Failure of Search TFS

Well over a year ago I set up a landing page to start gathering emails for interest in Search TFS. A dynamic integrated TFS work item search experience. Today I am calling an end to the project. Although the project didn’t go anywhere, by the process I followed I wasted little time and could fully justify the position the product was to take. The main reason to kill it is that Visual Studio 11 is shipping with integrated TFS work item searching. Finally.

Team Explorer VS11 Search

I think this helps justify that there is a need for what I wanted to do. The existing Search Work Items for TFS 2010 had 7,076 downloads on the 1st January 2011 when I was starting this and now has, 23,093. That’s not a bad niche. How many would be willing to pay for something better is another question. On my landing page, I got 12 emails. Considering that there was absolutely no push, SEO, linking (apart from this blog) or advertising I’m happy there was something and I have a baseline.

Soon after I launched the landing page I got wind the Microsoft was finally going to do something. So I waited to see. Now that I’ve been playing with Visual Studio 11, I’m happy with the new Team Explorer for the most part, but I was quite disappointed with the search. It’s no better that the current available plug-in. That means it’s slow and query based. I wanted more like OneNote, where you see results as you start typing:

OneNote Search

The market though, even for something substantially better I feel is drastically reduced now that it is first party. I’m disappointed Microsoft didn’t do better since search is one of the most important features of work item tracking. The way that UserVoice does it to help prevent duplicates is brilliant. I’m hoping the search works better with TFS 11 but  since running it against Team Foundation Services (fantastic btw, especially the just announce build service) I have little hope for that.

All is not lost. TFS Working On has improved in its download rate. ClickOnce deployment having less friction may have helped that. It’s long overdue for an overhaul. I’ve had plans for nice Windows 7 integration for a long time, now I should be looking at Windows 8 perhaps. Search TFS will still fit nicely into TFS Working On, especially for those that don’t live in Visual Studio.

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