[cvsnt] March-Hare message into my commit messages

Howard Ha bluespire at gmail.com
Tue Nov 11 01:26:34 GMT 2008

Community technical support mailing list was retired 2010 and replaced with a professional technical support team. For assistance please contact: Pre-sales Technical support via email to sales@march-hare.com.

Just wanted to add some feedback and maybe ask a few questions.  Keep in 
mind I'm thinking from the perspective of a small team of 4-10 people 
working with perhaps 20-25 cvsnt repositories.  I accidentally only sent 
this to Tony so I am sending to the list now, with some edits to 
portions that don't across as I intended:

"You make it sound like it's a bunch of free stuff thrown together. "

In the 4+ years that I have been to the march hare site this is EXACTLY 
the impression I come away with when I read about the paid version of 
CVS Suite.
1) tortoise and wincvs are both free software, and the pages do not seem 
to go into any detail (especially with screenshots) explaining how the 
paid versions differ.   Some of the features you promote look to be 
ALREADY present in the free versions :| (commit by bugid in tortoise).  
Integrating with Mantis can be done with the free software, I'm not sure 
why this is advertised as a paid feature?
2) Which leads to: you mention bug tracking but WinCVS doesn't support 
bugid natively (unless the paid version does?), and tortoisecvs supports 
bug id's in its free version.
3) the manual may be valuable, but there is no information that entices 
me to even want to read it for free, much less buy it. The description 
doesn't convince me or any of my teammates it would help save even 
30minutes of work in our lifetime.  There's just NOT ENOUGH information 
about what's inside to make it interesting.  For example, I recently 
bought the excellent High Performance MySQL book published by O'reilly 
because on browsing it I know it definitely covers some solutions to 
some very important problems.  I have no idea if any of the challenges 
that I have seen with cvsnt are covered by the book.  Perhaps a rewrite 
of the marketing materials to cover specific topics that experienced 
users might care about.  For instance, in the list that you provided in 
the materials it says "Fundamentals of CM, CVS Architecture, Designing 
your Solution, Setting up CVSNT Server, Server Administration, Command 
Line CVSNT, Troubleshooting, Administrative files, Installing 
Integrations and Client Connection and Configuration".  Of that entire 
sentence the only thing that even remotely sounds interesting is 
Installing Integrations and I have no idea what that even really means. 
The only other thing that really intrigues me is "Detailed client 
workflows are described for WinCVS, TortoiseCVS, CVS Suite Studio and 
Release Manager" but the problem is I already had a very good workflow 
and the descriptions of CVS Suite Studio and Release Manager do NOT make 
me want to include them in my workflow.
4) "CVS Visual Studio .NET Integration" integration does nothing for our 
team.  I feel like I'm considering paying for a product where a huge 
selling point has zero value for us.
5) Release Manager: I personally believe this is one of the most 
valuable tools that CVS Suite has, but I have no idea how good it is.  
The sparse description reads like a pamphlet written by Marketing 
specialists who have never used the thing before.  It spends most of its 
verbiage on bragging about how good it is rather than actually telling 
us what it can do.  Let ME decide how good it is by telling me the 
details of how it works.  The only screenshot available shows a very 
limited screen which leaves the following questions unanswered:

a)  I see a schedule manager, but I see no indication of how to schedule 
to upload to specific servers?
b)  Does this tool even support SSH deployment to live servers using SSH 
keys?  It seems to talk about FTP then throw in SSH and SSL only as 
c)  How does this tool interact with multiple deployment servers?  Does 
it have a "connection manager"?
d)  Does the tool have a "project manager" where it has saved settings 
for different projects?  Each of my projects may be deployed to a 
different server or servers.  Within each project can I deploy to a 
different set of servers? (Eg Project "Google" has a staging server and 
10 production servers, I want to first deploy to staging, then deploy to 
production servers, can I set up the Release Manager to handle these two 
scenarios without having to continually entering server info, server 
passwords, etc?)
e)  The wording of the page seems to suggest this tool has to exist on 
the deployment site.  Well that has me worried, all my servers are Unix 
based.  Does this mean the tool is worthless for those of us running 
Unix servers?  I thought it was a tool that runs from your local machine 
and pushes changes out to other servers.

See how many unanswered questions there are in Release Manager alone?  
I'm a person who visits March Hare maybe 10 times a year to see if 
there's any updates to WinCVS and other tools and yet I come away each 
time unsure what the software even does and whether it even works for my 
team.  Just look at the TINY and fuzzy picture at the top of the Release 
Manager page (http://www.march-hare.com/cvsnt/features/relmgr/)!

7)  The "New Features" (http://www.march-hare.com/cvsnt/newfeatures/) 
page is very irritating for me and I suspect for longtime "lurkers" who 
are looking to see whether the new versions of CVS Suite are suitable 
for them.  It has no indication of what is new and what is old.  90% of 
the text in there I thought I read in 2002!  Look at the headings which 
are clearly not "new features" at all and are really features available 
for years:

"Release Manager"
"Repository Browsing"
"commit by bug number in tortoise"
"multi sites"

Maybe you should rewrite this entire page to ONLY talk about what's new 
in the latest release.  Then include a "complete features" page that 
covers things that have been around forever, because right now when I 
see this page I feel like someone is trying to inflate the "new 
features" section to make it look like there are many new wonderful 
things when there are not.

7)  The CVS Suite Studio to me seems like a completely superfluous piece 
of software.  My first impression when I read about it was "I can 
already do all this stuff", yet the description makes it sound like it 
is a huge deal.  "CVS Suite Studio will change the way you view CVS 
forever". Out of the features list I think anyone in my situation would 
not care about Open from Server without checkout, anonymous checkout, 
and even repository browsing.  Browsing the repository has no usefulness 
in our workflow since all our developers have checked out copies of 
their working repositories and wincvs/tortoisecvs have free repository 
browsing tools built in.  The ACL sounds interesting but I'm not sure if 
it works with a unix server.

