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Maintaining branches...

From: Ralph Mack
Subject: Maintaining branches...
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 08:31:37 -0400

Hello, all,

I have a couple of questions.

First a question for my home environment - has anybody managed
to integrate CVS into Visual Age for Java? I got the Zeus-SCC
stuff and I tried to use it from VAJ but it killed the VAJ
environment. I may have had it set up wrong, though. If I at
least know that it is supposed to work, it will help me focus
my efforts.

Next about branches...

At the office we use (or are used by) ClearCase (I'm never quite
sure which). We have a mainline that is only used for releases.
We have an integration branch that is used to collect various developers'
stuff during development, and, for most parts of
the project, each developer has their own working branch. There
are a lot of merges back and forth between the integration branch
and the developers' branches.

That seems like a lot of branching activity - I think they do it
partly because only datacenter systems are backed up and developers
store all views on their own PCs so no file is "safe" until it is
checked in. My part of the project does things a little differently.
We make a branch for each task or bugfix and then merge back into
the integration branch. That way we know exactly what files were
changes for each fix. We only have to merge back from integration
and then merge new changes to integration if a bug is reopened.

What I'm reading about branching and merging makes me think that
a branch-merge pair on CVS is a one-way trip, that once you have
merged from a branch you can't merge to that branch from the
updated mainline and then merge back again. Another interpretation
is that you have to specify your merge "control points" (from, to,
last common ancestor) manually.

Does CVS branching and merging allow the developer to do the kind
of rev-up/promote merge pattern that we do routinely with ClearCase?
If you have to specify all three control points, shouldn't CVS be
able to figure out the last common ancestor from the merge history?
Is this another situation complicated by directories not being

Ralph A. Mack

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