CHANGE AND CONFIGURATION MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Lexington, Mass.-based AccuRev brings innovation to configuration management and source control. Rather than embrace the file orientation espoused by SCCS and later RCS—which underlies all CM tools today—AccuRev takes a new approach. Developer changes occur in a private sandbox and are fully versioned. Completed changes are merged into a common integration stream. And the integration stream is routinely merged into the main development stream after creating snapshots at known good build points. In this way, developers working on different tasks (maintenance, new development and so on) don’t have to force branch creation or waste time managing the reintegration of branched code. However, should branches be needed, they can be created easily. Moreover, they can be manipulated by an intuitive drag-and-drop interface into almost any configuration. By moving beyond the tried-and-true model of RCS and SCCS, AccuRev enables the source base to reflect the way developers really do program: in teams, working on a specific version or product release.
BitKeeper Pro 3.0
BitKeeper first started gaining publicity in 2002 when the Linux kernel source tree moved to the BitKeeper public archive. Since then, the product has greatly matured based on feedback from open source users.
South San Francisco-based BitMover takes pride in BitKeeper’s ease of use. Tasks that are trying with other products become quite convenient with BitKeeper. For example, a developer can quickly and easily merge his work with another’s. The peer-to-peer architecture means he can transfer the code without affecting the official archives. The change-set technology enables BitKeeper to quickly find only the changes that differentiate the two versions, making for a faster merge operation. Finally, sophisticated three-way merging technology automatically merges most of the changes, reducing the manual work.
BitKeeper’s multifaceted technology makes for a great tool.
ClearCase Change Management Solution Enterprise Edition
ClearCase Change Management Solution Enterprise Edition is not only a mouthful, it’s a handful of serious multiplatform tools for serious projects. Included are ClearCase (for software asset management, versioning and build control) and ClearQuest (for bug and revision tracking). There are also MultiSite versions of these products, which are tuned for data replication and synchronization when your teams are working in multiple locations. Sophisticated but complex, the suite is fully customizable as well as tightly integrated with such IDEs as Eclipse, Visual Studio .NET and WebSphere Studio. Support for Rational’s Universal Change Management model allows you to view multiple source-code changes from an angle that makes it far easier to assess their overall impact. I found lots to like, but at a steep price in terms of both dollars and learning curve.
—Robert A. DelRossi
Perforce SCM System 2003.1
Alameda, Calif.-headquartered Perforce Software still has a great product in Perforce SCM System 2003.1. Widely loved by its users, the Windows interface is a big improvement over previous versions. Perforce is a fast and powerful cross-platform version control system. It doesn’t use a pessimistic concurrency update model; any number of developers can edit a source-code file. If a conflict is detected at check-in time, Perforce forces the user to manually merge changes using either the built-in Perforce merge utility or any third-party merge utility. Perforce also lets you explicitly lock files if you prefer a pessimistic concurrency update model. Developers interact with Perforce using either a command-line interface or a GUI interface. And, best of all, its fully functional two-user version is free.