Dot Net Thoughts

September 9, 2007

Source Control

Filed under: Misc Thoughts — dotnetthoughts @ 10:49 pm
Tags: , , , ,

If I’m going to be writing a blog that involves code, tools, binaries, images, research and who-knows-what else, it’s critical that an organized process for storing and retrieving data exists. Any professional developer, while sitting at their desk at work, has some version of source control open and running all the time. Why? Because it is critical that one is able to go back to any point in history to examine what the code or documentation looked like.

So why are so many of us at home running without source control? I suspect it’s simply because it is one more application to set up and used on an already overwhelmed desktop. That seems like a fairly weak excuse, however. I can’t count the number of times I’ve wanted to see what a document looked like last week or last month, but was unable to.

So, I started searching the web for different source control options. Functionality, ease of use and price (i.e. free), were my main requirements. A little research on the web led to a couple of open-source standards. I’ve heard of companies using both CVS and Subversion with quite a bit of success, but I ended up shying away from both of them. Executing CVS was via command line switches that I never quite got to work right. Subversion documentation seemed to imply the same type of command line interface.

Eventually, I settled on ionForge’s Evolution. ionForge offers a free personal evaluation license for their source control with no expiration date, which is just perfect for the needs of an individual developer. It also seems to have a fairly impressive set of features beyond source control, such as process work flow, strong support for different versioning of branches (development vs. production), and good security integration. The user interface also seems to be fairly intuitive for basic activities.

ionforge.jpg

The one drawback that I’ve discovered so far in working with the product is a lack of documentation. Several links in the help menu don’t seem to do anything. Also, I can’t find information in the included admin or client guide about some key features (such as the MS SCC API) that I find on the web site. I suspect that I’ll be able to work through any issues that come up with time, though. The price is right.

Anyway, that’s the thoughts for today. Good luck and code safe!

 Mike

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