February 18, 2010
Creating Interactive Filters in TestTrack
Filtering is a great way to slice data on a daily basis. Filters form the basis for working efficiently with your development and QA artifacts. It's typical for a customer to have 10,000+ issues/bugs/feature requests in a TestTrack project - filters allow users to narrow that list of data to what is relevant to them at any given moment. In this post, I'm going to highlight the filter run time feature that makes creating and maintaining a usable list of filters much easier. Let's say your application has a web client, thick client, server-side piece, and a developer API. You capture that information in a field named Component, so that you know what area of the application a defect was found in or a test case applies to. When creating a filter to look at defects, test cases, or requirements you could create a filter for each of those four areas and name each filter accordingly. The downside to that approach is the filter list will soon have, literally, 50 or 60 different filters and users won't be able to find the one they need. A better approach is to use the run time capabilities to create a dynamic filter that can be used across all of your Component values.
When creating the filter, select the "Prompt for restriction ..." check box on the restriction instead of selecting a specific Component value. When a user selects that filter on the defect list window, they'll be prompted to pick the component they want to filter on. The Interactive Filter Wizard will guide them through entering information for each interactive restriction.
Also note that you can mix specific restrictions and run time prompts within the same filter, and a filter can have multiple run time prompts. You could create a filter that shows only Feature Requests and prompts the user for the product value they're interested in. That would give your product managers one filter to view feature requests, and they would just have to select the product they're interested in. Take some time to play around with the options here, you can pack a lot of power into just a few filters with this functionality. And don't forget that these can be saved with views for easier re-use.