Awesome tool! Nicely done! Some feedback to help first-time users

Topics: Developer Forum, User Forum
Mar 9, 2008 at 1:10 AM
Edited Mar 9, 2008 at 1:11 AM
I first want to say "thank you" for putting this tool together. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to make Fissum stop prompting me for credentials, but once I did that, I was very much "blown away" by the nice, quick menu structure for browsing existing Work Items and the clean UI for adding new Work Items.

I'm not sure if you've ever had any feedback on the first-time user experience from someone who already had multiple Codeplex projects before installing Fissum, so in the interests of giving back to such a generous person, here's a walkthrough of the first-time user experience for me:
  • I installed the application and started it from the Start Menu
    • Suggestion: I would've liked to have the option to also create a shortcut in the Quick Launch area of my Taskbar, since my Start Menu is way too big for me to quickly navigate to the new menu option this tool creates.
  • As soon as I launched Fissum it started prompting me for credentials to the first Codeplex where I have a project (TFS02).
    • Feedback: I was very impressed that Fissum apparently finds already-configured TFS projects/servers and adds them to the configuration. Very slick!
  • I typed in my Codeplex credentials as requested by the WinInet dialog (i.e. "snd\MikeSL_cp" and my password)
  • I was then prompted for Codeplex credentials for the other Codeplex server where I have projects (TFS03).
  • I typed in my credentials for that prompt and was prompted once more for credentials for TFS03
    • Note: this wasn't unexpected, as I've somehow already "registered" TFS03 twice on my PC, and I haven't been able to figure out how to remove the duplicate entry
  • I then tried double-clicking on the Fissum tray icon, but was only given the option to GoTo known workitems
    • Suggestion: on the GoTo dialog, for people like me that were too stupid to right-click on the Fissum tray icon, it would be helpful if there was a little text that said something like "Note: if you don't know the workitem ID, you can browse the workitems by right-clicking on the Fissum tray icon."
  • When I tried right-clicking on the Fissum tray icon, the only menu options I had were "configure projects" and "configure custom servers" - I didn't yet have any projects whose Work Items I could browse. (I assume this was because Fissum hadn't been able to properly connect to the servers yet, but there was no way for me to know that.)
    • Suggestion: when Fissum is still trying to contact and/or authenticate to one or more servers, the current Tooltip for the Fissum tray icon isn't really very helpful "Fissum (Double-click here to open the Go To WorkItem window)" - if I have no connection to the server, then the GoTo dialog won't work for me anyway, so that Tooltip is actually "harmful" in a way. And yes, I realize that the icon is animated to change colour while Fissum is connecting, but I believe the colour changing icon is only helpful to someone who is used to how Fissum already works, but is not enough for those who aren't familiar with Fissum's behaviours.
    • It would be helpful for the Fissum tray icon not only to change colour while connecting, but also for its Tooltip to indicate something more about the current status such as "connecting to server <servername>...". This status message could be replaced with the current "...GoTo..." message once the connection has succeeded and the user can view, edit, and add WorkItems.
  • Fissum continued to ask me for credentials a second time for each of the "three" servers that were originally available in my Visual Studio settings. I'm assuming that Fissum was having trouble caching my credentials, because I know that I did not mistype them every time I was prompted. (Yes, I may have mistyped them once or twice, but not six times in a row. My success in using the same credentials later confirms this, at least to me.)
    • Suggestion: It might be less annoying for first-time users if Fissum asked the user if they wanted to configure their custom servers and projects
  • I gave up on Fissum connecting on its own, and decided to try configuring the Custom Servers and Projects
    • Suggestion: it appears to me that the user first has to configure "Custom Servers" before they can configure Projects. If this is true, then I would suggest that until the user has configured at least one Custom Server, Fissum should "grey out" (aka "disable") the "Configure Projects" item in the right-click menu. That would make it easier to know which of the two you should choose first - without this kind of "hint", the most logical choice is to select the first item in the list (i.e. "Configure Projects"), which I think will only confuse the first-time user (who hasn't configured any "Custom Servers" yet).
  • When configuring the Custom Servers, I was originally confused by the "Server Name" entry, when the "Server URL" should have been sufficient. I assume that Server Name is just a description to make it easier to distinguish between multiple "Server URL"s.
    • Suggestion: provide a Tooltip or some default text in the Textbox (that is deleted as soon as the user clicks the first time in the Textbox) that indicates what type of information each Textbox is expecting.
    • Suggestion: once the user enters a Server Name, it would be very user-friendly to use that String in the displayed projects in the right-click menu. e.g. instead of showing " - CacheMyWork", couldn't you display "Codeplex02 - CacheMyWork" (where "Codeplex02" is the Server Name I've used for that Custom Server's entry)?
  • Once I'd configured the Custom Servers, I then went to configure each of my Projects (at least, I assumed that I also needed to do this, to be able to avoid the authentication prompts from Fissum).
  • When configuring each of my Projects, it wasn't exactly clear to me that the "Add", "Remove" and "Save" items are each "buttons" that will make some change regarding the configured Projects.
    • Suggestion: while I appreciate that the current "Project configuration" UI is very compact, it isn't as intuitive as it could be. It could be improved by putting the Add, Remove and Save items on a separate toolbar below the one with each of the configuration parameter items. It would also improve the usability by adding icons to the Add & Remove entries (e.g. a down arrow and an up arrow, or something else), to indicate that these are buttons similar to the Save button (which already has one of the standard "state changing" icons).
  • Once I configured all four of my Codeplex projects, the right-click menu was very clean, fast and helpful.
  • However, when I returned to the "Project configuration" dialog to document my experience, I noticed that the Server drop-down menu had five entries - not only the three entries (tfs02, tfs03, tfs03) that I assume came from the pre-existing Visual Studio configuration, but also two more entries (tfs02, tfs03) that do not appear to be functional. That is, these last two entries do not populate anything in the "Project" drop-down menu - the Project drop-down is grey when I select either of these two entries. (The first three Server entries all cause the Project drop-down to display valid projects to which I have access on each of the Codeplex servers.)
    • I don't know why these "bad" entries exist - they might be the result of me configuring "Custom Servers" manually, or they might be left over from Fissum's attempts to automatically connect to the pre-existing servers that Fissum found in my Visual Studio configuration. I don't know, but it would be better if these didn't exist, so it would be great if we could figure out how they came about, and how to prevent them from being created.

