Our first real production experience with Source Control came a year ago when we started to cooperate in software development with two other outsourcing companies one of them is located in Europe. Since Visual SourceSafe and similar tools at the time could be used only in the intranet environment, we started with task assignment and sharing files through e-mails, trying to organize distributed development and keep synchronization of files. That was a nightmare! We had a serious problem with this organization. Soon, we had to find a better and more efficient solution. Luckily, we got a trial version of Source Control, a product of Ilumnis ltd, from their web site www.ilumnis.com
Shortly after, we were very satisfied with its features and it was exactly what we needed, so we decided to buy Source Control and we started to use it for software development. Here are the main benefits of this tool:
Speed. It's fast. The code behind this tool was recently rewritten for the latest version and it is as fast as lightning. You dont need super fast internet to use it. It has high compression for file transferring and it uses post backs only when its needed, not on every click, as some web applications do.
Ease of use. Very intuitive graphical user interface keeps your impression that you work with windows application, not with web application and simple web controls. I wish other tools that we use are as half intuitive as this product is.
No installation or support for configuration needed. It is just not there and it is one of the very important features to us. We do not want our developers to waist hours in configuration and installation of new features, updates, versions problems and the like.
Application uses SQL Server 2000 database, but you dont need to have SQL Server on your machines, we use Source Control and its database which is hosted by Ilumnis in ASP mode. Everything you need is a browser and you are ready to use it.
Proactive. Believe or not, if you have a subscription, a tool will notify you about changes via email. So, there is no guessing what a developer needs to download for his current build. It is possible to subscribe for files and folders in the project. It is even possible to collect email notifications in daily or weekly batches so the system is not annoying at all. Proactive, but not annoying.
Publishing. You can use this as a publishing system, instead of some expensive specialized software. The system is able to copy files to the appropriate URL via ftp.
Remote Build. The software is able to automate and run nightly builds. This is easiest to set up with .Net but, as long as you can write a build script, it can do it for almost anything. Just configure the application for automatic build and get e-mail notification with build results.
Issue tracking. One has to be impressed with the tool that encompasses so much of needed functionality and almost nothing you wont use. The system is able to track project issues and it is tied into Source control itself. So when you are checking out the file you also respond on the appropriate issue. Great!
With this system you can have as many developers as you want and never worry about versions they work on. Project leaders and managers now can work on the same project despite of their distance or time zone. Yes, I have to mention this simple, but very useful feature, time zones are covered so you can see exactly when the file was modified, added or deleted in your or developers local time. Its very important to emphasize that Source Control keeps history of all changes and it is easy to compare two version of the same file.
Give it a try, you will not regret it.