It's been suggested that to prevent devastating technology mishaps, such as the year-2000 glitch, the work of developers should be reviewed by an editor.
That idea has some appeal; however, the code a programmer writes has so many associations with other objects that simply assuring the accuracy of a single module is not enough to prevent costly mistakes. Building even a simple application requires monitoring countless interactions.
The answer to this dilemma is to deploy a software configuration management (SCM) solution, which allows you to track the progress of an application from its inception.
Merant's main offerings in the SCM area are PVCS Version Manager, which provide version control functionality; PVCS Tracker, a change and defect tracking system; and PVCS Configuration Builder, used to simplify the deployment of new releases. You can purchase these products individually or as a bundle called PVCS Professional Plus.
PVCS Version Manager 6.5, released in March, features a completely redesigned GUI, similar to Microsoft Windows Explorer. Version Manager displays projects in a tree structure on the left side of your screen, with two panes on the right showing the contents of each branch and the version status of each component.
Version Manager 6.5, like previous versions, works with popular integrated development environments and provides APIs to link custom-made tools. It provides Web-based client access for remote users and is easier to use and more flexible than previous releases.
If you want to add the capability to track and monitor change requests, such as a demand for a new feature or correction of a malfunction, you will need PVCS Tracker. Change issues are likely to crop up on many projects, so you should consider Tracker a mandatory complement to Version Manager. The shipping version of Tracker is 6.0, but I had a peek at Tracker 6.5, currently in beta form, which Merant is releasing in the US this month.
Tracker lets users store new change requests in the company database and generates reports, automatically or on demand, about the status of each request. Thanks to integration with Version Manager, Tracker provides easy access to the project database and can link each request to its related module.
The upcoming Tracker 6.5 adds a more powerful query system that allows for conditional notification, widens its reporting capability across different projects, and extends the reach of Tracker to remote users with a browser. I was particularly impressed by PVCS Metrics, Tracker's built-in reporting tool. You can set Metrics to run unattended according to multiple schedules and to produce custom reports based on different execution triggers.
Selecting an SCM solution can be challenging, but the rewards can well exceed your investment. Make a reasonable assessment of your requirements, and do not overlook the PVCS family of SCM products.
The bottom line
PVCS Professional Plus 3.0
Summary: Merant's PVCS family of software configuration management (SCM) products helps medium-to-large development teams manage parallel development, track defects, and automate the building of new software releases.
Business Case: This comprehensive and complete suite of software configuration management utilities enhances the natural productivity and efficiency of every developer on your project team. PVCS can track change requests or bug complaints from users so that developers never forget them, or it can help developers through the tedious job of formatting reports for upper management, plus a whole lot more.
Very scalable; can satisfy the needs of small or large development teamsGood integration among componentsEasy to use Strong reporting functions Familiar interfaceCons:
Fragmented into many subcomponents
Platforms: Any Windows version or major Unix platform.
Cost: Available on application from Web site.http://www.merant.com