Thursday, December 6, 2012

A note about configuration management

My background is in software development and over the last 30 years I've used a variety of software configuration management tools, from RCS/CVS to massive projects using Rational's Cleascase tools. So I guess it is no surprise that I would look for a lightweight configuration management tool for my personal projects.

In January of this year, before I retired, I started to investigate tools I could use as a hermit software developer for my C# projects. One that came to my attention as a result of an inquiry on StackOverflow was from this post. There was and is great enthusiasm over PlasticSCM and now that I've been using it for about a week now, I tend to agree. It is an exceptional package and it comes with a free license.

It was extremely easy to install and add all my personal and professional C++ and C# projects. It integrated with VS2010 automatically, but I mostly use its own interface to checkin files and drop labels. Even if you develop in the Arduino IDE all of your configuration management can be done through their simple browser. When you modify a file that is under source control it is automatically checked out. Later you can diff the changes, check them in or discard them. Very simple. It has some very advanced features that a team could use, but for the most part, a simple version control system is all I needed.

If you are a solo developer, a small or even large team, and you are in need of a simple effective SCM tool, I would highly recommend this platform. Just to give an idea, here is my last Arduino blog post project displayed in the PlasticSCM browser.It shows the top level directory selected and I am about to checkin all of the checked out (red dot) files in the directory. I could have select one or more individual files to checkin as well.

... and a diff of one of the files between the current version and the previous one showing deleted and modified (by spaces) lines of code.

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