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[BOOK] : Well-written, funny, engaging; perfect!

From: John Schulz <john_at_gogeek.org>
Date: 2004-12-22 20:08:34 CET

I had to use CVS at my previous job, and never really understood it.
There was a small set of commands I knew to get my work done, and that
was it. The rest was voodoo and hand-waving, and I was sooo glad I
didn't have to administrate the thing.

The nightmare of renames... when I create a file, I don't know what to
name it well enough to chisel it into stone like CVS apparently wanted
me to. Word choice, formatting, abbreviations, it all changed
frequently when the file was brand new, and changed periodically after
many weeks of hacking on it. And every time it was a kludge to get CVS
to accept it.

Then I hear Subversion finally hit 1.1 and everybody's buzzing about
it. I'm not looking forward to the daunting task of learning a new,
very small set of commands to deal with a new version control system...
and then I notice that many of the posts and articles buzzing about
Subversion link to this book.

And I'm in heaven.

I tried finding an online resource for CVS... of the dozens of
tips/tricks pages, half-hearted articles, and sketchy blog posts I
tried, I only found one or two that I liked, and I even hated those
because it offered the clearest insight into the heart of darkness that
is CVS.

But the Subversion book is exactly what I need it to be. Not too slow
for a user in my position (and if it is, I know I can easily skip to
another section and find reference links there if I -really- did need
to learn something), and plenty of detail for later on when I will care
about all those other options.

The figures are spot-on, and having them all linked from the TOC makes
life for this visual learner much easier. Don't even get me started on
the comparison and summary tables! You guys really understand how
important it is for a book like this to be scannable... and if you
didn't consciously realize that, you did a good job of faking it. ;-)

When I do need to read some paragraphs, they're not overly-technical or
monotonous; engaging and funny is what they are. The exact section
that made me submit this praise is from Chapter 4, Using Branches:

"Let's say that you've been given the task of performing a radical
reorganization of the project.... One strategy is to crawl into a hole:
you and Sally can stop sharing information for a week or two."

PERFECT! "I think like this" is what I thought! After a little joke
to get peoples' attention, immediate elaboration so everyone's done
with the funny and back to the "serious" business of learning.

Thanks for making the Subversion book as much of a simplistic joy as
Subversion itself!

John Schulz (john@gogeek.org)
"It's a case of interlocking sousaphones." - John Schulz
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Received on Wed Dec 22 20:26:25 2004

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