CM Generations and a Vision for the Future


3G CM tools significantly cut the cost of CM when compared to 2G tools. 4G tools do the same, just differently. Although there's more mileage to be found by 4G systems in improving usability and reducing administration and infrastructure requirements, much of the cost savings will come from expanding the scope of functionality.

Built-in disaster recovery will augment and help to simplify IT department plans. Improved scalability of client to server ratios will reduce server complexity and costs. Integration of Resource Management and Customer Tracking capabilities will help reduce overall tool costs, and will take the tool integration burden off the back of the customer.

What else can we expect to see in the 4G timeframe? Some of the technology directions are wildcards. We have enough to put generic road map together. The most likely difficulty here is separating 3G and 4G criteria.

4G CM Capabilities
CM capabilities will support more natural ways of working. The end-user will no longer need to be trained on how to do something. Training will consist more of what you can do and the tool will help you do it. Expect to see most of these capabilities in a 4G CM tool:

·         Drag and drop bulk loading of source and of multiple baseline revisions

·         Configuration management full automated, giving way to product and change management

·         Active workspace management with  the tool keeps you informed

·         Promotable directory structure changes : no more directory checkouts or strict ordering of structure changes

·         Integration of views with the OS file system, as ClearCase has been doing for years

·         Dynamic variants:  a subset of changes will be managed as persistent changes on top of your view to support your variant

·         Product/sub-product management:  look at/work on a product from a product or sub-product perspective

·         Context view-based dependency analysis with architectural layering and partitioning support

·         Automatic change generation based on changes made in a developer's workspace

·         File revisioning augmented with full data revisioning

About the author

Joe Farah's picture Joe Farah

Joe Farah is the President and CEO of Neuma Technology and is a regular contributor to the CM Journal. Prior to co-founding Neuma in 1990 and directing the development of CM+, Joe was Director of Software Architecture and Technology at Mitel, and in the 1970s a Development Manager at Nortel (Bell-Northern Research) where he developed the Program Library System (PLS) still heavily in use by Nortel's largest projects. A software developer since the late 1960s, Joe holds a B.A.Sc. degree in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto. You can contact Joe at

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