TFS Power Tools Get a Facelift

Today the Visual Studio Facebook page had an announcement about the availability of an update to the TFS Power Tools.  Although I’ve been back in SVN-land lately this update is still pretty exciting.  Given that my most popular post is Everyday TFS I thought my readers would find it just as interesting.

Per the announcement the March update focuses on three main areas:

  • Addressed reported issues in the Backup/Restore Power Tool
  • Fleshed out the Windows Shell Extension for version control
  • Took the first step on the path to a bunch of new TFS Build Power Tools

I admittedly never used the backup/restore Power Tool so I can’t speak to their strengths or weaknesses but given that there’s a list of 41 issues that were addressed I think their users will be pleased.  What really made my day though was the list of changes to the shell extension.

For me the shell extension was one of the most important parts of the Power Tools since it lets us break free of Visual Studio.  As I’ve written before though it was lacking a few key features such as history and only had very limited support for compare.  With this release those problems are a thing of the past.  The Power Tools now also allow for workspace management like creating and moving mappings.

This release also expands upon the existing build support within the Power Tools.  The big enhancement here is a new builddefinition command that allows scripting some build management commands such as toggling whether a particular definition is active.

In addition to everything else, there are also a handful of bug fixes scattered across the Power Tools.

Updates like this are what TFS and the Power Tools need and make me wish I was still using them regularly.  Prior to this update I considered the Power Tools to be essential utilities for anyone using TFS and these enhancements just further solidify that position.