Selecting a CM/ALM Tool That Will Add Value to All Users

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In his CM: the Next Generation series, Joe Farah gives us a glimpse into the trends that CM experts will need to tackle and master based upon industry trends and future technology challenges.

7. Server-only installation (only trivial client upgrades required): Visible client installation (other than establishing a short cut or other reference to the 4G tool) must be absent. Client side upgrades must follow directly from the central server(s) upgrade, without any client-side intervention.

8. Trivial bulk loading and multiple revision/baseline bulk-loading: It must be possible to load in software trees by a simple drag-and-drop, copy/paste or other such trivial mechanism, although additional supporting details may be queried as part of the operation. It should be possible to bulk load multiple baselines of a source tree such that the history between the baselines, and between the individual items within the baseline, are maintained.

9. Fully automated configuration management: Configuration management tasks should be reduced to high level requests. Tedious tasks such as labeling, creating baseline definitions, establishing context views, creating promotion views, etc. must be fully automated, subject only to the parameters required by the high level requests. Users, including the CM managers, should focus only on Change management.

10. Bulk build/ANT/Make file Generation: Automatic generation of Makefiles, build scripts, ANT files should replace the need to have to create and maintain such files. Generation of the files should proceed based on having sufficient information within the repository, and especially in the data structure and relationships.

11. Advanced workspace management: Workspaces are clearly linked to change packages. Multiple changes are supported in a workspace. The 4G tool reports through visual or other effects on the attributes of the workspace so that, as well as check-in/out status, other attributes, such as ro/rw, missing, differences in the files and other such information is actively portrayed in the source tree view of the CM tool.

12. Source code and source revision searching: Source code search capabilities are extended in the 4G tools so that operations common in IDEs, such as source code searching, can be extended to the CM repository. This allows, for example, searching across revisions of a source file, or searching through a specific baseline or other context view.

13. File revisioning augmented with full data revisioning: Along with the normal source code revisions, the 4G CM tool allows revision of finer levels of data including descriptions, data elements and even process workflow.

14. Context-based dependency analysis and layering support: The 4G CM tool allows interactive query of relationships between groups of files to support impact analysis and layering support. For example, it should be possible to identify, using a simple query, whether or not layering is violated because of out-of-layer include operations.

15. Promotable directory structure changes: In the same way that file changes may be promoted or rolled back through the status associated with the change, it must be possible to promote or roll back changes to the directory structure. By adjusting a context view, any changes placed into or pulled out of the view must have such structural differences immediately reflected in the view.

16. Dynamic variant capabilities: Variant changes are supported such that the change can be dynamically applied to any context view. Hence, if a product variant is formed by changing a set of files, that variant may be applied automatically, and dynamically, to any build definition, and user view or any baseline to produce the variant effect for that view. This helps to reduce multiple variant baselines down to a single baseline with variant options which may be specified at build time.

17. Product/sub-product management: The 4G CM/ALM tool will manage multiple products, including products which are contained within other products. Such a product hierarchy helps to automate the order of building products (i.e., product dependencies), but also helps in navigating the set of product assets of a company so that a specific product release context may be easily selected.

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 farah@neuma.com

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