Wednesday, September 17, 2003

We here on the Delphi/C#Builder team firmly believe in the term "eating your own dogfood." (I really hate that term, BTW). With that we've moved from an internally developed source-code archiving tool to StarTeam. Our hope is that by providing in-house real-world usage we can help improve the product. There are several of us on the team that have very strong opinions about how a source-code management system should work. This is from years of having to struggle with all the half products out there and also from breaking down an developing our own internal system (let's just say that I know a few things about version-control...).

This transition has not been without its trials... however so far the added benefits of StarTeam are certainly out weighing the pain we are incurring during this transition. I must say that I am certainly impressed with the versatility and configurability of StarTeam. Most of the pain we are incurring is just having to train folks in a few new processes. This is sorta like trying to turn an oceanliner... you have to plan your move in advance and communicate to all involved.

One of the areas in which StarTeam excels in, is in workflow control. StarTeam integrates bug tracking, requirements management, tasks, and developer discussions. These are collectively known as a "process item". By controlling how a "process item" transitions through its various states, you can better insure that things won't slip through the cracks. There's also this really interest "nag" feature in the form in notifications. You can configure an item, such as a Change Request, to notify the responsible developer or manager if the item sits in a certain state for too long. Also, it can be configured such that when a new item is created without an assigned "owner" or responsible person, it will notify a list of users asking each one to accept or decline responsibility. All this is done via email with links to a special web-server on the hosting server.

This is just a small piece of what this system can do for medium to large teams. We also work with many other dev teams located throughout the globe and having a common source-code system has been a clear advantage.

This certainly sounds like a shameless plug... well it is and it isn't... This blog was suppose to include little tidbits about some of the things that happen in the Delphi/C#Builder team. So I figured some insight about what other tools we use would be interesting.