Saturday, May 09, 2009

Work Item customization tidbits: custom controls (part 14 of X)

In one of my previous posts I mentioned that I consider custom controls in WI one of the most complex types of customization to implement. Since I got asked related question let me expand on the topic.

Custom work item controls provide a way to implement truly specialized behavior for WI, by writing managed class conforming to well-known interface. Sometimes it may be very tempting to write the logic in C# instead of learning intricacies of WIT XML syntax (and sometimes there is no alternative).

Why is this type of customization so complex? Because you have to code, integrate, test & deploy additional component, and that in a way different from other WIT customizations in XML. And not only that - consider the following important drawbacks custom control has:

  • Additional version of the control needs to be implemented if you want to support the same logic in Web UI as in Visual Studio environment
  • Custom control is not supported when editing WI in Excel (or MS Project)
  • Custom control assembly needs to be deployed on every client machine (or on Web server if the custom control targets Web UI)

All of the above means that custom WIT control should be implemented only when you have absolutely no other answer to outstanding business requirement.

For further information there is extensive summary article on the topic by Ognjen Bajic. Another interesting article by Neno Loje provides additional details on customizing Work Item types depending on the client (WinForms or Web), which is very relevant for custom controls.

Related posts:
- Work Item Customization: limits of complexity (part 13)
- Work Item Customization: estimate the effort (part 12)
- Work Item Customization: customization and global lists (part 11)
- Work Item Customization: customization process (part 10)
- Work Item Customization: customization tools (part 9)
- Work Item Customization: special fields (part 8)
- Work Item Customization: fields maintenance (part 7)
- Work Item Customization: global lists (part 6)
- Work Item Customization: system fields (part 5)
- Work Item Customization: user interface (part 4)
- Work Item Customization: state transitions (part 3)
- Work Item Customization: conditional field behavior (part 2)
- Work Item Customization: fields definition (part 1)

Mirror from MSDN blog

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