RE: tortoiseCVS and FM files

Subject: RE: tortoiseCVS and FM files
From: "Andrew Warren" <awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com>
To: "Sandy Harris" <sandyinchina -at- gmail -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 2 Feb 2008 21:43:12 -0800

Sandy Harris wrote:

> > there are better tools than CVS for archiving your
> > docs and build files.
> Certainly CVS is less than ideal. What's better?


I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all solution. A lone writer has different needs than a team, an ISO 9001 registered corporation has different needs than a startup, Gene Kim-Eng has different needs than Dori Green.

For a lot of people, it's probably sufficient to just copy each release's files to a CD and put it on a shelf. Maybe that doesn't work for you, and you'll have to do something else... But remember:

1. Storage is cheap. Blank CDs are 5 for a dollar, and 500GB drives are selling at retail for $100, so your solution needn't sacrifice anything for storage efficiency (unless your IT guys are concerned with the time it takes to backup 500GB to tape every night... But that's their problem, not yours).

2. It's got to be trivially easy to store files. If you make it hard, people won't do it. If you make it complicated, people might do it wrong. The copy-to-a-CD-and-put-it-on-a-shelf system succeeds primarily for this reason.

3. Retrieval is why you're archiving in the first place, so make sure that your system makes it easy to clearly label each set of files as they're stored so it'll be easy to identify and retrieve files later.

4. Unless you have a real need for audit trails, approvals, redundancy, integration with your company's ERP system, etc., you probably don't need a complex automated release-tracking system. You may be able to do just fine with a manually-updated list of releases that shows revision history, correspondence between documentation and product versions, etc.

5. If you already have a system that's been proven to work, stick with it. As Thoreau said (although he was making a slightly different point), "I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit? If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes."


=== Andrew Warren - awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com
=== Synaptics, Inc - Santa Clara, CA


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