RE: Continuus vs SourceSafe?

Subject: RE: Continuus vs SourceSafe?
From: Jack Elder <jack -dot- elder -at- convergys -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2001 11:54:45 +0100

> Subject: Continuus vs. SourceSafe?
> From: "Schieler, Eric" <eschieler -at- opentv -dot- com>
> Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2001 12:38:23 -0500
> Does anyone have advice about using Continuus to manage documentation
> projects (FrameMaker books in a Windows NT/2000 environment)?
> We currently
> use SourceSafe/SourceOffSite to manage documentation projects
> but may need
> to switch to Continuus.
> I would specifically like to know how well Continuus handles
> shared projects
> (multiple writers working on the same book) and access from remote
> locations. Any pros and cons of using Continuus for
> documentation projects
> would be helpful as well.


We use Continuus to control our documentation (kind of by default - it's the
standard source control system used by the entire development team). In
general, it's a very powerful tool - I like it a lot. I'm the documentation
build manager, and I maintain a number of documentation projects in CCM (we
produce and localise a lot of stuff). I find CCM easy and efficient to
maintain projects in - definition of release baselines etc is quite simple.

However, I'm kind of isolated in this opinion. Most of our authors dislike
CCM; from their perspective, it's quite complicated, the UI is appalling,
and the learning curve is pretty steep. It's one of those power/complexity
trade-offs: CCM lets you do a lot of whizzy stuff, but it's quite easy to
make mistakes as well. Fortunately, the mistakes are usually eminently
fixable. As I say, though, the UI really needs work, and a lot of the
behaviour is (from the first-time user's point of view) counterintuitive.
Once you get your head around it, you're fine, but a lot of our authors do
find it hard to get used to.

As to how well Continuus handles shared projects: nicely. If one author is
working on a particular file, any other author who tries to check that file
out gets a warning tha they're about to create a parallel version of the
file. You can still do this if required. Continuus actually has a special
project type for shared projects; we've not bothered to use it, though.
Effectively the same functionality is available if individual users just
have their own copies of the baseline project.

I'm not sure how well Continuus handles remote location access. It
certainly copes with laptop users pretty well (you just set your work area
to your internal drive, rather than a network drive).

On the whole, I'd say that continuus is a good tool. I've not used version
6.1, which may resolve some of the UI issues we've had. It's got a steep
learning curve, so expect to have to pay to for external training. I'd
recommend it, with caveats.


Jack Elder


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