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RE: renames under CVS

From: Greg A. Woods
Subject: RE: renames under CVS
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 15:29:23 -0500 (EST)

[ On Monday, February 25, 2002 at 16:27:09 (-0800), Glew, Andy wrote: ]
> Subject: RE: renames under CVS
> I can go through my own CVS repository, and count
> (a) the number of times I have done file renames in the ad-hoc
> klugey ways CVS now supports.
> and 
> (b) the number of files that are presently mis-named,
> whose names I have not changed, but whose names should
> be changed to match up to a coding standard like Lakos
> (whose names I have not changed because CVS makes it
> painful).
> I suppose that these would be normalized by the number
> of files, number of lines, number of developers, etc.
> Would these be acceptable metrics.

That would be a very good start.  However it doesn't tell us how the
picture would change if you'd done ideal, or even just better, planning
of your modules and file structure before you first checked them into
CVS.  I don't know how we could independently measure that part.

We would also need a graph showing how many of those files could be
harmlessly renamed in the repository (i.e. which have tags and branches,
and which do not).

Don't forget to do a separate and similar analysis for file locations,
not just their base names (i.e. directory naming).

Finally of course we'd need to find some way to assess the difference
between an ideal filename, and one that's suitable and sufficient for
the purpose.  While we might all like to rename many of the files and
directories in our projects, there's no fundamental necessity requiring
us to rename files that are not "grossly" mis-named.

Eg. if you check in a C source module with a name of 'foo.txt' and only
after it's been used somehow in a release you discover it and find you
have to rename it to 'foo.c' because that's the only way it'll continue
to work with your build system, well that's a really _necessary_
rename.  You will have to do it regardless of the implications to your
version and release management processes.  However if all you want to do
is rename it to "bar.txt" because for you at this moment you now
believe "bar" has more meaning to you, well then you're just giving
emotional meaning to something that's irrelevant to the success of
what's contained in the files and any kind of impediment to renaming
should prevent you from doing any rename.

I know of at least one very successfull programmer who names all his C
source and header files with very plain and meaningless names
(letterNUMBER.c).  He doesn't use CVS -- in fact I'm not sure he uses
any formal version tracking tool.  At least one of his programs is quite
large -- over 40 files and over 50,000 lines of source.  He never has to
worry about renaming files because he attaches no significance to their
names.  (I don't know that he uses any kind of IDE that helps him
navigate his programs, but regardless of the file names some kind of
identifier search tool becomes invaluable on larger projects anyway, and
on really large programs you'll eventually need to do deeper analysis on
your source and draw call graphs and such too).

                                                                Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098;  <address@hidden>;  <address@hidden>;  <address@hidden>
Planix, Inc. <address@hidden>; VE3TCP; Secrets of the Weird <address@hidden>

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