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How To Handle Parallel Development With CVS

From: Jake Colman
Subject: How To Handle Parallel Development With CVS
Date: 18 Jul 2001 17:52:11 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.090004 (Oort Gnus v0.04) XEmacs/21.1 (Channel Islands)

First of all, let me state that our development group has been successfully
using CVS to manage the development of a large commercial software
application for quite a few years.  We are quite accomplished at what we do
and are quite adept at using the tools.  I say this just to make it clear
that I am not asking from a newbie's perspective.

Our development group has grown quite rapidly and, for the first time, we are
facing the issue of splitting into multiple groups to work on multiple
projects in parallel.  All these projects are intended to become a part of
the larger software system.  This means that all projects will be working off
of the same code base with the intention of extending the functionality of
the system in different ways.  Our concern is that we do not want the
deliverability of the product to be affected by one group's project if it is
not yet ready to ship while another group's project is ready to ship.

It would seem that the solution to this problem is the creation of multiple
development branches off the head.  Each project works off its own branch
and, when completed, the branch is merged up to the HEAD.  Software releases
are done in release branches that are also cut off from the HEAD when the
software is ready for release.

Does this make sense?  Is this how it is typically done?  My concern is with
the management of the various branches.  If a change is made to some
fundamental part of the system as part of the requirements of a particular
project, shouldn't that change also be merged into the other project
branches?  Do you just wait until a merge is done to the HEAD?  Isn't that
too long to wait?

How do other developers deal with this situation?

Thanks for you help!


Jake Colman                     

Principia Partners LLC                  Phone: (201) 946-0300
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