Thanks again for all your hard work, Michel. Please do not interpret this long entry as criticism or discouragement of your project; rather, my intent is to provide what little help I can to you, to help you make a great project a little bit better.
Mar 11, 2008 at 11:35 PM
Hello Mike,
Really thank you for your feedback.

About the setup and the quick menu, so I'll add the quick menu shortcut in the next version. I'm modifying it because I'm currently modifying the way how Fissum connects itself to the server. The current mode, ie fissum tries to connect to every servers configured in your team explorer (To see the list. go to the team explorer, click on "Add Existing Team Server" and click on the "Servers..." button in the dialog). This mode is not really usefull when you have a lot of configured servers because you're not using all of them all the time. In the next version of Fissum, Fissum will just connect of the servers related to the configured project. If you want to see the other serveurs, you should have to run fissum in "Discovery Mode", There'll be to shortcut in the menu.

If like for me set your credential a each time you connect on codeplex you can set your server credential directly into fissum with the button "set credential..." in the configured project windows. The "Custom servers" is just here to connect to serveurs that are not configured in the Team explorer. The password is encrypted using the DPAPI.

About the server name, the field is here because I need it in the API. It is a very good idea to use in the project list.

The next version of Fissum will come with a lot of improvement and design modifications. I'll try to push more information to the user.

Do not hesitate to add task or issue in the tracking system. I'll just had the quick launch task.

Regards, and thanks again.