From my experience, one of the less known features of Azure DevOps is the Dashboards feature. In this post we look at the features and functionality of this part of the tool in more detail.
First of all, just like many other areas of the tool we have talked about, you will find that Dashboards also have the ability to be scoped to teams that you set up within your project.
Dashboards are basically composed of two components, queries and widgets. I want to caveat that by saying that a number of the widgets derrive their data from queries but not all of them. Some are pre-defined with some configuration options available and some are simple ways of displaying data.
Adding Widgets to Dashboards
Adding a widget is a really simple process. If you’re dashboard is blank then you simply click the button in the middle of the screen. Otherwise, as shown below, simply click the Edit button at the top of the screen.
Once you have done one of the steps above, you will be in the widget screen where you can see your existing dashboard and the canvas for it as well as the widgets available to you down the right side of the screen.
More widgets are available in the marketplace if you don’t find what you need. You can also search for widgets to save scrolling through the list. Once you have found the widget you need, then you can click Add and it will add it to the canvas.
Query based widgets
First, let’s look at query based widgets, you can add them pretty easily and you do need to have a query available to use them. Scroll down the list or search for Query Tile and then click Add.
This will add a 1×1 tile to the grid and by default not really do anything for you. Click the little settings cog on the widget. You can for a query tile widget then set a title for the widget, select the query you wish to use, default background colour and then if you wish apply conditional formatting depending on the value of the query result.
Writing queries is pretty simple, the interface is similar to most other cloud based tools with a reporting feature, I will do a separate post though on queries.
One note for queries you wish to use in widgets, when you save them, you must save them as Shared Queries, otherwise you will not be able to see them in the drop down list.
Widgets also exist which can be added directly to the dashboard and if that matches your requirements, no further action is needed. However, most of them do have configuration options for you to select to customise the display or the experience.
One example of this might be the Lead Time widget. For information, lead time is the time from creation of the work item through to completion.
As you can see from the screenshot above, a number of options exist for the display of the widget.
Some simple permissions do exist for dashboards, you can grant either edit or delete permissions to a dashboard. You can do this by going to the settings cog on the dashboard and clicking the link under Security.