Re: Clear Case & Frame Docs.

Subject: Re: Clear Case & Frame Docs.
From: Mark Dempsey <mxd2 -at- osi -dot- com>
To: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- expersoft -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 09:34:27 -0700

"Susan W. Gallagher" wrote:

> Okay, maybe I wouldn't choose Clear Case. Okay, so just maybe
> Clear Case is a little more engineering-centric than the
> typical doc group would prefer, but still, wouldn't you be more
> comfortable with *some* kind of version control system in place???

Nope. We don't need v. We'll publish v1.1 and v1.2. The
version control in Clear Case is overkill. Frame files are binaries, not
ASCII, so we can't even merge them. Frame itself has a document
comparison utility if ever we need one. Separate directories have been
just fine (for years!) until now, thanks. (And archiving to CD)

The bottom line: the game's not worth the candle. I don't think I'm just
being an obstructionist. Remember, more projects fail because people are
unwilling to "just say no."

> Document files can become corrupted, even when you use Frame. In
> your current model, how do you recover a corrupted file? Is it as
> easy as checking out yesterday's version?

Yes, it's as easy as recovering from backup. Considering the waste of
time training people to use Clear Case, the bother of constantly
checking in and checking out, I say backup recovery is a seldom-needed,
less troublesome way to go.

> Product direction can change in mid-stream. Haven't you ever entered
> a day and a half's worth of changes only to be told "never mind"???

Again, this happens rarely enough that I'm happy with good backup. (BTW,
the same people proposing the Clear Case have promised us backup
previously, but discovered they were unable to restore properly. We
manage our own backups now, thank you.)

> Working collisions happen everywhere, any time the team count is
> greater than one. Have you ever worked all day on editing changes
> only to find out that a collegue has been working equally hard to
> reformat exactly the same document???

So seldom, it's hardly worth mentioning. Frame locks files. We seldom
have different writers working on the same manual. Never on the same
chapter. Again, Clear Case is overkill.

> If you're in the middle of making changes for revision 2.0 and
> engineering decides to issue a 1.1 release, how easy is it for
> you to pull together the 1.0 docs to make changes??? In the
> typical workgroup without version control, I'd guess the answer
> would be "not very".

It's very easy. We rerelease the 1.0 docs with release notes for the
updates. This is also handy because it reminds customers that our
support for previous versions is limited--a tremendous work-saver.

> Frankly, once I found out how cool version control/configuration
> management really is, I'd be hard pressed to run a doc department
> without it.
> Were I you, I'd be pleased that someone above me thought enough
> of the doc product to include it with the rest of the software.
> Quityerbitchin and say "thank you" -- someone in your company
> appreciates what you do! ;-)

Someone in my company is jamming this down my throat. Call me "Mr.
Bellyacher" if you want, but somehow it doesn't *feel* like apprection.
I've answered your (very good) points perfectly adequately to my
satisfaction. What's perhaps not clear from my original post is that I
know who's going to be a sys admin for this gigantic kluge...ME! Somehow
"Thank you sir, may I have another" is not the phrase that came to mind.

My apologies, in advance, if you feel flamed here. I'm not mad at you
(really). I'm grateful! Yeah, that's it!...

Perhaps I should solicit career advice from the list, and cautionary
tales about the deleterious effects of resentment...

Seriously, though, thanks for your attention to this. I *do* feel a
little better now, too...


-- mailto:Mark -dot- Dempsey -at- osi -dot- com
-- Mark Dempsey
-- Technical Publications
-- Objective Systems Integrators
-- 110 Woodmere, Folsom, CA 95630
-- 916.353.2400 x 4777


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