How-to: Connect to a Repository

by David Shepherd, January 14th, 2009
Applies to: Tasktop Pro, Tasktop Starter and Mylyn
Level: Introductory
Summary: In this article you will learn how to connect Tasktop to Task Repositories such as JIRA, CollabNet, Rally, and Bugzilla

We’re pleased to announce the first in a series of “How-to” posts that will help you make the most of the task-focused technology in Tasktop and Mylyn. We’ll start with basic topics for new users and then move on to techniques and best-practices for advanced users. Enjoy!

Teaming Up with Tasktop

Although you can always create “local tasks” to streamline your workflow, the full benefits of task-focused productivity are realized when working together as a team. When working as a team, you create shared tasks in a Task Repository. A “Task Repository” is any system that tracks a team’s work items such as bugs, tasks, issues, defects, stories, etc. When sharing tasks using a Task Repository, Tasktop streamlines your team workflow. For instance, Tasktop provides task updates in real time, eliminating lag, and makes it easy for users to share task-relevant comments, files, and contexts, reducing unnecessary emails and file searches. To begin enjoying these benefits each teammate should install Tasktop Starter (Free) or Tasktop Pro and the team should have one (or more) Task Repository.

Tasktop is compatible with many popular Task Repositories (see the full list to check if yours is supported).

Installing a Certified Connector

1. Installing a Connector

Setting up Tasktop to connect to your team’s repository involves two steps. First you will need to install the appropriate connector, which is a single click for Tasktop Certified Partner Connectors. Second, you will need to configure Tasktop’s settings to connect to your team’s repository.

To install the appropriate connector you will need to know what type of Task Repository your team uses (e.g., JIRA, CollabNet, Rally, etc.). If your team does not yet have a Task Repository there are many that are compatible with Tasktop (see the full list). Tasktop comes with the Bugzilla connector pre-installed, so if your team uses Bugzilla as your Task Repository you can skip to step 2.

Installing Certified Connectors

Certified partner connectors are certified by Tasktop Technologies to ensure quality and usability and can be easily installed from Tasktop. If you’re a Mylyn user you need to upgrade to Tasktop Starter (Free) or Tasktop Pro to use this easy installation feature. Alternatively, Mylyn users can follow the instructions for uncertified connectors. Connectors for JIRA, CollabNet and Rally are Tasktop-Certified.

Installing a certified connector is a simple process. Select “Configure Tasktop” from the main toolbar, follow the “Partner Connectors” link, and click the “Install” link next to the appropriate connector (illustrated above).

Installing Uncertified Connectors

Dozens of other connectors are available so that Tasktop users can connect to popular task repositories. While these connectors are not certified by Tasktop, you may find that many of them work well. Some of the most popular uncertified connectors are Trac, Mantis, and XPlanner. A full list is available here.

To install uncertified connectors you will need the update URL for your connector, which can be found on this listing. The Update URL for Trac is http://download.eclipse.org/tools/mylyn/update/extras. You will then need to add the Update URL as a new update site and click through the install process.

Once you have the update URL, first open the “Software Updates” menu:

Opening “Software Updates”

Then click “Add Site” and paste your update link. Once your site appears in the list make sure it is checked and click “Install”.

Adding the Update URL

Once you have installed your connector it is simple to verify whether the installation was successful. Open the Task Repository view and click “Add Task Repository” (see the next section for detailed instructions on how to open this view). If the repository type appears in the resulting wizard then the install process was successful. Below, Tasktop is shown with Bugzilla, Generic IMAP, GMail, and JIRA successfully installed.

Confirming a Successful Install

2. Adding a Task Repository

Once you have installed your connector you will need to add a Task Repository to Tasktop to access your tasks. Here we will walk through the process of adding a JIRA repository. Adding other repositories follows the same process except for the final configuration form, which has a few necessary differences for each repository type.

First, open Tasktop’s Configuration Page to open the Task Repositories view and click on “Add Task Repository”. In the resulting dialog select “JIRA” and click “Next”.

Adding a Task Repository

Next, fill out the Repository Settings form with the URL, username, and password necessary to connect to your Task Repository. When you are finished you can press “Validate Settings” to verify your settings.

Configuring a Task Repository

After pressing “Finish” your repository should appear in the Task Repositories view. Below is the repository created by the above form. Notice that the Task Repository has a decoration to indicate its repository type (i.e., JIRA as opposed to the “Tasktop Support” repository whose type is Bugzilla) and that the Label entered above is used in the Task Repository view.

Successfully Added Task Repository

Teamwork Ready

You’re done! Now you’ve successfully added a Task Repository to your configuration and Tasktop can begin streamlining your team workflow. To begin interacting with your team you will need to decide which tasks to download to your personal task list by creating Queries (right click on the Task Repository and select “New Query”). In the next post, we will introduce best practices on how to setup your Queries to best keep track of your tasks and keep you up-to-date on your team’s tasks.

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About David Shepherd

David Shepherd was a Software Developer and Evangelist at Tasktop between 2008 and 2011. He is currently working at ABB Corporate Research in Raleigh, NC.

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One Response to “How-to: Connect to a Repository”

  1. Tasktop Blog » Blog Archive » Tasktop Brings Legacy and Agile Project Management Together Says:

    [...] these project management systems, bringing all of a developer’s tasks into one Task List (see Connecting to a Repository). In this post we’ll discuss how Tasktop allows developers to track relationships between [...]

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