November 16, 2006

Essential CVS:Using Version Control to Apply Order to Collaborative Work

Sebastopol, CA--CVS, the Concurrent Versions System, is the popular version tracking system that frees developers and other collaborators from the chaos that too often ensues when multiple users work on the same file. Version control is usually mentioned in the context of software development, but according to Jennifer Vesperman, author of Essential CVS, Second Edition (O'Reilly, US $44.99), CVS can be used in many environments for many purposes: maintaining configuration files, mail aliases, source code, FAQ files, art, music, essays, and books. In the new edition of her book, Vesperman shows how to apply CVS to these types of projects and others.

"The book as a whole is targeted to anyone who wants to keep track of creative work, or any work which is subject to change and can be stored as files in a computer," says Vesperman. She explains that teams who use version control--any form of version control--will have a much easier time with their projects in the long run. For instance, they won't lose data because of one person overwriting another's work, they'll be able to locate just when a particular bug was fixed, or they'll be able to roll back to a point before code was added that caused a build to break.

Vesperman also notes that it's an excellent time for an update to her book: "CVS has some amazing new features, including proxying, additional hooks for third-party programs, and experimental support for PAM," she says. "In addition, with the proliferation of new source control program out there, people need to be able to compare the reliable old workhorse (CVS) with some of the new young racehorses, and find out which suits them better. There's lots of life left in the old workhorse!"

"The official documentation exists, of course, and is complete, but it has no tutorial section. Something else was needed: a well designed complete reference, something that gives beginners the leg up they need, that explains the advanced features, and gives project managers and system administrators the information they need to really use CVS well. Writing a book for all those audiences was a challenge, and I've made compromises, but I think I've achieved it."

Jennifer Vesperman works with Cybersource, and Australian IT consulting firm. She is the current coordinator for LinuxChix, an advocacy and support group that focuses on women who use and develop open source programs.

Background and Market Information:

Additional Resources:

Essential CVS, Second Edition
Jennifer Vesperman
ISBN: 0-596-52703-9, 406 pages, $44.99 US, $58.99 CA
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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