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Re: Thick vs Thin Client SCM Tools

From: David Weintraub <qazwart_at_gmail.com>
Date: 2005-07-22 18:06:47 CEST

Thick clients have the advantage of not needing a network connection
for most of their work. Thin clients are not dependent upon a specific
PC, so a developer (in theory) can continue what they were doing in
the office once they get home..

If you have a good network, thin clients may be more flexible. You
could the same work from multiple PCs. For example, you could do be
working at the PC in your cubible, then complete your work from home.

With a package like Subversion, my data is connected to a specific
machine. If I do my work at my office PC, then run on home, I don't
have access to what I did during the day.

Of course, the definition of "thick" and "thin" isn't all that clean.
Is ClearCase a thick or thin client? ClearCase using dynamic views
(according to your definition) is an extremely thin client. A user
defines a view, and can use that view from any machine. The view
contains not only the files from the source repository, but also any
built files, data files, and even the same temporary directories and
files. However, ClearCase using the snapshot views is, according to
your definition a thick client.

It seems like a rather minor thing to base your software purchase on.
It's like debating whether you should order a RISC based or CISC based
processor in your machine. Most people are more interested in the
speed and capabilities and not the specific architecture or the CPU.

What other factors are coming into play? Some companies insist that
all software must be commercial. Some have specific prefered vendors.
It also depends how centralized your company wants to control CM. Is
each development team responsible for their own CM, or is their a
central organization? Are the team members doing their own build and
release, or is there a specific full time SCM? Is there an industry
requirement that you must follow a strong software lifecycle, or are
you more interested in rapid development?

How many users will be using your source repository?
Is storage of binaries important?
How often do you do your releases?
Who handles licensing?
What type of machines are you going to use?
Must the source repository be availible outside of the office? If so,
how and what security measures do you need to use?

On 7/22/05, Vaughan, Steven <Steven_Vaughan@g1.com> wrote:
> Hello all, I was hoping I could call on the collective wisdom here to
> help me with a bit of a puzzle at my company. We are currently hashing
> and rehashing which tools would best serve, and (coming from a CVS heritage)
> I tend to favor SCM tools with 'thicker' clients (those that store local
> metadata) in general, and Subversion specifically. The current push,
> however, is for a thin client tool (Perforce) that does not store any local
> metdata. I have my own favorites, but I was wondering if ya'll would mind
> trotting out your pet compelling arguments for or against thick vs thin
> SCM tools? If anyone's entertained by it, resurrecting ye olde svn vs p4
> would also be helpful in light of svn 1.2.x.
> Thanks a bunch in advance,
> -steve
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David Weintraub
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Received on Fri Jul 22 18:09:03 2005

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