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Re: Pros/Cons - Concurrent Editing

From: Michael Kohne
Subject: Re: Pros/Cons - Concurrent Editing
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2004 09:52:04 -0500 (EST)

George Abraham said:
> What are the pros and cons of concurrent editing?. CVS supports and
> advocates concurrent editing, whereas configuration tools like VSS use
> the  "locked" model of editing, to which the developers are very much
> used to.  What are the benefits of concurrent editing ( using CVS ) and
> what  problems could arise?
> Regards,
> George Abraham

I've now experienced both single and concurrent editing models of
development, and I have to say that I prefer the concurrent. When using
CVS, I find that I'm far less likely to have to co-ordinate with another
developer over who's going to work in what part of the code today.
Especially when working on something big, long winded, and hairy (like
right now) I can forge ahead, updaing my code to match other people's
checkins without forcing others to wait on me. Also I used to find that I
would run into a sort of 'dining philosophers' problem with single
checkout systems - I'd get a file or two checked out, then need another
file to continue, but someone else would have the lock on that file.

The problems I see that arise with concurrent editing usually have to do
with either binary files or with people who screw up others changes when
checking in.

The first problem is dealt with by NEVER trying to concurrently edit
binary files. I don't have any in my system anymore (they were not that
hard to eliminate, so we did), so I'm at a loss to tell you how to do
single editor in CVS, but I believe it is possible.

The second problem is more of a people and process problem than a problem
with concurrent editing. What you will sometimes find is that when you
want to check in, the code base has changed. You then need to update, make
sure your changes are still OK, THEN checkin. Sometimes you'll find
developers who like to skip the 'make sure your changes are still OK'
step. Again, this is a people/process problem (people who aren't checking
their work at every necessary stage), and usually it doesn't happen very

Just my opinions. Good luck!

Michael Kohne        address@hidden
"You should be smarter than the equipment you are trying to operate." --
Matt Osborne

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