RSS or email notifications for Work Item tracking?


There is already a lot of discussion on Scott’s recent blog entry on Tracking Bugs about whether Team System will provide an RSS feed for bugs.

Today, our internal tool doesn’t provide an RSS feed, but as one of the other Microsofties added in a comment to Scott’s blog there are a whole host of internal tools which have evolved around product studio to perform a similar function. Some of them send you email when a query result or a bug changes; others sit on your desktop and pop up alerts when new bugs come your way. I haven’t seen an RSS feed internally yet, but I suspect someone is probably working on it.

What would you like to see? RSS feeds? E-mail notifications? Messenger alerts? I’m not making any promises about what you’ll see in the final product but I’d love to hear what people outside of Microsoft would like to see. (Chances are that if you’re reading this blog you’ll want an RSS feed).

Also, what is the most important thing to track – changes to arbitrary query results, or changes to specific bugs?

Comments (27)
  1. I vote for RSS feeds over user defined queries (one user could any number of them).

  2. Jon Box says:

    I’m for the mechanisms that can serve as a basis for giving us a variety of options including RSS, SMTP, database INSERT, etc.

  3. I agree with Jon in that I would like to have a variety of options, but if I had to choose priorities, I would set RSS as the top priority, followed by e-mail notification.

    Personally, for me, I think RSS ability would foster the use of aggregators in my company, which could then possibly open up more opportunities.

    I would love the ability to subscribe to specific bugs, so that I would be updated whenever they were updated.

  4. Tony says:

    I know its the most work, but why don’t you let the user decide? Thats what I like about Windows UI. With a good application you can use the keyboard, the mouse, menu, buttons, etc. It’s the user that decides what matches his workflow.

    So give the user the choice. Some prever RSS, some Email, and some IM.

  5. Greg says:

    Another vote for Jon’s idea.

    A plug-in’able Interface… With RSS and Email shipped with the product.

    As for thing to track, changes to bugs, with filtering.

    I’m thinking some feeds like:

    "My Bugs" (any change to any bug assigned or submitted by me. Kind of like My Tasks on WSS)

    "New Bugs"

    "Changes to Bugs For Field YYYY with value XXXX" (A somewhat arbitrary query. For example I want notification/feeds for where Application Title = "UberApp" or where Bug # = 100)

  6. ebbe says:

    Rule based email is obviously number one and a must have.

    Create a pri 1 send mail to these folks, resolve a db issue send mail to these folks, assigned to me send mail to me, etc.

    Must be able to get notified on any device and be able to immediately respond via email.

    Any other notification methods would be gravy.

  7. Philip Rieck says:

    I’d say that Jon is dead-on : the only truly universally useful option is to allow the us to write what we need. This is a tool for software development, after all.

    I’ll bet dollars to donuts that if you ship with an easy notification interface, but no email capabilities, there will be 20 email notifier projects out there in a matter of weeks.

    However, if you ship only email, it’ll be nearly forever before any other "add-in" notifier is developed.

    So my vote:

    1) must have: easy managed interface for notifications (polling or eventing, whatever) I believe that you MUST be able to do arbitrary queries easily as well. Managed is also a must. (but COM/native is better than nothing! we could build the managed wrapper.)

    2) must have: email notifier (preferably for ad-hoc queries). Sure, with #1 we could do it, but a canonical implementation is needed for this.

    3) nice: make the desktop notifier available on gdn. and an rss notifier if available. the more examples the better.

  8. the guru says:

    Priority 1: E-mail
    <br>Priority 2: Desktop alerts
    <br>

  9. James Snape says:

    If I had $100 to spend on the features:
    <br>
    <br>e-mail $50
    <br>rss $10
    <br>messenger $10
    <br>query tracking $20
    <br>bug tracking $10
    <br>
    <br>Regards,

  10. Krishna says:

    I vote for easy extensible interface / subscriber model with RSS and Email support built-in.

  11. Steve Dunn says:

    It would be nice to have a defined interface where we can put our own disseminator for the events. RSS/XML and e-mail would get my vote to be implemented first.

  12. Definately needs to support the following

    1. Has to be extendable

    2. Rules based.

    This then means if you don’t ship a provider/add-in that somebody wants they can go and create their own.

  13. Enigma says:

    Add another vote for RSS ….

  14. Peter Jones says:

    I vote for some sort of Provider model. Sometime you want to know ASAP, like when a nightly build fails. An email is ok for this but an SMS message on my cell phone and a messenger alert would be better. Other less important things can be emailed or RSS’ed. RSS means I wouldn’t need to subscribe interested parties – they could do it themselves.

    Also, we block Messenger internally and I suspect other companies may also do this, so alerts aren’t much use.

  15. Scott Lee says:

    I definately agree it needs to be extensible. There should also be multiple notification options.

    I would personally prefer an RSS feed, but I know other teammates would still prefer email.

  16. Jeff Parker says:

    RSS Feeds I am all for it.

  17. MikeWo says:

    I would like to see RSS feeds for sure. Then, as Chris Burrows recommended, a way to extend the events to plug in custom ones would be REALLY nice.

  18. David Yack says:

    rss and e-mail out of the box – ability to plug in via provider model custom ones that make sense in each shop

  19. I agree with Philip Rieck (and therefore with John Box as well). An extensible means of notification is the way to go – preferrably with an email notification system built in that uses this interface. RSS feeds, Messenger posts, etc, can all fall out of this interface afterwords.

  20. +1 for RSS and Email and MSN. Flexible publisher model (smiliar to CruiseControl.NET) would be great – along with a messenger based example?

    On a different point to notifications, if the product had integration with nAnt and an out the box Agile process template that would also be great.

    While you are at it, can I have the moon on a stick 😉

  21. Ditto Martin’s Comments. +1 for RSS and email & MSN.

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