Saving team members from RSI

I watched Jen: Ctrl-C, Alt-Tab, click, click, Ctrl-v, click, click, click, click, click, Alt-Tab, Down, Ctrl-C… One by one, Jen copied the tasks from our Drupal planning spreadsheet to the Rational Team Concert task-tracking system.

I didn’t know if RTC had a batch import system we could use, but I’d rather do a macro using AutoHotkey instead of letting Jen copy the information one row at a time. (And with so many clicks, too!)

Fifteen minutes and some tweaking later, I have an AutoHotkey script that copies the information, creates the task, and moves to the next row. A few minutes, and I’ve copied all the rest of the tasks.

Less risk of repetitive strain injury for everyone, more interesting work, and the ability to easily handle future spreadsheets. Yay!

I show her the AutoHotkey script at work. “Coool,” she says.

Time to organize the tasks by story. Drag-and-drop to the rescue. Not easy with a mouse – Fitts’s law, small targets – but it’s easy enough with the tablet stylus. It feels natural.

Keep an eye out for the little things that you can fix with just the right tool. =)

AutoHotkey script:

   CoordMode Mouse, Screen
   WinActivate, Planning
   WinWaitActive, Planning
   Send ^c
   Sleep 200
   WinActivate, IBM Rational Team Concert
   WinWaitActive, IBM Rational Team Concert
   Click 972, 346  ; add
   Sleep 500
   Click 927, 406  ; task
   Sleep 500
   Click 468, 154  ; summary text field
   Send ^v
   Send {TAB}{TAB}
   Sleep 100
   Send {DOWN}  ; filed against
   Send {TAB}{TAB}{TAB}{TAB}
   Sleep 100
   Send 1  ; priority
   Send 1
   Click 807, 125  ; save and close
   Sleep 500
   Send {PgUp}{PgUp}{PgUp}
   WinActivate, Planning
   WinWaitActive, Planning
   Send {ESC}{DOWN}
  • Raymond Zeitler

    Well done! Even a clipboard manager would be helpful to at least eliminate all those Alt-Tabs. But that’s not as good as the AutoHotKey script.

    I’ve never used a tablet. Maybe I should be on the lookout for a good used one!

  • All the fun I’ve been having with mine has tempted W- to think about getting one too. =) I like having the option to take hand-written notes that are searchable, and will grudgingly stay in Microsoft Windows for them.

  • A colleague told me about RTC supporting the import of CSV files, though there are some limitations. Have not tried it myself.

  • Craig Chen

    Thanks Sacha, I want use AutoHotkey for long. It is very good for the beginners.

  • The Jen

    On another project now and having the same need to import into RTC.

    Use the eclipse plugin client (it is awesome anyway).

    Create a csv file such as:
    Planned For,Type,Filed Against,Priority,Severity,Summary
    /development/UAT,Story,Backlog,1 High,Normal,test import story
    /development/UAT,Defect,Backlog,1 High,Normal,test import defect

    File -> Import…
    Team -> “Work Items from CSV”
    Change to comma separated
    Do not use any custom mapping (seems to work as long as first row has matching names).
    Click “Finish”
    Wait (it seems that RTC takes longer to create the work items than the wizard)


  • That’s much better. Thanks for sharing! =)