Extending Team Explorer 2012 – Introduction [0 of N]

This entry is part of a series, Team Explorer 2012 Extensibility»

Every Visual Studio 2012 edition comes with a built in Team Explorer 2012. It offers easy access to source control integration, work item tracking and other Team Foundation Server artifacts. It features a brand new hub-like navigation model where each task gets its own page. Check the official MSDN documentation for more information on using Team Explorer: Working within Team Explorer.

This blog post is the first part in the series that aims to explain how to extend Team Explorer UI. Since there is no official documentation available yet, some information you find here might be redundant, obsolete or simply not considered as “best practice”.

When you start Visual Studio 2012 for the first time, Team Explorer is not yet connected to Team Foundation Server or Service and you are greeted with basic home page as seen on the image below.
Team Explorer 2012 when started for the first time

Once you connect to a Team Foundation Server/Service, the home page looks livelier. We can now explore which UI elements TE exposes. When Visual Studio starts, Team Explorer shows the Home page. It can be accessed from any page via the “home” icon. and it serves as a portal into different pages which deal with specific tasks such as managing own work, builds, documents and much more. On the image below you can see basic UI elements on the Home page.
Team Explorer 2012 UI elements

Home page consists of Navigation items which link to different pages. Some items can have Navigation links underneath them. Some pages can contain sections such as Pending Changes page (as seen on the image below). These sections are added independently on the page as section.
Sections on the Pending Changes page

There are several basic ways to extend Team Explorer:

  • You can add your own pages to the navigation tree.
  • You can add custom navigation items to the Home page.
  • You can add navigation links to your navigation items or to preexisting ones.
  • You can add sections to existing pages, whether they are yours or not.

Next posts will focus into specific extensibility points. As always, all source code is available on github: tpetrina/tfs11-extensibility

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  • Hamid Shahid

    Great Post.