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Communicating through the VC tool

From: <andy.glew_at_amd.com>
Date: 2004-04-02 20:53:20 CEST

An example of why I want the ability to
see all branches from the trunk:
Here's my traditional CVS usage model:

(1) I check out a module (subtree) from the trunk.
(2) I ask myself "who's working on this module?".
    I run cvs log | cvs2cl.pl

This gives me a list of all branches and revisions
of the module. Most important for this example,
this list contains all of the currently active
branches (actually, it's somewhat a pain to
have to figure out what branches are active
and what are not).

I see, for example:
    Hmmm, Jeff has a task branch open for the FooBar change.
    Hmmm, wow, I have a task branch open for the Xyzzy change
        I started last week, but then had to suspend.
        I'd forgotten about that. There was some cleanup
        stuff that I want to make sure gets into the mainline,
        but the Xyzzy stuff isn't ready yet.
    So, maybe what I'll do is merge the cleanups
        from the Xyzzy task branch
        back onto the trunk, assuming all tests pass.
        Then I'll go ask Jeff what he's working on.
        If it looks good, then I'll start my own branch,
        make my change, merge back into the trunk,
        and get on with the next job. Maybe the Xyzzy
        stuff is top priority again, and I can finish it.

Both the CVS and SVN documentation say that these tools
are not a substitute for communication
- in particular, locking is not a substitute
for communication.

However, I often use the VC tools as the medium for comminication.
As often as not, for communication with myself: I frequently have
more than one task branch open, for long and short tasks of
different durations. I sometimes return to such stuff after
several years away.

Being able to find all log messages and/or status info for all
active branches of a file is just a way of organizing that

Similarly, RCS's message: 
   Debbie has this file locked. 
   Do you want to break the lock? [y/n] Y
   Enter a message to be emailed to Debbie: 
is a form of communication.
It's hard to forget to tell Debbie why you 
have decided to edit a file she is working on,
when the VC tool puts it right in your face
like this.
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Received on Fri Apr 2 20:54:04 2004

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