Category Archives: 5241

TSWA: Report view not showing all work items

By default Report View shows 100 work items only. If you have more than 100 work items in a query and you use Tools » Report View to prepare the list for printing you might notice that not all work items are shown on the report.

Here’s what Hakan Eskici, the father of Web Access, has to say about this:

There’s a limit to the number of work items we display in the “report view” for performance reasons. By default, it’s set to 100, but you can increase this by changing the following line in the web.config file:

<maxWorkitemsInReportList count="100"/>


Cannot download attachements from Work Item Web Access

Solution provided by Hakan Eskici from Microsoft:

If you are using the WIWA feature in the latest TSWA 2008 SP1, you may notice that it’s not possible to download attachment files from the work item window.

As a workaround, you can edit Wiwa\UI\Pages\WorkItems\DownloadAttachment.aspx and modify the page directive to fix this by adding the HasPermission attribute:

<%@ Page Language="C#"
HasPermission="true" %>


Tool for creating direct links to TSWA

Buck Hodges from Microsoft blogged about all the possible links you can construct to point to TSWA pages.

For example the following URL opens the Work Item Editor:

Open the existing work item with ID 1234: http://mytfs:8090/wi.aspx?id=1234

To make it simple I created a small tool that helps you construct those URLs in an easy way:

Team System Web Access Link Creator

You can download the source from here:

File Attachement:

Security Update for TSWA 2008 SP1

protected_83f8084f-8b20-45d5-8b17-67b0b449e38cFrom Hakan Eskici’s blog:

A security issue has been identified with Team System Web Access 2008 SP1 and we have recently published an update that fixes it.

Installation Notice

Please note that this is a full release, so you will need to uninstall any existing versions of Web Access before installing this update.

Update: Instructions to patching your installation without the need to uninstall/reinstall TSWA)

Update #2: KB article 961267 is now available.

Determining if the update is installed

Take a look at the About page (Help > About) in Web Access.
The version number will be 9.0.3275 for TSWA 2008 SP1 Update.

Download: Visual Studio Team System Web Access 2008 SP1 Power Tool

How many users can Team System Web Access support?

A: Microsoft posted a white paper on this.


From the whitepaper:

"Test results indicate that Web Access starts to hit the upper limits once the total number of work item objects in the memory is around 180. This translates to approximately 100 concurrent users with typical usage patterns."

"Test results indicate that Web Access can support up to approximately 500 users." (working with a minimum amount of data)

Download: Team System Web Access 2008 Scalability Limits White Paper

Changing TFS emails to link to Team System Web Access – Part 2

If you click on a hyperlink in an TFS notification mail the following (read-only) web page comes up instead of a nice looking Team System Web Access dialog. Let’s change that!

The days before Team System Web Access


Make sure all links in the notification mails sent by TFS point to Team System Web Access (TSWA) rather than the integrated read-only web pages from TFS.

There are fourareas to look at:

  1. Work Item notification mails (has already been discussed here)
  2. Build notification mails
  3. Check-in notification mails
  4. Mails sent by Team Explorer (feature of TFS 2008 SP1)

Area 1 is part of a separate blog post, for Area 2 there are currently no equivalent steps (as stated in KB956761). Areas 3 and 4 can be accomplished through the following steps:

Step 1: Specify TSWA Uri using tfsadminutil

Set TSWA uri (as described on MSDN):

tfsadminutil configureconnections /TSWAUri:http://MyTFS:8090/

tfsadminutil configureconnections /TSWAUri

Verify URIs:

tfsadminutil configureconnections

Verify URIs

From now on all your check-in notification mails as well as mails sent via Team Explorer link to TSWA.

Unfortunately there’s one problem if we look at the check-in notification mail we’ll read:

"Details about his check-in were not available when this alert was prepared.
Select the link above to view more details about the check-in."

Before applying the hotfix

Microsoft released a hot fix to correct this behavior.

Step 2: Install hot fix

The hot fix is publically available at:

Install Hotfix - Step 1 Install Hotfix - Step 2

Install Hotfix - Step 3 Install Hotfix - Step 4


After applying the hot fix

Way better, don’t you think?

Be aware: don’t use underscores in server names

An underscore ("_") is not a supported character for a server name according to the RFC standards and therefore Windows will warn you when trying to use it as part of a DNS name.


ASP.NET applications that use session state, like Team System Web Access, will work when invoked using the IP ( but will fail after some crazy redirecting with a DNS error when using the server name (http://my_tfs:8090/).


You can add a DNS alias and avoid using underscores in server names in the future.


(Thanks to Hakan Eskici from Microsoft for pointing this out.)

Update: Hakan now blogged about this: Strange TSWA connection issue if the server name contains an underscore character.

Update #2: Microsoft published KB article 968549 about this.

TFS Tip: Enabling Work Item meta data filtering

Beginning with TFS 2008 SP1 you can specify that only the necessary part of the Work Item meta data will be transferred to the client caches, e.g. not the meta data for project you have no permission on. This is not done by default.

You can read all the glory details in Martin Woodward’s blog. Short excerpt:

Enabling WIT Meta-data filtering

Now that we have been through all the gory details, let’s finally see how to switch on the feature.

In the appSettings section of the %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Team Foundation Server\Web Services\WorkItemTracking\web.config file add the following keys

   1: <add key ="filterClientMetadata" value="true"/>
   2: <add key ="excludedUserAgents" value="WebAccess:w3wp:witfields:witimport:witexport:witadmin"/>

The filterClientMetadata switch determines whether to filter client metadata based on the calling user’s access rights (true) or not (false). If not provided the setting will default to false.

The excludedUserAgents switch is a colon delimitated list of strings that may appear in the requested clients HttpRequest UserAgent header. You can take a look at your IIS logs or your TFS Activity logs to determine what user agents are used, but a handy feature of the TFS .NET API is that the executable name using the API is recorded in the user agent string, meaning that you can easily find your specific utility and exclude it if necessary. As far as I am aware, the only publically accessible application that makes use of shared meta-data is Team System Web Access, so we put “WebAccess” in our excluded user agents setting. We also put in the names of the utilities in Team System that need to see all the metadata to report back correct information to the TFS administrators.

Using images in description fields


  • The use of HTML description fields in stead of the default description field.
  • Team System Web Access (TSWA) to insert the pictures.



  1. Use a HTML fields for your descriptions instead of plan text fields
    (might need to copy the old descriptions programmatically).
  2. Add the image you want to use to the work item’s attachments:

  3. Save the Work Item.
  4. Double-click your attachment. IE opens. Copy the URL to the attachment to the clipboard.

  5. Open the Work Item in Team System Web Access and use the “Insert Images” bottom (from the toolbar within the HTML field):

  6. Paste the attachment-URL from clipboard:

  7. Save the Work Item.
  8. Done. You can see your picture in the HTML description field.


    Team Explorer: