favorites, it couldn’t just be cool or useful; it must have caused me to pause and wonder how I developed software in a team environment without it. A few of these features have even saved my bacon in the past few weeks. Most of my day is spent developing features and fixing work items. This list reflects my everyday usage of Rational Team Concert.

The Top 4

My Top 4 features are:

  • 4 Process Support for Preconditions
  • 3 Streams and Workspaces
  • 2 Annotate
  • 1 Suspend Change set

The following sections describe each of my favorites in more detail.

4 Process Support for Preconditions

preconditions-sm.png

These handy little pieces of code run before an operation, such as “Save work item” or “Deliver baseline”, takes place. If the preconditions for an operation are not met, the operation does not occur and the description of the failing conditions AND possible automated quick fixes shows up in the Team Advisor view. Fixing the problem can be just as easy as clicking a hyperlink.

For example, my team has a standard that no unused imports should be in the Java code we deliver to the stream. Still, in the heat of refactoring I sometimes forget to use the handy Eclipse “Organize Imports” before I deliver and attempt to deliver code with bogus imports. The Process framework immediately bongs me when I try to deliver and shows the problem in the Team Advisor. No problem, I just click the “Organize Imports” link and then re-run the deliver operation — right from the view!!

preconditions_fix-sm.png

3 — Streams and Workspaces

streams_1.png

streams_2.png

Before the Jazz SCM component was available, delivering to a communal build was a nightmare of tags and map files. Occasionally a cut and paste error or a forgotten text edit would wreak havoc on the build and take a while to find. With Jazz’s support for structured streams and workspaces, delivering to a build is as easy as accepting from one flow target and delivering to another. Not to mention you can create workspaces from other workspaces and from build results.

2 — Annotate

annotate-sm.png

Some people call this the “blame” feature. I prefer to think of it as the “credit” feature. :-) Many times I’m reading code in the editor and wonder “how did these lines get here?” (or, “who the heck wrote this?”). It is a pleasure to right-click on the file, choose Team> Annotate and see colors appear indicating which lines belong to what change. Even better, if I hover on the edge of the editor, a handy tooltip with the name of the change author and the reason for the change appears. I use this all the time.

1 — Suspend Change Set

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Suspending a change set removes the changes from the workspace, but keeps them available to be resumed at a later time. The changes still exist, but they are no longer part of the code in your workspace. It is a temporary “undoing” of code changes.

This one got the number one spot in part because I use it so often. For instance, the other day I was working away on some new code when a colleague pinged me for some help testing. Quickly, I suspended what I was working on and was able to run the test he requested. When it was finished, I simply resumed the change set and went back to writing my new code. I also use this when I start making changes in one way and decide there might be a better way I want to try. I can suspend the change set with my original attempt and know that I will be able to resume it if my “better way” turns out not to be better.

There you go, my top 4. Do you have any favorite features? Feel free to add them in the comments section.


Martha Andrews
Jazz Team Build