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Select Work Items Dialog: can't find existing item

Ilona Krammer (159344) | asked Oct 07 '16, 2:42 a.m.
I am trying to select an existing item and add it to a link field. I am selecting the work item type and entering "*" into the search field -> I'm getting 0 results

I am entering "PX*" into the search field -> I am getting 1 result (the item that I was looking for)

Why am I not getting anything when I'm just entering "*" which in my understanding should give me all items of that work item type as results (since we are testing there are only a hand full of those kinds of items in that project area so it's definitely not a question of having too many results)

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Donald Nong (14.5k414) | answered Oct 07 '16, 3:47 a.m.
That is the confusion that other users have as well, which is caused by the misunderstanding how this particular search works. You think it searches the given pattern, say "*", for the given work item type, but actually it does not. It searches the given pattern first, then filters the result set by the given work item type. Chances are, you have many work items of other types, and the desired work item type gets drown out by the other types. For example, let's say there are 300 Defect work items and 10 Task work items, you think that selecting "Task" and "*" will give you all the 10 Task work items - not so easy. It may return 99 Defect work items and 1 Task work item, and when you filter by Task, you get only one. Of course if it returns 100 Defect work items (the default cap), you will get no Task work items.

A more reliable way is to use the Search by Query option. First create a query with condition "type is Task" and a dynamic full text search filter, then when you choose this query in the dialog, you can type in "PA*" or "*" to do the full text search within the Task work items. You should get the expected result this way.

IIRC this was observed in version 5.0.x. The 6.0.x release seems to behave the way we expect it would.
Ilona Krammer selected this answer as the correct answer

Ilona Krammer commented Oct 07 '16, 4:25 a.m.

Thanks for the explanation - though actually this is pretty ridiculous. With the design of the dialog (first filter the type then have the input field) and without any further explanation this is really bad design - in every way.

At least we know now in which way this dialog is badly designed and implemented...

Thank you for your answer! Our users were already getting pretty mad (understandably)

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