Source Safety

At HeadSpin and Cyan we used SourceSafe. It basically worked and you got to engage in the fun of running analyze every so often so you could feel important. There’s some scary warnings about not letting your repository get over 2GB (ours was over 5GB) and stuff like that but basically it does what you ask it.

After I left I started using Subversion. Mostly of the tortoise variety. And I liked it pretty well. Of course judging a source code control system based on only 1 users is not so enlightening. Oh yeah and your commits are atomic, provided you can generate a command line that long.

I am getting my first real experience using CVS (wincvs) now with a consulting job I am working on. Its ok. I like to watch the little fish swim while it does an update.

There’s lots of + and – to the different packages. But this isn’t an attempt to review which is best. Along the way I have developed a few opininons like:

  • I’ve become convinced that “the edit what you like and then merge” model is better than the “lock, update and checkin” model
  • I think IDE integration is overrated
  • I don’t think the management of branches is simple to understand in any system

What I really want to say (read vent) right now is that it doesnt really matter which one of these tools you use unless you have practices in place about how to use them. Just because you have spent huge $$ per seat on perforce or whatever, if your team has people in it who think that they don’t have to bother with things like testing or even compile checking before they commit their files, then you might as well store all you code on floppies and fling them between developers like frisbees to keep everyone up to date. (Btw. In the days before networks were common. I actually used to do just that).

Rememeber kids, its bad if jonny forgets to check in that .h file that he modified and the build breaks because things compiled on jonny’s machine and not anyone else’s. But if jonny breaks the build becuase he checked in some file that could not have possibly compiled on ANY machine. Like say it has SYNTAX ERROR. Then its time to kill jonny or at least have colin send him nasty email.

Ok. I feel better now.






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