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RE: Using CVS the right way

From: Jim.Hyslop
Subject: RE: Using CVS the right way
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 10:12:11 -0500

m0llbuz_ wrote:
> I work in a company where speed is an essential ingredient. 
> Releases occur frequently and irregularly (from one release 
> per month up to two per week) and mostly only a part of the 
> code base is affected in each release.
> We are currently doing all development on the main trunk 
> (except medium to long-time projects that affect other 
> projects - these we put in branches) and we also put bug 
> fixes in the trunk. It works quite well, but sometimes it's 
> hard to know what files are to be released to the testing 
> environment (patch or something else?).
> What is the best way to use CVS with this scenario? We want 
> to be fast and not get slowed down with a lot of merging, 
> branch creation, etc. We have talked about creating a patch 
> branch, but it will get tedious to create a new patch branch 
> efter each release. 
So don't create the patch branch automatically - just create it if and when
a patch is required.

Creating a branch is trivial. *Maintaining* a branch can be time consuming.
Therefore, do not create branches "in case they are needed", create them
when they are actually required.

> Another problem is that several projects 
> can be going on at the same time with different start dates 
> and release dates.
Multiple, simultaneous paths of development means there *will* be merging,
just the same way that the rotation of the earth means there *will* be night
and day. You cannot avoid it, you cannot prevent it, so make sure you allow
time for it.

*If* everyone is checking in frequently, and refreshing their source from
the repository frequently, then merges will go quite quickly (by
"frequently" I mean at most once every two or three days). I've found that
the amount of time required for a merge increases non-linearly the longer
you wait between updates.

Jim Hyslop
Senior Software Designer
Leitch Technology International Inc. (
Columnist, C/C++ Users Journal (

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