Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Figure to Configure

One of the simplest and most valuable software engineering methodologies/processes to implement is software configuration. It pays off time and again when you need a convenient way to reverse a change made to software, backup an entire project (since it is all in one place) or to find a file relevant to a specific project. I have a cvs repository on my notebook and all of my software code and documentation are stashed there.

Unfortunately most do not appreciate the value of configuration management until they are burned badly. In the past five years I know of two sizeable software projects that had to do substantial rework and recoding because they did not use a software configuration mechanism. Several others had problems reassembling files of projects where employees left and did not have a software configuration mechanism. All of the projects that I manage must use a software configuration mechanism and I use it for my personal software. Our current favorite is cvs, an open source solution, but there are other popular commercial and open source options available. A great place to get the latest information on configuration management tools is CM crossroads. It provides information. pointers and advice on all the latest configuration management tools. In addition, if you use cvs, the pdf of Open Source Development with CVS, third edition by Fogel and Bar is here.

If you have experience with configuration management tools or resources or question about their use, share it with the community by adding a comment. Later!