8)  There is an ironic problem here.  Because I come away not 
understanding how useful the Release Manager is, and thinking the Suite 
Studio is not very useful, I don't feel there is value in the product.  
Then I'm told that the book alone is worth the price of admission, but 
it covers topics that are already DONE in our team.  The topics that it 
covers that I'm interested in involve telling me how useful Release 
Manager and Suite Studio are to my workflow - this is information I need 
BEFORE I can even consider those two pieces of software are even worth 

My point in the above points is threefold:

As an addendum, I wanted to list some very real problems that I would 
buy CVS Suite to solve if only I knew with confidence they were even 
addressed, and from reading all the materials over and have no idea if 
these topics are things that a paid version of CVS Suite will help me:

1)  WinCVS is old and outdated.  It doesn't support commit by bugid and 
it has no way of letting you override its default command parameters.  
Yet it is critical to our workflow because it has keyboard shortcuts and 
can filter the display of files by filename and also by status, 
including showing all files in all subdirectories which need commiting 
and then sorting them by date to see which ones were edited recently. 
(tortoiseCVS is  joke compared to WinCVS when you add these two 
factors).  Does the paid CVS Suite update WinCVS to support bugids?  
Including merge by BugID, commit by bugid, etc?

2)  We don't need to know how to setup cvsnt, but a detailed workflow 
using WinCVS to handle complex branches might be nice, including 
scenarios where teams are working on HEAD and branches and where one or 
the two need to merge changes frequently.  What about branching of 
branches and merging of branches?  These topics are NOT advertised in 
the description of the manual, and yet they are critical to successful 
team development.  Are they even covered in depth in the manual, and by 
indepth I mean case studies, actual examples, usage examples, 
illustrations, and how to do it with WinCVS/Tortoise?

3)  An option for repositories if the administrator wishes to use svn 
style revisionid's where a commit of one file increments the revision id 
of all files in the repository.  This feature alone is powerful enough 
that it is making us and many other teams like us consider switching to 
svn!  Then take this to the next step and integrate this with things 
like Release Manager and bugid: allow us to assign bugids or tags to 
every file at once with the same revisionid.

4)  When editing a changelog message make it also edit the Audit entry.  
I know you guys frown on the idea of editing a changelog message but 
sometimes it is very important.

5)  Is it possible to tag revisions with bugids after they've been 
committed, just like with tags?  If so is that method supported in the 
visual graphing tools of WinCVS in the paid version? (wincvs graphing 
tool lets you assign tags to any revision).

6)  A truly visual and robust Release Manager that supports Unix 
production servers (ours are FreeBSD).  Can we deploy straight from my 
Windows box to our Unix boxes and have it release a specific bugid or 
tag in one step?  What about deploying all changes committed by a 
specific user in one step?  Deploy all files changed on a specific date 
in one step?

Anyway that's my feedback.  I love cvsnt and appreciate all the work 
that has been put into it.  But I I use and encourage people to use 
cvsnt because of only a few SMALL number of things, mostly:

1) mergepoints.  This is critical IMO and svn's mergepoints sound very 
flakey while cvsnt has a very solid mergepoint support.
2) auditing: cvsnt has good auditing (but very poor auditing 
documentation.  I assume because it's in the book).
3) Wincvs:  the best change management  UI  that I've yet to come 
across.   Every one always tells us to use tortoisesvn, but they 
overlook the very handy keyboard shortcuts and ability to filter file 
display in WinCVS.  Unforunately WinCVS has NO support for any of the 
nice new things you are putting into cvsnt.  If March Hare is telling a 
die hard old school WinCVS person to use TortoiseCVS to get some of the 
new features, then you make a critical mistake: tortoiseSVN is FAR 
SUPERIOR than tortoiseCVS.

The things that I need solved are either not solved by CVS Suite or the 
fact that they are solved is not well advertised to users like us.  All 
I see when I look at CVS Suite is a bunch of free tools and a couple of 
other tools whose usefulness I don't understand, plus a book whose 
contents may or may not cover topics we need to learn.


>> IMHO if CVSNT Pro offered a very good GUI which can take advantage of 
>> the advanced features - developed internally or licensed - the 
>> perceived value would increase a lot - company would have to buy one 
>> tool to get everything, like most commercial VCS offer. What's inside 
>> the box now, customized version of open-source projects, looks not 
>> enough, IMHO.
> You *do* only have to buy one tool.  CVS Suite contains everything you 
> need.
> You make it sound like it's a bunch of free stuff thrown together. 
> Nothing could be further from the truth.  It contains extra features - 
> such as bug tracking and visual studio integration.  The ebook is 
> worth the price alone IMO.
> Even the packaged apps are customised to work better with our system & 
> have more features that aren't in the free releases (we do contribute 
> changes back to the projects but some of it is too specific to cvsnt 
> to make it into any generic releases).
> Tony
> _______________________________________________
> cvsnt mailing list
> cvsnt at cvsnt.org cvsnt downloads at march-hare.com @CVSNT on Twitter CVSNT on Facebook
> http://www.cvsnt.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/cvsnt https://www.march-hare.com/cvspro/en.asp#downcvs
> Upgrade to CVS Suite for more features and support: 
> http://march-hare.com/cvsnt/

More information about the cvsnt mailing list
Download the latest CVSNT, TortosieCVS, WinCVS etc. for Windows 8 etc.
@CVSNT on Twitter   CVSNT on Facebook