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Need help organizing a CVS tree. (Summary at the end)

From: Terry Spafford
Subject: Need help organizing a CVS tree. (Summary at the end)
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 15:58:35 -0800
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:0.9.4) Gecko/20011126 Netscape6/6.2.1

As I mentionned in my previous email (with another question), I've recently been put in charge of reorganizing my company's code management system. I have a clean slate to work with (ie I don't have to worry about saving the old code history, just the new stuff), but I have a tonne of code to pour through and organize.

Just to give you a bit of background, my company primarily makes Air Traffic Messaging systems for aviation authorities around the world. Each of our customers has a mix of the various subsystems we offer all on one box (usually an Alpha though we're migrating to Linux as well).

After much debate among our developers, we decided that trying to keep all of our customers in synch with the same code was a lost cause, so we've got code drift between our customers that we have to handle. It also means that we don't have to worry about merging customer code with eachother or with the Bleeding edge code.

We also concluded that even though we are not going to keep the customer's in synch, we still want to be able to easily diff between code Customer A has with code Customer B has or with our new Developement Code (our Bleeding Edge code). Ideally we would also like to be able to compare the Linux version of a system with the Unix version of a system.

Basically, for example, we have the following:

System_A ( Linux Version)
System_A ( Unix Version )

System_B (Linux Ver)
System_B (Unix Ver)

All 4 versions are different and are Bleeding Edge.

Cust_1 has a Linux box with System_A and System_B installed
Cust_2 also has a Linux box, but only with System_A installed (and a slightly different version then what Cust_1 has )
Cust_3 has a Unix box with only System_A installed.

We also want to be able to easily check out all the code a customer has on their machine without having to chase down other sources to remind us that say Cust_1 has both System_A and System_B installed.

After rereading the docs on the CVSHOME website hundreds of time, performing many experiments and redesigning my organization plans many times, I came up with the following method:

The CVS Tree is organized as follows:
    - - - > (Operating System)
                     |  (This indicates a subdirectory)
                     - - - > (System)
                                \  (Note this indicates a branch)
                                 - - - > (Customer code)

This forces us to break our code up by operating system, making it difficult to do diffs of versions of our code across OS's, but otherwise it meets most of our requirements.

To checkout all the code a customer has on their machine, we can just
        cvs co -b (Customer Code) (Operating System)

To get a particular subsystem a customer has it's:
        cvs co -b (Customer Code) (Operating System)/(System)


I'm not comfortable with this setup however (If I was I wouldn't be bugging you with it now would I? :)

For one thing, unless you specify a directory to check out into ( cvs co -d (new_dir), all the code ends up looking like the same directory tree structure. (OS)/(System). Since we do a lot of work on shared machines, this can be a major problem at times as people may not realize the code they are manipulating is the code they are expecting. (At least not until I get them into the habit of cvs status'ing stuff). As long as I can get the -d flag to work on a cvs co from a remote repository though this won't be a big deal.

The main concern I have, is bleeding edge code (ie the code at the head of the Trunk). In all the scripts I've made for others to use the CVS tree with, I had to set up a special flag so that the script could handle code from the Trunk, but I am not comfortable using the flags, and in some cases this is dangerous.

In particular, commiting changes has become a small nightmare for me.

I've discovered that commit -r (branchname) works great, since it aborts if the code isn't all uptodate for (branchname). (We don't want people commiting changes into another branch without first making sure they update it).

Commiting to the trunk though is the source of my concerns. I can't simply do a cvs commit command because if there is changed code from other branches in that area, it will commit those changes to those branches as well as the files for the trunk.

I briefly examined Modules, and they sort've seemed to do what I want, but they left behind sticky tags that made commit's messy.

Earlier today, I thought I was on to something with the Vendor tag I used when importing code. I noticed that if you checked out under the vender tag and commited changes, the changes also applied to the Trunk code as far as I could tell. Sadly the reverse wasn't true, or else it would work great; namely code checked out with no tags did not make changes to vender tagged code when commited.

If I was certain that everyone would always use the scripts I've developed, then I wouldn't be as concerned. But I already know that at least 1 other developer besides myself will be using the straight cvs commands right off the bat, and others will migrate to the cvs commandline instead of the scripts as time goes by; so by planning for that now, I'm hoping to keep this from becoming too much of a nightmare.


Basically, to try and boil my ramblings down to some more concise points, I'm wondering the following:

1. Given the way our code is broken up right now, can anyone think of possible ways I could try to improve my design? (In particular, I would love to squeeze the operating systems back together so we could diff between Linux and Unix easier).

2. Is there a flag or something I can pass in with CVS commit so that when I am commiting changes to the Trunk, it will abort if any of the code belongs to a Branch.

2b. Actually, is there a tag I can always call with -r that will always point to the head of the trunk and that works with all the basic CVS commands that allow -r ?

3. And of course, just to reiterate the problem that brought me to this list in the first place, is there a way to specify what directory code will be checked out into on a local machine when you have a remote repository? Using cvs co -d is giving me errors. (See my other message for more details)

Thank you in advance for any advice you give me.

Terry Spafford
Software Engineer
Global Weather Dynamics Inc
Monterey, California, USA

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