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Cool “hidden” features in Rational Team Concert

If you want to become a real expert in Rational Team Concert, continue reading to find out about some cool features that can help you become even more productive. In this post, I direct your attention to a series of articles around the topic of cool, “hidden” features in Rational Team Concert. If you want to directly read the articles, follow these links:

Part 1: Content assist, Process History, and more

In the first part of this series, you will learn how to use the Process History feature to get a detailed overview of changes to a process specification. Each entry is annotated with the author and you can always open the compare editor to compare with the previous version.

The article also highlights some of the diagnostic tools that Rational Team Concert provides. They can be used to find out more about how the server is performing under load. The Jazz Metronome tool is useful to gather information about the communication traffic between client and server.

Another cool tip shows the content assist feature from the work item editor. You can quickly insert ‘messages @me’ or work item links into a description or comment by selecting a user or work item from the various content assist lists: history, favorites, and templates.

Content Assist in Work Item Editor

Content Assist in Work Item Editor

Part 2: E-Signatures, Flow Diagrams, and Attribute Synchronization

The second part provides another handful of cool features, mostly around Work Items and SCM, with a couple other goodies. It includes a detailed tour how to add E-Signatures to Work Items. E-Signatures can be added in order to prevent someone from changing the state or approvals for a Work Item without authentication. As such, any change to the state or approvals can be tracked back to a user from the work item history. The change is stamped with the user name and exact date..

If you ever wondered how your teammates collaborate with the SCM streams of your project, open the flow diagram on a stream to see its components and flow targets. The flow diagram gives a great picture of your overall SCM structure. You can even start collaborating in the workspace of a friend from the flow diagram by dragging a connection between two workspaces or streams.

Source Control Flow Diagram

Source Control Flow Diagram

Another useful feature that you should be aware of is the Attribute Synchronization of Work Items. If you are into Work Item customization then you might have added a new custom attribute to a Work Item type. While this works great for Work Items created in the future, all existing Work Items will not show the custom attribute until you select Synchronize Attributes from the context menu. Doing so will add the custom attribute to all selected Work Items and delete custom attributes that have been removed from the type.

Part 3: Artifact History Search, Screen Capture, and more

The third part of this series provides many tips and tricks around Work Item editing and management. Some of these features were recently added to the new Rational Team Concert 3.0. The Team Artifact History Search is a great helper to quickly search for a Work Item, Plan, or Query that you have opened recently even if this was in a previous session.

Artifact History Search

Artifact History Search

We have invested quite a lot of effort into a good algorithm for a Work Item duplicate search. You can always start a search from the Work Item editor for Work Items that are potential duplicates. Less known, but very helpful, is the ability to configure the editor to run an automated duplicate search based on the summary, description, and comments of the item. Whenever you change the contents of the Work Item, the duplicate indicator lists the top potential duplicates of the item.

The duplicate search goes even beyond that and allows for an automated category assignment based on the contents of the Work Item.

The article concludes with a tour showing bulk editing of Work Item attributes, the much improved screen capture tool that can now be used from the Web interface as well, and gives guidance on how to configure Work Item E-Mail notifications.

We will likely continue this series in the future as there are many more gems to discover. Stay tuned for more to come.

Benjamin Pasero
Rational Team Concert (Zurich team)