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Ovid (2709)

Ovid
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Stuff with the Perl Foundation. A couple of patches in the Perl core. A few CPAN modules. That about sums it up.

Journal of Ovid (2709)

Thursday October 26, 2006
03:54 AM

How to know when a tool sucks

[ #31422 ]

Asking developers in our office about tagging and branching in CVS and no two developers give the same answer.

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  • In svn you can't do the same either... because branching and tagging strategies change between companies etc as well.
  • This is just TIMTOWDI in action. We tolerate it in our choice of programming language, and work around the issues it causes by having documentation that describes local best practice.

    It shouldn't be any different with SVN (or CVS for that matter). And if you don't have local documentation, go and work out how to do it, then write it up, so the person that comes after you doesn't have to go through the same process.

    For extra credit, create some tools that abstract some of this away.
    • Not only did the programmers not agree, most were not even sure how it was supposed to be done or what best practices are. Not a single developer I spoke with who had an idea of how to approach this was willing to say that there's was a good approach. When you have that much uncertaintly and confusion, it's a bad thing.

      • There is a *single* way to tag files in CVS, and a couple of ways to branch (tag-before or tag-after?). Yes, I would have to look at the documentation to remember them, but mostly because creating new branches and tags are usually fairly rare activities. If I released more collaboratively-developed software, I think I'd remember. I also have to look up how to create tables with layout parameters using CGI.pm, how to turn off line-buffering on a C FILE or C++ iostream, and a host of other similarly rarely
      • Google around and consult the policies of large Open Source projects. I first learned about branches from the BSDs. Even though I haven't used BSD for a long time, they still have some great policy documents out there.

        Also, Karl Fogel's Open Source Development and CVS book had some good recommendations in it.

        --
        J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • That's an easy one. All tools suck. :)