Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to school with RTC Source Control 4.0 videos

It's almost september. Quickly catch up on some of the latest SCM features we added in version 4.0 (also known as CLM 2012)...

Note these videos support HD (high definition), they are best enjoyed full screen and with the youtube player's video quality changed to 720 (HD).

1. RTC Shell - easily share documents and collaborate with your RTC team from within the familiar Windows Explorer. There are certainly members in your team who will appreciate using a lightweight client instead of a full IDE.

2. Locate change sets - When work items and source control play together, it becomes so easy to figure out which bugs you need to backport. Beware, that feature will greatly simplify your life when dealing with multiple streams. It plays the natural strength of RTC - team artifacts are connected and integrated with each other. That's a feature the SCM dev team uses very frequently itself.

3. Item read permissions - Control who can access specific files and folders within a component. Perfect if you work with third parties and consultants who need deep yet controlled access to your data.

4. File Content Delete - RTC administrators, learn how you can permanently purge unwanted content from an RTC server. Physically remove the bytes of an unwanted document, from wherever it is referenced in the database.

If you know about other videos related to new SCM 4.0 features, please add a comment and a link below. Thanks!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

hacking the website using the scm command line

Recently, I switched to running Linux on my laptop.   With this change, I am provided with an opportunity to change the way that I work with RTC.  For the past year, I have been self hosting on the RTC Windows Shell Integration whenever I have needed to deal with documents or files that are not better housed in an IDE (like Eclipse).  But there is no Lightweight RTC Shell on Linux (and one is not yet currently planned).

I am always looking for opportunities to self host more on the RTC SCM command line tool[1].  It has come a fair way over the past couple of years, but since we do Eclipse development so much, it is too easy to fallback on the eclipse client.  I don't really hack much code these days, and I do spend more time writing documents, articles and presentations, so using the CLI to further these endeavours is the way to go.

Setting up my new sandbox for tonight, I discovered that there are things that I can do better in the command line.

For example, for a truly large component, like the website, I can programmatically list remote files and grep in order to find exactly the directory I want to load.

lscm ls rf -r repoNickName 1109 1111 /my/directory --depth - | grep uniqueFolderName

where 1109 is a CLI alias for the workspace I am using, and 1111 is the alias for the component.  These aliases are discovered through other queries like "ls comp" or "ls ws" which serve as ways to query and find artifacts in the repository to work against.

Then the load command looks like:
lscm load 1109 MyComponent/my/directory/some/other/path/uniqueFolderName
You can do the same thing when loading in Eclipse, but people often do not choose to navigate through the wizard.  I find that you think differently when using console tools than you do when you use graphical user interfaces.

For one thing, with a command line tool, the onus is on the developer to find ways to optimize their environment more.   Using aliases and writing scripts are two examples of how you can easily customize the way you interact with the system.

Additionally, command line users actually read the help.  All it takes is one type-oh, and as a command line user, you are reading help, or in the very least skimming it.  I can't remember the last time I used help in an Eclipse-based product.

I hope that if you want to try something different when you are working against a filebase which does not endorse a particular IDE or toolchain you will consider the SCM Command Line.  We have numerous articles[2] which are helpful for getting started.

[1] Today I raised this bug on the help : self hosting in action!

[2] Here are some articles.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Spice up your pending changes view

When you're in a hurry, fast food is convenient. But after a while, you're going to get tired of the limited choice between ketchup and mayo for the dressing. Same thing goes with RTC Source Control. By default, it comes with certain preferences that work well in common situations and will get you started quickly. But once you use the tool extensively, it's time to explore some of the ways you can customize its UI to fit your taste. Here we will focus on the Pending Changes view. We will assume you are familiar with that view and its typical workflows (check-in, accept, deliver...). The view offers you plenty of flavors to choose from...

Auto check-in or not auto check-in?


By default, you have to manually check-in your local changes. Edit a file, save it. A local change shows up in the Pending Changes view. Select it and check it in. That's probably the way you've been working from day 1. There's an alternative way that works really well for certain users. Go to Eclipse > Window > Preferences > Team > Jazz Source Control > Changes > Check-in Policies. Check the Auto check-in local changes option and don't worry about the other options on that page. That's it, you're set. As long as you are logged in, every time you edit and save a local file, the new version gets automatically checked-in. Convenient. Try it and see if you like it. In our experience, some people prefer to drive manual, this is up to you...

Verbose or not verbose?


To help you decide if you are ready to accept or deliver a change set, Pending Changes view shows you various properties related to that change set - the person who created that change set, when it was delivered, files that were added, deleted, renamed, etc. Some users love details. Others prefer a view with no clutter. Turn on or turn off what you want in Eclipse > Window > Preferences > Team > Jazz Source Control > Changes > Label Decorations.

Eclipse compare editor or third party compare editor?


Before accepting or delivering changes, you double click and inspect them in a compare editor. By default, we use the built-in Eclipse compare editor. But there are other options out there in the market, and we know some are very popular. So we make it easy for you to plug in your own compare editor. Use Eclipse > Window > Preferences > Team > Jazz Source Control >  External Compare Tools.
The tool comes with predefined settings for some popular third party compare editors. If yours isn't listed, you can manually specify the arguments it requires from Source Control.

These are in my opinion some of the most useful ways you can tweak your Pending Changes view. If you're a big fan of some other options not listed here, please add a comment and explain how it makes your life easier...