Configuration Management for Distributed Development in an Integrated Environment

University dissertation from Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering

Abstract: Configuration management (CM) includes synchronizing and supporting developers in their common development and maintenance of a system. In order to utilize personnel regardless of their geographical location, groups of developers are now working all over the world on the development of common systems, a situation called distributed development. From different locations they may need to concurrently modify thousands of files, sometimes the same files, within the product. In the line of increased distribution, not only are groups placed at different locations, but also the groups themselves are distributed. I.e., people are working tightly together as a team although geographically dispersed. These changed prerequisites imply new, and harder, demands on CM support. This thesis describes an approach to configuration management for distributed development in an integrated environment. The motivation is to improve the support for people working together, although geographically distributed. We put forward a versioning model unified for both configurations and atomic items (UEVM), and a possible tool supporting this model. To support distributed work we have also added functionality from the area of computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), in particular support for collaborative awareness and different modes of collaboration. These aspects: versioning model, collaborative awareness, and collaboration modes have been integrated within one homogeneous environment, COOP/Orm. Besides the importance of these aspects, we claim that the integration itself is important and necessary in order to provide more and better support than separate tools. For example, we do treat versions as fundamental and therefore understood by all tools within the environment, which enables a smooth transition between asynchronous and synchronous collaboration for users working on a shared document.

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